What is an Independent Baptist?

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by rlvaughn, Jun 25, 2001.

  1. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn
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    The webmaster posted a question on another topic, asking "How many independent Baptists?" This brings to mind another question, "What is an independent Baptist?" I would think that almost all Baptist churches would ultimately define themselves as independent. If one were to count independent Baptist churches, which churches would he count? All those that refer to themselves as independent? Only those that have no denominational affiliations at all? What criteria would you lay down to define an independent Baptist? WHAT IS AN INDEPENDENT BAPTIST?

    [ June 25, 2001: Message edited by: rlvaughn ]
     
  2. Ars

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    An Independent Baptist church, is not affiliated with any particular Baptist group* or denomination. Because of this they can support their own missionaries, select their own leaders, and support institutions that believe as they believe without the politics that often accompany denominationalism.

    This is a very generalized definition, but I think it fits most Independent Baptist churches.

    * see the Post by the Webmaster entitled "Baptist groups in the USA"

    [ June 26, 2001: Message edited by: Dajuid ]
     
  3. Scott J

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    Dajuid put it pretty well in a nutshell. As IB, we recognize that the NT does not establish a church hierarchy above the local level therefore we should not either. In addition, we are commanded not to yoke ourselves with those that are doctrinally unsound. To blindly support missionaries, seminaries, church plants, etc. that might be doctrinally unsound is definitely against Bible teaching.

    Regrettably, "independent" is also a label that has recently been applied to churches that have rebelled against "liberal" conventions and institutions. This reactionary "movement" is especially prevalent in the south and against the SBC. It is in these churches that you will find the most radical KJVO types, Hyles style easy believism, and other neo-fundamentalist errors.
     
  4. Cindy

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    I heard this tongue-in-cheek and not-too-flattering definition:

    "independent Baptist---one who is independent in everything but his thinking"

    Ok, that's not always true...but all too often? :eek:

    Elizabeth [​IMG]
     
  5. rlvaughn

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    "In its most basic definition, 'independent Baptist' simply describes a church that is Baptist in polity and that is unaffiliated with a denominational structure." David Cloud

    'Independent Baptist' is a very very broad terminology that identifies a wide variety of Baptists. When most people use the term 'independent Baptist' to describe a church, they probably are using in a much narrower way - what they believe is an 'independent Baptist' church.
     
  6. Dr. Bob

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    Elsbeth - Independent and Autonomous (self-governing) are MYTHICAL distinctives of most Baptist churches.

    Try violating one of the hundreds of fundamentalist traditions and see how autonomous your church really is! :rolleyes:

    Illustration: Grace Baptist had typical SS and AM services. And a different PM service. Many folks had little children and asked if the PM service could be duplicated at 8:30 a.m. for those who wanted to attend but not at night.

    Did it for a few years, but it was so controversial among other churches (names leveled included "liberal" and "neo") and so much pressure was put on this ifb congregation that they finally "gave up" and went back to the typical services.

    Did you know that there was NO SUNDAY SCHOOL until 200 years ago? NO EVENING SERVICE until 150 years ago? NO INVITATION/ALTAR CALL until 130 years ago? NO ORGANIZED PRAYER MEETING until 200 years ago? NO KJV BIBLE like we use until 235 years ago?

    What would you think of a church TODAY that:
    *Did not have Sunday School?
    *Did not have Prayer Meeting?
    *Did not have Evening Gospel Services?
    *Did not have an Invitation?
    *Did not use the KJV we use?


    We'd call them "liberal" or "new evangelical" or "neo". But these are ALL traditions that have been added to the New Testament in just the past couple of centuries!

    And we condemn Catholics for following Church tradition . . . :rolleyes:

    [ June 29, 2001: Message edited by: Dr. Bob Griffin ]
     
  7. DocCas

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Dr. Bob Griffin:
    NO EVENING SERVICE until 150 years ago? <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>Wow! If there was no evening service, then Paul must have preached for 15 hours! :D

    Acts 20:7 And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.

    I think it more likely that the evening service was the norm in the apostolic era. The church would meet after sundown saturday, on the first day of the week by Jewish reckoning, and in that context Paul preached until midnight. That would be an evening service of about 4 or 5 hours, depending on the time of year. I suspect some of it was taken up by singing, some testimonies, prayer, etc., then Paul preached. Perhaps for a couple hours or more, but definately in the evening. [​IMG]

    [ June 29, 2001: Message edited by: Thomas Cassidy ]
     
  8. Dr. Bob

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    Thomas, you're correct of one instance in Acts. But you're also playing the Devil's Advocate (and you're GOOD at it)!! ;)

    Of course, I'm talking about the typical 7 pm Sunday night service in ifb churches that only began as a result of the revivalism and Finneyesque preaching of the later 1800's.

    The church I pastored 72-78 had all its business meeting minutes in Welsh until 1920 when it changed to English. But when we had them translated, we found that the church had 9:30 SS, 10:30 AM, dinner, 1:30 PM then back by wagon or sleigh to milk. Found that was common for the churches through the turn of the century.
     
  9. DocCas

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Dr. Bob Griffin:
    Thomas, you're correct of one instance in Acts. But you're also playing the Devil's Advocate (and you're GOOD at it)!! ;)
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>Not to mention, it is a lot of fun too! :D
     
  10. Pastor KevinR

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    Our IFB church dropped the night service. "God forbid", I mean, "May it never be" ;) . What we do is immediately following the morning service, we have a fellowship time with light finger food, then we have a Bible study, finishing around 2:00 to 2:15. This has actually increased our attendance! i.e. more folks stay for the afternoon, than return in the evening! [​IMG] I believe sometimes we must accomodate to our people, but not compromise. Most people in our neck of the woods, this little hick town known as Queens section of NYC, do not like to go out at night, especially since so many have to take a bus or train to church.They're more than happy that we have accomodated them in this way. :D ;) [​IMG]
     
  11. extremebiblereader

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    I want to get something out of this so i am saying this in all kindness. So I am trying to understand and what i got out of this comment.
    Scottj- You posted that most IFB churches rebelled against the SBC and are just KJVO's and Hyles easy believism. Well is there anything wrong with being that way for one? Two, not all IFB churches rebelled if you want to put it that way against the SBC. Some just broke apart from what i have heard because the SBC starting changing there beliefs and were not lined up with the Bible. And so they broke apart to be "independent" on their own so they could make there own standards based upon the Bible. Fundemental i can't really give a thought on that because i am not to sure what that means. But when i find out i will let you know. Some one on here will tell me probably.
    If that came off in the wrong way i am sorry..i didn't try it. I just was wondering what was so wrong with believing that? I don't see anything wrong with it as long as you are abiding by the laws of the Bible.
     
  12. ChozGod

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    Extreme,
    I belong to a IBC, Our Pastor wasn't trying to be a rebel but started an IBC so he was independant from the rules and changes of a denomination, feeling that makes him more accountable to search out Gods word for the Pastoring and running of his church. We call ourselves Baptists because that word means to plunge under water ( not sprinkle) that is how we baptise.
    Fundemental because we only preach and teach out of the word of God.
    paula
     
  13. Squire Robertsson

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    I too take umbrage with Scott's characterization. My home church was founded in 1881. It was founded independently of any denominational structure (though it drew its founding membership from people of the nothern Baptist persuasion). And it has remained independent for the last 120 years. The only issue our founders were rebelling against was the issue of pew rents.
     
  14. FundamentalDan

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    I firmly believe that the "independent" in Independent, Fundamental Baptist is often neglected. It is the right of the church to independently follow the leadership of God and the authority of His Word in running their church. We have no king but Jesus, as the saying goes. The pastor is the undershepherd, ruling under the leadership of Christ. This gives our church the ability to act as an autonomous body and still have the organization necessary to run effectively. We do not answer to a convention, committee, or board of elders who are not members of our local church. There are many other churches that are independent Baptists and do things different, but that is their prerogative. This allows for not only great local effectiveness, but also for great variety in the IFB movement. By the way, Dr. Bob, I know of several churches that have afternoon instead of evening services. I even know of a few that have their midweek service on Thursday or Tuesday (gasp!).

    In some countries their morning service is in the afternoon,

    FundamentalDan
     
  15. myreflection26

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    I believe that for a church to be independent is one of the dumbest moves they could do. I know of a pastor right now who's leading an independent church and this pastor has had so many problems from family problems to church related problems and he has had absolutely no one but God to lean on.

    Every christian and christian leader needs an accountability basis to be corrected by and helped by and without this very biblical accountability basis a church can easily crumble. Would any one of you like for President Bush to have no accountability basis? If he were allowed to do whatever he wants under "leadership of God" no matter if it were really biblically right or wrong?

    Conventions and boards can be of much help to a pastor and a church. A good accountability can help a pastor thru very tough situations and even stand to correct a pastor in wrong. Yes the pastor is the leader, but a good leader will be open to correction too.

    Sue
     
  16. Pete Richert

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    I'm all for automous and all that. I have never actually seen it make it difference. But I don't get the impression that Paul thought any of the Churches he started (or even ones he didn't directly ie. Collossee) were independent of him. Nor did he think they were independent of his authority though Timothy and Titus when he sent them. I would hate to error in the other direction, being afraid to associate with other churches and hence neglect the finicial need in Jerusalem that all the early churches aided in (just to take an NT example).
     
  17. Ars

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    myreflection26,
    I respectfully disagree with your statement. Please indulge me while I attempt to explain my reasoning.

    If I understand you correctly, your main reasoning is that the pastor is not held accountable. I believe this view is in error. I say this because I know that IFB Pastors are held accountable just as any other Pastor. The congregation is where his accountability lies. If a Pastor errs, it is well within the congregations place to approach the pastor on these issues.

    If I may, I'd like to remark on some of the questions and comments you brought up.

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>...he has had absolutely no one but God to lean on.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    The tone of this implies that God cannot help this pastor and he isn't enough! I am thankful the pastor has God to lean on. If we have to lean on a human, we can be let down very easily. God will never let us down and he would never give us anything we couldn't handle.

    There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
    1 Corinthians 10:13


    Praise the LORD the Pastor can lean on God our Father!!!

    Also, most IFB Pastors I know of have "Fellowship" Meetings. These are where groups of IFB Pastors get together to discuss issues and of course... fellowship. The are not answerable to any other Pastor, but they do discuss issues.

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Conventions and boards can be of much help to a pastor and a church. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Yes, but they can also take away the autonomy from the Pastor. Although I believe the SBC has some fine people and pastors in it, it does have the same problem associated with all bureaucracies. They have a tendency to get bogged down and at times very little happens. I think it is important for a church to be able to deal with the issues the way they feel fit. The should not have to rely on a convention. They should only rely on the word of God.

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>A good accountability can help a pastor thru very tough situations and even stand to correct a pastor in wrong. Yes the pastor is the leader, but a good leader will be open to correction too.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Very true, and this accountability should be the congregation. If you are in a congregation that doesn't allow accountability when a Pastor errs, then you should flee.

    Dave
     
  18. RobertLynn

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    In effect, all Southern Baptist churches are "independent" with regard to their denominational relationship. In theory, this relationship is voluntary. There is nothing to bind the church in any way to the denomination except a fraternal relationship.

    In turn, the church can send "messengers", (not delegates, since they are not, again in theory, instructed by the church as to how to vote) to the annual convention meeting where the common business of tending to the denominations mission sending agencies and seminaries is conducted. Any church could stop its relationship with the convention tomorrow, simply by casting a ballot.

    In recent years, I have come to know and appreciate what many independent Baptists experience all the time, and that is the sense of freedom that comes with being an independent church. The SBC has taken steps in recent years to "tighten the ship" so to speak, including the imposition of doctrinal standards as prerequisites for appointment to the trustee boards that govern the agencies and schools. The politics that have been involved caused a lot of grief in our congregation. We felt we had a rather unique ministry situation based upon our location. However, in tailoring our ministry to the needs of our community, we were accused of violating some "sacred SBC cows" and relegated to the outskirts.

    The end result was our loosening of our relationship to the SBC (and the likely dissolution of it in the near future) and our participation in a fellowship of churches (CBF) that essentially organizes some common ministry interests among the churches and avoids doctrinal imposition. The concerns of the SBC, and issues we got dragged into without choosing to do so, no longer hang like a dark cloud overhead.

    I appreciate the mention of the "Fundamentalist Traditions", Dr. Bob. I grew up in an IFB church. My dad always gave my beginners class Sunday School teacher a ride home after church, since her husband left after s.s., not appreciating the length of our pastor's sermon, often lasting until 12:45. We would pass the First Baptist Church, an SBC congregation that was probably as large as all the other churches in town put together, and the parking lot would always be empty (it was, after all, long past noon). My teacher would always remark, "Well, look there! The First Baptist Church has done turned out and gone home!" And I knew exactly what she meant!
     
  19. myreflection26

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    I also must respectfully disagree. I have been on both ends of the this point of view so I have a better idea of why this is sorely needed. My grandpa is a part of the Nazarine church where they do have a board to go thru, and through the many years of service my grandfather wouldn't trade the support basis he recieved from that board for anything in the world. Also, I have close pastor friends with SBC and they also have bennifted greatly from their group of support pastors to help and love them.

    The congregation is not...I repeat NOT a good source of accountability to a pastor and his family. A pastor and his family are in a "fishbowl" at the church they hold leadership in and there are expectations from them that are not put on any other member of the congregation. In the recent situation I have seen it is the congregation that came against the pastor and his family and unfortunately the pastor is very young and no other pastor or board or accountability to look to for help and encouragement. Yes God is great to lean on and our only true friend, but the bible does speak of having accountability to authority and it also serves as an encouragement basis too.

    In many cases the congregation has no idea what the pastor and his family are going thru because they don't have that same calling on their lives, so the pastor really needs to have other pastors or pastor over him to help and support too when the pastor needs some time off as well. Sure there will be some understanding hearts sitting in the pews, but there will also be some pointing fingers too and that could easily rock the boat too much to result in church splits...I've been thru this more times than I care to even count.

    Sue
     
  20. Barnabas H.

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    Summary of all the above: They are "Independent." Now what part of this sentence you do not understand? Oh yah, the "independent" part. [​IMG]

    It is like this: (1) they are not governed by an other, (2) not requiring or relying on something or somebody else, (3) not easily influenced (and this is the most prevalent of all the prerogatives - in other words, they are hard headed). ;)
     

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