Wednesday, March 12, 2014

What happened to us?

This is undoubtedly a question that has crossed an increasing number of minds in the past several years. This is a question that, quite frankly, demands a well thought and honest answer. When well-meaning children are forsaking the long held traditions of their fathers and mothers in record numbers, when it seems that you can’t turn around without hearing of another sexual indiscretion from a trusted, conservative Baptist leader, and when by all appearances the IFB which led us to Christ, to our spouses, and to our lives as we know them today seems to be shrinking into non-existence, the question, “What happened?” demands an answer. This sincere question does not deserve a quick retort from a sacred desk,  does not allow room for dismissal, and has surpassed the ability to be pacified by statements such as, “don’t judge all of us by some of us.” Fundamentalism, in many respects, seems to be broken, and I’d like to get to the bottom of why. 

First, however, please allow me to introduce myself. I am not your enemy. I was saved at four and a half years of age on my Dad’s lap with his Old Scofield, black, leather bound, King James Bible. I surrendered to preach, and  was called to the Lord’s ministry as a result of growing up in an Independent Fundamental Baptist Church. I went with you to Fundamentalist and Fresh Oil conferences, Pastors' School, Missions, and Youth Conferences. Many of you signed my Bibles. We took sweet fellowship together. We saw the Lord move together. I bathed your pews in prayer before big meetings. I wept on the floor at my seat while begging the Holy Spirit to move during the invitation time at your conferences. I have two earned degrees from one of your Bible colleges. I don’t regret my time there. I worked with your kids in my ministry and I lived with them in the resident halls. I listened to them, I prayed with them, I loved them, and I’m tired of watching them lose faith because they can’t intersect the God of the Bible, the failures of men, and the Independent Fundamental church as we know it today. I am not your enemy. I am your contemporary, your children’s counselor, and your friend. In this post, I simply want to share my heart with you. 

I believe there are three main culprits to blame for the failings of several churches within the IFB. I will attempt to highlight them from a humble aspect of having a heart for the wonderful people within the IFB and great hopes and desires for their futures in Christ. May God give me grace as I type that I do not come across as hateful or spiteful in any way. 

The first culprit I would like to blame for these failings, and cut out of my Sunday worship, is Pride. Pride has crept into our denomination and filled our well-meaning people with its toxic, hallucinogenic venom. Pride has told our New Testament shepherds of the flock that they are Old Testament prophets to be feared and obeyed, as if they stood in the place of God and His Holy Spirit. Pride has gotten the best of me in many instances. I had grown to the point in my own religious practice where I thought that only I and those like me were right and that I had figured “it” out. I actually thought that God was beaming with pride over me while He merely tolerated those with lesser standards, as if somehow the blood of Jesus had to cover all of them and only parts of me. I looked down on groups like Teen Challenge, World Vision, Youth for Christ, and other “Liberal” attempts at discipleship and service to the Kingdom. I somehow believed  I was in God’s cool group because of my standards and position in the church while never stopping to think that maybe He didn't even acknowledge my standards because He was distracted by the stench of my pride in His nose. We have lifted up our standards as though in them somehow we have eternal life. 

I have witnessed this pride in my brethren. I have seen parents cheer and cry tears of joy as one child enters Bible College, but cover up and explain away as another child pursues a career via a community college or university. We have forced our children into full time church work so we can look good to our peer groups. As a whole – how is this working for us? Pastors drive teenagers to full-time Christian service like cattlemen drive their stock to the market, and too often the motive for doing so is status among the brethren. Only in the IFB will we say at a conference statements such as, “I was speaking to a lawyer who joined my church…” (so proud that we have reached a solid community minded layperson), but then turn and condemn a teen for wanting to become a Christian lawyer, doctor, or public servant. I wonder if the reason our churches are so generationally weak and  there is such a lack of Christianity in law offices, police forces, and doctor’s offices is due, in part,  to the fact we demonized those career choices for our kids and then banished them to full time Christian work where they have floundered and, in many cases, lost faith. Pride has damaged us from the inside out and has been a catalyst for us to damage our laypeople. Pride has been singularly instrumental in keeping us "in-focused" and keeping the world a safe distance from being affected by our so called gospel message of, “look, appear, sound, and act like me”. May God forgive me, and grant me the grace to bring healing to those I have hurt with this monster of pride in my own heart. 

The second reason  I would like to address is merely speculation on my part. I will need you older men to attest to the validity of my theory. In my opinion, we have gone from being an Independent movement to being a denominational settlement. We have ceased chasing after evangelism and new ways of reaching people. We have written off everything new as wrong. Every new idea, every new song, and every new everything as though Christianity started in 1944,  as though Jesus Christ wore a black suit, white shirt, wing tipped shoes, and looked like Cary Grant. In the book of Acts, Christianity was a movement! People were meeting daily in their houses talking, growing, praying, eating, and spreading the gospel in such an exciting fashion that people were being converted and added to the church daily! What an exciting time in history! Help me out here men, but the stories that I have heard of Bible Colleges back in the 70's remind me of this time. Excited young men and women so pumped to serve God that they had to find a place to learn how to do it better. You guys landed in the IFB in an exciting time with a heart for doing something big. Compare Fundamentalism from where it is now, as a whole, to where it was then. Looking back, I would call that more of a movement and would have to compare many of our churches today to settlements. We have settled into our denomination and we are comfortable. We haven’t changed our clothes since 1950. The classy business people or the blue collar workers in our various communities have zero bearing on how we live and dress. We are wearing a uniform and living up to the standard of our denomination with no regard to how we are perceived by the people we are called to reach. We haven’t added a song to our hymn repertoire since 1946 as though Fanny J. Crosby’s hand was held by the Holy Spirit through verbal, plenary lyric writing (I jest). We absolutely refused to consider any form of evangelism besides door to door, confrontational soul-winning. Please don’t get me wrong, I believe in confrontational soul-winning. I think it is good and right for a believer to confront his friends and acquaintances with the truth of eternity by showing them the crisis of sin and death and the relationship found in the person of Jesus Christ, but could we be more effective if we weren't so settled in our ways? What if we incorporated the demonized lifestyle evangelism to our word of mouth evangelism? Jesus often fed, healed or showed kindness to people before He told them the way to heaven. What if people looked at us and saw Christ instead of seeing pride, arrogance, and sexual cover-ups? What if people saw our faith by our works? Why are we so settled on everything we do as if it were Gospel? Forgive my observation, but it seems to me that we are Independent before we are humble servants, we are fundamental before we are intuitively evangelistic, and we are Baptist before we are disciples. I don’t want to settle here. I want to move! 

The last aspect  I will blame for the failures we are seeing in the movement we have known and loved is a direct result of the pride mentioned first. We are sorely lacking love in our churches. Having a bus route doesn’t mean that we are loving. Supporting a missionary doesn’t mean that we are loving. Having a food pantry doesn’t mean that we are loving. These can definitely all be outward expressions of an inward love, but they can just as easily be, and far too often are, status symbols or trademarks of our religion. How do you feel about the rock and roll church down the road that preaches Christ and Him crucified? Crazy to think, but Jesus is using them also. Has it ever occurred to us that Jesus died for all the people we hate? Has it ever occurred to us that maybe God is just as capable of using prideful, arrogant, hateful, conservative, KJV waving Baptist as He is of using liberal minded, ESV iPhone app reading, hand raising, non-denomination, Jesus lovers? I’m not asking you to yoke up with them, but I am asking for a gut check. Are you a loving person? Is our religious association a loving group? Would your spirit be more upset if I wore a Jesus t-shirt to Sunday morning church or if nobody came to Christ that week? Would you be more upset to find out your children listen to Casting Crowns and Jamie Grace or to learn your baptistery hasn't stirred in months? Are we primarily loving and broken that people haven’t responded to God’s saving grace, or are we primarily gate keepers of a temporal religion who love only those who decide to get in?

Am I right? Have I figured it out? No, not even close. When we get to heaven, we all will be surprised, humbled, and dumbfounded at what worship and holiness really look like. When I come to worship and learn of Him, I want to do so under the tutelage of a servant who doesn't thank God that he's not like the church down the road which is full of people who actually need Jesus, as if we don’t. We need a return of humility to our conservative brand name. Here is the reason I believe the IFB is dying. Pastors trained us young ones in doctrines, standards, and evangelism, and when we try to reconcile how we see you treat your brethren, how you refuse to be more effective, and how you Glory in your traditions, as if they died for your sins, we cannot. We have come to an impasse. The fruit so many IFB churches bear today cannot be the fruit of Christ. From the same fountain we cannot drink both sweet water and bitter. 

In conclusion, let me make a plea to you as your student and co-laborer. Can we ask God for a humbling? Can we ask God to help us reach this world? And, can we begin to love one another? I do not believe that the IFB as a denomination can be saved, or is worth saving, more than any religious sect is. I do believe, however, that Pastors who are independent in their operations and fundamental in their beliefs can return to a humble service to the Lord. We can return to a loving outlook on our communities and brethren. We can begin again to measure Christian growth in a person’s relationship with Christ and desire to bring people to Him instead of their conformity to our religious traditions. 

"Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."


Article written by David Parton 


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185 comments:

  1. Dave... This is spot on. I wish I had written it! :) Proud to have crossed paths with you and Julia in college!

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    2. God bless you Dave! What you, so eloquently wrote are the same thoughts and feelings I have had.

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    3. I agree with the article and may I add one more - the KJV, soul winning, separated, Baptists have forgotten to teach the bible they profess to believe! From what I can tell (and I am speaking generally here for what I am fixing to declare is not true of all Independent Baptist) most sermons from pastors and evangelists come mainly from the OT and the Gospels while Paul is almost forgotten. And when they preach these sermons they are mostly based on 1 or 2 verses then 3 points and then illustrations and if they are an evangelist a few jokes to get things going! Expository preaching is not done for the most part. And even worse the points of their messages are not even what they verses teach but what application they want it to be so the congregations are not learning any or very little bible! I don’t fully understand why Paul is so neglected today except that maybe it’s easy to take an OT passage and preach application, soul winning, and separation but to dig in Paul and expound the Pauline epistles takes lots of study, prayer, and labor and since many pastors have been forced to spend their time in administration of these large churches they don’t have time to study as they need to in order to understand Paul. I also believe in aggressive soul winning but that is not the primary propose of the local church today. A misapplication of Matt. 28:19, 20 does not prove that soul winning is the main purpose of the church. Paul’s emphasis is on building up the saints in the word so they can do the work of the ministry. We have folks faithfully knocking doors but with little or no understanding of Rom. 6 and other important passages and truths! So, I’ve added my 2 cents worth – God bless.

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    4. Brett, I agree with you. I am a KJB-Only IFB. And one of the great aggravations I have with most of my fellow preachers is their seemingly total lack of ability to preach a doctrinal message. I have taught preaching and sermon preparation many times, and literally every student ever I assigned to outline a doctrinal sermon from a certain passage prepared outlines for devotional messages, instead of doctrinal messages. Also, it seems to me that more and more preachers go out of their way to put others down. Where's the speaking the truth in love (Eph 4)?

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    5. Excellent added insight - real success and growth is organic (not synthesized by our clever strategies). It is the loving work of the Holy Ghost through us as a local body serving others, rightly dividing, earnestly contending, giving an answer for the blessed hope we have, warning the wicked, holding out faithful, et al. But most of all speaking the truth in love, restoring the fallen, rescuing the perishing, caring for the dying, training the very little ones (children), equipping the saints, helping up the slipping discouraged ones and also...encouraging the fruitful ones to be even more so right where they are; not intimidating them to go off to Bible College to be another IFB clone ..and I heartily agree with Brother Parton that we need to look at other "brethren" outside of our "camp" with a more loving compassionate attitude, recognizing that there is "meat there among the bones"...meat worth eating and digesting while leaving the bones, using discernment that the LORD gives us. Doctrine divides but also should unite us in our local bodies when faithfully taught and upheld as the foundational strength of our persuasion. But not just 5 or 6 major non-negotiable truths that become our "distinctive" banners of pride but a balanced diet of the whole counsel of God. When was the last time you heard an IFB KJB preacher thoroughly preach on the "Synagogue of Satan" and about "those who say they are Jews and are not" in Revelation 2 and 3 connected to prophecy and current global realities? I had to study myself and research this with the LORD's help on my own years ago and am constantly getting questions from others left wondering about this area...The Internet has become the supplement for what many IFB leaders are not dealing with in our local churches...and the Internet without biblical discernment and a sound doctrinal foundation can be perilous to the flock. It all starts with our complete faith and trust in the promise of God that we have the pure, preserved, perfect, powerful, precious, precise, and prophetic words of the LORD to be preached and fully taught as our final authority. The intrusion of the modern bible movement with the NKJV being one of the most seductive of them in my view, is at the root of the IFB problems. Many have a dull two edged sword with a slippery handle. Thanks for your insight! Lance Robert Schmidt Pace, Florida

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  2. Hi David. My name is Bobby Kmiec and I'm commenting on your well written post via invite in your second point. I believe you asked for older men to step up and offer their insight, so here I am. I was an IFB 'Churcher' for twenty nine of my thirty three saved years. As a matter of fact, thirty three years ago today, I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Saviour in Zeist, NL. I am pleased that you are questioning the IFB movement. That's a good start, but not because I have a vendetta against them. I, like you, consider them family and I am greatly concerned about the direction the people within this organization are moving. You are so close to the answers you seek, it's scary. My hope is that my insight might get you to flip the switch so that all the lights will come on. Here goes... The problems you've seen and sensed stem from a perception. The perception of what Christ's church actually IS. No matter what label we choose to put on our doors, its still a label placed upon an Organization. Christ didn't create an "Org," nor did He die for one. He created and died for His organism. His local, physical assembly doesn't have business ties and payrolls. We do not compete for admissions in Bible Colleges, nor do we pay clergy to do our thinking for us. Full time Christian Service (and Servants) are not career choices, but life choices. In short, Institutional 'Churches' are models ill conceived and foreign to the Lord who saved so many within her gates. As you have pointed out, man's traditions are the root of the problem and this is where the push toward Institutional thinking has sprung. A great number of people may be redeemed from with her walls, but the pen they are cooped up in is the opposite of where Christ intended us to be. I have a blog of my own dedicated to this very topic. The very building blocks for His church are based upon three concepts. 1. Love God. 2. Love Others. 3. Make Disciples. All three mesh together in harmony with Jesus at the center. That's the blueprint for His church. What we have with the IFB and every other denomination is eight pointed. The first four (in name only for the most part depending on the brand) are included with four additional pieces. A. Building B. Staff C. Budget D. Programs. Those four just don't belong to His blueprint. Let put it this way... If one is to choose the best GMO food product for them, they'll choose one with a certain label stuck on it. If one were to think outside the 'Box' today and seek real food, they'll go to the farmer's market that offers life giving choices. That's the difference between Institutionalism and Christ's Biblical church.The IFB is mostly a GMO product. If you want a real church, seek organic. We're out there, but you won't find us in the Yellow Pages. For more on this I offer you my blog ChurchPros at http://churchpros.blogspot.com/. I pray my comments and direction helps in some small way. Grace and blessings on your personal journey.

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    1. Good thoughts Sir, and thank you for the kind feedback!

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    2. Church Pros, I appreciate your dislike for the "warts" on some IFB churches. I don't like them either. However, I am encouraged by the number of Pastors, like myself, who are shaking off those old shackles. But, and you new there was a "but" coming:). I fear that your suggestions are simply creating what you claim to hate. Namely, you said, "If you want a real church..." It doesn't matter much what follows that statement. Whatever follows that statement is most likely going to be another set of "standards" that will be used to judge the spirituality of another group of Christians trying to obey the Lord and love His church. From what I gather from your list, I cannot have a building, or have a budget, or have a staff, etc, and be a "real" church. What happened to the "freedom in Christ?" I think you may have been at one time very close to figuring something out, but you seemed to have gotten lost in along the way. It seems very likely that with your great convictions about "institutionalism" your "Movement" may very soon become the "non-institutional Biblical church" movement, or "NIBC". I wonder how long before people start writing about its demise?

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    3. EXCELLENT THOUGHTS. I'm 50 year old retired FULL-TIME Christian school teacher... and just left the Independent Fundamental Baptists. It broke my heart, but God has led my husband and our family. SUCH FREEDOM in Christ!!!!!!!

      I especially love the part where David said that .... Christ's blood only has to cover SOME of "my" sin if I live right.... HERESY! We are ALL FILTH in His eyes and NOTHING we can do EVER will be "good." Only through Jesus...

      Loved this! It Is About Time!

      Serving Christ in a Bible Church for now,

      Brenda

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    4. I agree totally with you, Brenda.

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  3. Good article, sir. You've managed to capture my own thoughts regarding the movement. As an IFB believer of 22 years, I can vouch for everything you've just said here.

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    1. Thank you for the kind sentiments.

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    2. David, I appreciate that you agreed with my points which were offered earlier. However, I am wondering if I made myself absolutely clear on these points. So, here it is again in all it's brutally honest form: The organization of Institutional 'Church' is not Biblical at all. The many folks who are saved individuals (Christian organisms) within her walls have simply been steered into the wrong environment. I don't mean morally, but systematically. Institutional 'Church', whether Catholic, Protestant, Baptistic or cultist is a "System." Jesus didn't create a system. He created a body of believers. This body of believers assemble in local areas and are physical. Those saved within the Institutional model business entity 'Church' System sometimes make the mistake of staying IN this system even though Christ wants His children to stay away from it. You're right about the pier pressure involved. It plays a key role in persuading people to stay in a social club they call 'Church.' If the organism (a.k.a. the saved individual), realizes that he or she is involved in an Institutional Organization and doesn't flee it for Christ's true model, he or she is ignoring the real solution to the problem brought to light in your piece. The solution for what you seek is to withdraw from Institutionalism altogether and ask the Lord to guide you to smaller assemblies that meet in homes free of imposed tithes and the safety of a plurality of elders that aren't paid by the congregation. Ditch the 'Church' names, paid pastors, para-'Church' ministries, building programs, Bible colleges and Income tithing and you'll be on your way. Sorry to be so blunt, but I didn't want you to think that I still support the Institutional model, nor do I believe that Christ wants His lambs and sheep to continue meeting in wolves dens no matter how inviting they may seem. My blog contains many articles from many different angles that'll support the points I just brought to light. If you'd like to know more I'll steer you there for now. Again, you're very close... Once more, here's wishing you the best on your personal journey. http://churchpros.blogspot.com/

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    3. Bobby, I couldn't agree with you more wholeheartedly! I am one of those who left it all behind. Dave, as well thought out as your article is, it misses one key component, namely, that the system itself is flawed. If one does even a shallow study of how it came about one would have to realize that the system is quite decidedly anti-biblical. Consider a few points, 1. There is little to no interaction between "clergy" and "laity", not on a meaningful level. Preaching does not suffice. There is no time for intelligent feedback from the flock, and if pastors were honest, they love it this way. They in most cases (speaking as a former teacher in the system) want no questions. If you, reader, don't believe me, then try asking your pastor serious meaningful questions. Ask him about repentance, sin-nature, or tithing. I mean, really ask him, challenge him. I am willing to bet that you won't get too far. In fact, you might be asked to leave. I digress.... 2. The system was designed in Ancient Rome to have a one man over all superiority. The early church knew nothing about this, and instead had as Bobby calls it (so do I), a plurality of elders. In fact, the most often used verse to support the church, Hebrews 10:25, totally misses this point. If one were to read the passage as a whole, he would have to realize that the chapter, and indeed the book have nothing to do with institutional church whatsoever, but even if only this verse, and maybe the verse before it were read, one would have to realize that it is directly stated that ONE ANOTHER should be involved in provoking to love and good works. This is why BELIEVERS meet. That is not the main reason why the modern system meets, however. They meet for a number of other reasons, many of which are good, but not helpful in the Biblical sense. 3. The system in place actually mimicks the modern retooled Catholic version through the Prussian based schooling system. Now, this requires a good bit of research, but let me offer at least this to get anyone started on the right track - http://www.johntaylorgatto.com/underground/index.htm The basic point is that the system is designed to keep people mindless, submissive robots. It is my contention that the children leaving the IFB system are leaving for precisely this point. All other issues are side issue symptoms of a corrupt system. Kids, especially teens, want to, no, need to be allowed to ask questions. They are begging to know real, serious truth. But they're fed a steady dose of preaching and character reforming (with good intentions mind you), but they are not allowed to ask meaningful questions. If they are, the answers given are subpar at best. A kid getting little to no good answers to vital questions will always, ALWAYS, look somewhere else for a better answer. If it seems to be half-way decent, that kid will reject the former for the latter. IFBism, and other denominations too, let's be honest, are experiencing this, but no one wants to admit, realize, or understand it. They're all to ready to just try to patch up, and fix the minor errors in order to keep the major error, the system, functioning. For more consideration, please do serious research. Do not fall pray to spiritual abuse, do not fall pray to confirmation bias (very serious in religious discussions), do not fall pray to fear of man. Bobby's site, to me seems to be very well done. Let me add another from a few guys that have been very helpful to me, and are more than welcome to answer questions - http://truthreallymatters.com/wordpress/ and http://www.the-dissenting-church.org/house-church-articles.html. Finally, my brother and I have also written, to a much smaller degree on the topic here - http://www.shepherdsgoad.com/.

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    4. Robert, thanks for backing me up. Apparently there are still a lot of folks who are missing the whole point. Folks like BrianBCBC still believe that the solution to the problem can be fixed within the walls of Institutionalism ITSELF. But, that's like saying cancer can cure cancer. He's thinking inside the box instead of out. Pastor or no, he brings up an old and tired defense. People wanting to stay the course of the business entity 'Church' system say, "Well, the Lord never said we COULDN'T have buildings, programs, etc..." Also, BrianBCBC claims that Biblical house church is "a movement." That's the regurgitated reply most clergy give when performing Damage Control. Christ's model of church (assemblies/fellowships) has been around since He created us about 2,000 years ago. Every 'Church' that operates in a BUSINESS ENTITY FORMAT is "the movement of our modern day." My preceding comments were to illustrate that those who are children of God in the IFB movement should be shedding the shackles of Institutionalism in favour of Christ's model for church, not mine. Not MY standards. Not MY concept for a church. Not MY set of rules. When I said, "If you want a REAL church..." I was referring to Jesus' model for HIS church; not some denominational movement. Nor, do I suggest that a local fellowship of believers becomes an "NIBC." BrianBCBC is speculating at best, and is putting words in my mouth at the very least.

      The list I gave IS the standard for Christ's church (Love God, Love Others, Make Disciples ~ with Jesus at our Core). The buildings, budgets, programs and paid staff are all components of a business entity, NOT created or sanctioned by Christ. That model, BrianBCBC, is a counterfeit. It's like the difference between Micro and Macro evolution.

      There is a quote I use a lot in my blog, and I believe it bears repeating here: When Christ created His church in Israel, it was a Fellowship. When the name of Christianity spread to Greece, this Fellowship (through time) became a Philosophy. When the Philosophy plagiarized the Fellowship and moved on to Rome, it became an Institution. When the Institution made its way throughout Europe, it became a Culture. And, when this Culture sailed to the Americas, it became an Enterprise. And guess who runs enterprises? Entrepreneurs, that's who. And WHO are the entrepreneurs in an IFBC? The "One Man Show" Senior Pastor. "He's the one who twists Scripture to make the poor believe that Income Tithing is an obligation. He's the guilty one, your honor!" Most may be honest and sincere in their motives, but they are dead wrong on their execution of expounding on Scripture in this area. Shame on them. And, shame on me for not looking into God's Word sooner.

      There's no need for the "One Man Show" of senior pastor control. There is no need (NOR a COMMAND) for an Income Tithe either. The only reason a tithe has been imposed over the last 185 years in America, and in the Baptist 'Institutional 'Church' family is to support the Organization IT created. Take away the tithe & 'OMS' and the whole system folds like a house of cards. The real problem is, folks don't wanna let go of their true god; their business entity 'Church' System.

      I still believe that there are many who are assuming that the IFBC movement can be fixed from within. The only way the saved within can meet and still abide by the earmarks of Jesus' design is to disband altogether and meet in smaller groups. Get rid of the corporate name above the door. Get rid of the FDIC Checking accounts, which tie that organization to Government. Get rid of the idea of the clergy versus laity divide.

      I don't promote another kind of Institutional 'Church' with a different sounding label. I am promoting Jesus' assemblies which met from house to house having all things common just like in the Book of Acts.

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    5. I agree. The pastor has no accountability to anyone so he does says what he wants. Problem is, much of it is not of God.

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    7. I recognize that smile and agree with those words.

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  4. Incredible post. Long, but very good. i found it very encouraging. Thanks for being brave enough to say it. Now, am I brave enough to share it on FB? I'll at least share it with my husband.

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    1. Good luck! It was hard for me to post for sure! Glad it was a blessing to you.

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  5. Great post Dave! I really enjoyed this article.

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  6. May I take a moment and thank all the excellent Pastors who have stayed independent in their practice and fundamental in their beliefs while continuing to love and encourage their people to grow with Christ. This article is in no way meant to discourage those good men.

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    1. Excellent article Dave, and this too is an excellent comment. There still are some very gracious shepherd/pastors out there.

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  7. The sincerest Amen any brother (or sister) can muster is not enough to convey just how right you are. As a IFB pastor I have seen first hand the destruction our "religion" has brought to others. I find myself begging God to make me a spiritual preacher and NOT a religious one. Thank you, Dave, love ya buddy.

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  9. I think the fact that IFB refers to a group at all shows how true your second reason is. I attended Hyles-Andesron and I believe that the first generation of students that graduated their had a much better influence on America then my generation will. Many were already serving and were just hungry to learn willing to work hard , to fail and to grow. While in my generation it seems many were pushed into looking for a position (missionary, pastor, youth leader) rather then to serve. While I think Bible college is a great opportunity things, like Pastor School may have l evolved from good intentions into the Pride you mentioned. A pride of showing America how well our traditions work. A better approach could have been - Let's fellowship as churches and discuss where we have failed and where we have succeeded.
    As for loving - I was listening to the story of Hudson Taylor told in a Sunday School recently and I wondered how many IFB churches would have supported him? He dressed like the native (let his hair grown long!!!) feed the poor and lived off of faith without a missions board (OMG!).
    While I don't think churches should get involved in outreaches that only deal with physical need and ignore the spititual, the early church often depended on the church to care for welfare (mostly for orphans and widows) rather then the government.
    I also believe that when the Bible talks about loving other Christians as a sign to the world of Christian unity it is speaking this type of financial support (don't we teach that John 3:16 shows love = giving).
    While some churches try to use love to excuse sins or avoid sensitive sins (homosexuality a growing one) , what would happen if IFB churches showed love in their congregations by caring physically, emotionally and financially for each other and the lost as the Lord provided? Their message of sanctified service would probably be more accepted with the proof of love to back it up.

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    1. Good thoughts Jonathan, Thank you for sharing!

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  10. Spot on Dave. Having grown up in an IFB military family, I've been a member of IFB churches from North Carolina to California. What you wrote is totally true across the whole country. The only exception is Union Baptist Temple in Union, MO. My freshman year at college was your senior year. Wish I had got to know you better. Thanks for the well thought out and well written post.

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    1. Hey Nathan, don't forget my Dad either! Truth is there are quite a few good independent churches. We don't know them because they are truly independent. Don't miss the forest for the trees! :)

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    2. Wow Nathan! You been to every single ifb Church in America and there is only one good one? Get Real!

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  11. This is my heart. After 35 yrs in 11 Fundamental Baptist churches across 5 states, 8 yrs of post secondary education, BJU, Crown, Hyles, PCC, Ruckman, West Coast, Golden State, etc, this article sums it all up about as well as I ever could. I do not condemn my past; I thank God for it and the unique perspective I believe it brings. But I want more. I want more for my children. I desire something deeper than scheduled communion. I crave unvarnished honesty above tattered tradition. I'd rather know God than know about him.

    Do not label me. Truth is not old fashioned, so why should I be? Isaac Watts was an outcast to the religious establishment because of his contemporary music. I seem to remember Jesus being rejected by the Fundamentalists of his day too.

    I will never abandon my King James Bible, but I love those who have not found it yet. I despise alcohol for the ruin it brings, but should I despise gluttony less? I am sickened by a media controlled culture, but more so by an irrelevant church. I fear an unconstitutional government, but not so much as an unbiblical man behind a pulpit.

    You cannot put God in a box, but He put himself in a book. Why then should we stray from that thing wherein lies our power, our unity, our passion, our personal religion. It is enough. God is enough. Love for people even when they fail and fall is enough. You may keep your pews, titles, false worship and pretense. As for me and my house we will choose the LORD.

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    1. Excellent thoughts Aaron, Even while we are driving down a straight road we must constantly correct our steering wheel. I'm not saying we should take a left and forget the road. I am saying that we seem to be driving in the ditch at 65 MPH and a lot of people are being hurt. Let's correct and keep driving. (That analogy made me laugh. Crackin’ myself up here. Shoot some people just parked in the ditch and made the ditch the new destination! Lol They seem to be yelling at everyone who drives by!) - sorry

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    2. So well said. Thank you both!

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    3. Very well said. While I have never been an IFB pastor (we are ABA), there was a time when I was very enamored with Hyles, Hutson, Rice, Rolloff and others. They were tremendous pulpiteers and able to "turn people on" with their eloquence and manner of speaking. I went to Pastors School in 1982. Most younger preachers would go "gaga" over the stuff that I saw, but I experienced the opposite effect. I saw BLATANT preacher worshipping and I knew that to be wrong. I saw exaggeration of numbers to the ridiculous. I saw Hyles and his crew honor this woman as "Soul winner of the week". She claimed that she had led over 900 people to the Lord that week!! I did the math and taking into account meal times, sleep time and transportation and other things, if she went soul winning for 8 hours a day, 6 days (discounting Sunday for church), she would have had to share the Gospel AND WON a soul every 4 minutes. I don't think I could even read the "Roman Road" in that amount of time. PLUS, she would have had to win EVERY person that she talked to. My thought, as thousands of preachers were jumping up and shouting, "Praise the Lord" and "Hallelujah", was two fold. First, if I thought that she had actually won that many people to the Lord, I wouldn't be jumping up and down and shouting like these preachers are doing. I'd be crawling under the pew in shame. Second, I have witnessed to hundreds of people in my life and only a fraction were actually saved or made a profession of faith. The Bible says, the BROAD way leads to damnation and the NARROW way leads to life. When I left that conference, I began to think that there was "more fluff than stuff". While I will still say that Hyles and his "ilk" are great orators, able to move people EMOTIONALLY, the Bible they preach in their sermons could go into a thimble and are as shallow as a mud puddle after a summer shower. Very little Bible, very little doctrine, A LOT of lifting themselves on a LARGE pedestal.

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  12. Very well spoken, Dave, and thank you for sharing your heart. The first aspect of your article was definitely my experience. I was attending college studying Pre-Med when a fresh out of college IFB college grad took over my small community church. He took me under his wing and befriended me. He then used great personal tragedy in my life to tell me that it was God's way of calling me into "full time Christian service" and away to Bible College I went. I was in the midst of recovering from the loss of a parent at a very young age and completely uprooted my life after listening to his counsel.
    The passage of time revealed much to me about the reasons behind the counsel I received to abandon my pursuit of becoming a doctor. A few years later, this man deserted my church leaving us in great financial debt after a "successful" building program. This told me that I was merely a "feather in his cap", his first Bible college student to parade at his alma mater.
    This is my experience, and I am sure that it was repeated countless times across the nation.

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    1. My heart breaks for you. There are so many good and balanced men who get a black eye from guys like this. I hope you are in a place now where you are being loved by the Lord.

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    2. clewless - that is so sad, but I've seen examples of this in my lifetime too.

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  13. Very good and much on point. I pray that our desire is to see the lost souls saved regardless of where they come from or how they come to church.

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  14. My spirit rejoices to read such truth. May this message be preached across the nation. God bless you.

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    1. Thank you Mrs. C! Your kind words are a blessing

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  15. Having been raised in a "true" denomination (Baptist General Conference) I was drawn to I FB because of it's independence, passion, strong stand for "thus saith the Lord", and it's courage to pick up discarded doctrines (separation, true Biblical authority, the crystal clear Gospel, personal evangelism). Once "in" I was disillusioned by the lack of true independence it really had. While the pastor's didn't have a denominational director, per se, the pressure to fit in and appear conforming was the invidible ex officio denominational director in every flavor (aka camp) of IFB church.

    When super structures are created and are as revered as Scripture then a group or movement is doomed to the "crabs in a barrel" phenomenon.

    Having said that, we need to be thoughtful to not allow our current culture of fast-paced neuro stimulation addiction to revise the truth of the Early Church (or the Early IFB Church). I do not believe these times were "exciting". I believe we read that they were quite the opposite: the were riddled with hard work, persecution, suffering, fear, discouragement, heart-break, physical injury and death (or the threat of both), financial challenge, etc. The NT epistles are basically correction for carnal believers, encouragement for persecuted believers, and sound doctrine for growing believers full of commands, exhortation, rebuke, edification, example, and evangelism.

    To over-sensualize these "movements" is to create a false sense of hope that Christian work is somehow exciting and fun if we'd just make some changes. Paul needed to exhort them (and us) to "be not wearing in well doing." Serving God in a wicked, cursed world is hard...not exciting. Are there moments of excitement during the battle? Yes! But the routine of daily warfare is hard (2 Tim 2:3).

    Remember, this is a war and our time is short. There is a devil. He and his host do not sleep. This is not the child of God's time to build a comfortable life for themselves in Babylon...but to war and fight and rescue for our King and His Kingdom.

    At the same time there is never any room for pride, envy, strife, self-righteousness, selfishness, politics (within the church), etc. MOST of the New Testament repeats this ad nauseam...this is not a new problem and this is not an IFB problem...it's a sin problem. Sin always hinders the work of God and our effectiveness in the field. Sin taints our love for others, our ability to care and have compassion, our desire to "go" when "staying" is more fun (Netflix, Facebook, Video Games, Sports, etc). IFB is simply a reflection of you and me and the choices we've made and, like a real mirror, we don't like what we see when we stop and stare. The solution? Others, Lord, yes others; let this my motto be: help me to live for others, Lord, that I might live for thee.

    Note: Samuel grew up under the pastorate of Eli, Phinehas, and Hophni. Not once do we find recorded in Scripture Samuel's dissertation of the problems with the EHP movement....but, rather, we see an individual who surrendered himself to the Lord and served the Lord all the days of his life.

    Your church is only as strong as the individual members that make it up. Your duty is to be and stayed surrendered to God and encourage others in your church to do the same....firstly, by example, and secondly, with words.

    Herein is true humility, righteousness, and leadership practically lived out. Herein is where Bible-based and Spirit-led improvement to the IFB exercised.

    May God bless your submission to His Will and your Obedience to His Word and Spirit as your passionately serve Him!

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    1. I apologize for any spelling, grammatical, or verbiage errors in my post: I "wrote" it with my index finger on my cell phone. The auto correct/spellchecker and I do not always see eye-to-eye and it slips in corrections sometimes without me noticing.

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    2. Thank you for the passionate contribution! No worries anout the proof reading. My post is riddled with errors - working on getting them cleaned up now.

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    3. "Your church is only as strong as the individual members that make it up. Your duty is to be and stayed surrendered to God and encourage others in your church to do the same....firstly, by example, and secondly, with words."
      Excellent comment!

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    4. Excellent comment! One of the major problem with modern day "Churchianity" is that numbers reign supreme. The Word of God is secondary to excitement and entertainment. The idea is that we have to thrill people rather than teach people how to be TRUE disciples. James made a very real assessment to the world today. People base their spirituality on emotionalism and preachers are geared to that rather than growing the spirit. God's Word clearly says that we will face a "falling away" from the truth and following after fables. We are clearly there today. When you see a man, who pastors one of the largest churches in America, on the Larry King show, saying that, although he believes in a Hell, he didn't like to preach about that because it gives a "negative message" and he would rather embrace the "positive message" of Christ. If that is not taking away from the Bible, I don't know what it is. I do know this; I have a car with a battery that cranks it up and it runs. It has two terminals, a positive and a negative. Now, if either of these is not connected, it is not going to run, PERIOD. The Gospel of Christ is a very positive message, but there is the element of "sin, righteousness and judgment". If all of these aren't preached, then you have something that will not run. Yet, this preacher is on over a hundred TV stations and has over 35,000 people who attend his church every week. Why? There is a Biblical answer to that as well. "shall heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears."

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    5. Amen tarmac!! that's Joel Osteen and that kind of man are that ones making Christianity more confusing.

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  16. You bring out many important facts that are being used as excuses by some to leave the ranks of fundamentalism. I say excuses because that is just what they are, they are not reasons. Someone doesn't leave a particular setting because someone else sinned (which is what pride is, a sin). Sin is present everywhere, we can't escape it. If someone is really using this as a "reason" for leaving then they are quite immature in their new life in Christ, for they will never find a place where people do not sin.

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    1. True Sir, my hope here is that we may collectively try to better some areas where we have fallen so short in so many instances.

      Thanks for the input!

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    2. Yet systemic, entrenched patterns of sin can and should be a reason to leave a church or movement--not as a flimsy excuse to leave one setting but as a motivation to seek a healthier, more biblical setting in which to follow Jesus faithfully. Those who watch someone leave may label him/her as immature, yet perhaps the one leaving is the one mature enough to recognize that the sin problem is too entrenched, too pervasive, and too toxic to be ignored. We can throw out the "immature" label all we want, but to our own peril do we ignore the question about whether he/she has a point: is there sin that needs to be addressed? Because if there is, and we're not addressing the sin, saying that "everyone sins" is nothing but our own excuse to keep sinning.

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    3. Brian, I'm not sure that you meant to come across this way, but it sounds as though you accuse those leaving the IFB "settlement" as being immature and even sinful. No one needs an excuse to leave a human-created brand of Christianity, for no one answers to man, only God. People leave the IFB brand for many good reasons, and I appreciate David's well-thought article that explains them. If you are indeed saying that those leaving the IFB "settlement" are immature, on what biblical basis are you suggesting that to "remain" in a man-made brand of evangelical Christianity is God's standard for spiritual maturity?

      I hope that what you mean is that immature people will "leave a particular setting" for the wrong reasons, such as: "So-and-so did this to me, and I'm hurt by what they did. I will leave, and that will show them."

      Other people (myself among them) have chosen to leave Fundamentalism for the reasons David listed above out of concern for our families' spiritual health. Some of us have also chosen to leave because our particular style of ministry is philosophically incompatible with most iFB ministries. We leave for reasons of spiritual health and in an effort to remain friends with our friends within the IFB settlement. Ever heard the phrase, "Don't go into business with your friends"? Sometimes working with your friends can be very destructive unless you are exactly aligned in every way. As a church planter, I study the Bible and seek counsel from godly men in order to develop, as best as I can, a sound philosophy of ministry within my cultural context that is most pleasing to God. IFB leaders have their own expectations and philosophies, and though we agree on the core doctrines of faith (Scriptures, Christ, and the Trinity), our philosophy and methodology of ministry are incompatible.

      You will have to pardon me, but for the surprising amount of verbal "persecution" I and my family received for trying to obey God within Fundamentalism, it took a great deal of maturity to make the very hard call to leave Fundamentalism. After doing so, relations with my IFB friends are much calmer. I do not wish them ill will. IFB friends like David here, I applaud. IFB that I disagree with on minor philosophical issues, I agree to disagree. IFB friends that go out of their way to attack my and my family's character while suggesting (and often proclaiming) that to be a Christian is to be Fundamentalist, I pity.

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    4. KR FT, I agree with you wholeheartedly! I have seen growth in my wife and children like never before now that they are in an environment that fosters true discipleship. While in fundamental IFB churches before, it was always about the externals, like somehow if those were all right, the internals did not seemingly matter. We have jumped into what I always deemed liberal: small groups (fantastic), passionate worship (God commands it), Gospel saturation (not just a one-time thing), and the list goes on... Thanks, David for this article, as it always helps to know I am not the only one thinking what I am thinking!

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    5. I know this post is a month or two later, but I had to comment to the poster above. My husband and I left our current IFB church. We love our IFB brethren and want to attend another IFB church, but cannot find one. There are sinners in every church, however the sin of pride and preacher worship was suffocating us. When you set up a church centered on pleasing a man instead of God, the entire focus is off. It leads to more sinning and creates an idol. We all know how God feels about idolatry. I have visited other churches that do have congregants that "sin", yet their sin does no interfere with my worship as did the spirit of pride in my former IFB church. Pride leads to spiritual abuse which takes years to overcome. I don't want my children to be under that. I can explain simple, visible sin in the Bible to them easily. I cannot explain away why a pastor wants to be the center of the church and wants complete authority while treating members like idiots. There's no explaining that one. Hope that helps :) Praying the IFB would clean up the pride. It'd be a booming denomination in no time by allowing God to use them :)

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    6. Tim Sawyer, let me disabuse you, can you see that same problem in the Mark Driscoll movement? in the Joel Osteen movement? in the Rick Warren movement? in the James MacDonald movement or the Harvest churches? in the Bill Hybel or Willow Creek movement?

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  17. Are you the son of Dan Parton pastor of timberline baptist? I used to go there as a kid. Great article

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    1. I sure am Jared. Good to hear from you. We had some good times in Woodland Park for sure! Tell Ruth and Hannah I said hello!

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  18. "May God forgive me, and grant me the grace to bring healing to those I have hurt with this monster of pride in my own heart." It's my most constant prayer reflecting on my IFB rearing. Yes, Lord, please make it so.

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  19. I agree 100%. Aside from the fact that so many fundamentalists believe that they have wasted an "arrow in their quiver" if one of their children does not go into full time ministry, I believe that many IFB churches struggle to attract highly educated individuals into their churches because they treat those highly educated (and likely highly compensated) individuals as a second-tier Christian whose primary purpose is to fill the coffers.

    Also, and I am not trying to be hateful, but I know many attorneys that have run from the IFB movement because they really struggle with the low intellect of the leadership (i.e. many doctrines/sermons rely on fear-mongering and on traditions of men that do not logically flow from scripture).

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    1. What an awesome response Catherine H. I couldn't agree more, especially with your second paragraph. I was raised in a large IFB church in Jacksonville, FL. To make a long story short...as a young adult I ran into teaching from R.B. Thieme Jr (now passed away) and haven't been the same since. One can spend an entire lifetime in IFB and NEVER receive more than milk for babies.

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    2. Whoa man, that is a very big lie, I don't have any fundamentalist background, I had been in all kind of groups and movements, it was in a fundamentalist church that I came to see the wickedness of new evangelicals, they are that one's bidding the truth, they may be very friendly but they font dare to offend people by calling sin by its name, becoming a fundamentalist I had to make my homework, searching the conflicts in church history, and my result was that fundamentalist are in better company, they want nothing to do with the evil practices of Hollywood, etc liberals are in every camp of new evangelicals, no wonder America is in a mess, homosexuals are gaining ground because of the liberal evangelicals, I cane from a home where I had all the freedom to sin but when I came to fundamentalism I learned that the high standards they established we're good, in the beginning I didn't like, as most human beings we don't like to be told what to do or we don't like to have any authority at all, and you can prove that with your own kids, as I grew in my spiritual walk with the Lord it made it easier to surrendered and be obedient, what is upsetting is that everyone here have standards of some kind but for church they don't want to have any, what an irony, the great redeemedwe deservesl less than Hollywood, when Hollywood has a gathering they take their very best, but the child of God is force to be in his very worst to please this wicked generation, but thank God fundamentalism will continue to flflourish inthe midst of this perverse generation, fundamentalism is the generation of believers with passion to save souls not entertaining them, the unsaved are head long toward he'll, but fundamentalist are that ones who in love will tell people about the deceitful heart, the new evangelicals will rarely say something to the unsabed, perhaps they would invite them to a social gathering to hear a lost singer to entartirtained that person, we need more of fundamentalism and leas of worldly evangelicalism

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  20. I think you hit the nail on the head as to why "we" are leaving/left, but at the same time' I am SO GLAD I left. I found my own truth and my own path, and I am exponentially happier now. I no longer live in fear and submission but with integrity and freedom. As much as your article resonates with me, I am tired of hearing about "us" leaving as if it was a travesty. (HAC grad)

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  21. "What happened to us?" We've strayed from God's Word. We've stopped having a personal relationship with Him, walking with Him daily, and searching out It's truth for ourselves but instead have attempted to keep the "rules of the Baptist religion," whole-heartedly believed anything leadership says or tells us to do without searching the scriptures to be sure what we are told comes directly from God's Word. Being a Christian in NOT about being a good member or follower of the Baptist religion; it is ALL about following Him. "Be ye therefor followers of God...." Search the Scriptures - follow Him! Not men and their traditions!

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  22. Thank You Dave! I agree and am glad more of us think alike.

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  23. Very good article David! Your points are spot on and things that I have noticed for years, but not just in the Hyles camp but also in other IFB groups. If I might add I think that many if not most have forgotten one of the Baptist distinctives and that is the "the priesthood of the believer." I have personally witnessed many Pastor's "lording over the flock," and at the same time many sheep failing to learn to have a relationship with God for themselves that is more than just superficial. While I do not advacate throughing the "baby out with the bathwater," assessments such as yours have and need to be made by believers in and out of the movement. But I fear many knee jerk reactions to the problems you have spelled out. I am proud to be an IFB and will not change my label. I believe Christians out to live separated lives that model Christ and there are good reasons for many of the standards that have been handed down to us.That being said I am not afraid nor should any of us be afraid to disagree and challenge with a Christian leader no matter how popular or distinguished especially when we have a biblical basis to do so. Many of your complaints such as door to door visitation and some personal separation standards are not mandated by scripture and should be a personal choice. However I don't think abandoning the IFB for a nondenominational church that is entertaining and nearly accepts nearly all life choices is the answer either.
    Churches and church groups grow and fade as a careful study of church history shows. What has always been at the core was a love for God and a Biblical lifestyle. That is what is essential. Who and by what name is not.
    It was great to hear from you. I am a former memeber of your Dad's church in Woodland Park. Tell him I said "hi!"
    Garren Forth

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  24. Tremendous post. Thank you. You've helped me much as you've put into words on what I've been thinking. I'm blessed to know there are others who see this and, without fear, sincerely ask and inspect. Lord bless you, brother!

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  25. You sir have hit the nail on the head. Our kids (IFB kids) sense the pride, feel the condemnation and spirit of criticism for any one not "surrendered to Christ" aka "not going to an approved Christian college to go into full time Christian service", and see the hypocrisy of how many church leaders speak and live. Conformity and the appearance of spirituality has had more emphasis than growing their relationship with Christ and many have rejected it.

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  26. You ask difficult questions, and make dangerous accusations.
    Good man! A Berean, even!

    You nailed it primarily with Pride! That really is the root of all problems in the typical IFB church. Pride in our way of doing things, pride in our music, pride in how much more "right" we are in our interpretation of the scriptures than others, pride in a (good, even excellent) version of the Bible to the point that the specific translation (whose translators themselves admitted would need revisions over time) is worshiped more than the God it teaches us about, pride to the point that we don't even consider other denominations to be true Christians, pride insomuch that our leaders take authority that is not theirs, or remain in leadership after committing various acts that make them biblically unqualified to do so, pride even in the specific order of events in our services!

    C.S. Lewis said in "mere Christianity" that admission of one's pride, to his knowledge, was a uniquely Christian mindset. We need to renew it in our churches!

    Thanks so much for posting this!

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  27. I've written a few posts on this topic myself. I'm a Fundamentalist trying to be a help to the things God has showed me. Revival is the answer... Check out my posts at earnestcontention.blogspot.com

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  28. I've seen some great articles circulating about the "falling away" (I guess you could say) of Independent Fundamental Baptist churches. I only want to add one thought for all to consider. Please disregard what I feel to be a huge mistake in the use of the term "THE IFB." In my opinion, you can talk about Baptists and you can talk about fundamentalism, but when you say "the IFB" you are talking about a figment of the imagination. It grieves me to hear people lump all fundamental Baptists into one group. As the word "independent" implies, one "IFB" church is likely to have methods very different from another "IFB" church. Doctrinally, they should be the same, but the Christian "denomination" (if you want to call it that) is Baptist. Can we start there?

    That being said, I am glad to see an increase in conversations about where so many "sects" of independent Fundamental Baptist churches have been going wrong...but let there be no mistake, every church in every era has it's problems that stem from the same place: sin ("the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life.")

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    1. Rocky,
      Excellent comment! I could not agree more especially since my own Father is as independent as it gets. Guys like you and Dad are not who I am concerned about. I am concerned about the group of men here who have become a denomination of their own. An old friend commented above and said,
      “If I might add I think that many if not most have forgotten one of the Baptist distinctives and that is the ‘the priesthood of the believer.’ “
      In many respect so many of these men have gone away from true Baptist doctrine and practice. As an independent who is also fundamental I really don’t want to be lumped with this group who all seem to listen to the same leaders, go to the same conferences, have the same failings, send their kids to the same three colleges, and then rip one another to shreds over differences in practice. In my opinion that spells denominational.
      I applaud your true independence, I hope that your doctrine stays fundamental, and I hope that the people you get to minister to can truly feel the love of Christ as a result of your efforts to lead them. Thank you for your input and God bless!

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  29. Pride is exactly our problem. It's like we think we are God's elite, the only ones who have Christianity figured out.

    I really liked this statement --
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    "How do you feel about the rock and roll church down the road that preaches Christ and Him crucified? Crazy to think, but Jesus is using them also. Has it ever occurred to us that Jesus died for all the people we hate? Has it ever occurred to us that maybe God is just as capable of using prideful, arrogant, hateful, conservative, KJV waving Baptist as He is of using liberal minded, ESV iPhone app reading, hand raising, non-denomination, Jesus lovers?"
    ------------------------------

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  30. As a young lady who grew up in a worldy family and chose to join an IFB church whom then became family to me, I truly appreciate this. My children love the church as well and although I don't attend regularly I still have all faith and beliefs my pastor and 2nd family instilled in me. Judgement was something I never walked away with and I love them and the IFB's for it. Yet a lot of other's I attended I did feel like an outcast because my outside life wasn't the way of the church. I'm very glad to see that a man of the Lord feels this strong about this subject. Judgement is passed when we meet those Pearly Gates....not until then. I instill the Golden Rule in my house and pray for a genuine love filled life for my kids and do not think I'm a bad person for missing a few steps of religion along the way. We love our spirituality as is:) thank you again for a strong spirited message of opinion sir.

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  31. Thank you for this post! I am a non-denominational lover of Christ wholly sold out to the One True God. My family and I previously attended an IFB church. While I found the congregation to be genuine in their deep love of Christ, God's word and one another, it hurt my heart to hear from the pulpit the pastor criticizing the non-denominational "mega" church down the road. I attended Bible study at the very same church he was putting down, and found the people there to be just as genuine in their pursuit of transformation through the daily renewing of their minds in the knowledge of Christ Jesus! We left the IFB church shortly after inviting some Catholic friends we were discipling to come to church. I had told the pastor about them in advance, wanting them to hear from him also the relational invitation of the good news. Instead of speaking on what is so right about the gospel, he gave a scathing missive on what is so wrong about the Catholic Church. My spirit was crushed as I was left to restore the bruised fruit of my friends (who have since come to have a personal relationship with Christ!). When I tried to talk over my dilemma with church members, I was accused of being a false Christian for my "liberal" beliefs about the unity of Christ's body, resulting in more bruised fruit.
    Please know my heart - I do not write this in condemnation of the pastor, people, or my experience in the IFB church. I write in affirmation of your post. It should not be that the same tongue who praises God would curse men made in God's image [who may happen to be members of another Christian church]. No Christian church should minimize or dismiss sin; however, the matter, as you so aptly wrote, is one of the heart and of pride (and self-righteousness). Our God is a God of restoration and reconciliation, and we must be mindful to well-represent him when we are using scripture to correct, teach, rebuke and train in righteousness.
    Having been to many different Christian churches, I know there is a need for those with IFB roots in ALL of them! Wholly devoted followers of Christ rooted in God's word (like many of those from IFB churches) are desperately needed to step out of their traditional comfort zone and attend non-denominational "seeker" churches. If a church is made up solely of seekers, who will lead those seekers into discipleship, if not those who are already disciples? Likewise are disciples needed in Catholic churches to lead individual Bible study and to shepherd deepening relationships with Christ. While the IFB may find it troubling to have so many people leave the denomination, the ones I know who have done so I am deeply grateful to. Many of these from fundamentalist backgrounds who have put aside the familial preferences of their youth to attend other Christian churches have made a huge difference in discipleship where God has led them. While that may not encourage you in your current role, I pray it will encourage you deeply as a follower of Christ. The IFB has made a difference in God’s kingdom, and continues to do so whether those who began in your fellowship remain there.
    I pray for your strength and perseverance, and for your faith to follow where God’s lead. A wise man once told me that, as we mature as Christians, church becomes less and less about what we get out of it (a.k.a. does the church meet my preferences?), and more and more about what we bring into it (does the church meet Jesus through me?). My prayer is for you to continue bringing into the IFB that which is Christ. The totality of the body is blessed by believers such as you!

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    1. Your story breaks my heart, and at the same time it fills me with joy for the grace that the Lord showed to you and your family. God is always good!

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  32. You're just now learning his stuff!!!??? lol!!! rotfl! OK... ok... This is sad! I can't believe that today I am even reading this ignorance, and that people still are acting this way!

    I really thought there weren't any of you left. Where I live most people have left fundamentalist churches. There is only one in my area I can name, and it's huge, but it borders on being a cult. They just blindly follow whatever the pastor who founded the church in the 50's taught.

    You fundamentalists have thrown out the baby with the bathwater. You mean well but you don't even know your own bibles, so you blindly follow a preacher's traditions over the word of God!

    You are why 80% of the church today is not truly saved! I see more tradition than bible or even gospel in the fundamentalist churches today, and that is why the rest of us mock you. We are simply trying to wake you up and make you see that you have fallen away and need to repent from your legalism and pride!

    This is why I left the baptist church as a teenager for a more biblical non-denominational church. I was lucky to find one that was formerly a baptist church, so their theology was not too far from what is biblical, but they aren't so closed minded that when they see the bible contradicting a practice or belief the church has been involved in they won't change it.

    You guys are dinosaurs about to be extinct. I can't wait for that day when you all wake up. I pray it happens before the rapture. I have a hard time even believing that most fundamentalists are Christians. Fundamentalists only turn people off to the gospel. Sometimes the best thing in the world for a church is the day it closes its doors.

    Forgive me for being so blunt, but I'm just giving you a taste of your own medicine when it comes to presenting the gospel in a confrontational way. Don't like it? WAKE UP! Get on your knees and repent or leave the faith like you should because you don't represent the gospel you whitewashed tombs! READ your Bibles and THINK too! Don't just believe whatever is taught from the pulpit!

    I don't hate you guys. I am saying this out of love for you and for the church. I just hate the system that has become the basis of your faith. It brings out the apostle Paul in me when he was writing to the church in Galatia.

    You are true modern pharisees and hypocrites and you are killing the church because the world sees you and assumes the rest of us are like you too!!! You are a poison! You need a whip not a soft rebuke!

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. Hmmm.

      I am not a Fundamentalist.

      Josh, I find your reply to David's post (as a non-Fundamentalist) to be offensive, abrasive, and altogether unnecessary. If the intent of your reply was to expose the errors of Fundamentalism (of which there are indeed a few), your are unsuccessful. Your reply here makes Fundamentalism look like paradise. I hope that you do not treat unsaved people with this kind of contempt (I'm assuming that you disagree with those who do not follow Christ).

      I would ask you to embrace Christ's love and show grace, rather than hatred, for those who may be misguided in their thinking.

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    3. Josh, I agree with most of what you say. I grew up in an IFB church and was active in them up until I was about 30 years old. All they ever taught me was that my relationship with God hinged on how well I followed the Pastor's "Standards." These standards that were not pulled from scripture, but from the Pastor's own mind, were incredibly slanted in favor of men. The women were given a laundry list of things we weren't allowed to wear, and ways we shouldn't style our hair. The men had one rule: No long hair, On top of that there was another whole list of where we couldn't go and what we weren't allowed to do. If we wore or did any of these things, we would be ostracized in the church, not allowed even to sing in the choir. I was taught that God couldn't use me unless I was darn near perfect. I finally realized in my late 20's that I was never going to obtain perfection. My husband wasn't cool with how my belief system was changing and this affected our marriage. We ended up divorcing.

      Divorce being another barrier (in the IFB) to serving Christ, I pretty much gave up on church altogether. I have visited other denominations, but I feel traumatized every time I step into a church. The things I witnessed as I worked with youth and served in the music ministry in churches have completely destroyed my ability to sit in a pew and listen to a preacher preach.

      I feel my relationship with God is closer now than ever before. I see Him now as a loving father who, even when I do wrong, loves me and wants to set my feet in the right direction. I no longer think of Him as mean and vindictive--but that's what my church tried to teach me. It was instilled in me from the time I was an infant until I was 30 years old. You can imagine the journey I've had to take, spiritually, in order to truly start to know Christ.

      The people in the church who refuse to see the error of their ways and truly follow God's commandments in the New Testament are the problem. They chase people away from God and away from church. I know, because I'm one of those people.

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  33. I don't see the Independent Fundamental Baptist movement dying. I see it reviving. Yes, many things in things in this article are spot on. Yes pride has been a problem in some well known IFB churches. Yes there has been at times a lack of charity and fighting over trivial issues. Yes there have been some coverups. You also find these same problems resoundingly in the Reformed movement, in the Contemporary Hip-Hop Churches, in denominational circles, etc. The issues ought to be dealt with regardless.

    Every generation needs to examine themselves, and the strengths and weaknesses of the prior generation. We don't need to jump ship to other movements because of some mistakes in the IFB movement. I've seen people that have jumped ship because of some of these issues, thinking the grass is greener on the other side, and then see their newfound movement they became apart of have the same moral failings, same type of coverups, same type of inner-fightings about trivial preferences and issues.

    As I said, I don't see the Independent Fundamental Baptist movement dying. I see it REVIVING. I've seen IFB churches confront their pastors/leaders who have sinned, removing them from their positions. I've seen great charity amongst Independent Baptists, even waking some men up from the prior generation to manifest the same (which there were many in the previous generation who truly already did show great charity). I see a revival in the Independent Baptist movement. IFB pastors who still hold to the King James Bible, who still have convictions, who still don't use rock n' roll in their services, yet not afraid to sing new songs, are not afraid to use technology for the glory of God, are still not going to get a tattoo and are not going to teach their small groups how to brew beer, but are rather going to teach the Bible and preach to live holy. IFB pastors who still are not going to yoke up with compromisers and ecumenical movements, yet who also appreciate it when the gospel is preached by other movements. I see a renewed emphasis on reaching lost sinners and are not focused on waiting for transfers from other IFB churches who already "look right, dress right, act right, etc." I see revival in the movement! May God continue to grant it!

    From an IFB pastor
    Jason

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  34. I have really enjoyed this feedback. Thank you all for your passionate input, your stories, and your commitment to Christ.

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  35. Wow~ you have this IFB girl thinking. I have been questioning how in the world did we end up here? I was a bus kid, ACE student, Bile College student, homeschool mom of 22 years, ext…….. When I was a little girl my church looked much different than it looks today~ God help us! At a young age of five years old I felt so much love and the moving of the Holy Spirt I never wanted to leave. Here lately I have been so discouraged with my beloved IFB. Although I have been so discouraged ~ my walk with God has grown stronger~ getting to a new "REAL" in my faith. You are so right~ may we all do a reality check! I could have written this post~ wishing I did!

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  36. I've never pastor but I have done everthing else including preaching on spur of the moment when pastor is sick. I once was ordain as a deacon and sometimes I wished I hadn't. All to often I listen to jokes abou thow a deacon was only good to be stoned and other jokes like this. I didn't have the bully pulpit that the pastor had to respond with. I learned how useless trouble makers deacons were and how they were lower than dirt. Mindless jokes hurt and all too often I felt that it exposed the true feelings toward me. I have been in 3 different churches during the last 40 years. I now quote the Paul when he said I speak as a fool, because I don't care to make my self as anything but a servant to Jesus. I currently do not carry the title of a deacon, it seems that although a deacon's office is ordained in the Bible with the same standards of a pastor, which my current pastor says I still have. The deacon is only a deacon at the pastors whim, even though he was set aside and watch for sometime, and sometimes I think with supsion. But there is none such thing done for a preacher, all he has to do is say is is called to preach, he dosen't even have to be married. This new preacher who has never been put aside to see if he is qualified will be a preacher for ever never mind if he should get in to sin. But a deacon only last until the preacher's whim changes or he moves to another church. I beleive the deacon has a office just as a pastor does. Offten the deacon is viewed as a threat to the pastor rather than a help. I see the deacons job is one of helping the pastor/church follow the Lord Jesus Christ, it is not my will or the pastors will nor anybody else's will that we should want rather it should be the Lord's will that we should desire. My brother who is and has been a pastor for close to 40 years says that I have been a piller in all three churches that I have been in. I lead in setting up a retirement account for all 3 pastors, I lead the church to give one pastor a new car. This last pastor I started the movement to give him the house the church owned, which he now has. I have tried to be a friend to the pastor and his wife whenever I can. Again I speak of my accompliments foolishly because the things I did was no less that what should have been done.

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    1. Max, I am sorry for your experience.

      Deacons were intended to serve the members of the church, primarily helping to meet the material needs of the church so the pastor could focus on meeting the spiritual needs of the church. Also, deacons were selected by the church, not the pastor.

      Unfortunately, it seems like your previous churches have elevated the pastor's leadership role far above what we see in the early church.

      I applaud the fact that you worked hard to ensure that your pastors have been well cared for.

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    2. Max, I have been a pastor for over 30 years and I thank God every day for the wonderful men who have served WITH (not under me) me in 4 churches. I helped ordain 3 men and these men were great assets to the church. Rain Man hit the nail on the head. The CHURCH is the ordaining entity, other ordained men may form a council of elders to make sure of his qualifications and to lay hands, it is the church that has the final say. Anytime I have left a church, I meet with the deacons of the next church and go over our responsibilities. The problems that happen with deacons and preachers is that one or the other does not know their responsibilities. In some cases, the preacher thinks, as you said, "they serve ME and at my 'whim'." Nothing could be further from the truth. In some cases, the deacon may look at himself as "a guardian over the pulpit" to make sure the preacher does, what he thinks, is his "job". That is false as well. They are to work together to make sure that things are taken care of and their working together will knit the church membership closer together in love. I have often said that, if I ever went to a church that does not have a deacon, I would look very carefully for a qualified man in the hopes of ordaining a deacon to serve the Lord and his church. God gave deacons for a reason and they should be allowed to serve and serve well.

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  37. Though I grew up in the IFB, I think that the IFB movement is destined to fail because churches within the movement don't offer good news. They somehow assume that Paul's message in Galatians about starting by faith but trying to be sanctified by works was only written about the Judaizer's system of sanctification & not their own. And as Martin Luther pointed out, religious, moral formation is the Enemy of the Gospel because it is the means by which people pursue righteousness apart from Jesus. IFB churches teach salvation by grace & faith but sanctification by works ("read your Bible, pray every day & you'll grow, grow, grow.") Without realizing it, they have put themselves at odds with the Gospel itself. They have replaced the clear teaching of Scripture like "walk by the Spirit and you will not gratify the lusts of the flesh" & replaced it with "this book will keep you from sin, or sin will keep you from this book."

    When you read Galatians, it is clear that the things you mentioned (lack of love, pride, no compelling life of witness to the world) are simply fruits of the flesh. IFB churches have a theology of sanctification that is rooted in the flesh instead of the Spirit. Church members are expected to practice "disciplines" & "abide by standards" because those are the bannisters that keep them from falling down the stairway of sin. And that is exactly what the Judaizers were doing to the Galatians. That is why Paul wrote to them "Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit are you now being perfected by works of the flesh? ...For freedom Christ has set us free; Stand firm therefore and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery." Paul says it is a travesty for Christ to break a sinner free from bondage, only to have them immediately be trapped by the slavery of legalism, the demands of performance & the lie of moral formation through personal effort. To say it simply, Christians are fruit trees whose fruit shows where their roots are. If we observe a lack of love, joy, peace etc. & we observe reports of immorality & rape at IFB colleges, then it is clear that the roots of the movement are in the flesh (self-effort, self justification, moralism) & not in the Spirit. The solution is not to prune the tree in hopes of eradicating bad fruit. While its roots are in the flesh, it will never produce the fruit of the Spirit.

    And if you merely want a face-lift for your current system, it has already been done: The Purpose Driven movement is IFB doctrine without the dress code, archaic music & a old-English Bible translation - & they have a revived focus on the lost (who they call 'seekers'). But be warned, they call people to the same slavery of performance & self-justification through "disciplines" & accountability. And my guess is that 20 years from now, someone will be writing a very similar blog to yours asking "whatever happened to the Purpose Driven movement?" Because the roots go down into the same lies. While its true that they seem more laid back & gregarious in their Hawaiian shirts, instead of the stuffy suits, starched shirts & wing-tips, their message is still in opposition to the Gospel. And as long as they teach, as the IFB churches do, that the Good News of the Gospel is that "you don't have to work for God's favor - until after you're a Christian," then they are destined to fail.

    Because having to work for sanctification instead of sanctification by faith is not Good News.

    No one wants that news. It's bad news. And God won't bless it.
    The Good News for Christians is that life comes through faith in Christ & by His Holy Spirit - not our efforts of holiness, separation & discipline. Until that is the message the IFB churches teach, they are destined to fail.
    -Tim

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    1. First a big "Amen" to the blog post. So very true on all accounts in my humble opinion. I've heard many IFB pastors deny for years there was even a problem with people leaving the churches despite pretty overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

      And next a comment for Paradox Community Church...Having spent the first 26 years of my life completely immersed in the IFB world I was blessed to stumble across the original Purpose Driven Church....Saddleback Church pastored by Rick Warren. I must say that having spent the other nearly 26 years of my life in that church, and on staff for a time, I pretty much see basically nothing in common as far as legalism or "works-oriented" Christianity. Instead it was a breath of fresh air to a man and his family who were ready to give up on church altogether.

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  38. I spent the first 8 years of my life at an IFB church (Bethel Baptist Church in Arlington, TX). In the mid-80's my parents had enough of the legalism at IFB's. My father lead us to one of those 'liberal' SBC Churches he used to rail against. I recall Dad and us kids sitting SHOCKED at women wearing jeans and T-shirts in Sunday morning services at the SBC churches. Fast forward a few decades late to today, and I'm now 38 y/o. After a few years where I had church for other activities, I've returned to regular church attendance at a large SBC (borderline-megachurch) within the last year. Regular church attendance has lead to a lot of reading of literature from McArthur, to Sproul, to Spurgeon, etc.... and I have read a lot about the topics of fundamentalism, legalism, and liberalism in the church. Even after 30 years removed from active involvement in the IFB movement, I still find it's influence on my life, even though I go to an SBC church. I love the zeal with which many IFB pastors defend the Bible as inerrant. I love the desire to preserve the old gospel hymns -- the same ones that "bored me to tears" in my late teens and 20's, now bring REAL tears of joy when weighed against the Biblical doctrine they proclaim (Wonderful the Matchless Grace of Jesus, In The Garden, Great is Thy Faithfulness). Truth be told - I consider myself to be more on the outer edge of the IFB movement than I am a Southern Baptist. But there are MANY things that bother me about the IFB movement.Most IFB churches that I know of have either zero growth or negative growth. My grandfather's IFB church has dropped from about 100 active members 10 years ago, to about 25 active members. And they are dying off year by year and are all elderly for the most part. This seems to be the rule - not the exception. The IFB church my parents were married in, in Grand Prairie, TX disbanded about 10 years ago. (see Part 2 of my post)

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  39. (part 2 of my post) Again, as an outsider, I can only go on what I see from the outside. So these are criticisms based on my observations:
    1. The "KING JAMES VERSION - EVERY OTHER VERSION IS A PERVERSION" -- this is a huge turn off to folks, including the overwhelming majority of Bible-believing, redeemed believers. In light of the well understood trail of how we got the KJV, and in light of the fact that the KJV itself has been changed (see 13th and 14th century modifications), and given the fact that our American culture does NOT speak pre-Shakespearean English, why is it necessary to teach such non-sense that only the KJV is the 'real Bible'? I can only imagine Jesus opening the scrolls of the Torah in the Temple, seeing it was not a KJV translation, and declaring it a perversion. Should we closely examine versions of the Bible and weigh the translation to ensure things are not left out or changed? Of course. But this KJV only non-sense is ridiculous. And, the funny thing about this, is that I actually PREFER the KJV myself - but I can deduce the same scriptural meaning from my wife's NASV.
    2. The detesting of any modern instruments in the sanctuary and the refusal to accept new music into the rigid traditions they hold dear- Apparently the playing of an electric guitar, an electric keyboard, or drums in the church conjures up demons. Never mind the fact that the band might be actually playing a hymn on these instruments. And if the song is not in the Baptist Hymnal (circa 1969) - the song CAN NOT be allowed. The soul-wrentching, spiritually confrontational, church confrontational, God adoring music from the last 30 years of Rich Mullins, Twila Paris, Mark Hall (Casting Crowns), Steven Curtis Chapman, and others --- none of that passes the muster of IFB tradition.
    3. The holier than thou approach that many IFB pastors have -- this speaks for itself. I respond much more to the pastor that shares my sinful struggles than to the pharisee that thanks God that he is better than I.
    4. The aversion to Christian literature outside of the Bible -- There seems to be some easing of this in the last decade, but one of the things IFB churches used to criticize SBC churches for was the use of periodicals or publications used in conjunction with Sunday school lessons. This is just utter non-sense... again, a 'We are holier than you because we ONLY read the Bible - nothing else'. approach.
    5. IFB Churches tend to have Pastors that rule absolutely, or a small cadre of elders that rule absolutely (my grandfather is a member of one of these cadres!). Yes - there are many NON-IFB churches with this issue too. But the SBC churches I have been in, have had church constitutions that make the pastor accountable to God first, and then to the members.
    Now let's be fair on the topic of sexual immorality-- we recently saw the pastor of an SBC mega-chuch (Prestonwood, Plano, TX) after an admitted affair. I am convinced that sexual sin is Satan's favorite tool to destroy, divide, and wound churches. I think that sexual sin is as common in SBC churches as it is in an IFB church. But I do agree that, in my experience, the cover-ups of these type of activities in IFB churches (especially those rules by dictator/pastors) is more common.

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  40. You make some excellent points. I am trying to get my Dad to move down the road. He just retired as a missionary for 46 years building IFB churches. The Lord used him greatly to build a work where one was not. It seems now that his whole life is consumed with defending the KJV. My challenge is always so how does this bring a person to Christ? How do I move someone down the path to be a more like Christ person? The KJV says that the fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, faithfulness gentleness, self control... I find these practiced on a very limited basis with the IFB churches of which I am familiar. My Dad seems to dismiss the fact that the Holy Spirit can lead us today as He did in the past. The men who translated the KJV were lead by the spirit but those today who translate cannot be lead by the Holy Spirit because they translated it different from the KJV.

    Anyway, thanks Dave for putting these thoughts down to create some thinking among those who read it.

    I believe the purpose of the church, as we know it today, is found in Eph 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 FOR the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

    To love God and love others is an individual mandate.

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  41. Whew, lots to ponder, and I am in agreement, I guess, with all that is posted re IFB. I am one, have been forever, and its what I prefer, but I have seen and experienced the issues addressed here. Funny, I thought this was blogged by Dr. David Ryser. I have an article by him called, " LOver or Prostitute" the Question that Changed My Life. I believe you have quoted from it. In a classroom setting this is posed: " Christianity started in Palestine as a fellowship it moved to Greece and became a philosophy; it moved to Italy and became and institution it moved to Europe and became a culture; it came to America and became an enterprise. I wanted the students to understand and appreciate the import of the last line, so I clarified it by addin, " An enterprise. That's a business." After a few moments a studen raised her hand. She asked such a simple question, " A business? But isn't it supposed to be a body?" "But when a body becomes a business, isn't that a prostitute?" end of quotes. I have shared this with many folks, I think it is something to contemplate seriously. I have done the home church, home school, and am back in a IFB church, and I see all the things you address. PRIDE, is what is bringing it all down, and fundamentalists seem to be experts at this. Thankfully I have been exposed to teaching the says, Seek the Lord, ask the HOly Spirit to direct you, listen to the voice of God, don't follow men. Love God, Love the brethren, love the lost and win them to Christ. My church has not won a soul for 2 yrs. I am guilty also. May we all bow humbly before our Maker and repent and seek Him about all. Looking unto Jesus, Heb 12:2

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    1. Some interesting thought provoking points. Let me make an observation. The body is to be equated with business. It is a "bride" preparing herself (or "being prepared" might be a better way to state it) for her "bridegroom" (Jesus) by the work of the Holy Ghost in her. "She" must be going about her "Father's" business (great commission) even as the LORD Jesus stated "...wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business" Luke 2:49...as He did the critical work necessary while here on the earth for God's great mission of salvation, redemption, reconciliation, et al. - There is the proper element and understanding of the term "business" in the New Testament. We have been charged with duties of the business of the LORD's glorious Gospel. The problem really comes down to who's father do you belong to...? Jesus told the Pharisees "ye are of your father the devil." They indeed were doing the business of their father in resisting Jesus and seeking to kill him which ultimately they did conspiring with the Romans therefore, all of humanity was represented in the crucifixion process.
      As children of our heavenly father through the new birth, we are all called to cooperate by the power of His Spirit in us; the Spirit of Christ aka the Holy Ghost. The nature of the New Testament local churches and the "business" that they are to undertake is clearly defined in the New Testament. The problem comes in when we undertake to do it in our own fleshly cleverness rather than the wisdom and power of God. Satan is then given opportunity to manipulate our flesh and corrupt what should be the pure and holy business of the Lord.
      Yes indeed there can be prostitutes in ministry that are more interested in the material rewards that they can gather in the name of the Lord, but to go so far as to infer that the genuine bride of Christ can be a prostitute denies the holiness and righteousness of Christ that we have been given. As a bride in preparation we may have spots and wrinkles on our wedding gown but the Holy Spirit is getting rid of those and certainly this process will be complete at the resurrection-rapture. We will be presented as a pure and holy...and chaste virgin bride because God himself sees to it for this to be complete. We cannot do any works in our flesh to help this process but the flesh sure can get in the way of the Grace-Works that God wants to do in and through us. We are saved by grace through faith and we walk in the Spirit by grace through faith and any works that we accomplish that will last for
      Eternity are done by Him in us. We just need to learn to get our flesh out of His way so that the "business" can be done properly redounding only to His glory. No man will be able to boast in heaven other than in our LORD himself!

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    2. Should be "not equated with business" or a ? Added at the end - sorry

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  42. Dave, thank you for putting this out there in a great forum! I grew up in an IFB church and am very grateful for the way they influenced my life. Having been part of a few different churches and denominations...on staff at some as well...the IFB churches have been awesome with scripture memory with children. The things that you mentioned are the downside.
    When I went left for college, I went to a Christian College and it was always thought by my church that I was studying for a career in ministry, even though that was not my intention...or major. People then did not seem to think you could go to a Christian College without studying for ministry, which is not so. I did however spend close to 20 years on church staff, yet not an IFB.
    While at the Christian College, I figured out that the IFB was about the rules, when in reality, scripture is more about empowering than restricting. More often than not, Jesus told people to "go do", not "don't do." It always felt to me that for the IFB churches, it was about the rules.
    I also learned that church is about the message, not the way it is delivered. Everyone has preferences. I have mine, which is not a traditional type of church. The church that I attend and worship with run around 400 and last year we baptized over 40 people. How many IFB churches that run over a thousand can say that? Let's all share the love of Jesus...even to the churches that are not like us!

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  43. I am so blessed by these comments. We can all politely disagree on practice, service order, mission statements and carpet colors. What I see here as I read this thread is an agreement on the truths that the church should be a place of love, acceptance, healing, and empowerment. Let’s each impact our world this week with the power of the gospel. The law was given to us as a schoolmaster to show us where we err. Christ took those errors to the cross to make it very easy to get to him. Let’s all make it very easy for people to come to Christ this week, and then trust him to perfect a specific work in each individual person. Thank you all for the input.

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  44. I thought I'd share with you, since I referenced this blog post on my blog.

    http://getalittlehappy.blogspot.com/2014/03/what-i-learned-at-independent.html

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  45. #1 of 3
    David: Let me opine on your recent article, ”What happened ?” While I agree there is present the things you mentioned, it is also true of other groups, as well. Even with all its faults I believe that IFB is still the best of what is available. Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.
    I assume that your use of Pride is negative, i.e. an inordinate self-esteem – the sort of pride that God condemns. But, there is another side of that coin – Pride can refer to a reasonable, justifiable self-respect, which is not wrong. There is a difference between pride and prideful.
    In you paragraph on Pride you mention standards as being prideful, but may I suggest that if your standards are biblical you need not be ashamed of, nor apologize for, them. A person with little or no standards is like a ship at sea without a rudder and compass … they are adrift, subject to wherever the tide takes them. “If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything.”

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  46. #2 of 3
    If you know of instances, and people, who are guilty – you have an opportunity (yea, a responsibility) to confront them seeking a resolution. (That is scriptural, Matt. 18:15-18). I am aware that confrontation is difficult and we tend to ignore it - it is much easier to write a criticism of the problem than try to solve it, and suggest it is broken and needs to be abandoned, rather than try to salvage it. Efforts to solve the problem are far more productive.
    You second reason is that we have become a denominational settlement. Baptist would be a denomination, of which there are many, but Independent and Fundamental are not denominations – they are descriptive of the type of Baptist we are – like: Southern Baptist, Northern Baptist, etc. Actually, every NT church was an independent church, so in that regard Independent Baptist are in good company. It might be helpful to understand that very early in the life of the church they began to get orgranized (Acts 6) – Deacons were appointed. Later in Paul’s missionary journeys he ordained pastors (leadership) in the churches he started.
    The accusation that we hate others that are not like us is a strong accusation, and is a judging of motives, which you don’t have a right to do. Only God knows the heart and can rightfully judge motives.

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  47. #3 of 3
    In your paragraph on lacking love, you do a lot of judging motives. You mention giving to missions, having a bus route, etc. doesn’t mean you are loving. It certainly doesn’t mean we are unloving. On the very surface doing these things appear to be motivated by love. To think otherwise is a real stretch of the imagination.
    You mention that we are antagonistic about things that are New. Again, being new doesn’t mean it’s bad, but when new things come along they should be evaluated as to their merits/demerits before committing to them. For example the Charismatics – they are riddled with false doctrine – why would I want to link up with them and compromise the truth of the Word of God. There are a number of verses that tell us who to avoid and not to keep company with. Should we ignore them for the sake of compromise? I will list a few, you can read them at your leisure: 1Cor. 5:11; 2Thess. 3:14-15; 3:6; 1 Thess. 5:22; Rom 16-17.
    Now, to the things that I think you have over-looked:
    First of all our society as a whole has adopted the “progressive liberal, political correct” philosophy. This I think has had its influence on our youth today. Add to this the proliferation of modern translations of the Bible (over 300). Together these two things have compromised the Bible and Christianity. Personally I am not ready to compromise with the liberals and false teachers, just to placate them. 3 John tells us to “earnestly contend for the faith, once delivered unto the saints.”
    You may not think the IFB is worth saving, but I do and will do my best to do so. I will not abandon ship in the midst of trouble. And I have been in the ship for a long time – my ministry spans 50 years of service. It would be nice if we could escape our humanity, but unfortunately that won’t happen in this life. Jerry Johnson

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    1. Amen I agree 100% Jerry. I am sure we could hear horror stories about all different kind of church's. NOT all IFB churches are the same. My experience has been so different that what many of you are talking about.

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    2. Jerry,

      Thank you for your time and thoughtful comments. If I may, I would like to address your concerns one at a time:

      I too am proud that I have a certain standard of living. I hope that I was very clear that I was speaking of the pride so many of us take in thinking that we are better than another because of those standards. There is a huge distinction there that needs to be addressed. Taking pride in my standards as my relationship with God grows is one thing. Allowing pride to make me feel as though somehow I am more qualified than another with lesser standards is evil, and it is an abomination. I will not apologize for that. This is something that I have personally been guilty of, and certain to be something that I will fight until the Lord returns. As far as confronting those individuals who are guilty of such – I was quite honest with my own failings, and I may not have done a very good job of urging each one of us to look inside and judge ourselves, but it was my intent to do so. I would not judge you as prideful Sir, but I would ask you to have the Holy Spirit reveal to you what areas in your life are characterized by pride.

      Denomination Vs Settlement:

      I will hold to my opinion (and it is simply my opinion) that many of our once independent churches have denominationalized. Many have not. I would like to reiterate that I am for the independence of the local church. I was not speaking to those men.

      Love:

      “Perception is reality.” I have given you the perception that I believe that all acts of church service are acts of showmanship and not love at all. Please accept my apology. That was not my intent, and I do not believe that is what I said. I will work on my wording so as not to give that perception to kind, loving, and giving servants. When I said, “…These can definitely all be outward expressions of an inward love, but they can just as easily be, and far too often are, status symbols or trademarks of our religion.” I was speaking to those of us who have at times given in service to be seen of men. Please forgive me for seeming to condemn loving the unlovable. I commend you for your service.

      As far as my rather harsh statement:

      “I do not believe that the IFB as a denomination can be saved, or is worth saving, more than any religious sect is. I do believe, however, that Pastors who are independent in their operations and fundamental in their beliefs can return to a humble service to the Lord. We can return to a loving outlook on our communities and brethren. We can begin again to measure Christian growth in a person’s relationship with Christ and desire to bring people to Him instead of their conformity to our religious traditions.”

      I stand by this. I want to be very careful that I am never so attached to a religious practice that I cannot jump ship when I notice it trending away from Biblical theology. Let Christ be lifted up. I’ll follow him. If I can do that inside my local church or denomination I will. When my church or denomination fades away from Him then I’m out. John the Baptist wasn’t a Baptist as we know them. He was a baptizer. Jesus is greater than religion.

      Again, thank you for your very passionate concerns and thoughts. I do enjoy a strong perspective.

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    3. Jerry, I love your comments, this generation don't get it, the heart is deceitful and wicked who shall know it? noone, the human race always had opposed to God, even though we are saved by grace and nothing else the true child of God will submit to the called of obedience as we see it throughout scriptures, but we're are commended to separate from people who keeps in love to their wicked lifestyles, I love people and I tell them the truth in love, but when they refused to listen you have no choice but to abandon them to their wicked path, I'm very thankful for fundamentalism, I challenge anyone here to read the History of the Anabaptist and puritans, and they are our forefathers,

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    4. Bro. Jerry, you hit some good "nails" on the head in your post. I also think that David's original wording in his post may have been misunderstood by you as well. I didn't read of a person who was totally abandoning IFB churches, he is a man who has some honest questions and observations that we need to look at very carefully. I have never been a part of the IFB movement, although, when I was a younger preacher, I was enamored by the preaching of Jack Hyles, John R. Rice, Lester Roloff, Lee Roberson and several others. I have hundreds of tapes by these preachers and I learned a lot, both positively AND negatively from them. I grew up in the ABA which is mainly smaller churches. The emphasis of my group is "the local, visible church" as it is the only TRUE church in the world. We totally reject the idea of a universal, invisible church made up of all believers. Because of that perspective, "movements" don't really impress me. I can't control what other churches may do, I can and do preach against the error I see, but I have some say over what the church I pastor may do. I think that, if more preachers would do what they can do on THEIR level, then we could make a some great inroads for TRUTH and eschew error. Whenever I would listen to Hyles, Rice, Roloff and Roberson, I would be inspired by their words, but I also looked at the realities of life, that God doesn't want us to "clone" churches into FBCofH, or HPBC or any of the other churches out there. Our Lord would require an account of me for the churches I have pastored while I was there. I also wasn't affected too much when some of these "big wigs" in the IFB were caught involved in sinful activities as well. I was not brought up to worship men, and that is the biggest trap in the IFB circles. Many of those preachers and churches are nothing but part of a "personality cult". You have heard of the church, I think it is in Virginia, named "Hyles Baptist Church". It was started by two men who were grads of HAC and they named the church after Jack Hyles. Now, that is just strange, but I never heard of Hyles advising against them doing that. That smacks of "cult"ism. We are not here to lift men up, but to lift up the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior. Some have lost that perspective. While we can love and appreciate the influence that some person has had in our lives, we must remember that they are just men. They will sin, as do I. Let us keep preaching truth, glorifying God and building HIS kingdom. If we do that, we just might hear him say, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant."

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  48. Fundamentalism is a essentially a cult. And the reason so many people are turning away from it is because they are seeing the truth about how awful and damaging it is. All the rules and shaming for not following those rules. No one wants to be a part of that. The IFB church scarred my life and the lives of so many friends and family members and I despise it.

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  49. I read your article with a sincere open heart, since it was posted onto Facebook. I have been saved 7 years now and am studying through Paul’s writings in 1st Corinthians, which I challenge you to read through. You state that you have been saved for an x number of years serving faithfully in a local church but I wonder if most of the issues you are facing are due to a lack of current, daily reading of the scriptures? You state that pride has crept into the Independent Fundamental Baptist churches however you have almost forgotten that pride is the very wicked state that we ALL face daily because of our sin nature and must die daily too (1st Corinthians 15:31)! This pride will indeed exist in our brethren (including any Christian at any church) as well unless they are dying daily to their sin. Should we not look to our Bibles to answer this problem? Is it the fault of Independent Fundamental Baptist churches that young children are going astray? That Christian families are being torn apart? That we are being constrained to “old fashioned” principles. Paul says “your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaventh the whole lump? Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump”. If there is an issue within the church and of a believer it should be dealt with Biblically. And then once dealt with, it should be forgiven of! I see forgiveness to be the very issue that you are struggling with. Are we forgiving of our brethren when a fault is made? Paul also says that ye are puffed up! That ye have not mourned over these things. And then the strict principles that you speak of, of encouraging young children into ministry if they are called or to stay home and attend a local university so that the sin of the world does not destroy the minds of our children are not to blame. It is the fault of us Christians who do not deal inwardly as Paul says. We judge the world but do not judge within. We do not serve Christ faithfully because we are too concerned with ourselves and our feelings – Our pride. Paul instructs us to function as one body – “that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” (1st Corinthians 1:10). Preach the gospel brethren! Paul says “preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect”. My challenge to you is not to be so stuck on the traditions and music of the church (that SHOULD be Christ honoring) or the flow of the church or whatever is bothering you so much about the local church. If you have a personal issue – it is to be dealt with Biblically! And not boasted about on a blog for all to see. These are the very things that tear down the name of Christ – “for we are labourers together with God!” (1st Corinthians 3:9), does God not say that he will take the foolish things to confound the wise? “Let no man deceive himself. If any man among your seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise” (1st Corinthians 3:18). “I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn you.” (1st Corinthians 4:14).
    I can assure you – I grew up attending faithfully every liberal denomination spanning from Methodist, Presbyterian, Southern Baptist, non-denominational, attended the Acquire the Fires, listened to the rock music, spoke in tongues, got slain in the spirit, was fully ACCEPTED for every wicked thing in my life, but no one ever told me of my sin and I NEVER felt the loving forgiveness of Christ. That is until I stepped foot in a church where people were welcoming, serving and preached the saving life of Christ! The gospel was finally shared to me and I will gratefully encourage those churches who are preaching the gospel. Don’t condemn, encourage… “I do not believe that the IFB as a denomination can be saved, or is worth saving, more than any religious sect is”… How you can make this statement baffles me.

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    1. Thank you for your comments Lindsey. Very thought provoking and I take them to heart. You are baffles at my statement,
      “I do not believe that the IFB as a denomination can be saved, or is worth saving, more than any religious sect is”…

      I know that must have rubbed you wrong and I apologize. Please consider my very next statement,
      " I do believe, however, that Pastors who are independent in their operations and fundamental in their beliefs can return to a humble service to the Lord. We can return to a loving outlook on our communities and brethren. We can begin again to measure Christian growth in a person’s relationship with Christ and desire to bring people to Him instead of their conformity to our religious traditions."

      A denominational following has never been the answer. Jesus Christ is. God bless you as you seek to follow him sincerely.

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    2. Amen!! to all that you've said my brother, I had the same experience as you did, I went to all different groups you mention, until I stepped into a fundamentalist church, not the Jack Jules type, but a biblical one, and there I heard truth, there my conviction of my sinfulness was revealed to me and the glory of the gospel of Jesus became a wonderful reality, I submit to rules not by men, but in obedience I saw that the bible teaches allot about do's and don't 's, they don't save but in the fundamentalist I learn the whole counsel of God, many today don't realize they think they're under grace but in reality they're still in bondage to sin, they're still blind it by sin, (1John 5:2-3) many in our modern world want their wicked culture and the grace of God and if you say something about their wicked lifestyles, that's when they start complaining about "rules" "modesty" etc.

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  50. A very interesting and thought-provoking article. I was saved and grew up in a church that would be considered IFB. Yes we were taught standards in dress and music, but it was based on the biblical principles of holiness and sanctification that God desires to use to make His children "peculiar" in a Godless world. We were taught to avoid drugs and alcohol, not because they were taboo, but because they posed a threat to the health and well-being of the' "temple of God," as well as a potential stumblingblock to weaker believers, who may haved been saved out of addiction. "Loving your brother" and "Christian Liberty" meant that I was free to NOT participate in things that were questionable so that I might help keep others from falling, which is EXACTLY what the Apostle Paul teaches. I never felt "restricted." The hymns and scriptural songs that we sang were taught to us based on the doctrine of the lyrics and the character and "message" of the music being within God's definition of "worshipping Him in the beauty of holiness." Not all of them were old, but all of them were intended for worship rather than entertainment.

    I would have to agree that one major problem in many IFB churches is a sense of "self-pride," where the teaching of our own POLICIES has replaced the teaching of biblical PRINCIPLES. When personal religion is regulated by policy, there are no guidelines outside of the enforcement of those policies. Hence, I see this as the main reason behind the mass exodus from fundamentalism over the past 20 years, especially in the younger generation. Parents, as well as churches and educational institutions were guilty of building lives based on "Christian policy" rather than Biblical principle.

    People have been fleeing the restrictive policies of IFB for the "freedom" of no standards at all, which is not Christian liberty, but libertinism, which Paul warns about. When we reject the "legalistic policies" of one group, citing their pride as the source of our lack of growth and personal relationship with our Savior, only to run to the open air where "holiness" is according to personal preference, we become guilty of the very thing we are running from. Pride manifests itself in many ways, the underlying definition being that our own preferences have replaced God as the standard for our lives.

    The solution is not to abandon "standards" altogether and embrace anything that will make us more acceptable to the world so we can "slip them the gospel" when their guard is down. The real solution lies in immersing ourselves in the truth of Scripture and considering God's principles of modesty and moderation, of true worship as opposed to "emotional sensationalism," of what lifestyles and activities will define a testimony of righteousness rather than what is "allowable", and other "fundamental" biblical principles of what it means to live a truly "Christ-like" life.

    Whether we are submerged in a sea of man-made policies or flying free from those policies, we are all guilty of a pride-filled life because we have abandoned God as the standard. This discussion is not about a denomination or a particular movement. This article and the discussion following should make us all aware that defining Christianity according to my own terms in all cases is the foundation of idolatry, and does nothing to make us holy or deepen our relationship with God, no matter how "exciting" or "sober" the church or home environment may be. Abandoning or redefining the God-given structure and organization of the local church is not the answer. This is more about personal holiness and submission to God's authority than it is about church polity and function.

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    1. Great observations and points to consider. Thanks for expanding the conversation in the right direction.

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  51. There must be different types of IFB as I grew up in one all my life and we where never demanded to worship our leaders, they where very much a part of our lives. It very sad that you all talk of love and new growth you found outside of the "IFB MOVEMENT" but I have a question have you tried other IFB churches or just assumed all are like the one you left. If I read between the lines most of you come from a Hyles type IFB which to many are a cult following one man and philosophy. We at our church that I grew up in and myself in the church I pastor are lead of God and I do not follow a "camp" or "IFB POPE". I am a Baptist by conviction and Ind because I serve one HEAD. I am in the Lord's camp. I do not support any one college but we teach our own preachers according to God's word. It was a good read but I have met other denominations with the same issues. Sin is not respecter of persons and it is not only present in us poor ignorant IFB bible thumping preachers lol. So PLEASE People before you all paint every IFB with the same brush come see that there are some very GOOD churches that are just trying to live to PLEASE CHRIST. It would be like calling all (Southern, Regular, Conservative and ifb) Baptist churches a Westboro Baptist Church. Our all NON-denominational churches a Jim Baker church. Where is the love that covers the multitude of sins?

    I agree with Ross, why throw the baby out with a bath water. I am troubled at the lack of commitment in the so-called liberated Christians Out of my congregation before you judge me only 14% are from Baptist(all)background the rest are from other denominations. The reason those members came is they are tired of being in a church that entertains, plays, are nothing but a socail club to appease their conscience and no longer teaches and preaches what the Bible really says.
    Yes, we do have dress standards, use the KJB and play hymns and yes, we still are growing because of Christ. No, we are not legalistic just Biblicists.
    Joh_12:32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.

    Just a thought from a 42 year old preacher who is just trying to follow God.

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    1. Pastor Rogers,
      Thank you for your comments and for your many years of service to the Lord. It sounds to me like you are like my Dad; a good man who is leading his church according to the leading of the Holy Spirit in your life. Keep up the good work. See you on the other side.

      Please note that I said the denomination that IFB has become is not worth saving. I am 100% for Baptist who attend independent churches and stick to the fundamentals of their faith.

      " I do not believe that the IFB as a denomination can be saved, or is worth saving, more than any religious sect is. I do believe, however, that Pastors who are independent in their operations and fundamental in their beliefs can return to a humble service to the Lord. We can return to a loving outlook on our communities and brethren. We can begin again to measure Christian growth in a person’s relationship with Christ and desire to bring people to Him instead of their conformity to our religious traditions."

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    2. I agree, there are still great IBCs out there. The one I was in had it's up and downs but, the opportunities for learning was the best for families that I know of.

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    3. I agree very much with you Seth Roger, I became fundamentalist independent baptist by conviction, I got very sick of all the amusements in the so called evangelicals who for the most part are antinomianistic, I came out of charismatics movements but God graciously led me to a fundamentalist church where I learned how wicked my heart is and I learned to surrendered my will to the Lord and I truly experienced freedom from the power of sin, where many here who oppose IFB don't want to have a real commitment to biblical doctrine, and yes when I about the hyles and Jack schaap church makes me upset that all think that all fundamentalist are the same, I am very thankful for the thousands of good fundamentalist out there they are the salt and light of the world, of left to the new evangelical who are very worldly and who side with the many liberals in practice Christianity already would of disappeared, May the Lord bring many more to a healthy fundamentalism , away with Hollywood, away with pagan media, away with new evangelicals they are making Christianity more confusing.

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    4. I made an earlier comment about my background. While I have never been a member of an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist church as a denomination, I have been a member of an independent (note the little "I"), fundamental (note the little "f"), Baptist church all my life. I also said that the most important thing to remember is that the "local, visible, church" is THE church model that Jesus started here on this earth. And that is the most important place in which to serve our Lord. I am not talking about a building, but a BODY. If we were to look at churches as individuals, then we wouldn't be so quick to group all together in condemnation or in criticism. I know of several SBC churches that are doing great things in their work. The same is true with the ABA, GRBC, IFB, BMA and we could go on and on. There are also in each of these groups churches that are dead, I mean D-E-A-D! That doesn't mean that mine is that way. Before I started pastoring. I worked a job with a fellow who had a terrible problem with "cussing". The word G*****n was every other word in his vocabulary. One day, I overheard him saying to another fellow, "Every preacher wants one or both of two things; your wife or you money." I was standing close by and I just HAD to speak up, I said, "Bill! You do know that I am a Baptist preacher don't you?" He turned and didn't realize that I had heard him. He looked a little embarrassed then I said, "Well Bill, you don't have to worry about that with me. I've seen your wife and I make more money than you, so why don't you just SHUT UP about 'every preacher' and leave me alone." I don't like to be judged based on what other people may do. It's not fair and I think the same could be said of churches as well. God bless!

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    5. Thanks Seth for your observations enhancing understanding of this conversation. IFB are a wide range of churches, but affiliations have made it a competitive sport to some degree - the associations more often than not foster unhealthy comparison, envy, covetousness, unwelcome and uninvited peer pressure, a trend toward locking arms together and becoming copy cats etc....when the local church should be custom tailored by the LORD to each local area...the people, their paradigm and their needs. Of course the overarching need is always the same! The glorious Gospel!

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  52. I was going to add a comment that turned out to be longer than the original post, and it became a personal vent; so I'm not going to put it up. I'll leave it with my two cents: almost everyone has at least one valid point in here. While there are many rotten (used in its exact literal meaning) IFBCs out there, there are also good ones as well. Having been a military brat, and serving myself, I have had the opportunity to find both in many states. Bottomline: follow God's leading wherever, and however He leads you. I have NEVER found an assembly of believers that wholly believes everything I do. In fact, my wife is the only INDIVIDUAL who believes almost precisely the same. Even we have different convictions and beliefs. My point is that if the Lord has led you to a place, He has led you there for a reason. If He leads you away, He is leading you for a reason. Wherever you are, pray for people; it is commanded. Love people, it is also commanded (not just other Christians, might I add, which is my personal struggle). If we all (myself, IFBs, and everyone else on this post) would do what we know is right and according to God and the Bible, and stop worrying about what someone else does and doesn't do (i.e. take the "mote" from your own eye before trying to remove the "beam" from someone else's), then we wouldn't have to worry about articles like this (which was GREAT, by the way, in case anyone was wondering). Ok, sorry, starting to ramble again.

    I Corinthians 10:31

    P.S. please don't accuse me of being "ecumenical". I'm not saying people of different faiths and doctrines get together to sing "kumbaya" By all means, "contend for the faith"; just do it in love.

    I Corinthians 13

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  53. I've recently posted something related to this.
    Are Fundamental Baptists as a Viable Movement Dying?
    http://jasonsaling.blogspot.com/2014/04/are-fundamental-baptists-as-viable.html

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  54. You've begun to nail it. Unfortunately, that also means you've begun to not be IFB any more. Deeply saddening in some ways. Beautifully glorious though because I'm pretty sure this path will lead you back toward Christ and his gospel and away from what has come to stand in opposition to it.

    Grace to you.

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  55. It's interesting to me that the IFB defenders in the comments above use the "baby with the bathwater" analogy. Perhaps they are unaware of how bad this is. The baby in their bath water is the IFB and it's traditions. It isn't Christ, and it doesn't cross their mind that it should be. Congratulations and encouragement to anyone anywhere that is following Christ and trying to be more Christ-like every day!!! It doesn't matter to me what denomination they choose.

    I grew up in the IFB, and attended BJU. I know and love a lot of good people still in it. That being said, the IFB is dying because God is allowing it to. The following isn't a sarcastic question. What is the difference between the modern-day IFB and the Pharisees of the Bible? The Pharisees created hundreds of extra rules outside of what God laid down. Does the IFB not relish in all of it's extra rules and standards? The Pharisees took ENORMOUS pride in the following of their own rules. IFB does the same. The Pharisees thanked God for (in their minds) setting them apart, and their lack of sin. Sound familiar? Growing up I heard about how terrible the Catholics were for having a Priest and a Pope. Jesus died on the cross so that we didn't have to have any man standing between us and God. But the priest in the Catholic church is a light-weight compared to the Pastor in a lot of the IFB churches I've been in. I know IFB churches where the pastor wants to be consulted on all decisions. Financial, where the kids should go to college, relationships, jobs, and on and on. The pastor determines almost everything about how members of his church live their lives - down to how many inches of hair are on church member's heads. Again, what are the stark differences between the Pharisees and the current IFB movement?

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    1. Ray, you would be a hypocrite if you deny that you don't follow rules here on earth you are lacking a good understanding of the Pharisees of Jesus's days and fundamentalist who see that the bible divides the lost people and redeemed people, don't you get on time where you work? don't you make your children obey you? don't you established rules in your household? have you ever read 1 John? the commandments of the Lord arenot a burden for the saved? because grace teaches him to hate iniquity, you should make an effort to learn the position of the Pharisees in Jesus's days, they wanted to earn the favor of God throu their own righteousness but missed the prophecies of the Messiah, this world would be a much better place with Fundamentalism, and I believe Fundamentalism is thriving and growing, because we're to start a new fundamentalist baptist church near Chicago area, amen to that

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  56. Well written and beautifully expressed! Thank you!

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  57. Thank you!!! This article is good. And definitely makes a person think. I shared it on my Facebook. "When we get to heaven, we all will be surprised, humbled, and dumbfounded at what worship and holiness really look like." Such a true statement! But something that has scared me is when we get to Heaven - and don't find many of the people we assumed would be there - and they didn't go to Heaven b/c they were focusing on their righteousness and how they were serving the Lord instead of Christ's righteousness and His gift of forgiveness and eternal life.
    I am very thankful that I now attend a Bible Church with expository preaching and where we focus on our own relationship with Jesus and how we are serving Him and not talking of others who do things differently.
    One of the things that surprised me the most and thrilled me too after moving to a Bible church was something I had never seen or imagined before. A pastor of a huge, prominent church in our city died. It was a non-denom church and we don't agree with all they do or teach - BUT we know that the pastor and most of the church ARE our Christian brothers and sisters in Christ! And they do have a good ministry and a good community outreach and urban clinic. Our Bible church gave a Memorial Offering to their urban clinic in honor of their pastor who had just gone to Heaven! I was in awe!
    Do we spend our time "judging others" or "loving others"?!?

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  58. I was in a IFB church for 30+ years. I raised my children there and am grateful for what they were taught. The girls went to the private school there. However, I always felt 'bound' and could never feel, free. In it's early years, there was more emphasis on men's long hair, women's short skirts and women wearing slacks. Then a push for involvement in bus ministry, visitation, conferences, etc. There was no room for allowing the Holy Spirit to speak to one about service as they had already made commitments. It was the sickness and death my son that took me to his church and from that, I never found a place to return to the IFB church. I do praise God for giving me the learning experience that I found at the IFB church. I have so many good memories.

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  59. David thanks for the article and your spirit. I've been an IFB for 42 years and have a unique perspective of the movement considering 40 of these years have been as a music evangelist across the USA.
    Unfortunately the necessary decline of the IFB movement has come/came at the beginning of the revolutionary contemporary church movement.
    I say "necessary" because the law of sowing and reaping applies, and because of the fickleness of man.
    I say "unfortunately" because the rapid advent of the contemporary church movement has minimized any potential for real reform within the IFBM.

    Emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually I've suffered profoundly because of many unique and ugly aspects of the IFB movement. In my 40 year walk with God I've suffered no greater trials than those associated with its extra biblical traditions . The thing that grieves me most is the loyal devotion to the movement itself, as opposed to the Word of God. I believe this is a manifestation of wounded pride. Many, if not most of the churches I've ministered to over the past 20 years have realized the failings of the movement and have distanced themselves from its most radical teachings. Nevertheless many churches feel the answer still lies within its structure. There will ALWAYS be those that tenaciously hold to and defend its teachings. It will take several more decades, in my opinion, for it to die. The IFBM thrives on controversy and angst. The more it is attacked the better opportunity it has to manifest its landmark characteristic-STRIFE.

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  60. Lack of discipleship is the biggest problem I see. Lots of young people growing up in the church but no one seems to want to train them for adult hood.

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    1. WOW! What church are you talking about? The IFB churches where I have been a member are nothing like this one. The churches are mostly small to medium size. The pastor is modestly paid and lives pretty on the same level as his congregation.. The deacons run the business of the church with congregational polity. The pastor is a servant-leader who focuses on serving his people.

      I wonder if you have been deceived by the book, Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse. I did check out the book only to find it shallow, filled with anecdotal stories, used the jargon of pop psychology of the abuse-victim paradigm, and void of solid Scriptural content. It has Bible verses dealing with peripheral topics but nothing to build a solid case for spiritual abuse. In Scripture, elders are exhorted: "Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock (1Peter 5:3)." Also, Jesus did give concept of the leader being the servant but nothing in Scripture parallels the pop psychology model of the abuse-victim paradigm. If there is spiritual abuse in America, the victim, so-called, has to be willingly complicit.

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    2. No, I've lived it. The book helped put into words what I had been thinking for years. It freed me. I agree, parts do not apply but the parts that did, helped me. If there is mental, physical and emotional abuse, there is spiritual abuse because man is a four part being. The men I am referring to were not servants but rather rulers. Be thankful you have not experienced it. Probably why the book didn't speak to you. Blessings.

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    3. Carol, you are describing James MacDonald, Bill Hybel, Rick Warren, Joel Osteen, Etc, most fundamentalist preachers don't have big houses,

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    4. Nope....not been in those men's houses.

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  62. Thanks for your insights David. Nice to see all the engagement on this topic. For an additional perspective: https://teresaofavilaturns500.wordpress.com/2013/06/04/can-rachel-wear-white/

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  63. I honestly wasn't going to chime in on this but all day long I have not been able to shake this post from my mind. Surely there are much smarter, more mature men than I that could weigh in here, but I find myself unable to keep quiet. I think the author of this post has done a fine job at pointing out some of the symptoms of the ailment that is killing the fundamental church at large but he has mistaken the symptoms for the disease. True, the fundamental church is filled with prideful, arrogant men. It is also true that the fundamental church seems to be stuck in an evangelistic rut. As for a lack of love, I suppose certain churches could do a better job of showing love to certain people. I have found that fundamental churches tend to be very loving toward their own but not so much to "outsiders". That may be just my experience though. True as this all may be, and as much as any one of these items is a problem in and of themselves, I believe the problem is much bigger than we care to recognize. Let me state it bluntly and I'll attempt to explain myself afterward. We have gotten the Gospel wrong. Therefore, we have wicked, carnal, unsaved people filling our churches, believing they are saved when they are not, and either not reproducing at all or producing false converts like themselves. I know this sounds harsh and it may be tough to take but please, hear me out. First off, a lot of churches have taken what should be a time of personal evangelism and turned it into simply inviting people to church. This is not Biblical. Ephesians chapter 4 tells us that the spiritual gifts (Paul lists Apostles, prophets, evangelists, and pastor/teachers) are for the perfecting of the saints, not for reaching the lost world. Paul also tells us in 1 Corinthians 2 that the natural man doesn't receive the things of God for they are foolishness to him. This is why it is pretty much pointless to invite unsaved people to church. It is completely stupid to them. God does occasionally bless our unbiblical means and saves someone through this type of evangelism but it is rare. I have heard people tell unsaved individuals something like this "I think you'd like our church. Our preacher preaches straight out of the Bible and he doesn't pull any punches." Seriously, the last thing the unsaved want is sound Bible preaching. If an unsaved person can come to your church and truly enjoy the preaching, you need to fire your preacher. The Holy Spirit does two major things in the preaching of the Word: He convicts the world of sin, and He testifies to the truth of who Jesus Christ is. Both of these things are, and should be, either complete foolishness or very uncomfortable for the unbeliever. While we're on this subject, can anyone point me to a passage of Scripture where the Apostles or Jesus ever preached the Gospel by inviting someone to church? I would like to see it.

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  64. Moving on. When it comes to the Gospel presentation we use, again, we have it all wrong. Look at Matthew 4. Look at what Jesus says, From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Notice what He does not say..... He doesn't say "The kingdom of Heaven is at hand, now, who would like to ask me into their heart? I see that hand, thank you. I see that hand. I see that hand." He also does not say "The kingdom of Heaven is at hand, God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life. Would you like to pray and receive me into your heart so you can go to Heaven when you die?" The message is simple. Repent. There is a whole lot of doctrine tied up in that one word. I'd rather not go into all the implications tonight, but suffice to say that repentance is a word lost in our churches today. As one who has recently moved to a new city, I have spent a lot of time looking at church websites and visiting churches. The vast majority have nothing about repentance in their "Plan of Salvation" on their websites and not one word is mentioned about repentance during their altar call or invitation. Without repentance, there can be no salvation. And then there are the questions.... "You know you're a sinner, right?" "Would you like to go to Heaven?" These are not the questions to ask. As Paul Washer says "Go ask the Devil if he knows he's a sinner. He'll probably say 'Yes I am. And a mighty fine one at that". The question should be more like this: " As I have explained the Gospel to you, do you now see your sin? Are you beginning to hate the sin you once loved and even boasted in? "Yes" "Good, that may the first fruits of repentance....." and you keep working and praying with that individual until he shows manifestations of the Spirit in him. This could take hours, days, weeks, keep at it. We want the fast track, seal the deal, pray this prayer so I can go tell everyone I led someone to the Lord. It doesn't always work that way. What is with that "Sinner's Prayer" anyway? Can someone show me that in the Bible? Back the subject at hand.... As for the "Do you want to go to Heaven" question. Again, I borrow from Washer "Everyone wants to go to Heaven, they just don't want God to be there when they get there." The question is more like this: "As we have worked through scripture and prayed together, is the person of Christ becoming more and more precious to you? Do you desire Him more and more?" See the difference?

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  65. Brethren, I want God to send the revival fires so big that the First and Second Great Awakenings look like nothing compared to what God does in this generation. But we have to get the Gospel right. So, where are we now? We have reduced the Gospel to a few questions, or 4 spiritual laws or whatever evangelistic trinkets we use now. We convince someone to repeat a prayer and then we declare them saved. Later on, if they ever doubt their salvation, someone will ask :"Was there ever a time you prayed to receive Jesus?" "Yes" "Were you sincere?" " I believe so" "It's the Devil bothering you". And the man is as lost as lost can be. Is this Biblical? In 1 Corinthians 11, Paul is admonishing the church because some of them are partaking of the Lord's cup unworthily. Paul does not write to them to go back to the day the prayed to receive the Lord and see if they were sincere. He says to examine yourself (11:28). The old time preachers used to use 1 John as a sort of series of tests for true faith in Christ. It's a good practice, one we should get back to.
    The other side of our unconverted convert is that he stays in church for a time and falls away. When this happens, we do one of two things. We go to him and say something like "I know you're a Christian, I was there the night you got saved. You need to start living like one." This is not even close to a Biblical admonition. Maybe not perfect but I think closer to what needs to be said would look like this: " You made a profession, but now it seems you have fallen away. If you turn from Christ, it is evidence that you were never saved. I fear for your soul, you may in danger of damnation. Repent now and turn back to Christ." The other side of the coin is we write him off to the false doctrine of the "Carnal Christian" and leave him on his way to Hell all the while believing himself to be saved.

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  66. We can correct things. Firstly, the way you purge pride and arrogance from the pulpit is a two step process. You stop covering for men when they fall. Call sin what it is and deal with it whether it is your Pastor or a layman that is in the midst of it. The next step is to stop putting seminary men in the pulpit. Most churches examine a pastoral candidate for about two sermons before voting him in. He has a degree (or two or three) from the right college and boy he has quite a wind in the pulpit. Nevermind that his wife and kids are totally neglected and he left his last three churches under "suspicious circumstances". This is our Man of God! When your church is in need of a pastor, you look at the men who are leading their families well, who are apt to teach, seasoned in the faith (not recent converts) and all the other qualifications laid out in 1 Timothy 3. These men are already in your church, you have seen their lives lived out before you and you know their character. Give me an undegreed family man who loves his family and loves the Lord as a pastor any day over a degreed man who I don't know. Does this guarantee we will eradicate pride and arrogance from our congregations? No, but it is a great way to keep it in check in most cases.
    As for evangelism, we need not look to the more liberal "Jesus lovers" to get our training. In many cases they are simply getting people to show up, not winning converts. Instead of looking to new, fresh ways to evangelize, lets go back to the old ways. Stop trying to remove the scandal from the Gospel. The Gospel confronts men on the lowest level. You are a hopeless wretch and you need to be saved. There are all kinds of methods for getting the message across. Paul was amazing at adapting to his hearers. To the Jews, he reasoned from the scriptures. To the Gentiles, he used their own religions as a lead-in for the Gospel. The Gospel is foolishness and a stumbling block for the unconverted. Stop trying to make it be anything else.
    As for love...... Love is a fruit of the Spirit. Maybe, just maybe, if your church is unloving, it is because the Spirit of God no longer dwells there.
    Brethren, there is so much more that could be written but this is already soooo long. Please, consider what I have said, don't just write me off.
    The LORD bless thee, and keep thee:
    The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:
    The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.

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    1. Luke 13 repent is clearly taught but it is not self chastisement, reformation or determination to do better. It is a turning from error and unbelief to The LORD and His truth. Ye (all of you) must be born again or you cannot see the kingdom of God. Without faith it is impossible to please God. What faith? In a religious/church system? in rituals/sacraments? in good deeds? In praying a prayer? In making a decision? In going forward at an invitation? In being baptized? In joining a church? Etc. ...Or simply FAITH in Jesus, God manifest in the flesh, who purchased us with His own blood. If we believe in our heart that God hath raised Him from the dead and confess with our mouth the Lord Jesus Christ (and His work on the cross as the complete object of our faith unto salvation) we have repented ( turned to truth and away from our error ). Should we feel grief and sorrow over our sin problem? Of course, but that is only a natural byproduct of genuine saving faith based on the scriptures. We can wrestle with our sorrow as a merit of repentance unto salvation. We come to Jesus, to Truth to the only way to the Father to receive eternal life by faith in His name (meaning complete trust in His ability to save us and transform us). Grace is the power of God operating on us and in us and for us as we repent (turn) toward God and believe on Christ receiving the gift that He is as the Lamb of God for our salvation.. "Repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ" - the double edge sword of the Glorious Gospel.

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  67. Jesus Friend of Sinners...Casting Crowns

    Jesus Friend of sinners we have strayed so far away
    We cut down people in your name but the sword was never ours to swing
    Jesus friend of sinners the truth's become so hard to see
    The world is on their way to You but they're tripping over me
    Always looking around but never looking up I'm so double minded
    A plank eyed saint with dirty hands and a heart divided

    Oh Jesus friend of sinners
    Open our eyes to world at the end of our pointing fingers
    Let our hearts be led by mercy
    Help us reach with open hearts and open doors
    Oh Jesus friend of sinners break our hearts for what breaks yours

    Yeah...

    Jesus friend of sinners the one who's writing in the sand
    Make the righteous turn away and the stones fall from their hands
    Help us to remember we are all the least of these
    Let the memory of Your mercy bring your people to their knees

    Nobody knows what we're for only against when we judge the wounded
    What if we put down our signs crossed over the lines and loved like You did

    Oh Jesus friend of sinners
    Open our eyes to world at the end of our pointing fingers
    Let our hearts be led by mercy
    Help us reach with open hearts and open doors
    Oh Jesus friend of sinners break our hearts for what breaks yours

    You love every lost cause; you reach for the outcast
    For the leper and the lame; they're the reason that You came
    Lord I was that lost cause and I was the outcast
    But you died for sinners just like me a grateful leper at Your feet

    'Cause You are good, You are good And Your love endures forever
    You are good, You are good and Your love endures forever
    You are good, You are good and Your love endures forever
    You are good, You are good and Your love endures forever

    Oh Jesus friend of sinners
    Open our eyes to world at the end of our pointing fingers
    Let our hearts be led by mercy
    Help us reach with open hearts and open doors
    Oh Jesus friend of sinners break our hearts for what breaks Yours

    And I was the lost cause and I was the outcast
    Yeah...
    You died for sinners just like me, a grateful leper at Your feet

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  68. Wow! Our family has been living this tug of war for almost 20 years! This sums up our struggles in a way no other person has been able to put into words!

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    1. Thank you for your kind words. i hope that you are able to find a healthy church to grow in.

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  69. Wow, that was really great! This came across my FB feed from a friend. I noticed many of the same things growing up Independent Fundamentalist Baptist and attending Baptist College. I would agree with everything you said, although in my own path, I unbelievably ended up in the Orthodox Church of which I am now firmly a part. My kids were baptised (by immersion) just a few weeks ago. The Orthodox tradition is all about freeing ourselves from pride and "Keeping your eyes on your own plate" because it won't be long and the deeds of each will be revealed openly to all and we'll be really sorry we judged our brother.

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  70. This was excellent, and greatly needed in our day. We must always be questioning man and drawing our thoughts to God, the Make of men. I happen to think the ills of men in the IFB as a movement are summed up in the words themselves. Independent, said to mean not being bound by a collective organization; yet they are bound to man-made groupings very much akin to those in 1 Cor. 1 & 3 ("I am of Paul...") but being headed by educational institutions. Often, and sadly, "independent" equals independent of God and dependent on men and man's influences. Second, "fundamental." My question is: what does "fundamental" mean, what are the "fundamentals", and who segmented them from the "all scripture" of 2 Timothy 3:16? Third, I am all for history and Baptist history, for we can and should definitely learn from our past. However, we cannot live in the past. There is a job to reach our culture NOW. It is definitely needful (not "Biblical" per se) in our culture to have a "label" and to know Biblically what that label indicates to people with whom we associate. Most people don't have the foggiest clue why they are Baptist. I think that the IFB is exhibiting in large scale the lack of a Scriptural foundation, and/or the Biblical connection, for the very terms they claim. Hence, it began in large part as a movement of men who had had great deal of zeal and knowledge, and as a reaction against modernism. It is extremely critical that we "take on" God's Word and His design for life, and make man's ideologies subsidiary to God and His Word! "And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought:" (Act 5:38) "I am a companion of all them that fear thee, and of them that keep thy precepts." (Psa 119:63)

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  71. Ok, so the IFB's don't get it. They've failed b/c of pride, sin, etc. etc. Somebody share with me a church that does so I can see what real Christianity in action looks like. Don't say the church in Acts, I want to see one today.

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  72. Excellent article! As an IFB I often get concerned about the current state of the church, and I would like to offer a thought that you alluded to.
    The world has drastically changed in the last 20 years, but the IFB mentality is still locked into the 1950s world view. The world no longer sees information, or authority, or religion the same way, but yet as IFB we still hold to this attitude that people have not changed in 65 years. While the human condition is the same, the battle ground has defiantly shifted.
    The teachings of moral purity and interpersonal relationships of the 50s no longer apply, but instead of adapting biblically and doctrinally accurate teachings to these new circumstances, the IFB have double-down on the extra biblical writings of people who never even conceived of things such as the internet, John Rice, DL Moody, Jack Hyles etc. And as such, these teachings are wholly inadequate to deal with the current temptations of this world, and not just sexually but to include false doctrine, inappropriate friendships, work, social media, and many others.
    Moreover one of the biggest things I see is the issue of politics and our morally decaying society. The biblical response is to continue to recognize that the world is being the world and we need to evangelize them, but instead we are spending our time and efforts trying to moralize this country, verses evangelize, and battle sin as a societal problem rather than a spiritual one. While we should be active in politics, it should not distract us from our true calling.
    Because the church has become maladaptive of these ever changing issues, we are not giving pastors, teachers, and congregational members the correct knowledge or tools on how to deal with these issues. And sending soldiers into battle without the right equipment is sending them to their death, which is what we are seeing, casualties of the battle falling all around us. We cannot battle the changing times, nor are we instructed to do so, but rather we are to meet people where they are at as Christ did.
    I would love to elaborate more on these issues, but I hope I have made my basic point.

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  73. Thanks to all contributors. This is a good beginning and a much needed conversation.
    I grew up IFB: my father was trained under J. Frank Norris (Mr. Fundamentalism) in the early 1950's and I followed by attending an IFB college in the early 1970's. The more I learned, the more I saw that the movement was already in spiritual decline. I then served as an IFB missionary and pastor until 2010. Here are my observations.

    1. In their drive to win as many souls as possible and build big churches, they became careless about the essential doctrine of how to be saved. The Bible clearly says that in order to be saved (born again), a person must believe on the Lord Jesus Christ: period. While most would agree with that to some degree, in practice most urge people to pray a prayer: to ask Jesus into their heart, or to ask God to save them. It sounds good, but it is not the same thing. Praying is asking but asking is not believing. Many people have prayed the prayer but did not believe.

    2. There has been a lot of preaching and pressure over the years to live a separated or a holy life, but it was mostly instruction to do or not do what they say is right or wrong. A list of dos and don'ts was developed over the years and those who lived by the rules could have a sense of accomplishment and feel they were super-spiritual and holy: even to the point of being more spiritual and more holy than people in other churches or groups. The Bible teaches that true righteousness and holiness are the product of being a new creature in Christ with a new nature and are received solely by the grace of God. When spirituality and holiness is thought to be achieved by being in the right group and human effort to conform to a list of dos and don'ts, it becomes a point of pride which leads to the next point.

    3. As the article mentioned, many in the movement have a problem with pride. When you are part of a group of people in a church, or a group of churches, however they may be associated, there are many temptations to pride. Human nature causes us to desire to be able to think or believe that we are in some way superior to others, and to have others think that we are, and so we seek praise, the glory of men, and power. Church members often accept positions of service that become points of pride, and musicians often perform in church to feed the desire for praise and pride.
    Among the IFB pastors many want people to look up to them and to obey them, and they want other pastors and churches to look up to them, praise them, and honour them. Although Paul said that the pastors must not be lords of the flock, but rather servants and examples, they often take too much control for themselves and become little dictators or “gods” in the church. Then, they seek political position among the group of pastors and churches, and they especially love to have the title “doctor”, even though Christ Himself taught us to not call men “father” or “master”, and they go to great lengths to be “Doctor Somebody”.
    Then, while we must preach the gospel to every creature out of love for God and love and compassion for the lost, when the church is built by human effort such as door knocking or special programs, that easily becomes a point of pride.

    4. The biggest problem is the lack of love and the lack of understanding of its importance. Jesus made it especially clear that the greatest commandments were to “love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength:” and to “love thy neighbour as thyself.” He said that, “There is none other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 13:30,31) Jesus also said: “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” (John 13:35)
    In my 57 years as an IFB I seldom heard them preaching or teaching on love, and they clearly didn't get it that spirituality, holiness, and soul-winning were all about loving God and others.

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  74. 5. Among the IFB's, the sin of covetousness is even more common and acceptable than the sin of pride. It is cleaned up and sanitized so that it is considered a good thing. The love of money and material stuff is just a desire for “God's blessing” and progress, and laying up treasure on earth is just wise financial planning and stewardship.

    6. A very attractive and therefore popular teaching that is almost universal among IFB's is dispensationalism. For many, it gives them an excuse to ignore the teaching of Christ in the sermon on the mount by relegating the book of Matthew to another dispensation. Therefore, we don't have to actually love our enemies and turn the other cheek to those that harm us. We can retaliate, take them to court, or go to war and shoot them, torture them, and bomb the heck out of them! We can pack our pistols to church, and should someone come in and threaten us, we can immediately dispatch them to hell and feel good about them burning in torment.
    We can then expect to live our lives of ease and material prosperity until Christ comes back, which will happen any second now, because although the saints in other dispensations have faced and will face persecution and martyrdom, luckily we were born in the “dispensation of grace” and won't have to face terrible tribulation and martyrdom in spite of the plain reading of Scripture to the contrary.

    7. Finally, while they loudly proclaim that they are independent and everyone is free, just let them know that you do something a little differently, or that you believe the Bible teaches something slightly different than what they believe and you are out: Blackballed. Disfellowshipped. Persona non gratis!

    HOWEVER! Problems and faults are not exclusive to IFB's. They are universal in Christianity. I am convinced that ALL DENOMINATIONS AND CHURCHES are plagued with them. There are some really good individual churches and some very mature, spiritual brethren in various churches and groups, but there does not exist on earth a better group than the IFB's. I have looked into many different groups, I spent 3 years in a Bible church, and now pastor a Mennonite church, and I can tell you for a fact that if it's not one problem, then it's another. Every church group has its own faults and problems, and every group of people on earth is plagued with problems and sin. That is the nature of the world we live in and the day that we live in.

    If any person is spiritually mature enough to understand that a person becomes a true Christian by grace alone through faith in Christ Jesus alone, and that Christianity is all about being made a new person with the nature of Christ, loving God and other people, then he should be mature enough to love unbelievers, hypocrites, and churches that have problems, with their spiritually immature brethren and pastors. Then, He should fall on his face before Almighty God and weep for them and pray for them, that perhaps God will have mercy on us and by His grace give repentance and revival.

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    1. Excellent points - some strong necessary meat to chew on!

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  76. Well, let's see: You have a disobedient form of church government, which you disobediently cling to. There's that. It guarantees immunity to any pastor who commits any sin/crime. That brings us to point two: the IFB is filled with child molesting preachers. And yes, I have proof. Go look at the front page of my blog, where I maintain a list of them and a second list of churches and preachers who have been complicit with them: http://jeriwho.net/lillypad2/. Then there's point three: gross and total ignorance of the Bible, that has spawned such sermon classics as Jeff Owens' "Cranked Up" (well, any sermon by Jeff Owens, for that matter), or Jack Schaap's brazen and bizarre teachings that communion is like sex with God, and a host of other wacko sermons that have nothing to do with Scripture or actually profane it outright. And then there's the code of counterfeit holiness, which has a lot to do with the previous point: nothing that the IFB teaches about holiness has anything to do with what the Bible teaches about holiness. Four points is enough. But the summary answer is that the IFB apostasized. And the evidence is plain to see, except to those ensnared in its sin.

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  77. Great thoughts David! After teaching in Christian schools for many years I work for the state in which I live. (audible gasp will be inserted here by some) When I think back on all the Bible lessons I taught and which verses had the most impact, I think I would settle on
    Proverbs 6:16-19.
    "These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: a proud look..."
    Of the litany of offenses that could have been enumerated, the top of the list is a prideful look!
    Not a word or deed, but a look! The first sin in heaven and on earth were a direct result of pride!
    Middle schoolers got it. Now if only some of their pastors would.
    Thanks

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  78. Great thoughts David! After teaching in Christian schools for many years I work for the state in which I live. (audible gasp will be inserted here by some) When I think back on all the Bible lessons I taught and which verses had the most impact, I think I would settle on
    Proverbs 6:16-19.
    "These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: a proud look..."
    Of the litany of offenses that could have been enumerated, the top of the list is a prideful look!
    Not a word or deed, but a look! The first sin in heaven and on earth were a direct result of pride!
    Middle schoolers got it. Now if only some of their pastors would.
    Thanks

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  79. You can't fully see what is wrong with fundamentalism until you are out of it. The longer you are out, the more clear it becomes. God has been peeling back the layers of bad fundamental teaching for 25 years for me. The saddest part of being in fundamentalism, especially being born in it and knowing nothing else, is missing the incredible things God is doing around the world in the rest of Christendom. If you are young, reading this and want to see what else is out there in Christianity, ask God to lead you somewhere He is working. Don't let anyone stop you.

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    1. I agree totally with you, Sally. I have now been out for almost 3 years, and it is amazing how much I can see now.

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  81. The answer to the question is in the question itself! The word "movement" is the key. God's New Testament church is not supposed to be a "movement", it is supposed to be a living organism. That's the terms in the NT, body, bride, etc. A movement can be just a passing fad and that is not what God wants. God wants for HIS BODY to be living and growing day by day. And that is not just talking about growing in numbers, it means growing in the "grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ", growing in spirit, growing to spiritual maturity. That is the most important thing that the Lord wants from us, to show spiritual maturity. If that happens, then we won't be disappointing to the Lord and everything that we do will be for the right reason. Giving, preaching, teaching, soul winning, our compassion, our PASSION for our Lord will be evident by the way that we live our lives. We won't care so much of what people think of us, we will care of what the Lord thinks of our life. The passion that I have in my life, and the way that I live day by day is to hear him say, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant". I have been a pastor of a Baptist church (not IFB) for over 33 years and I must admit to not being where I want to be. When I was a young pastor (23 years of age), I must admit in trying to make a name for myself for the building of my ego and my perceived position. I wanted preachers to brag about me like Jack Hyles would brag about Dr. John R. Rice or Dr. Lee Roberson. I would listen to other people brag about him and thought that I would just knock doors and win souls so that I could get recognition from men. Boy! Was I mistaken! It reminded me of James and John's mother coming to Jesus and asking that he would grant to her boys a special place behind him in his kingdom. Jesus rebuked her for that and told her that position wasn't the main thing that their ministry was about. How, those who want to be first, must first become last in the kingdom. He even reminded all of the disciples that he himself did not come to be "the Lord (master)" but he came to be a servant and to shed his blood for our sins. It took a few years for me to come to that knowledge, but I must say, when it did, it revolutionized my ministry. I quit "trying and started trusting" Christ to live a life THROUGH me for HIS honor and glory. If the IFB churches and preachers will abandon their "movement" and surrender to the Lord completely, then God can use them for his glory.

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    1. Great insights! Thanks for emphasizing these things in the conversation. We should rename the IFB "camp" "dependent erring addicts destined to see eternal loving faithfulness" - the "DEAD to SELF" people of the LORD!

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  82. I have been an independent Baptist for a long time. I was not raised that way. I thank God for the preacher that looked at the long haired hippie (yes, I'm old) and decided to love him and allow God to do His work. So let me say, I'm not your enemy either. I have personally seen all of the three main points you mention. I've seen bad churches and good churches. I've seen good churches go bad and bad churches turn around. So why am I writing? As I read various posts here I was almost over whelmed with a sense of despair from some. I would not dare to defend the bad churches but in fact, it was the people who made them bad and there are bad Christians everywhere. I would instead ask a more important question than where do you go to church. Instead, is God satisfied with your relationship with Him? I didn't ask if you were happy. If you are happy with your relationship, then that is a bad sign. Do you spend time in payer every day? Do you enjoy reading His Word every day? Do you feel His presence when you worship Him in your private place? These are the things that truly matter.
    I have asked God to allow me to help people and He lead me to this post (literally). That is why I am writing. Just a desire to be of help.

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  83. I don't believe in throwing the baby out with the bathwater. When a preacher get's too big and powerful in the IFB circles, he bares a great part of the blame, but the people need to step up as well because they could have reigned him in before he brought destruction to people's lives. One of the biggest problems with the IFB churches, the people want a strong personality to tell them what to do because they are too lazy to pray and seek God's will in his Word. They can just abdicate their responsibility and put it all on the preacher. That is one of the worst things that people can do is to give a pastor carte' blanche over their lives and over their church. The Bible teaches that we are ALL accountable to each other and ultimately to God.

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  84. I think you make some good observations, however, I think it problematic and prideful to say as we go "win" the world. Jesus never told us to go "win the World." Now I can hear IFB people choking on their coffee. What about John 3:16 and others verses to this nature?? Here in lies the subtle of there "stick" with regards to Evangelism(soulwinning) Jesus promised eternal life only to those that "believe." Not say a prayer or acknowledge the facts or 1,2,3 repeat after me. Believe is REPANTANCE of sins and to bow the knee to Christ and acknowledging HIS Lordship over you. The great chapter of Matthew 13 of the parable of the soils and the other parables in this chapter tell by Christ own lips how evangelism would go during the "church age" and yet IFB tries to think on their "big days" everyone that walked an aisle, signed a card, or got baptized is going to heaven. When in fact Jesus told us FEW would enter the gate and MANY would be on the road to Hell. Did He have it wrong? No I am confident that He was right and IFB was wrong. Why have so many from the 3,000 and 5,000 saved on Big days and the 25k baptisms are no where to be found? John 6:66 still rings true today... Many of His disciples(professed Christians) were not walking with Him anymore. Matthew 13, tells of the tares being sowed into the wheat. If you have over 30k padded to salvation and less than 400 join the church...this is not the book of Acts model . Christ ministry you only had 500 come to saying faith according to I Corinthians 15 and only a 120 in the upper room.... does that mean Jesus did not get Jack Hyles record on let's go soulwinning and was a failure....ABSOLUTELY NOT.... look at the greatest sermon ever given the Sermon on the Mount and it tells of IFB converts their house was built on the sand and when the floods came (judgment) KABOOM down it goes. How did the crowd react to Christ? Did they repent... no, they were astonished at His teaching, but did not turn and repent and come under His Lordship. When you have men on staff and deacons and pastor doing gross sins and telling you, wouldn't you like to receive Christ is the BIGGSEST AND SADDEST SHAM GOING!!! Salvation is not easy, oh Yes, it all a work done by Him, not man. He said in Luke the exact opposite it is HARD... why....because it is constricted and you must deny oneself and abandon yourself for all you have for what He has. IFB is in the numbers game for PRIDE and to show it superior to all other "movements" when in fact they are the modern day PHARISEES as our Lord spoke of in Matthew 23. All that to say this, will you follow man or will you follow Jesus.... if your in the IFB movement you have your answer. I believe in transformed lives that when people did come to Christ, it was a whole new person, they did not hold onto their sin. Can you image the women at the well telling everyone... I use to sleep with 5 guys, now after Christ I am only sleeping with 2...UGH. This is not N,T. Bible, but I am breaking their "stick" and this is how they keep everyone dumbed down with their topical preaching.... You won't get this if they would expository preaching as the preachers of Spurgeon, Edwards, Luther, etc. did.

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    1. I couldn't agree with you more. The "easy-believism" that is the hallmark of most IFB churches is at best a sham and at worst blasphemy! I remember going to Hyle's Pastors School in 1981, when I was senior in Bible college (not an IFB school) and saw the ministries of FBC of Hammond paraded in front of us. They put on a demonstration of their Ladies Soul Winning club, called the Phoster Club, and they had about 200 women sitting the choir loft. The leader got up and began a "countup" of the ladies asking who had at least one soul to the Lord that week. When she said "one", all of the ladies stood. Then, she said, "2,3,4" and on and on. When she got to 50, there were 25 or 30 ladies still standing. Then she started skipping by tens, and, when she got to a hundred, there were three or four still standing. She then skipped by 20's and, when she got to two hundred, there were only two ladies still standing. The men in the pews were just jumping up and down cheering and hollering "AMEN!" and "Praise The Lord" and she kept on, this time by hundreds. When she got to SIX HUNDRED, one of the ladies sat down! Now, remember, this was how many they had led to salvation in ONE WEEK! She finally asked the remaining, how many she had won to the Lord and this little Spanish lady said, real meekly, "754" and the place just erupted!! There were 9000 preachers there and 8,999 were screaming "AMEN" and "Praise The Lord" and I was just sitting there thinking. I began to do some math in my head and thought, if she had talked to so many people in one week, taking sleep into account and ALL that she talked to had really been saved, it would mean that she would have had to talk to one person every 2 and a half minutes continually. And that was if every person had trusted Christ as Savior. The lady in charge then said that this lady lived in a huge government housing complex in Chicago and she regularly brought about 25 or 30 down the aisle at FBC of H for baptism. Now, what about the other 750 or so? Now, I don't believe that baptism saves, but most people who are saved will want to obey the Lord in baptism. If that lady actually had 25 or 30 saved every week, good for her! But, how many that she talked to were asked, "Do you want to go to Heaven when you die?" They would say, "Yes, I would." Then she would probably say, "Repeat this prayer after me" and pray "the sinner's prayer from Hyles' book and DECLARE that person saved. The terrible thing of it would be that that person, if they were ever talked to by someone who could and would witness the proper way, that Jesus did, that person would go back to that day when that lady "pronounced" them saved, and not do what they really ought to do to be SOUNDLY saved. And they would just go on in blindness and ignorance all the way to HELL. All because of NUMBERS!! As those preachers were praising God and AMENING, I thought that, if that were true, I would be crawling under the pew in shame because I witness all the time and sometimes goes weeks without someone calling on the Lord in repentance of their sin and faith in Jesus Christ as the ONLY way of salvation. It's very easy to be seduced by numbers. For the first time in my life, my eyes began to open about "the Hyles' way" and it not being "THE way, the truth and the life".

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  85. Hi. I was born into the IFB movement. Actually, my dad was a Southern Baptist pastor up until I was 3 years old. Then we moved for him to attend a small IFB seminary in the DFW area. I totally agree...However, it is apparent you have left out many critical places about the IFB movement that have been the underlying death to this sect/cult. And yes I do call it that. Not out of bitterness or malice but totally out of experience and being saturated within its constricting walls my entire life. I agree with everything you've stated and it is well written. Yet, in my opinion, you lack the deepest truth of why this movement is undeniably dying...sadly staying alive even one more day is sadness in my book. Because the IFB has always been totally saturated and male driven...this aspect has allowed such destruction to be done behind the closed doors of many homes throughout our country and I believe world. The sexual perversion due to the absence of accountability is so massively happening I believe if it was ever a story that came out and exposed people's heads would spin. But, what a great day that would be for the many woman and children that have been trapped within the grip of this male dominated society called IFB. It wasn't surprising to me that most of your replies are from other IFB MEN. There has never been any safety for a woman or child to speak out within this sect. NEVER. I was one. I can remember from a super early age always trying my best to find someone on the Outside to share with, talk to, confide in about my life. I was overwhelmingly frightened that my concerns would make there way back to my dad which in turn would cause the forbidden scripture to be read to me and the horrifying spanking to be laid on to my tiny body. Spiritual abuse is what that is called. Using Gods word to punish a child. That's what goes on in the homes of IFB'ers. That's why this denomination is dying. That's why so many from my generation have risen up and said enough already. If you're going to pour out your concerns in hopes for change in this dying world of IFB...then expose the reality that keeps this male driven society going. There has never been accountability within these churches. The churches are pastor led, male dominated and the lack of pure accountability is disgusting and gut wrenching...to say the least. I can only speak so passionately because I was a pastors kid, missionaries kid and then a minister's wife within this denomination for 26 yrs. I don't just come into this forum with No experience or insight. It was poured into me every day of my life. In my late 20's I started seeking and finding freedom from its stronghold over my life. Now I'm undeniably thrilled to be set free from this movement. However, the effects it has had over my life have been painfully hard to shake. Pushing away has caused me to become ostracized from my family. Criticized by those I thought were my peers and left out here to discover this freedom alone. But, that is absolutely ok with me. I'd rather be alone any day then locked into the fear, abuse, lye driven, male dominated, secret driven, pharisaical, sexually perverted denomination that the IFB has become. My prayer is that leaders would rise up out of this secret society and say enough is enough. My prayer is that kids that are now adults will have the boldness to speak out. My prayer is that the many abused wives who have had to leave in silence will no longer have fear to tell their stories. Enough is enough.

    Boldly I stand underneath the covering of my Daddy God whose unconditional love covers me with abundant freedom. I am thankful to walk within that today.

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    1. Hi Becka,
      Thank you for your input. I hope you will read my post from February 17. I was born in an IFB pastor's home and like you was a PK then an MK. I spent 57 years as an IFB.
      I read many of your blog posts and watched your youtube posts. I am sorry for the pain and suffering you have experienced, and am glad for the healing and growth you are now experiencing. I do hope you remember that you still face the risk of bitterness and/or entrapment in what you call the "Land of And", the land between Love and Hate.
      As you acknowledge, God is your "Daddy" and He loves you with a measureless and unconditional love. His desire for you is to dwell in the Land of Love. To live a life filled with the hope and assurance that you are unconditionally and perfectly loved.
      Then, He desires for you to be totally and completely filled with a new nature and "character" (a word you used in your youtube video). That nature is the very nature of God Himself in Christ. It is a nature that is totally honest and loving: loving to the point of being able to love and be filled with compassion for flawed, sinful, corrupt people. This is what Christ teaches us to do. To love your neighbour as your self, even if your neighbour is your worst enemy.
      We find flawed, corrupt, sinful people everywhere we look: including when we look in the mirror. They are in IFB churches, they are IFB pastors & missionaries; they are even family. But, they are also in every other church, denomination, and family.
      I thank God that by the grace He has given me, I can look at my IFB brothers and sisters in Christ with all of their faults and flaws, and even the hypocrites and false Christians and love them. My heart aches for the pain many suffer, for the confusion and dissillusionment many experience, as well as for the false sense of spirituality and well being that many have.
      However, I must say the same for people in Southern Baptist churches, ABA churches, Mennonite churches (I now pastor a Mennonite Anabaptist church), Pentacostal churches, etc. You see, our goal, our focus, our life, and our hope, is Christ alone. It is not a church, a denomination, or a movement. Again I say, it is Christ alone, and in Christ alone I can love anyone and everyone.

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  86. Wow. I shouldn't have been surprised to see the amount of comments but I was. Too many to read them all. As a result this may be repetitive. I've been in IFB church (sort of) since I was converted in the late 80's. One of the things that has stood out to me is the variations within the "movement." There are IFB churches that I wouldn't think of attending because of the their push on externals and the pride, etc mentioned in the article above. But there are still some of us who, in my opinion, are doing their best to love our Lord and follow His command to love and make disciples of others without considering ourselves superior. One of the best things I ever did was to question everything I had been taught. I tried to find the Bible explanation and, unfortunately, it wasn't there for some of my beliefs. God's Word needed to win and my "opinions" and "standards" needed to take a back seat. Some may be offended at this but even the KJV argument isn't based on our Bible. I can respect and fellowship with others who hold to a different position, whether or not I would practice it in my own church. Now I'm just spouting. My desire is for the people of my church to actively reaching people within their circle of influence, sharing the Gospel, seeing them come to Christ and growing. If the Lord has their allegiance, the standards He desires will follow. They aren't what makes them spiritual.
    I also agree with some of the comments I saw regarding the preaching. Often it's a mile wide and an inch deep. The best preachers are the ones with the best illustrations who can perform the best. It's just sad. How about getting away from a performance and trying to just give "thus saith the Lord?" I personally go through book studies. Eventually, I'll have given the whole counsel of God.
    Thanks for the article. Some will fuss but you're on the right track.

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  87. An independent Baptist Missionary (24 years in Romania) has posted a site "The Layman's Biblical Handbook." More than 200 doctrines at http://www.thelaymansbiblicalhandbook.com/
    G. M. Matheny

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  88. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  89. Sadly, sadly, in my only a few years association with an IFB church my family saw all three points in operation. That church is nearly dead now having shed members in droves during and in the wake of a scandal.

    Happily, we found another IFB church that is vibrant and reaching out to the lost.

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  90. Sadly, sadly, in my only a few years association with an IFB church my family saw all three points in operation. That church is nearly dead now having shed members in droves during and in the wake of a scandal.

    Happily, we found another IFB church that is vibrant and reaching out to the lost.

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  91. "Can we ask God for a humbling?"

    The humbling is here. That's what is happening now. It's the hand of God.

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  92. For your consideration.

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  93. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  94. JUST LIKE THE SOUTHERN BAPTIST (16,000,000) THE INDEPENDENT BAPTIST NEED TO LEARN HOW TO PRESENT THE GOSPEL AND HOW WAIT ON GOD TO GIVE THE INCREASE INSTEAD OF TRYING TO TALK SOMEONE IN BECOMING A CHRISTIAN...AND WE NEED TO QUIT TRYING TO COUNT THOSE WHO GET SAVED, WE DO NOT KNOW WHO GETS SAVED AND WHO DOES NOT.....WE MUST HUMBLE OURSELVES....DO NOT BE SHOCKED, BILLY GRAHAM DID NOT KNOW HOW TO PRESENT THE GOSPEL EITHER, NOR JOHN MACARTHUR AND OTHERS....WE MUST STUDY THE SCRIPTURES, AND FOLLOWING JESUS AND PAUL AND OTHER GREAT SOUL WINNERS.....JESUS TOLD THE PHARISEES AND RELIGIOUS CROWD IN HIS DAY...REPENT THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS AT HAND.....IN THIS SCRIPTURE THAT SO MANY PEOPLE TWIST AND RIP OUT OF CONTEXT .....WE FIND THAT JESUS IS NOT SAYING TO CLEAN YOURSELF UP, GET RID OF YOUR SINS....REMEMBER THE CROWD WAS VERY RELIGIOUS JESUS WAS SPEAKING TO...HE WAS SAYING TO THEM....YOU ARE BELIEVING THE WRONG WAY IN TRYING TO WORSHIP GOD....I THE SON OF GOD IS HERE, BELIEVE I AM WHO I SAY I AM AND I AM THE LAMB OF GOD TO BE SACRIFICED AND PAY FOR YOUR SINS....BELIEVE ON ME....YOU SEE GOD WAS AFTER THEIR FAITH....FAITH IN HIM....WHOSOEVER BELIEVETH IN HIM SHALL NOT PERISH BUT HAVE EVERLASTING LIFE.....JOHN 3:16
    YES REPENT....BELIEVE ON ME...I AM THE WAY....THE ONLY WAY TO GOD....
    ...SO IN PRESENTING THE GOSPEL, WHAT THE HOLY SPIRIT WANTS IS FOR THE LOST SOUL TO BELIEVE ON JESUS WHO DIED AND WAS BURIED AND AROSE THE THIRD DAY TO PAY FOR THE SIN OF THE WORLD....ONE PRECIOUS YOUNG LADY, A MORMON WAS SAVED AS I READ JOHN 3:16 THRU THE SCREEN DOOR....HER HEAD DROPPED AND TEARS FLOWED, SHE SAID I NEVER HEARD THAT BEFORE.....SOME AFTER HEARING THE GOSPEL WILL ALSO COME TO CHURCH AND GET SAVED....THE ONE WHO PRESENTS THE GOSPEL TO THEM WILL ALWAYS BE LOVED BY THEM....

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  95. JUST LIKE THE SOUTHERN BAPTIST (16,000,000) THE INDEPENDENT BAPTIST NEED TO LEARN HOW TO PRESENT THE GOSPEL AND HOW WAIT ON GOD TO GIVE THE INCREASE INSTEAD OF TRYING TO TALK SOMEONE IN BECOMING A CHRISTIAN...AND WE NEED TO QUIT TRYING TO COUNT THOSE WHO GET SAVED, WE DO NOT KNOW WHO GETS SAVED AND WHO DOES NOT.....WE MUST HUMBLE OURSELVES....DO NOT BE SHOCKED, BILLY GRAHAM DID NOT KNOW HOW TO PRESENT THE GOSPEL EITHER, NOR JOHN MACARTHUR AND OTHERS....WE MUST STUDY THE SCRIPTURES, AND FOLLOWING JESUS AND PAUL AND OTHER GREAT SOUL WINNERS.....JESUS TOLD THE PHARISEES AND RELIGIOUS CROWD IN HIS DAY...REPENT THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS AT HAND.....IN THIS SCRIPTURE THAT SO MANY PEOPLE TWIST AND RIP OUT OF CONTEXT .....WE FIND THAT JESUS IS NOT SAYING TO CLEAN YOURSELF UP, GET RID OF YOUR SINS....REMEMBER THE CROWD WAS VERY RELIGIOUS JESUS WAS SPEAKING TO...HE WAS SAYING TO THEM....YOU ARE BELIEVING THE WRONG WAY IN TRYING TO WORSHIP GOD....I THE SON OF GOD IS HERE, BELIEVE I AM WHO I SAY I AM AND I AM THE LAMB OF GOD TO BE SACRIFICED AND PAY FOR YOUR SINS....BELIEVE ON ME....YOU SEE GOD WAS AFTER THEIR FAITH....FAITH IN HIM....WHOSOEVER BELIEVETH IN HIM SHALL NOT PERISH BUT HAVE EVERLASTING LIFE.....JOHN 3:16
    YES REPENT....BELIEVE ON ME...I AM THE WAY....THE ONLY WAY TO GOD....
    ...SO IN PRESENTING THE GOSPEL, WHAT THE HOLY SPIRIT WANTS IS FOR THE LOST SOUL TO BELIEVE ON JESUS WHO DIED AND WAS BURIED AND AROSE THE THIRD DAY TO PAY FOR THE SIN OF THE WORLD....ONE PRECIOUS YOUNG LADY, A MORMON WAS SAVED AS I READ JOHN 3:16 THRU THE SCREEN DOOR....HER HEAD DROPPED AND TEARS FLOWED, SHE SAID I NEVER HEARD THAT BEFORE.....SOME AFTER HEARING THE GOSPEL WILL ALSO COME TO CHURCH AND GET SAVED....THE ONE WHO PRESENTS THE GOSPEL TO THEM WILL ALWAYS BE LOVED BY THEM....

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  96. I have been searching for answers about this very topic. I have attended a conservative IFB church since I was a young kid. (Around 18 years total). Now being ready to step out as an adult I am thinking very hard about leaving it. I see love for the lost sinner, but hatred for those "Other Christian's" that we think dont know any better. It's really sad. Even people in the church are the same way towards each other. If they feel you aren't measuring up to the correct standards you are looked down on. Oh the pride we have overlooked and neglected. Thankyou for a very honest, humble approach to the issue that most are too proud to talk about. Galatians chapter 6:10 I believe it was, stuck out to me. Which talks about "doing good unto all men, Especially those of the faith."

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