An Honest Question for Fundamentalists Baptists of Good Will

Discussion in 'Fundamental Baptist Forum' started by Rhetorician, Mar 27, 2015.

  1. Rhetorician

    Rhetorician
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    Shalom to all who believe in, love, serve, and follow our Lovely Lord Christ:

    I have not kept up with the BB for quite a while. I just drop in occasionally to check on what is going on in the College/Seminary section. Having said that I would like to put an honest question to the crew from one who was raised in the Fundamentalists/SBC combined camp. Please do not flame me but give the question(s) an objective hearing! :thumbs:

    I have been blessed to study in many different venues and traditions other than my own. I have been blessed to be in the classroom as a teacher at a small Baptist professional college now for 17 years. I was reared under a "Bob Jones man" pastor on the fringes of the SBC, but more mainline Independent Fundamentalist Baptist than SBC. I was a Bus Pastor/children's church worker for several years. I am a proud graduate of Mid America Baptist Theological Seminary. I have over 30 years in ministry.

    I could go on and on with my CV but that is not the reason why I tell you of my pedigree. I relate all of this to let you know that, even though they are anecdotal perspectives, my perspectives are worth something (if only to me LOL!!! :smilewinkgrin:). So I like to think I have the credentials from several different directions to ask hard questions of the brotherhood (and incidentally of myself as well!)! I am not a Pharisee with a "sin list" "checking once and checking it twice" to see who has been naughty and nice. I am not looking down my nose at anyone (at least not intentionally!!!).

    My question is simple and straightforward: Is the Independent Fundamentalist Baptist "movement" dead? I could recited many an issue that has transpired over the past 30-40 years that could be used as evidence to support the question. But turnabout is fair play, I will not "flame you" as I have requested that courtesy of you. If you are objective (or at least seeking to be?), you know your history better than I as I have become somewhat of an outsider.

    And I do know that this is a very, very subjective topic. It is also a extremely sensitive one. So please try to put away some biases and prejudices (as I will also try to do) and look at yourself through those lenses as much as possible.

    My thoughts!!! :type:

    Yours?

    sdg :smilewinkgrin:

    rd
     
  2. Squire Robertsson

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    The short word answer is no. The IFB movement is alive and well. Though you need to realize the movement is larger and more diverse than the Jack Hyles\Sword of the Lord segment. The Fundamental Baptist Fellowship International and the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches are alive and well, Though, I can't speak to the BBF (and its kin) segements.
     
  3. John of Japan

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    Hi, Rhet. It's been awhile.

    I agree with Squire. Hopefully next week sometime I'll be able to give more details. But here is my view.

    1. There are almost 14,000 IFB churches in the US according to a recent survey. This number is increasing because of several church planting movements. Fundamentalists have become quite sophisticated in their approach to church planting.
    2. The movement has localized in its approach to Bible college, which explains the decrease in student body at BJU and some other schools. In other words, many small local colleges have sprung up.
    3. The movement has globalized. My own former mission board has grown steadily since the 1970s when I joined as missionary #32, so that now there are about 350. Many other IFB boards have also grown, so that now there are 1000s of fundamental churches around the globe not usually considered in evaluations of the movement.
    4. The movement remains strong in its approach to ecclesiastical separation, which explains the demise of such schools as Northland, Tennessee Temple and Calvary Baptist Theological Seminary.
     
  4. Squire Robertsson

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    Regarding #2 above:
    Add Maranatha Baptist's online studies to the mix.

    Regarding #3 above:
    Fast growing segments of the FBFI are its Carribean and Far East East Regional Fellowships. Both are effectively under non-missionary leadership.
     
  5. go2church

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    As a former fundamentalist, I would say the movement is dying. That isn't any different than any other christian group in the United States.

    Lots of reasons, relevance, tendacies to splinter and split and general change in society as a whole toward things christian.

    Don't think it will ever die completely, there always will be a stream of people that are bent toward the comforts fundamentalism provides, but it will move further and further to fringes of both societial and church culture.
     
  6. Revmitchell

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    None of this is true.
     
  7. matt wade

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    None of that is true.
     
  8. Squire Robertsson

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    One problem with the negative remarks above is there are older (founded in the 19th century) Baptist churches which were founded without the support of either the Northern Baptist or Southern Baptist Home Missionary Societies. Further, today there are churches being planted and/or daugthered off on a daily basis.

    Now will the movement ever come to have the size or influence of the SBC, no. But, I don't know of many that have that as a goal.
     
  9. go2church

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    Do tell? I know it's not your normal link to someone else's article, "that's not true" pattern, but this is a discussion forum after all.
     
  10. Squire Robertsson

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    G2C:
    How about addressing mine and JoJ's comments?
     
  11. Rhetorician

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    Rhetorician Response

    Did not mean to get a harangue started by any means. But from my perspective it seems as if the movement and its influence is not where I am.

    But one thing I have noticed, the younger guns are more Calvinistic and more what I see as centered in the Gospel that some of the older generation was. Some of those guys were Arminian to the core except for the once saved always saved doctrine. But again I travel in a small circle and perspectives are not always good, just always our own.

    Are they not?

    Thanks for the update and lessons and with the gentlemanly manner with which you have spoken.

    Other thought?

    rd :thumbsup:
     
  12. go2church

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    Your experience of growth was not my experience. The discussion was about drawing a line in the proverbial sand and maintaining "the old paths", not becoming a church singing seven eleven songs, upholding "standards" and refusing to compromise with the world.

    There was absolutely talk and effort to plant new churches but most efforts I saw were attempts at replicating an existing (usually sending church) church. Most of the successful ones I saw were those that "hid" their fundamentalist roots.

    These issues, though specifically directed toward fundamentalism, could be directed to other evangelical groups with a slight tweek here or there. The evangelical voice in America is being pushed from its long held position of influence within the culture and all churches are feeling the squeeze. The sooner we accept that, the better. Once off the perch we can once again embrace the Gospel as the counterculture salt and light it was always meant to be.

    Yes, what we knew is dying but that's not a bad thing.
     
  13. Squire Robertsson

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    What you maybe\are seeing is only one segment of IFBdom. This circles John and I fellowship with is quite another animal (as they say). I would add the healthy segments of IFBdom are still in the spiritual war. But, we are seeking to refight past battles that have been won or lost.
     
    #13 Squire Robertsson, Mar 27, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 27, 2015
  14. Squire Robertsson

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    I should add that those men who insist on putting Fundamentalism into chronological and cultural cement overshoes will find themselves increasingly marginalized.
     
  15. Salty

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    But then again - how do you categorized fundamentalists?
    Some would say the GARBC is too liberal nowadays to be Fundamentalists.....
     
  16. John of Japan

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    I was at a GARBC seminary last August, and they were self-identified fundamentalists.
     
  17. John of Japan

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    If the IFB movement is dying, the figures don't show it.

    According to a 2008 survey, there are 13,719 IFB churches in America (Church Still Works, by Paul Chappell and Clayton Reed, p. 15). This number is growing yearly. The average IFB church has 180 different attendees sometime during the week (ibid).

    Now, as I indicated above, the IFB movement is increasing globally. (Info in this paragraph: ibid, pp. 28-30). In 2008 there were 4,876 IFB missionaries serving in other countries. Compare to only 3,898 SBC missionaries (this does not count home missions). Included in the SBC number are educators and administrative personel, but IFB missions rarely have such, being usually devoted strictly to evangelism and church planting. (Note that there are almost 3 times the number of SBC churches in the US as there are IFB churches.) Average giving per IFB church to missions was $13,295.98, compared to only $4,426 per SBC church.

    Admittedly, church planting in the US has decreased marginally, but there were still 2,744 new IFB churches started in the period of 1990-2008 (ibid, p. 28). If the movement were dying, this certainly would not be happening! My wife and I personally support young friends on deputation to start churches in New England.

    There are many church planting efforts in the movement to this day. One center for this is Fairfax Baptist Temple in Fairfax, VA, a church I know well. They support church planting missionaries, plant churches themselves in the area from the main church, have a conference on it every year, and support COEBA, which is a church planting movement by IFB black pastors (http://www.ourcrossroads.org/coeba).

    Having said that, the main IFB church planting efforts are taking place overseas, which is why the typical Baptist in the US is not aware of it. IFB churches overseas are even sending out national missionaries to other countries. I've personally ministered with a Japanese medical missionary to a Muslim country where a church planting movement is taking place. Again, our church supports and actually participates (by sending soul winners and evangelists) in a church planting movement in an African country. The IFB national pastors there are essentially leading the movement, with the American missionaries and visiting evangelists being the facilitators.

    I certainly hope that this information proves conclusively that the IFB movement is alive and thriving. If this thesis remains unproven in the eyes of someone, then I have no idea how it could be proven.
     
    #17 John of Japan, Mar 30, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 30, 2015
  18. John of Japan

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    I know the Japanese leader of the Far East FBF. He's a good man.
     
  19. Rhetorician

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    Rhetorician Response

    Just the answer I was looking to hear. Proved it to me and changed my limited perspective.

    PTL!!

    Thanks old bro! :wavey:

    rd
     

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