How has SI helped or blessed you the most?

This is a difficult question, but with Aaron's post about this being his last year leading SI, it has caused us to reflect.

Our hope and prayer is that another individual or group would be able to  continue SI and its unique niche in our lives.

SI has blessed me in so many ways, and you probably have the same testimony.

Is there anything that stands out ahead of the pack, even slightly?

Please comment as well.

It is tempting to say "all or most of the above."  Resist the temptation as best as you can.  I wrote all the benefits I feel SI brought to me -but I will pick one that stands out a tad more.  Let me encourage you to do the same unless you cannot absolutely decide.


P.S. -- How tankful we are for Aaron who took the baton and kept this ministry up and running so long!  


SI has helped clarify who I am and where I stand in the "church world."
0% (0 votes)
SI has been a source of great teaching, leading me to think and learn in new directions.
11% (2 votes)
Si has opened my mind or broadened me to help me escape a manipulative form of fundamentalism.
6% (1 vote)
SI has been a source of identification, an online peer group, reminding me I am not alone.
0% (0 votes)
Si has been a source of challenge to some of my views, and, whether altering them or not, enlightened me.
17% (3 votes)
Si has been a source of fellowship, helping me develop some new friendships.
0% (0 votes)
Si has been an important avenue for my writing ministry.
0% (0 votes)
SI has kept me abreast of the latest and most relevant news in the Christian world.
33% (6 votes)
Si has helped me resist the pressure to cave-in to the culture and compromise my beliefs
0% (0 votes)
SI has helped develop me in matters of practical ministry.
0% (0 votes)
Si has helped me distinguish between essential and non-essential beliefs.
6% (1 vote)
Many or all of the above, but nothing stands out the most.
22% (4 votes)
6% (1 vote)
Total votes: 18
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There are 5 Comments

josh p's picture

A combination of several for me. I love SI and thank God for all the things I have learned. I discovered SI after leaving an evangelical church that was compromising. I ended up in a strongly type A church and knew that wasn’t right either. Through SI I have learned a ton about fundamentalism and also had my interest piqued to study more. I have learned a tremendous amount here and have definitely discovered my type B+ home. I have had so many conversations about fundamentalism since then and have actually been able to show non-fundys that it’s not all bad over here.

dcbii's picture


I chose "distinguish between essential and non-essential beliefs."  I could also have selected "help me escape," though that would have been slightly inaccurate.  I was already 2-years post being involved with a KJVO, local-church only ministry, and I was quite happy in my new church.  However, I was still trying to nail down all the reasons I believed it was better to not be involved with my old church (which was one that was solid on many doctrines, with mostly very good, scriptural preaching, when not on the hobby-horse issues).

Finding a community of mostly like-minded believers who wanted to stay true to historical fundamentalism while casting off the excesses of manipulative fundamentalism, and willing to discuss all the differences, etc. was huge for me.  That was 2005, and this is 2020.  Obviously, SI no longer has to fill that niche for me, and the current SI is quite a bit different from what it was in those days.  However, I still find it very useful to hash out arguments and positions in this format, and SI has overall done a good job of hosting those types of discussions -- there is moderation, but it tries as much as possible to be light-handed in application.

I have even enjoyed much of the argumentation back and forth recently about whether Christians can support Trump in any fashion or not.  I realize that there is disagreement, some pretty strong, but it's that disagreement and listening to the arguments of people I respect but don't see eye-to-eye with that really helps with sharpening.  I also disagree strongly with the concept of "social justice" as compared with simply justice for all, but Joel S.'s posts in particular have have made me think hard about my views on that topic, how believers with other backgrounds think on that topic, and how I can do better in my interaction with them.

If SI goes away, I may eventually find another outlet that is similar, but I would personally miss something that has been of great value to me.

Dave Barnhart

Ron Bean's picture

I was saved in the mid 70's and immediately found myself in a ministry that I would probably rate a AA++ on JT's taxonomy. (Anyone remember the periodical "The Projector"? That one.) I was at home in an atmosphere that was marked by what we were against. Our enemies were not only liberalism, apostasy, and the charismatic movement. On the list were Billy Graham, Jack Van Impe, CCM (which included the Wilds, Patch, and Soundforth) and would eventually include BJU. (Just to prove we were equal opportunity haters, Peter Ruckman and the KJVO crowd were on the list although we would only use the KJV.) I went to seminary and served as a pastor for a decade before returning to "The Village" which, by that time had added Calvinism, the Puritans (they didn't believe in separation), the SBC, and John MacArthur. We were effectively forbidden from contact with the evangelical world for the next 11 years. Soon thereafter SI made its debut (thank you Greg Linscott!) and I stumbled across it and started to learn that there was something outside my "Village" and it wasn't EVIL. Thanks to SI I re-evaluated nearly every aspect of my life through Scripture rather than the culture and tradition that had been my primary foundation. Having spent most of my life where honest questions were not well received if they were contrary to the traditional norm, SI was a place where questions were being asked and answered. 

I'm often asked why I make so many references to M. Night Shyamalan's movie "The Village". A few years after we made our exit from the above mentioned ministry, my oldest son invited us to watch the movie. When it ended, I looked at him sitting in a chair with his arms folded. He simply said."We lived there, didn't we?"

Thanks SI!


"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

Joel Shaffer's picture

I voted "Other."  I found SI shortly after it made its debut and at the time, I was struggling with our sending church, which happened to be GARBC.  At the time, I was contemplating severing all ties with my Fundamentalist heritage due to some of the toxic culture that I experienced in several churches that I grew up in as a PK and others I was encountering.  At that time, I had recently discovered the richness of reformed theology and was starting to define myself as a 30something "young, restless, reformed" believer.  But in my interacting with some of the pushbacks on SI, I was realizing that the grass wasn't necessarily greener in those circles either, as I saw early on with Mark Driscoll and segments of Acts 29 (Our church plant flirted with the idea of launching as an Acts 29 church and we're very glad we didn't go that route) that toxic culture can form just about anywhere. 

Interacting with the people of SI kept me from stereotyping Fundamentalist church leaders.  For instance, I realized that many Dispensationalists on SI do really care about the poor.  In my many non-Fundamentalist circles, I was being fed the errant notion that Dispensational theology inevitably leads to lack of compassion for the poor and needy.  Yet here I was on SI, interacting with several Dispenationalist Fundamentalists that cared about both the spiritual and physical needs of the poor.

Over a decade ago, I used to comment on just about every topic.  Nowadays, I mostly stick to subjects that pertain to what society calls "social justice issues" and topics pertaining to race/culture and the church. I don't have the time nor the emotional capital to spend going toe to toe for days about the merits of voting or not voting for Trump.  Many on SI have sharpened my arguments and pointed out potential weaknesses or misunderstandings that I've conveyed on my posts.  I was pleasantly surprised to find many Fundamentalist "thinkers" on SI and even some diversity of thought among those who post.  In contrast, when I attempted to interact with the good folks from Pyromaniacs, the blog posters and those who commented on the posts seemed too much like clones of each other.  A true echo chamber.     

My ecclesial loyalties are divided between the Gospel Coalition (which my church belongs to) and both the GARBC and IFCA (our sending church is still GARBC and our largest financially supporting church belongs to the IFCA).  And I feel quite comfortable as a "convergent" with a foot in the conservative evangelical world of Gospel Coalition and a foot in the world of GARBC and IFCA.   And because of SI, I have no desire to sever my ties with my Fundamentalist Baptist heritage. I think I'd regret it because I am still enriched by it through my interactions with my brothers in Christ here on SI.  

Mark_Smith's picture

but not in the way you might think. Honestly, I have probably alienated myself more than anything here, I don't know.

I appreciate SI because my church, and the one I attended before this one, is honestly made up of people who are intellectually shallow. Don't get me wrong, they are "nice people", but they have no interest in anything even remotely intellectual. I mean that. As I've said before, they don't know who Al Mohler is, or Russell Moore, or The Gospel Coalition... Even the pastor barely knows or cares.

I work at a secular university surrounded by godless people who hate Christianity and all it stands for. Yes, they hate it. Even the few Christians there are so compromised I cannot do anything with them.

So, honestly, my life is a lonely one. And SI is a small oasis for me. Thank you.