The future of the Independent Baptist movement? What do we need to address?

Discussion in '2006 Archive' started by Spoudazo, Jul 2, 2006.

  1. Spoudazo

    Spoudazo
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    I'm concerned for the IFB movement as a whole. Perhaps if we can pin point issues we can, by God's grace, address them ASAP. Here are some that I have seen,
    • Lack of education: I realize that education isn't everything. No man needs a certain amount of letters after or before his name in order to be a man of God. However, it has alarmed me when sometimes I ask a pastor about a certain subject, such as the history of the Bible, or the text of the Bible, and he is rather unsure of what I speak. However, wisdom must go along, hand-in-hand with education/knowledge. A lot of educated men stand behind pulpits yet they have no power with God nor is there any conviction in their church.
    • Merciful: my grandmother is a prayer warrior, and has always tried to serve the Lord. Before she was saved, she had to leave her first husband because he was rather perverted and cheated on her many times. After she was saved, she sang in the choir at ________ Baptist Church (I could name it, and the majority of you would know of it). Several people (I think deacons) wanted to get her out of the choir because she had been divorced. The late pastor didn't want to, but apparently gave in to his unruly deacons. She shortly thereafter left the church and joined another local fellowship.
    • Honesty: there are so many churches that I have been at and their are all types of sins, problems, divisions, etc. that are rampant in the church yet the church just tries once and once again to dodge the elephant in the room. I realize that wisdom is (once again) necessary in these situations. Sometimes an issue of the church just needs to be addressed at the footstool of God, and not spread around the congreation, causing nothing but back-biting.
    • Prayer: Yes, we have all kinds of "prayer warriors" (nominal prayer warriors, however) in our churches, yet nothing is getting done. My church a few years ago started having all-night prayer services before revivals, and since then, over 60% of our church has been saved. I don't mean made professions, I mean changed for the better.
    • Music: I usually listen to Chrsitian radio or talk/news radio. Sometimes I get sick by the "country music" or bar-room sounds I hear. Whether it be the Mckameys who sound like their competing to see who can be the loudest or whether it be the ungodly Gaithers, who don't separate from open lesbians (you could usually find a picture of this "Christian" lesbian and her "wife" (?) posing with Mark Laury or Mr. Gaither, but they may have removed it, as I don't see it here. However, my pastor does have a print out of it at my church in case someone wants to see it, http://www.balmministries.com/index.htm) and also when they will not remove themselves from concerts done with a man (T.D. Jakes) that does not believe in the Trinity, but rather believes in the heresy of Modalism/Sabellianism (a modified form of it), then they need to repent. All I have to say about this is 1 John 2:20. For more about Modalism, or similar heresies, here is a helpful article, http://aomin.org/PCD.html
    Well, these are just a few things, but it's late and I need to go to bed. Been at the hospital with my grandma the past few days, and just found out my sister and her husband had a miscarriage, so it's been a long weekend.

    God bless,
     
    #1 Spoudazo, Jul 2, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 2, 2006
  2. bapmom

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    your second and third point almost seem to contradict each other.........but I guess they only would if practiced without wisdom and discretion.

    IFBs are often criticized for being unmerciful, yet on the other hand they are criticized for being too accepting of sinners. :confused:


    I mean in your example the church addressed an issue that they felt important, and the lady left their church over it. I might not agree with them, but they believe that people in choir are a part of the leadership, and they believe any divorce disqualifies any person from any leadership.


    There's really no way I can see to address any of these issues as a whole for IFBs. Because we are independent of each other. Church A might have a problem, but that doesn't trickle on over to Church B, C, and D, because Church A isn't over them. The same would be true of a "solution."

    I truly don't think that any of those problems you listed are unique to the IFB movement. I think perhaps we've just got more vocal minorities than other groups do.

    "Lack of education" is due in part, I believe, to the fact that many of our IFB colleges are still relatively young. They have to be allowed time to make a name for themselves. There's going to be pastors here and there in any group who don't know some things you think they ought to know. But don't we have to give them a chance to take your question and go study over it? Pastors aren't supposed to automatically know everything as soon as they are ordained, they are supposed to live a life of learning......it's a process.


    Perhaps evangelistic teaching is the only way to address this concern of yours, Spoudazo.
     
  3. J.D.

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    I think your first point is the key. My experience (20 + years IFB) has been that IFB pastors are practically anti-education. The idea seems to be that a bible college degree is the final arrival point in knowledge, and parroting the bible college's patron saint is the indisputable truth. Although we're "independent", independent thinking is discouraged. And boy don't you ever use "big" words (more than two syllables).
     
  4. USMC71

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    Education is a problem within all ranks and denominations, not just IFB. I graduated from an unaccredited school, with a four year (diploma) and am studying regularly. The degree or diploma does not mark a man for success or failure. Even those who earn their Thd, Phd , M Div are in a process of learning and studying after graduation.
    The problems within the IFB movemen are no different than SBC. The rate of IFB churches that close down or have pastor transfers, probably is not too far off than SBC. Does anyone have those stats?
     
  5. USMC71

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    Your point of view is very different than mine. I have been an IBF since I was saved 11 years ago. Each pastor I know has always encouraged me to pursue a proper education and challenge myself under teaching.

    Lets see, I was saved under the ministry of an IFB missionary in Japan, called to preach under that same missionary. Answered the call to Sri Lanka as a missionary under my pastor. I was challenged every service through Expository Preaching. Taught for four years by godly men who poured their life into me.
    I am not sure if I remember if they used one or two syllable words or not. But, I do remember God working through each of those men as they help prepare me or what I am now doing, and God is blessing in a wonderful way.
    No amount of training and no amount of two syllable words can prepare you for ministry in a third world country that does not have the Gospel. Buy the way, you come over here and use your big two syllable words, most will look at you like a baby calf coming out of a new gate. Most do not have an education past sixth grade. Preach it and teach it simply.

    I do realize that with an educated congregation, ministry appraoch in terms of relaying the message will be at a different level. But, not here in the villages of Sri Lanka. It will take years to see an Indigenous church organized with a qualifed pastor. May the Holy Sprit teach us to minister to those we minister to.
     
  6. Spoudazo

    Spoudazo
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    If a church doesn't allow a member to sing in the choir because they were divorced (and this being before she was saved, in this example) then they shouldn't use a Scofield Bible because Scofield was divorced! :type: I'm sure many of us have met or heard preachers that almost imply God inspired Scofield to make his study Bible.
     
  7. J.D.

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    Hello Spoudazo, one of the reasons I didn't mention this item on my previous post is that this seems to be an isolated case to me. I would agree that it is phariseesm at its worse.

    I know there are certain IFB "camps" that focus on divorce and make it the unpardonable sin. Some of it is just REACTION, not DOCTRINE. They think they have to be "strong" on divorce because other aren't, as they see it. I know of one pastor in South Carolina that forbids divorced people to even be church members. They can come, but they can't join.

    I've been in churches on each extreme. If I had to choose and extreme, believe it or not I would choose the anti-divorce extreme, because the one church I was in the Pastor's wife divorced the Pastor and suddenly divorce was not only forgivable, but became fashionable, and before it was all cleaned up several couples divorced that before would have never considered the option. I didn't hang around for the end - I got me and my family out of there quick.
     
  8. Squire Robertsson

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    Some random thoughts from the West Coast

    1. Remember the description Independent (Fundamental) Baptist describes (borrowing a term from astronomy) a galaxy of various sectors and planetary systems.
    2. Some sectors of this galaxy are healthier than others.
    3. God is still on the throne. He will be the ultimate judge of who is faithful.
    4. Yes, there are many sectors which elevate CAT3 Truths (what to do about divorce seems to be today's touchstone) with CAT1 or 2. IMHO, such will salami slice themselves into oblivion.
    5. It's also a matter of balance in teaching.
    6. There are two primary streams of DNA amoung the IFB; those men and churches who came out of the Northern Baptist Convention (typified by the GARBC or FBFI) and those who came out of the SBC (typified by BBFI, Southwide, et al.). Though as I think about it I have to add those men and churches coming out of BJU.
    Keith
     
  9. Mexdeaf

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    I would think that PCC would be another division. Of course we can 'salami slice' this stuff also.
     
  10. Squire Robertsson

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    I agree on PCC. Though I was writing from my own experience. I haven't met any PCC grads out here in NorCal.
     
  11. Mexdeaf

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    Spoudazo,

    IMO IBF needs to stop separating over non-essentials. Back in the 70's (probably the greatest days of the IFB movement) when I came into the IBF movement IFB preachers knew how to get along (at least in the South) even if they didn't necessarily agree on every little thing. SCHOLARSHIP and INDEPENDENCE were respected and encouraged. A man could quote from a reliable version other than the KJV and not be called a 'Bible corrector'. An IFB pastor could have a SBC (who believed in inerrancy, of course) in to preach and not be wrote up in 'The Sword of the Lord' for doing so.

    Sadly it seems those days are long gone. And not for the better.

    Now (thanks in part to the internet and computers) there is less and less 'independence' amongst IFB's and more and more gossip, spite, and rencor. (To wit- David Cloud).

    I am no fan of a lot of stuff going on in our churches nowadays (CCM, PK, PDC, PDL, etc.) But I grew up the day that I discovered that God could actually use someone who didn't cross their t's and dot their i's exactly like I do. It's not like I seek out their fellowship but I don't reject it offhand either.

    That's my take.
     
  12. Mexdeaf

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    I will have some sent your way soon. :smilewinkgrin::laugh:

    Actually my bro. in law went there and he turned out okay. My son is considering going there also.
     
  13. Spoudazo

    Spoudazo
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    I have been to PCC and met several graduates. I'd just be carefuly, when I was at PCC, it seemed more like a circus and pseudo-intellectual institute than how it was advertised. While I was at BJU, there are of course a lot of lost students (I say "of course" because it's a big university, and there are a lot of various beliefs represented). Sure, a lot of the students had been taught well, but never knew first hand what a relationship with Christ is. On the other hand, there were some good, God-fearing students who showed the fruit of the Spirit in their life and decisions.

    As it is with any school, a school won't make you better or worse. I have been at a conservative Bible college, and we even had 2 or 3 students leave their dorms at night and visit the local strip club and drink. They were kicked out of course. At Bob Jones there was at least one gay student, and he was removed from the school in just a few hours of it being made known.

    But I need to stop, I'm just rambling now. :laugh:
     
  14. MRCoon

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    I wholeheartedly disagree with nearly all of much of what has been said here.
    1. Education: What a joke?! Go fulfill the Great Commission and stop worry about how to argue theology. Most people could careless about a person's stand on Calvinism or Armianism and most could not discuss it themselves...those who can are not more spiritual or knowledgable in theology. Give the church a solid, separated worker trying to win souls and you'll see the same (and dare I say more) production than any other person with degrees. Now I believe in education especially in today's society but degrees don't equal wisdom or knowledge just different exposure to different information.
    2. Divorce: This is becoming more and more of an issue with today's churches. And if a church leadership takes a certain stand on divorce then so be it...if you disagree then quietly leave. As someone said earlier I would rather see a church err on the side of being to conservative than liberal on this subject. IMHO I think a divorced person can sing in a choir, teach Sunday School, be an Usher, but not stand in the pulpit at all to preach, sing, or any other perceived leadership position.
    3. Honesty: This is a lie we don't want honesty in today's society because the more honest a church is about sin the more it is branded as unkind and hateful. A church needs to be balanced and like Jesus we need to temper our painful honesty with love. I do agree that more Pastor's need to stop sugarcoating sin and need to preach the whole Bible!
    4. Prayer: This is an individual responsibility and trait that a church/pastor need to encourage and train in more. But having meetings means nothing unless the individuals have made it personal. By the way did you say 60% of your church got saved after you started prayer meetings? What was the change? The preaching? The preacher? This seems to be a real blessings and miracle but on the other hand very sad for a church to have over half it's members unsaved...this may have had more of an impact than prayer or lack of prayer?!
    5. I totally agree that MUSIC is a big issue in today's churches. We have allowed so many worldly influences into our churches via our music. The other big area of worldly influence is our youth Ministries. We try to make our ministries more relevant by compromising with our music and youth....this is to the shame of many many churches.
     
  15. Spoudazo

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    Well, around here in the South, since I was a kid I have been members of several Southern Baptist and one Independent Baptist church.

    Looking back, I'd say several of the churches I was at, I wouldn't be surprised if 70-80% of the church is lost.

    From the Lord's parables, we can see that roughly only 1/4 of professing Christians. . .are truly Christians.

    Also, it's not "pretty sad," it's just amazing how God is able to work. This whole "forget education, get on the mission field" is one of the most horrid teachings and is why the indepdent movement has such a high "turn over" rate with missionaries.
     
  16. MRCoon

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    I never said this or implied this.

    For the record we are to do the Great Commission according to Acts 1:8 and is to first be an outreach at home before sending out missionaries.

    I also never implied that education should be forgotten but the focus should not be on theology or seeking book knowledge but on winning souls. Having the ability to "discuss" or "argue" does not qualify one as more spiritual or a better Christian. If ones education is used to win more souls than outstanding but if ones education does not accomplish the mission as established by Christ himself...waht good is that education? Too often we focus on one's education or lack of and fail to see the important things...such as winning souls! What was Christ's education? What education requirements did Christ have for apostles? Now I'm not saying we should ignore education but we also should not make it a prerequiste for the a person to be a preacher.
     
  17. bapmom

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    Spoudazo,

    you've made several statements along the lines of how you believe over half of these churches are unsaved people. Why do you think that? Is it because the people are struggling with sin? I daresay that 100% of the people in our churches are struggling with sin....its just you only know the struggles of the more transparent people.

    That passage about some who are calling Him Lord, and the Lord says He never knew them, that's talking about people who are trusting in their good works to get them access to God. It's not talking about people who have sin in their life....


    Each church is different. Here in Milwaukee I attend an inner-city church. The people here struggle with some things more openly than those people in the rural or suburban churches. Yet are we less saved than those others? No.

    One good thing Ive seen in IFB is that it has opened many of us up to the realization that just because a person doesn't look exactly like we do does not mean that they aren't right with God.......

    Being Independent means we fellowship with all sorts of people....we get exposed to many different things. While the preaching may sound intolerant, for the most part the people and the one-on-one meetings are very cordial.
     
  18. IronWill

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    I can agree with much of what's been said here. I grew up in an IFB church, and my dad was an IFB assistant pastor. I attended two IFB colleges, which were really nothing more than glorified Sunday School classes. IFB's need to go ahead and get some colleges accredited(Piedmont has accreditation, and is IFB), and teach real classes. I've met many IFB pastors, who although they have an "education," they don't know much of anything about good doctrine, spelling, false religions, or history(particularly of Bible times).
    Also, IFB's really need to stop separating from everybody over non-essentials. I've seen IFB's separate from people over things like the KJV issue, closed vs close communion, The Sword vs Revival Fires, skirts vs pants, their favorite preacher or college. There is no Biblical reason for separating over non-essentials.
    Also, IFB churches need to have more involvement with eachother. The church I grew up in, the only time we 'fellowshipped' with other IFB churches was when our high school basketball team played against theirs.
     
  19. bapmom

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    Ya'all can sit and complain about IFBdom and it really will get no one anywhere helpful. Most IFB pastors are not coming in here to find out what their gameplan ought to be.

    Those who start IFB churches, or those young preachers coming up now, just want to get out there and start churches that will bring people to Christ. You don't have to have an indepth knowledge of 2000 years of church history in order to do that. That sort of study can be done through a lifetime of learning. It's only in the USA that such a huge emphasis is placed on education BEFORE the start of ministry. On foreign mission fields 2 years of Bible INstitute study is enough for a young man to get out there and start a village church. Why? Because he's spreading the gospel.......that's the first and foremost. The other things can be learned along with the people as we grow together.

    So the idea isn't that IFBs are against education.....its that we are against postponing church planting in order to get all this education.

    You might not like it that some churches separate over what seem to you to be minor issues. To those churches they are apparently NOT minor issues........ That's why they are independent, because they believe they ought to be able to pick who they fellowship with as a church.
     
  20. J.D.

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    Since a polite reply didn't get the job done, I'm going to ratchet the discussion up a notch and get the old IFB irish blood flowing.

    The anti-education/intillectual/seminary attitude of too many IFB's is the reason the average IFB pastor is steeped in blissful ignorance and can't hold members that progress in their own education beyond paying tithes, never miss church, and the preacher's own preferences. So there, I said it and I ain't takin it back! (sticks tongue out for emphasis).
     

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