BBFI and Fundamentalism

Discussion in '2006 Archive' started by sovgrace79, Feb 16, 2006.

  1. sovgrace79

    sovgrace79
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    I have had a question nagging at me for some time and was wondering if some of those in this forum can help.

    Question: Why is it that in certain surveys (such as the SharperIron Young Fundamentalist survey) and general discussions, when it comes to schools and groups that Fundamentalism has come from, the BBFI is usually not mentioned (at least it appears this way to me). They are considered fundamentalists, right?

    I do not have involvement with them anymore, and I'm just wondering why I see lots of discussion on schools like BJU, Pillsbury, Faith Baptist Bible College in Ankeny, etc, and organizations like GARBC, SBC, and others mentioned, but not BBFI.

    Does the BBFI tend to keep to themselves and not fellowship with other groups? I'm just trying to gain some perspective as to why there are not many involved in the BBFI that post on this or other boards.
     
  2. KeithS

    KeithS
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    I'm going to go out on a limb here. I was saved back in the early 80's in a BBFI church. I was in high school at the time. During my time at that church I never heard of the BBFI. Well...perhaps I did remotely, but never in any overt manner. My pastor had been president of the BBFI serveral times and served as a trustee at one of their colleges in Springfield multiple times. The BBFI was never an issue.

    I currently attend another BBFI chruch in Springfield - one of the larger Fellowship churches. I went to the local Bible College. The only time I hear about the Fellowship is during graduation. It just is not a big deal.

    I think that generally speaking BBFI pastors are a pretty independent lot - and they prefer it that way. That is not to say that at Fellowship meetings they can't be cantankerous - they probably are. They can also come together for certain projects - but this is usually limited to missions endeavors.

    From my personal experience the Fellowship is not mentioned from the pulpit and the lay church member is not aware of any such organization.
     
  3. KeithS

    KeithS
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    By the way - yes we do consider ourselves to be Fundamentalists. Since it is such a loose organization you will find churches that are rather too progressive and churches that are somewhat too legalistic (at least by my standards).

    And I have heard all too often about the Texas Hotel. :D
     
  4. sovgrace79

    sovgrace79
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    Thanks for your insights Keith. I went to a BBFI church for most of my life, and went to one of their schools. I guess I must have come across many pastors who were always putting in a plug to go to their schools, or attend their churches, etc.

    I should also say that growing up, my pastor was always encouraging people to go to BBC for college. My wife does not come from a BBFI background. In college, she introduced me to her pastor who fellowships with IBFNA and NRBFC. I was surprised at how many other groups are also fundamental Baptists.

    I know the BBFI considers themselves to be fundamentalists. I took the Baptist history class, and we learned about the other Baptist groups in fundamentalism, too. I guess I just find it strange online that many baptists I come across on online discussion boards are GARBC, FBF, etc., but not many BBFI.

    To be fair, the BBFI does have their own e-mail lists and such, and so maybe they choose to make use of those instead.

    Just some additional thoughts.
     
  5. shannonL

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    Some of the other fundamentalist baptist groups you mentioned do not associate with BBF folk due to the fact that alot of BBFI pastors etc... used to hold strongly to the baptist bride position.
    Our pastor is a big supporter of the BBFI yet he is not a baptist brider at all.
    So I think historically the bbfi. may have isolated itself from other fundamentalists due to the baptist bride issue.
    In the bbfi you will meet alot of different types of guys. Some are baptist bride, KJVO real legalistic etc... Others are real progressive if you want to use that term. Our church is pretty balanced I suppose? I dont' personally endorse not endorse the bbfi. Our pastor just happens to be associated with the fellowship.
    In my opinion IFB in general are to splintered as it is. It is ridiculous. Especially if your a missionary trying to raise support.
    There should be more cooperation between each of the IFB fellowships.
     
  6. KeithS

    KeithS
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    Fortunately I never ran across the Gung-ho Fellowship types nor the Baptist briders. Well...I did at school, but never attended these churches. I think the church one attends after salvation, that brings one up in the faith, probably sets the stage for the future.

    And I think that generally Fellowship churches do not associate with other groups simply because they tend to be very exclusive. They have taken the "independent" in IFB to an extreme. "If you ain't for us you're agin us."
     
  7. Mexdeaf

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    I don't think that is necessarily true. I think it is the other way around and the other groups select not to associate with the BBFI. But then I am a BBFI missionary, so I am probably a little baised. There are a few BBFI guys who fellowship with Southwide, some with the Sword group, some with the SBC and so on. So I don't think it is as exclusive as you think.

    Also there aren't really any 'fellowship churches'. The BBFI is a fellowship of pastors. That's why you see comments such as those above-
    "From my personal experience the Fellowship is not mentioned from the pulpit and the lay church member is not aware of any such organization."
     
  8. sovgrace79

    sovgrace79
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    I've actually observed both attitudes -- BBFI pastors not wanting to fellowship with other fellowships, and pastors in other fellowships not wanting to fellowship with BBFI pastors.

    There has been some discussion in the pastor's forums where people have given pros and cons of the BBFI. My intent in this thread is not to speak negatively about them.

    The BBFI is a large movement spanning the whole country. It would seem to me that there would be more people posting in these types of online forums.

    Mexdeaf, you raise an interesting point. Many who attend a church with a BBFI pastor may not consider themselves part of the fellowship. Even though it is a fellowship of pastors, there are plenty of times I've heard things like "Do you go to a BBF church?" I know that's not technically correct, but some guys are so pro-fellowship that the church they pastor does become a BBF church of sorts. (The one I went to had maybe 2 or 3 non-BBFI missionaries out of 50 or 60).

    Even though I'm not involved any more with them,
    I read the Tribune whenever I am over my parents' house. I still like to know what is going on, since I have many friends from school involved in pastoral and missions ministries.
     
  9. KeithS

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    Mexdeaf, technically you are correct. It is a Fellowship of Pastors. However, having been in Springfield since 1984 through countless Fellowship Weeks, meetings, school turnovers, etc. I rarely have found a pastor pushing that distinction. For instance, we all know that "the strong right arm of the Fellowship" is missions. So who gives to these missionaries? You know the answer - churches, not pastors. We publish a directory of Fellowship churches - not pastors.

    And I agree that some Fellowship churches (and pastors) do associate with other groups - but I am not sure how normative that is.

    And lets be honest, if the pastor is a BBFI pastor then the church is not going to be SBC, GARB, or something else.
     
  10. Mexdeaf

    Mexdeaf
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    KeithS,

    What you say I agree with for the most part. Every church I have been a member of has been associated with the BBFI to some degree, and although some of the pastors and staff graduated from the affiliated schools, some were more 'BBFI' than others.

    I guess I am trying to say, "You can be as 'BBFI' as you want to be." In the end that is pretty much the way it works out, right?
     
  11. MRCoon

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    It is interesting that most BBFI churches do in fact not know that they are considered a BBFI church. Because I would agree in my expereince that most of the BBFI fellwoships was focused around Pastors, Evangelists, or Missionaries. My last two churches were BBFI related as far as what other churches we assocaited with for our Church School and Youth group activities. Now my church is a Mission to Military church in Japan that has all BIMI missionaries so while we are an Independent Fundamental Baptist Church...you could call us a BIMI church if you wanted ;) Does either group or association affect my beliefs or my involvement in a church? No I tend to go to these churches because in that town they are the churches that are the closest to my personal beliefs and standards.
     
  12. jshurley04

    jshurley04
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    I disagree on several counts:
    1. Yes, it is a fellowship of pastors only. A laymen or deacon of a church cannot participate in any way other than simply attend the fellowship meetings. It is for pastors and run by pastors.

    2. Yes, the churches do give to the missions programs, but only as the congregation allows in each church. They do not partake in any cooperative programs, they support fellowship missionaries as a church, some will get support and others will not. It is the church that decides who they support.

    3. The directory of churches is published for the purpose of showing who is supporting fellowship missionairies. If your church does not support a missionary then you will not be in the directory no matter how many meetings your pastor attends.

    4. I know of several pastors who fellowship with the BBFI and support the works of the BBFI and are still listed as a SBC church and support the convention. It is a pastor thing and a church thing only in the sense that the church approves it.
     
  13. CompassionateConservative

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    From what limited bit I know, the answer is "no." BBF teamed up with the Southwide Baptist Fellowship and one other Fellowship from the West Coast a couple years ago and formed the International Baptist Network. The three fellowships met together in Chattanooga the year after I graduated Tennessee Temple there. Various articles on the subject have been printed in the Baptist Bible Tribune.
     
  14. KeithS

    KeithS
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    I disagree on several counts:
    1. Yes, it is a fellowship of pastors only. A laymen or deacon of a church cannot participate in any way other than simply attend the fellowship meetings. It is for pastors and run by pastors.


    I honestly have not been involved in other conventions or Baptist groups. Do any of them allow church laymen to participate? And whether you like it or not, it is the churches that support the school, the fellowship, the Tribune, and other projects - not the Pastors.

    2. Yes, the churches do give to the missions programs, but only as the congregation allows in each church. They do not partake in any cooperative programs, they support fellowship missionaries as a church, some will get support and others will not. It is the church that decides who they support.

    Agreed to a point. The churches do indeed support individual missions endeavors - some not related to the BBFI. But no cooperative programs??? The churches are certainly not required to send a stipend to the Fellowship for any kind of membership, but most ACTIVE churches support the college, graduate school, Tribune, etc. You know the ones who don't? Their pastors don't go to the meetings either - so they are not usually considered Fellowship churches (or pastors).

    3. The directory of churches is published for the purpose of showing who is supporting fellowship missionairies. If your church does not support a missionary then you will not be in the directory no matter how many meetings your pastor attends.

    Agreed.

    4. I know of several pastors who fellowship with the BBFI and support the works of the BBFI and are still listed as a SBC church and support the convention. It is a pastor thing and a church thing only in the sense that the church approves it.

    Agreed again. The Fellowship directory is sometimes not discriminating enough. I was aware at one time of a church being included in the directory that was decidedly un-Baptist.

    Now having said all that - I really think it is an issue of semantics. Bottom line to me - if the Pastor is footing the bill it can be called a Fellowship of Pastors. Since it is usually the church paying the expense for the Pastors to travel to Fellowship meetings, host meetings, provide monetary resources for common projects such as education, then it is a Fellowship of Churches.

    Also, from the BBFI's own web site:
    http://www.bbfi.org/structure/philosophy.htm

    Denominational-type control was rejected
    In the 1960 meeting at Grace Baptist Church of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, a new constitution for the BBFI was adopted that continued the organization as a fellowship of autonomous churches, pastors, evangelists and missionaries, not an ecclesiastical organization with centralized authority and control over local churches and ministers.

    So - no denominational control, but still a fellowship of churches.
     
  15. Squire Robertsson

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    I honestly have not been involved in other conventions or Baptist groups. Do any of them allow church laymen to participate? And whether you like it or not, it is the churches that support the school, the fellowship, the Tribune, and other projects - not the Pastors.SNIP</font>[/QUOTE]The Fundamental Baptist Fellowship International has an even looser membership. You pay your dues, agree to the Statement of Faith and you're in the directory. The FBFI board is self perpetuating so there's no danger of a floor fight taking over the organization. (There are other dangers that lurk off stage, just not that one.) So, like minded folks on either side of the pulpit can join the Fellowship. More particularly, there is no provision for "church" membership. The FBF's founding Fathers held an individual could join an organization outside of a local church. But, it was improper (and that's putting it nicely) for a local church to "belong" to any outside orgaization.
     
  16. jshurley04

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    Quote by Keith S
    Please read the articel that you have cited. " in 1975, it was revised slightly, limiting affiliation to pastors". So yes it is a fellowship of pastors. I know of churches that have been historically supportive of the fellowship but have brought in a pastor that wanted nothing to do with them and they no longer support the fellowship, infact, some are no longer even Baptist. Some even drop the fellowship missionaries. The churches only follow what the pastors request. If a pastor no long wants to support the fellowship, he does not and the church does as he leads.
     
  17. KeithS

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    jshurley04, I really think we are splitting hairs. It may indeed be a "fellowship of pastors" on paper but both historically and in reality the church is as the church does. Everyone I know considers the church to be a fellowship church. No one I know (except perhaps a pastor) has ever said that it is not a fellowship church, but just a fellowship pastor. You said yourself that the church is supporting the fellowship, not the pastor. That is my exact contention. To ask the question posed my church history class by Billy V. Bartlett - "If is looks like a rose and smells like a rose, but goes by a different name, is it still a rose?"

    Help me understand the difference in practice in the real world and I will start making the same distinction that the pastors try to make.
     

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