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Six Degrees of Separation

Six Degrees of Separation

(and the rapid crumbling of the IFB)

 

Years ago an actor named Kevin Bacon was so ubiquitous that we had a cultural moment with a game called The Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.  Basically, the game works like this.  Anyone in Hollywood could be connected to Kevin Bacon by simply looking at his extensive filmography, identifying a costar who happened to work with another costar – who happened to work with another costar – who happened to work with Kevin Bacon.  It was hypothesized that this ever-present actor was actually connected, within six steps, to every other actor in Hollywood.

This is a terrible thing in Hollywood if you want to distance yourself from Kevin Bacon.  You can refuse to appear in a movie with Kevin.  You can even refuse to be in a movie with anyone who has ever been in a movie with Kevin.  You can EVEN refuse to be in a movie with anyone who has been in a movie with anyone who has been in a movie with Kevin.  But eventually, no matter how much of a separatist you become, someone is going to connect you to Kevin Bacon.

And now we arrive at the extreme frustration of the ever-dwindling but increasingly-separated Independent Fundamental Baptist Movement.                      

Separation – In our DNA

The Independent Baptist Movement began as a protest against the Southern Baptist Convention.  Several vocal leaders within the SBC took exception with the idea of raising $75,000,000 for a Cooperative Program that would provide funding for international evangelism, domestic church planting, and college/seminary advancements.  It was the latter of these three with which many had a problem.  Genuine liberal theology had begun to seep into the classroom through professors who considered themselves modernists.[1]  These modernists/liberals were questioning fundamentals of Christian doctrine like the inerrancy of scripture, the deity of Christ, and the blood atonement.  Theologically conservative leaders within the SBC were split as to how to address this issue.  Some like W.A. Criswell chose to stay within the denomination and fight for decades to bring about a conservative resurgence.[2]  Others like J. Frank Norris chose to distance themselves from the SBC thus establishing the Independent Baptist Movement.[3]

The Independent Baptist Movement grew rapidly under the leadership of great men like Evangelist John R. Rice with his periodical The Sword of the Lord, Evangelist Bill Rice II and his incredible Ranch, Pastor Lee Roberson and the rapidly growing Highland Park Baptist Church, Lester Roloff and the Homes he established for needy children, and Pastor G.B. Vick who inherited the prestigious Detroit pulpit from J. Frank Norris after they had a falling out.  It was then that Vick founded the Bible Baptist Fellowship branching out from Springfield, Missouri.

While men like W.A. Criswell, Adrian Rogers, and Paige Patterson strategized as to how they might wrestle control of the SBC away from the more liberal leaning factions within its movement, men like Lee Roberson, Jack Hyles, Harold Sightler, Tom Malone, and Jerry Falwell built large and influential churches in Independent Baptist Fellowships.  Institutions of higher learning as well as mission boards were established and supported by the growing and rapidly reproducing Independent Baptist churches and parachurch organizations across the United States.[4]

The 1960s and 1970s were an incredible time for Independent Baptists.  Unity was their reality!  These institutions, churches, and leaders cooperated and complemented each other.  Cooperation was their mantra!  They thrived as they worked together, sent missionaries together, and preached together.[5]  Though remaining separate from the SBC the IFB seemed to retain a modicum of harmony within its own ranks.  But something happened to bring division and separation into the heart of the Independent Baptist Movement.

The Death of John R. Rice

I propose that John R. Rice (though not a perfect man) was the great intellect and unifier of the Independent Baptist Movement.  Upon his death in 1980 there remained a mantel of leadership that many differing factions attempted to claim.  The Sword of the Lord was left to Curtis HudsonBob Jones University & Pensacola Christian College attempted to fill the academic void.  Jerry Falwell was already looking to expand his influence and college into broader evangelicalism.  And Jack Hyles laid claim to soul-winning and church growth.  These once unified men began to split apart and create separate “camps” within the IFB.

The Rise of Hyper-Separatism

During the 1970s and 1980s several books were produced by modern fundamentalists attempting to chronical the history of fundamentalism and help forge a path forward.  Many books like A History of Fundamentalism produced by Bob Jones Press and written by George W. Dollar, In Pursuit of Purity produced by Bob Jones Press and written by David O. Beale, The Fundamentalist Phenomenon written by Jerry Falwell are all helpful to the student of Independent Baptist history.

 But I believe there to be one book from this era that has caused more damage to the future of the Independent Baptist Movement than any other.  Ernest Pickering’s book Biblical Separation: The Struggle for a Pure Church[6] does harm because it strongly advances the unbiblical practice of second-degree-separation.  This is not to say that Pickering doesn’t adequately express the view of a separatist.  This is not to say that Pickering wasn’t an amazing man of God who lived a very holy life.  This is to say that this book was flawed in its explanation of ecclesiastical separation and has caused irreparable damage to a once thriving movement. 

The Splintering of Independent Baptists

Am I wrong?  Then, from whence came the splintering of the IFB?  What has happened to the once unified, powerful, and thriving movement known as Independent Baptists?  Why is it that the various leaders of these different “camps” rarely work together, preach together, or are even seen in the same room?  I believe there is one primary answer to this question: The acceptance and advancement of the spurious teaching of second-degree separation. 

Yes.  The elevation of preferences to theological status did not help.  To codify a style of music, building decoration, pulpit attire, and service schedule as Biblical helped to corrupt our churches.  But it was the teaching that a man must separate himself from anyone who doesn’t completely and utterly agree with him that truly sowed the seeds of destruction into our movement.  And then we added a Bible verse to make it true

Amos 3:3 Can two walk together, except they be agreed?

So then, we have now set the table for demanding absolute and complete agreement on theological fundamentals, secondary theological issues, philosophical convictions, methodological preferences, and personal fashion choices (wire-rimmed glasses & goatees anyone?).

If you happen to disagree with anyone in the family of God, about anything in the universe, you have a right and obligation to separate yourself from them as soon as possible.  And the average minister that promotes this philosophy wonders why church members find it so easy to separate from their church when a disagreement arises.

 

Second-Degree Separation and The Punishment of Isolation

“Fundamentalists view themselves as the legitimate heirs of historical New Testament Christianity.  They see themselves as the militant and faithful defenders of Biblical orthodoxy.  They oppose Liberalism, communism, and left-wing Evangelicalism.  True Fundamentalists hold strongly to the same basic tenets they were debating seventy-five years ago.  These defenders of the faith range from well-educated professors to backwoods preachers.”[7]  This definition of fundamentalism was given by Jerry Falwell in the early 1980’s during what he considered the resurgence of historic fundamentalism in America.  It clearly expresses the views of a fundamentalist.

Yet at this point in Falwell’s life most Independent Baptists would not allow themselves to be seen in public with this fellow IFB leader.  Why?  Because Jerry didn’t toe the line of ecclesiastical separation that was expected of fellow “Independent” Baptists.  He would partner with Southern Baptist leaders, appear on Trinity Broadcast Network, and even offer to help the failing PTL ministries.

“But wait,” some may retort, “wasn’t Jerry Falwell free to associate with whom he felt led of God to associate?”  “Yes!” Comes the reply, “and every other IB leader was free to disassociate themselves from Jerry Falwell for doing so.”  We cheered him on every time he spoke to Larry King but couldn’t sully our reputation by allowing him join us in our assemblies.

Jerry Falwell was free to do whatever he believed God was leading him to do.  And we were free to isolate him as punishment for practicing his autonomy.  And I’m sure the Lord was pleased.

Nearly five years ago I invited a childhood hero to come and preach in the Southern Hills Baptist Church pulpit.  Evangelist David Ring was known to me primarily because I grew up in a pastor’s home and every Sunday morning my father would watch D. James Kennedy of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church and Jerry Falwell of Liberty Baptist Church on television.  Occasionally Falwell would invite David Ring, the gifted gospel communicator who happens to have cerebral palsy, to preach in his place.  I loved hearing this godly man declare, “I’ve got cerebral palsy, what’s your problem?”  This was one of the many inspiration messages that led me into the ministry.

I’ll never forget having lunch with this godly man the Sunday after he spoke in my pulpit.  He asked me why I had invited him to speak in our church.  I told him the story of hearing him as I grew up.  He then shocked me by his next statement.  “I can count on one hand the amount of Independent Baptist churches I’ve preached to in the last 25 years.”  Innocently I inquired, “Why won’t you preach for them?”  “Because they won’t have me Josh.  About 25-years ago I was invited to preach at the Crystal Cathedral in Anaheim and once I preached for Schuller – the Independent Baptists were done with me.”

“You tell me what you would do Josh!  If given the chance, as an evangelist, to preach the gospel to thousands of people in a church that might not hear a clear presentation of the gospel very often – would you go?”

NO!  I wouldn’t!  An evangelist should limit his preaching to only churches that are filled with born-again Baptists – just like the Apostle Paul did.[8]

Now I ask the question.  Is it because David Ring’s or Jerry Falwell’s theological positions had changed that they were isolated from Independent Baptist circles?  No!  Their associations, not their theology were in question.  A man could have exactly the same theological position on every matter of theological importance but happen to allow himself ecclesiastical association with another minister of differing theology and he now made himself untouchable to the hyper-separatist.

 

The Unrealistic Expectation of Second-Degree Separation

If Fundamentalism is defined as one who believes and defends the fundamentals of the faith, then I am a fundamentalist.  If, as I was taught in college, Fundamentalism is defined as one who “separates” from those who do not believe in the fundamentals of the faith, then I am not a fundamentalist.  I was taught that a Liberal (Harry Emerson Fosdick) was a Bible denier, and a Neo-Evangelical (Billy Graham) was one not willing to separate from a Liberal.  They concluded that a Fundamentalist was one who separated from the liberal and would have no association with him.  But the true fundamentalist went further and would also separate from the new-evangelical who refused to separate from the liberal.  This is second-degree separation.

It seems like the requirements for ecclesiastical separation have grown in just the past 20 years since I was taught these principles.  Now we are expected to not only separate from the Liberal (1st degree), but also the New Evangelical (2nd degree), but continue to the fundamentalist who spoke in a conference with the New Evangelical (3rd degree), and further stay away from the friend who would have the fundamentalist who would speak with the New Evangelical who would associate with the Liberal (4th degree).  For me, this type of bondage, this is too much.

I have no desire to be in association with true liberal theologians who deny the Bible and undermine Scripture like Rob Bell and Brian McLaren.  I suppose this makes me a separatist.  Others would disagree because I don’t take my separation to the 2nd, 3rd or 4th step.  Stay away from the preacher who would preach with Rob Bell – 2nd.  Stay away from the preacher who would preach with the one who would preach for Rob Bell – 3rd.  And stay away from the preacher who would preach with the preacher who would refuse to separate from the preacher who would sit on the same counsel as Rob Bell.  My Word – it’s exhausting!

Let’s take my Southern Baptist friend as an example.  I have no desire to join the SBC at this moment in my life.  However, if they are gracious enough to be my friend I have no problem associating with someone in the SBC.  Yet, this causes me a problem because I now have a godly, theologically conservative, soul-winning pastor who I cannot preach for or preach with because he is part of the largest denomination in the United States that may contain someone with “liberal” theology.  If I have him preach for me, then my IFB friend “Joe” won’t be able to preach for me because he might be concerned his Alma Mater or mentor might not have him back because he preached for a guy who preached for a guy who might know a liberal.  Again, this is just too much for me.  At this point I’ve decided that I’m going to preach for whomever the Lord (through prayer) allows me to preach for and have preach for me those who are still willing to do so.

 

Falling into Our Own Traps

The Reverend Joseph Parker once stated quite humorously, “There are those today who would clap their hands at the name of Bunyan who would not admit a living Bunyan into their fellowship.”  Yes, to this!  A thousand times over – yes to this!

Hyper-separatists quote men like Spurgeon, a self-proclaimed Calvinist, but would blush at the idea of having a Calvinist preach in their pulpit.

Hyper-separatists relish in the term fundamentalist though the movement itself was established as an interdenominational movement by Presbyterians like J. Gresham Machen and Francis Schaeffer, Reformed Episcopalians like James Martin Gray, and Evangelical Free ministers like G. Campbell Morgan.

We align ourselves closely to dead men with whom we would have much to disagree but we distance ourselves greatly from living men with whom we disagree slightly in comparison.

Why is another Baptist who uses contemporary music a more likely candidate for separation than a man who performs infant baptisms?  Why is another Baptist who uses another version of the Bible more theologically distant than an Evangelical Free minister or Reformed Episcopalian?   Why is it a problem for me to have an actual Baptist Calvinist like John Piper preach in my church when someone else will quote weekly from an actual Baptist Calvinist like Charles Spurgeon every week?  We idolize C.S. Lewis but wouldn’t allow ourselves to preach in the same meeting if given the chance.  After all, someone might see the conference brochure and accuse us of being less holy, distinct, and separate.

Could it be that this kind of hyper-separatism is less about holiness and more about denominational control or political maneuvering?

 

The Tangled Web of Hyper-Separatism

We live in a moment where good men are politically trapped.  Young pastors are afraid of trying new ideas because they see the political price they will pay for doing so.  Older pastors are afraid of disagreeing with denominational leadership lest they lose lifelong friendships and well-earned influence.  Institutional leaders are afraid of filling the chapel pulpit with the wrong person lest a busybody with blog report these misdeeds and denominational support dry up.  Evangelists are trapped into preaching in only approved churches who happen to be in good standing with the most conservative churches.  Missionaries are pressured to pretend they agree with everyone’s theological, philosophical, and methodological preferences lest they lose out on another $50 per month.

I’m not angry with those who have promoted this unfortunate philosophy for so many years.  I’m sad for them.  They have been caught in their own trap because now each of these “camps” find themselves in increasingly diminishing spheres of influence.  Pretty soon their churches, schools, or parachurch organizations will either experience a change or they will dry up and die.

And so, the proverb is proven true, “The fear of man bringeth a snare.”

 

Hope for the Future

But the rest of the proverb is equally true, “whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe.”

What if we break the bonds of oppression?  What if young pastors think only of God’s heart and God’s will for their church?  What if older pastors ignore denominational politics and celebrate not only conservative theology but also variant methodology?  What if institutional leadership didn’t have to worry about financial backing – trusting God to provide for their ministry?  What if Evangelists were allowed to go to the churches that need revival the most without losing meetings for doing so?  What if missionaries were able to talk more about their passion for evangelism than their dedication to denominational traditions?

I’ll tell you what I think!  I think that if we put our trust back in the Lord and start emphasizing unity rather than separation – we can once again see God do a miraculous thing in the Independent Baptist Movement.

 

Why Write this Article?

Two years ago, I wrote a blog post called The New Independent Baptist hoping to inspire an up and coming generation of Independent Baptists to stay positive and remain focused on the things that truly matter.  In the final note of that post I mentioned a new article that I was working on called The Six Degrees of SeparationKnowing that this post could not express the tone of positivity found in the previous post – I held it back.

Why now?  I felt it was time.

I was born and raised in the Independent Baptist Movement. I was trained and ordained in the Independent Baptist Movement.  I planted an Independent Baptist church and have supported Independent Baptist missionaries since I was 13 years old.  I love our history.  I love our passion for evangelism.  But I refuse to remain silent while the sin of disunity defines the movement and leads to our demise.

Why not just leave?  Because this is where I am.

I’m more of a Puritan than a Separatist. Separatists saw doctrinal compromise, questionably morality, and denominational control and decided to leave their respective denominational constraints and establish something new.  Puritans saw the same problems but felt called to speak out and attempt to fight for the future of their denominations, conventions, and movements.  I relate to Criswell more than Norris.  I choose to stay and fight for the soul of our movement.

We Can Change!

Rising up, according to God’s sovereign plan, is a new generation of Independent Baptists. They are radically dedicated to the concept of Biblical Authority – even if it disagrees with denominational tradition.  They do not demand absolute conformity on preferential issues.  They are equally pleased to fellowship with a Southern Baptist as they are with an Independent Baptist (just as our IB forefathers).  They have started viewing fellow pastors as peers rather than papacy.  They are rejecting subjective separation and political separation for the far superior biblical separation.  They are honoring of the past without being subservient to it.  Change is coming – and it is freeing us to accomplish more for the Kingdom of God than we ever thought possible.

 

What are your thoughts?  Where am I going wrong?  Where do you agree?  What have I missed?  Please comment in the thread below and I will attempt to answer each.

This post may be of interest to one of your friends.  Please SHARE, Retweet, or Pin. Thanks

 

 

 

[1] https://www.amazon.com/Christianity-Liberalism-new-Gresham-Machen/dp/0802864996/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1508192752&sr=8-1&keywords=machen+christianity+and+liberalism

[2] https://www.amazon.com/Truth-Crisis-Conservative-Resurgence-Convention/dp/0929292197/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1508272607&sr=8-1&keywords=conservative+resurgence

[3] This is admittedly a very brief and incomplete history of IB churches.

[4] Bob Jones Sr., a close companion of John R. Rice, though originally a Methodist evangelist started Bob Jones University that has produced thousands of graduates that find themselves serving in Independent Baptist Churches and Independent Baptist institutions.  One of their graduates, Arlin Horton, started Pensacola Christian College in Pensacola Florida.  For the past thirty-five years this institution has produced thousands of ministers, and laypersons who have filled Independent Baptist churches across America.  Dr. Myron Cedarholm founded the Maranatha Baptist Bible College in Watertown, Wisconsin.  This school along with Ambassador Baptist Bible College, and Northland Baptist College have all been influential in the Independent Baptist movement and influenced by John R. Rice, Bob Jones, Jerry Falwell and Lee Robertson.  The influence of Jack Hyles cannot be understated for he not only established the Hyles-Anderson College in Indiana but has indirectly spawned Heartland Baptist Bible College, Golden State Baptist College, Trinity Baptist College, West Coast Baptist College, and Crown College.  These schools, though varying in some aspects of belief and practice are still producing large amounts of young ministers who are winning souls and planting churches.

[5] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JjL-ZPU120Y

[6] https://www.amazon.com/BIBLICAL-SEPARATION-STRUGGLE-PURE-CHURCH/dp/0872278034/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1508279055&sr=8-1&keywords=biblical+separation+pickering

[7] Ed Dobson, Ed Hindson and Jerry Falwell, The Fundamentalist Phenomenon (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1986), 1-2.

[8] I’m Kidding.

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155 Comments

  • Reply
    Clark
    December 11, 2017 at 7:32 pm

    Wow, Josh, great article! I think it is pretty succinct and speaks straight to the point of contention where most of us “live” today. The issue of secondary, tertiary, and whatever we would call fourth degree separation is one that has bothered me since college. As a minister of the Gospel, I want to be around those who are also sharing the Gospel, and that should be our main concern. Who a fellow minister fellowships or associates with is a matter of Christian liberty, I feel. Many people wouldn’t associate with Jesus because of the publicans and sinners with whom He kept company. The relatively few times that Paul called people to the carpet was for blasphemy or forsaking the faith, not exactly the “high standard” we hold for ourselves today. Anyways, I’m to see that there are guys my age and older and younger than I who are not afraid to step out and do what they believe is right from the heart, regardless of how it may be perceived by the “we aren’t a denomination” denominational Powers That Be! I wish I could make it to Idea Day!

    • Reply
      Justin
      December 29, 2017 at 8:46 pm

      Really love the article and appreciate your heart in sharing it! Thanks for taking the time to write it and for the courage it took to share.

  • Reply
    Rachel
    December 11, 2017 at 7:41 pm

    So what if you’re shunned in the IFB churches, and you feel that it’s hurting your children to stay? Where do you go? What if there isn’t an IFB pastor around that feels the same way you do?

    • Reply
      admin
      December 11, 2017 at 8:40 pm

      Rachel,
      Forget denominational titles and find a church that teaches the Bible. In your city it may not be an IFB church. That’s okay!

      • Reply
        Rachel
        December 13, 2017 at 2:52 pm

        Thank you…this confirmed many things we’ve been thinking and leaning toward. It’s scary to step out, but necessary in our situation❤️ God bless you…

        • Reply
          Karen
          January 16, 2018 at 3:59 pm

          Leaving the Independent Fundamental Baptist Church was the best thing we ever did! God lead us to an amazing C & MA church to become a part of. We love it!

  • Reply
    Richard Leroy
    December 11, 2017 at 7:44 pm

    Josh. I appreciate your heart that shines through in this post. However, it would appear from reading this that you are a somewhat limited understanding of Independent Baptists. Your understanding is apparently informed by growing up with an understanding that men like Jack Hyles were to be respected and revered. You also indicate in this article that John R. Rice was a tremendous influential man within Independent Baptists and that almost all IBers in those days would have respect for him. I challenge this notion.

    Like you I grew up in an Independent Baptist home where my dad was the pastor. Unlike you, men like Hyles and Rice were never revered in my home. In fact, these men were often used as examples of the “Crazy Uncle” and not the “Godly Grandpa.” Hyles in particular was considered almost on the level of a heretic.

    I’m curious as to where your idea of the “New Independent Baptist Movement” fits with young guys like me who don’t acknowledge Hyles and Rice as worthy forefathers for us to follow?

    • Reply
      admin
      December 11, 2017 at 8:07 pm

      Hello Richard, thanks for commenting!
      I have to admit that my understanding of the history of the Independent Baptist Movement is limited, but I would still lay claim that the vast majority of IFB churches and pastors did, for better or worse, follow men like Jack Hyles and John Rice. This is not to say that these were good men worthy of following or bad men who should have been shunned – but simply that they are commonly seen as leaders of large swaths of IB during a certain era of history. This brief retelling of IB history did not take into account the many many churches who did not consider Rice or Hyles to be their denominational leadership.
      As to where young guys fit in who don’t consider these men worthy of following? I would say – join the club. Decades of history have given perspective. We can look to the past and appreciate what God did through certain men without idolizing them as heroes. We neither deify them or demonize them. They were simply men who did some good but are now dead. We can learn from their victories and learn from their failures. Those are my thoughts anyway.

      • Reply
        Richard Leroy
        December 11, 2017 at 8:18 pm

        Excellent! I was sincerely hoping your reply would go in that direction. If I could be so bold as to ask a follow up I would appreciate your answer. I understand from both reading your bio and reading your posts – I’m a long time reader first time commenter 🙂 – you seem to be a King James Only type of guy. While I happily identify as being Independent Baptist I am not King James Only like so many appear to be. I gain this perspective from my childhood upbringing at an Independent (Fundamentalist) Baptist Church that was not King James Only. Is there room for someone like me who is young, independent, and baptist but is not King James only? Thanks again for your posts.

        • Reply
          admin
          December 11, 2017 at 8:26 pm

          I think you would be surprised how many pastors, missionaries, evangelists, and leaders in our movement are not KJVO. For example – I currently hold a Majority Text position that allows me to preach from the KJV (which I love), the NKJV (which I use in my pulpit), the MEV (which is newer and very helpful), and the 21st Century KJV (which no one seems to have heard of). Anyway, I see (as do many others) the translation issue as preferential and not fundamental to orthodoxy and ecclesiastical fellowship.
          There is another question that looms. Will we allow within fellowship someone whose conscience demands a KJVO point of view without criticizing them and belittling their preference? The answer to this must be YES! How hypocritical would we be if we asked for the allowance of methodological differences but demand conformity to someone who doesn’t want another version in the pulpit, band on the stage, or a pastor in skinny jeans. We must be consistent and allow for differences in opinion or we will simply repeat the mistakes of the past.

          • anonymous
            January 2, 2018 at 3:17 am

            I have found a new “reverse” separation being waged against anyone who holds to the “older” IFB values. Having been part of an IFB church since my salvation in my teen years, I had the experience of being told not to simply take the pastor’s word but to search the Scriptures and also do research on things. My church has not been one to act condescending toward others who hold a different view of Bible versions, etc. However, we do take a consistent, very conservative stand. I questioned all of it and believe God has led me in specific direction that is clearly on the very conservative side of things. Still, loads (maybe most) of believers are exceedingly better than I though I would strongly disagree with certain methods, Bible versions etc. that they use. What I see is folks like myself being immediately labeled “Pharisees” and simply tolerated if we must stick around. It’s kind of crazy to feel/watch.

  • Reply
    Paul
    December 11, 2017 at 7:55 pm

    I really enjoyed the article as I was raised SBC but saved in an atypical IFB church (gracious, cooperative, kind, etc.). I was then influenced by a strong separatist group. I’ve found myself over the last 8 years or so discovering that I struggle to reconcile my separatist influences with Scripture.
    I joked with our staff the other day- I’m either a “liberal” fundamentalist or a conservative evangelical.
    It was like this article was taken right out of my head & heart. Thanks!

    • Reply
      admin
      December 11, 2017 at 8:41 pm

      Ha. Thanks Paul! I understand what you mean.

  • Reply
    Bob Patterson
    December 11, 2017 at 8:00 pm

    Josh, this article is a masterpiece. I spent the majority of my life in the Independent Baptist Movement. I love the history of it, and I love the people in it. However, like you, I see an incredible amount of disunity within it, and frankly, I’d had enough. We now are part of a conservative Southern Baptist Church, with a heart for our immediate community the likes of which I’ve NEVER seen in any Independent Baptist Church. I could go on…

    After being a Southern Baptist for a little over 3 years, I’m just now starting to “detox” from the deeply ingrained feelings of isolationism and hyper-superiority of my Independent Baptist roots. I jokingly have stated on multiple occasions that I learned the tenets of the unwritten doctrine of skepticism as an Independent Baptist. Anything new or innovative gets looked at with a judgmental or skeptical eye, questioning the sincerity of everyone, and challenging the authenticity of anyone’s efforts.

    Thank you for this timely and well thought out blog post. I submit we have fewer than six degrees of separation from our brethren of other denominations and/or flavors of our own. Independent Baptists have been praying for revival for as long as I can remember. If we’re going to have revival in our land, we have got to put aside our petty preferences (I won’t dignify this notion with the term “convictions”), and work together in our communities.

    • Reply
      admin
      December 11, 2017 at 8:45 pm

      We sure love you and your entire family! Thanks for leaving a reply and giving your thoughts. I’m excited to see that the Lord continues to bring you through your journey and grow in the grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Thankful for your friendship.

  • Reply
    Butch W
    December 11, 2017 at 8:03 pm

    You hit the nail on the head with everything you said. I don’t know how anyone can disagree with what you wrote if they have been involved in the fundamentalist movement for 20 years or more.
    I’ll never forget meeting Ray Hancock for the first time about 8 years ago. I couldn’t believe that I never met him, nor ever heard of him. He was never permitted to speak where I went to school because of these “camps”. What a treat it was for me to get to know him over the last few years of his life, and have him preach at my church a couple times. My experience with Ray Hancock began to open my eyes to the ridiculousness and political flavor of the independent Baptist movement. Thanks for being brave enough to speak the truth.

    • Reply
      admin
      December 11, 2017 at 8:44 pm

      Not familiar with Ray myself. I too have been pleasantly surprised by how many incredible men and women of God are all over the country and world that I have never heard of before. I think when we get to heaven we might be surprised at all that God did through so many different people in many different contexts around the globe and throughout history.

  • Reply
    Dan
    December 11, 2017 at 8:07 pm

    Today, what would you consider a distinctive of an IFB church than that of a traditional SBC church or Freewill Baptist Church? Do you think that IFB churches seek to “major on the minors” in order to create a distinctive that is otherwise not there?

    • Reply
      admin
      December 11, 2017 at 8:19 pm

      Dan,
      I would respond to your first question with a question. What major distinctions would you like there to be? What is it that we wish to do that would distinguish ourselves from the brethren? YES! Let us be distinct from the world and it’s lack of Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, ect. YES! Let us be distinct from the true unbeliever who attempts to commandeer the name of Christ and use it for financial or political gain. But why? WHY IN GOD’S NAME must we distinguish ourselves from the family of God? I truly don’t understand why IB fight so loudly about being distinct from SBC. Sure, when there was actual liberalism to deal with – then let us purify or separate. But the SBC of today is NOT the SBC of the 1950’s.
      To your 2nd question – YES! I think this is exactly what we do. Doing this allows us the privilege of saying things like, “we are going to plant a church in a city of a million people with NOT ONE gospel preaching church.” This kind of congregational manipulation needs to stop. This spirit allows us to say things like, “We are the largest church in our city.” Because we simply don’t count the 20 other churches who are larger simply because they disagree with us on minor issues. Ha Ha! Phew – kinda went on a rant there. Sorry Dan. 🙂

      • Reply
        Dan
        December 11, 2017 at 8:49 pm

        Concerning distinction, that is what I was getting at … the IFB seem to distinguish itself as the best/only baptist option when that is no longer the case. The “best/only” are often only defined by standards and secondary issues (at best).
        I cannot speak the pressures of leadership maintaining IBF “approval” while seeking to be Biblical at the same time. That must be tricky.

      • Reply
        Bernie
        December 15, 2017 at 7:49 pm

        A person who considers himself /herself an unworthy servant would have more important things to do than babble at great length about the inner workings of their own mind.

        • Reply
          Eugene W Fisher
          December 15, 2017 at 9:52 pm

          Truth!

  • Reply
    Ben Creed
    December 11, 2017 at 8:50 pm

    I have to say that you spoke with compassion and authority on this subject. And it is sad to think I was raised in the same circles as you and I am finding that it is less and less about what the Bible says and more about what your peers say. I have a hard time with all the politics that play such a huge role in your success in the IFB movement. We have lost sight of the true meaning of Autonomy and have become as little children on the playground, picking our friends and shunning those that we don’t like because they don’t like the same toy as us. It’s so sad, but I’m glad you have given voice to some many that think the same way!

    • Reply
      admin
      December 11, 2017 at 9:53 pm

      Thanks Ben. I appreciate your comment.

  • Reply
    Jim Peet
    December 11, 2017 at 9:23 pm

    Linked to on Sharper Iron

    Thanks

  • Reply
    Nathan
    December 11, 2017 at 9:46 pm

    First, thanks for these helpful thoughts.
    I often quote men who I admittedly wouldn’t have preach in my pulpit. My thought behind this is that I can control what is said and give my cautions concerning the person’s theological beliefs. Were I to have one of those men preach, I fear I will allow doctrine that I’m not comfortable with into the pulpit. Is there a flaw in my thinking?

    • Reply
      admin
      December 11, 2017 at 10:05 pm

      Nathan,
      You bring up an interesting point. I would say that it depends on what kind of doctrinal compromise you think this person may bring into your church. For example, my father had an evangelist preach for him for many years early in his ministry that held a differing view of the rapture of the church. My father is Pre-Trib while the evangelist was Pre-Wrath. Most of the time the evangelist simply agreed not to address the issue in which they disagreed theologically. I find this to be a very humble Christian response. Once my father brought this man in to do an actual prophecy conference. “Dave, I’m gonna need to address the timeline of the tribulation and the placement of the rapture. How would you like me to handle this situation?” They agreed that the evangelist should explain his point of view while expressing “there are many other views of the rapture. in fact your pastor happens to believe the rapture takes place at the beginning of the tribulation and not in the middle of it.” The church was helped, the evangelist was able to express his position while not undermining the position of the pastor.
      Now, this was done in relation to a minor doctrinal position. What if the doctrine is even more important in your estimation? It likely depends on how many doctrines you place into the category of fundamental to theological orthodoxy. If you have MANY doctrines in this category then I would think that you will be very limited as to who you can have preach for you. But I would also say that if these men truly don’t hold to what you consider to be theological orthodoxy – you might not want to quote them in your preaching – let your congregation look them up and follow their teachings.
      In most cases though I believe it will benefit the church to allow people with slightly differing beliefs to speak in your pulpit and simply explain to your congregation what your belief is vs. what their belief is – if the subject arises.

  • Reply
    Brent George
    December 11, 2017 at 10:27 pm

    I started preaching through I Corinthians a few weeks ago. These last two weeks I have preached about divisions. In the opening chapters, we see that the causes of divisions are jealousy and pride. In my opinion, this is definitely true of many IFBers.

  • Reply
    Ethan C Jackson
    December 11, 2017 at 11:42 pm

    I don’t believe that the King James Bible is a minor issue I believe it is a major issue. How could you have someone from a different denominations preach for you and say that they agree with you in theology. Being a Baptist this means that we believe the Bible.A Methodist or Catholic or Presbyterian or Episcopalian ect… they don’t fully believe all that we believe because if they did they themselves would be a Baptist.

    • Reply
      Tom
      December 12, 2017 at 9:19 pm

      Josh , could you reply?

    • Reply
      Josh Teis
      December 12, 2017 at 9:32 pm

      Ethan. Thanks for you comment. I love the passion with which you express your love for the King James Bible. I too love the KJV and have spent my entire life studying its pages and memorizing its verses. For some – on a scale of 1-10 – this is the most important theological issue – a 10 to be certain. For others it is an important issue but not to be confused with the fundamentals of the faith. And still others are interested by the history of the conversation but see it as a minor theological concern. I will address this issue further in an upcoming post. Perhaps in February or March.

    • Reply
      Eugene Fisher
      December 13, 2017 at 7:55 pm

      Thanks for your stand.

      • Reply
        Eugene Fisher
        December 13, 2017 at 8:15 pm

        That’s Tom that is.

  • Reply
    Zeb Lyons
    December 12, 2017 at 12:03 am

    As one who grew up IFB and saw all of this from the front seat (pk/mk) I thank you. We had enough several years ago and I now pastor a small rural SBC congregation but it was amazing to us during our time of healing just how different the SBC churches where in their welcoming and love of people compared to what we had experienced as both staff and lay members. There are many good individuals in the IFB but there truly needs to be a heart change from the inside if the movement ever hopes to really be a people of God and not a people of the (fill in the blank with whatever group you care to.) Beautiful article, thank you.

  • Reply
    Brian
    December 12, 2017 at 12:18 am

    Your article can be drawn down to an old issue within IFB; soft core or hard core fundamentalism. Dr. Pickering’s book, which you disparage, though many, many more see as a sound, Biblical understanding of the issue is on the hard core side and you are on the soft core side as articulated in this article. This dichotomy has been present within IFBdom, predating your “1980” watershed for the start of IFB fracturing by a few decades. And it is what is still driving things within IFBdom today as evidenced by your article. You wish the soft core version to succeed, thinking that somehow, someway this is the right way. History shows otherwise, the soft core approach has always been absorbed into evangelicalism since that is where the feet were pointed of the men who espoused it.

    • Reply
      Linda
      December 13, 2017 at 4:25 am

      This response makes me so sad. So many fundamentalists assume people leave and go to evangelical churches because they somehow don’t care about the fundamentals of the faith or they just want fewer standards. But many times they become evangelicals because they are genuinely seeking a true Christianity that has its focus on our great Savior rather than on all these other (much less important) things. And they’re finding it not in their IFB church but in evangelical circles

      • Reply
        Lee
        December 27, 2017 at 5:30 am

        As Josh did, you simply make an excuse for lower standards of dress and music while attending an ear-tickling gathering. The Bible clearly states, ‘meddle not with them that are given to change.’ I’m commanded by God to come out and be separate. You came out and changed with the crowd! Jesus did spend time with publicans and sinners…but he never changed one iota. Be sad if you want…the truth hurts and makes sad!

        • Reply
          Ryan
          January 16, 2018 at 3:12 pm

          Your “higher” standards of dress and music have no basis in Scripture.

    • Reply
      Eugene Fisher
      December 15, 2017 at 3:41 am

      Amen

    • Reply
      BERNIE SANDERS
      December 15, 2017 at 9:20 pm

      Brian is stupid, he doesn’t seem to understand that while the hard core side may prevail for a brief moment (which already has), the soft core side will eventually prevail over it when more voices speak out. We saw this in Alabama with Roy Moore.

      • Reply
        Eugene W Fisher
        December 15, 2017 at 9:59 pm

        Please check your self!

        • Reply
          BERNIE SANDERS
          December 19, 2017 at 10:35 pm

          I don’t need to check myself. You are a bunch of conservative child molesters who need to get right with God. You supported people like Jack Schaap.

  • Reply
    Holly
    December 12, 2017 at 12:42 am

    I really enjoyed this article Josh. Well written! I’m also enjoying reading the comments and the respect given to one another in the dialogue. Thank you and God Bless.

  • Reply
    Tim Kaufman
    December 12, 2017 at 1:30 am

    I once had an opportunity to sing for a Billy Graham Crusade. I asked the pastor of a large and influential IFB church where I sang and spoke regularly his thoughts. “It will probably open some doors that you wouldn’t be that excited about and close some doors you’d really like to keep open.” I declined the invitation and have rued the day ever since.

    • Reply
      Eugene W Fisher
      December 15, 2017 at 10:00 pm

      You have no one to blame but yourself!

      • Reply
        Jay
        December 15, 2017 at 10:51 pm

        Let’s kick him while he’s down! It’s the IFB way.

        • Reply
          Eugene W Fisher
          December 18, 2017 at 10:19 pm

          How is tha kicking him while? If he has not gotten over it the he has a problem! He he was seeking recognition notoriety then he has a real problem.

      • Reply
        Brent
        December 16, 2017 at 10:05 pm

        Isn’t that exactly what he’s saying? He’s sharing what has become a painful memory for him both to illustrate the accuracy of Brother Josh’s perspective and to warn us of the consequences of adhering to the traditions of men as a poor substitute for the doctrine of God.

  • Reply
    Andrew Hemingway
    December 12, 2017 at 2:25 am

    Josh- Thank you for so articulately stating something that I have been thinking over and over. I would add that many times this kind of peer pressure that is asserted can in a way be usurping a local churches autonomy. The influence of the hyper separatists on other churches activities is ungodly at best.
    Thank you again

  • Reply
    Becca
    December 12, 2017 at 3:00 am

    I appreciate you sharing clearly and artculately where you stand. For me, the man following and rules=holiness were so discouraging; however, I am so thankful there are strong, conservative ifb churches that do not operate nor endorse such behavior. The book ‘Schizophrenic’ by Pastor Tom Brennan was a huge step in helping me understand the history of the ifb movement, and why departing is not the answer.

    • Reply
      Joshua Teis
      December 12, 2017 at 3:09 pm

      Becca. Thanks for the book recommendation. I haven’t yet read it but I’ve heard great things.

  • Reply
    Evangelist Sean Tabb
    December 12, 2017 at 5:55 am

    Brother Josh, praise the Lord that God has gifted you with the ability to wisely word things out in clarity. I have glanced at your ministering from time to time and found it refreshing, forward thinking and helpful. Having been born and raised IB of nearly the strictest sect (law preaching only), I’m 47 now and have for many years had great love for and minister with many who are not.
    As an evangelist, often the question is posed, “what is the pulse of the the churches” and I answer that there is an undercurrent going on in the IB. Older pastors are disillusioned and younger men are seeing many IB tenants are just not found in the Bible. Of the pastors I preached for in the past year probably 80% talked (some in careful confidence) to me of their frustration and dissallusion with the IB. We are reaping the very foundation of our movement – division. There provably will not be any great revival among us until there becomes sufficient persecution to drive us past our silly, Scripturelless squabbles to the point of just needing each other. The IB is filled with Christians without christianity – no charity, no joy, no peace, no brotherly-love. We must get back to simply Christ and His Word! Thank you for articulating the issue.

    • Reply
      Joshua Teis
      December 12, 2017 at 3:08 pm

      Hello sir! It’s nice to meet you on this thread! Thank you for bringing the unique perspective of an evangelist. I can just imagine what it would be like to hear from all of these different pastors each week. You carry a great burden and we pastors are blessed by it.

  • Reply
    Chad Matheny
    December 12, 2017 at 6:09 am

    Josh, to your credit, you have chosen your words and critiques carefully; sadly many will/do not. It IS true that a new generation of independent Baptists is coming on the scene. I pray that these younger men of God do not ‘throw out the baby with the bathwater’; that they will have the wisdom and discernment to draw from the strengths of the previous generation yet, learn from their mistakes, such as the ones that have been so well articulated in this article. I also pray the fervor and zeal for which the movement is known, does not diminish. But mostly, I pray that among our peers, that genuine humility will reign and pride will be pushed down. Seemingly, it has been this sin, the same as Satan’s, that has caused so much destruction and the demise of the IFB movement.
    I look forward to seeing you again at Idea Day West.

  • Reply
    Richard E Case
    December 12, 2017 at 7:13 am

    How do you account for the lack of bible truth and foundational biblical teaching being absent from so many of the Baptist Churches or churches who claim to be Baptistic in who they are, just don’t want the label.

  • Reply
    Christopher Watson
    December 12, 2017 at 7:41 am

    I appreciate what you have written in this article from your perspective. However, I feel that you have a limited understanding of a single slice of fundamentalism from your history, reading, and background. Your article is an expression of what occurred within the realm of southern Fundamentalism, not northern (or northern-transplant Fundamentalism). We, in the north, have not seen fundamentalism unified under John R. Rice, as you have described in this article. The 1920s saw the beginning of the fracturing of the Northern Baptist Convention. The GARBC was the first formal organizational fellowship to remove themselves from the Convention in 1932, under the ministries of Robert Ketcham, et al. Within the Convention itself, the Fundamentalist Fellowship (now the FBFI) continued to battle, as well as the Conservative Baptists (CBAofA). The Minnesota Baptists left as a whole in the late 1950s, early 1960s. The Conservative Baptists had also exited the convention in the 1960s. Fundamentalism was not at all unified during this time, but fractured. Perhaps there was unity to be found in the BBU, the GARB, the FBFI, and the CBA, but there was no overall unity within fundamentalism itself. Within the CBA, an internal battle soon broke out over how they would respond to the New Evangelicalism (led by Billy Graham, Fuller Seminary, Wheaton College, etc.). The hardliners left the CBA, and the mainstream stayed in (1960s).

    In Minnesota, there was a fundamental difference in the nature of leadership between R.V. Clearwaters and B. Myron Cedarholm over the organization and operation of Pillsbury College (which was taken over by the conservatives when the Minnesota Baptists left the convention). So Cedarholm went to WI (a few hours drive) to found his own institution – almost nearly out of spite.

    I could give example after example of the various institutions and individuals who were fighting for orthodoxy within the convention, and forgot to “beat the swords into ploughshares” afterwards – they kept fighting. It was a day of BIG men, not big ideas. Ministries rose and fell around personalities – flawed men who made the argument, “if you aren’t for me, you’re against me.”

    John R. Rice was no exception. Read sometime on the disagreements between Rice and Lewis Sperry Chafer, and how Rice treated his Presbyterian brethren.

    The rise of King James Onlyism was not only a serious doctrinal error, but brought even greater schisms down to the level of the local church (even to the point of splitting/closing some churches in near vicinity to me).

    However, even though I do see your article as missing a number of important historical works and sources, and limited in its scope, I do see a change (in my circles) in most of the younger fundamentalists within ministry (by younger, I mean around 40 and younger). Most of us will barely mention the concept of separation, but practice it on a case-by-case basis. Most of us will be judicious in our choices of associations. Most of us have no problem visiting an SBC church, conference, praying with an SBC brother. I’ve even known a number of fundamentalists – who still consider themselves fundamentalists – who teach in SBC institutions, and pastor SBC churches. Are we separate? In some degree. We associate formally (in our churches) in different organizations. Do we pray for one another? Certainly. Do we hang out together when we find ourselves at the same conferences? Yes.

    The era of BIG MAN fundamentalism is over. It exists in some churches/towns, and still exists within what is left of southern Fundamentalism within the KJVO movement. For most of the younger men, that era is dead. Most of us younger guys who still consider themselves as fundamentalists see fundamentalism as an idea – a good idea, and possibly the best idea. The idea that the a gospel profession is the boundary of true Christian fellowship, and that our understanding of the whole council of God is the center of true Christian fellowship. The closer we are in agreement to the whole council of God, the more fellowship (formal and informal) we can have. The farther we are in agreement to the whole council of God, separation naturally occurs.

    • Reply
      Richard Leroy
      December 12, 2017 at 2:30 pm

      Christopher, Thank you so much for this comment. This is exactly what I was trying to drive at in my earlier comment but I did not have the knowledge of the IB history like you seem to have. In fairness your comment may have a better grip on our history than the original post. Josh seems to be very well intended but I fear that his information is gleaned only through the narrow lens of his own background and upbringing. This is why I contended in my earlier comment that there are a whole host of Independent Baptists who never once saw John R. Rice as a unifying force within their midst. I also found it fascinating – if not a bit ironic – that Josh considered John R. Rice as a great “thinker” and that BJU was left to fill the academic void left behind at his passing. This seems to be another indication that Josh doesn’t really know his history. BJU was founded by a Methodist and has since his founding been a non-denominational school. I am a seminary graduate from BJU and attended there with Free-Presbyterians. While it’s fair to say that BJU trained Independent Baptists it is not fair to say that they are an Indenpendent Baptist school.

      I also contended that the KJVO controversy is a serious blight on our history but I would go further with that now. I would contend that the KJVO controversy is more of a southern (PCC) issue than anything else.

      I would love for Josh to go back to the drawing board with his history in this article and maybe interview people that do call themselves Independent Baptists but never went to the Bill Rice Ranch, never attended Hyle’s Pastor’s School, and never considered PCC as an option. There are people out there like this. I know because I am one.

      • Reply
        Eugene W Fisher
        December 13, 2017 at 10:15 pm

        Amen

    • Reply
      Joshua Teis
      December 12, 2017 at 2:55 pm

      Christopher (&Richard)
      I’m thankful for your comments and look forward to learning more from you and men like you as I continue to study the history of the Independent Baptist movement. Your perspectives and statements are fascinating. Seriously, thank you.

    • Reply
      Eugene Fisher
      December 13, 2017 at 9:42 pm

      A+

  • Reply
    Anonymous As Not to Lose Support
    December 12, 2017 at 8:10 am

    I really appreciate this post. I am an independent missionary, but I am blessed with the faithful support of some wonderful conservative SBC churches. I have grown so weary of pressure from certain churches because I choose to accept help (which is much more generous than any IFB church) from SBC churches who are identical in both doctrine and practice. I pray that the Lord will forgive us and rid us of these silly hindrances to the gospel work. I used to be an ultra-separatist, but the Lord convicted me and gradually changed my perspective, and I feel great remorse for having lived as if the true church consisted of only IFB’s. I feel great liberty now, and am happy to know that the church is so much bigger than the modern IFB movement. I am encouraged by this article!

    • Reply
      Joshua Teis
      December 12, 2017 at 2:58 pm

      Sadly I have received many emails from missionaries who are in bondage to such nonsense. Many who have had to literally sign that they will not receive funds from non independent baptist churches. Oh how this must grieve the heart of God.

      • Reply
        Eugene W Fisher
        December 18, 2017 at 10:23 pm

        They are not in bondage! All they have to go SBC! No one is making them stay! And what about them trusting God to meet their if IFB are so mean?

    • Reply
      anonymous
      January 2, 2018 at 3:26 am

      So, as a missionary, are you up front with IFB pastors when you present your ministry? I assume they already have read your personal doctrinal statement and found that you are in agreement with them. So, do you just let them know from start that you will not refuse financial support from other denominations? This is not a judgment type question; I am genuinely curious as my child will begin deputation soon?

  • Reply
    Josh Hall
    December 12, 2017 at 10:45 am

    Very interesting read. Myself i have grown up in independent Baptist churches. Attended both Heartland Baptist Bible College in OKC and Baptist Bible College in Springfield. I am thankful that the Lord allowed me the opportunity to receive training at both schools. My ordination was in a Southern Baptist church. So I have seen and experienced extremes in many camps. It appears to me that many have loyalty to institutions or organizations above people. Money also plays a bigger role in all of this then we want to admit.

    • Reply
      Joshua Teis
      December 12, 2017 at 2:59 pm

      Agreed! But we desire to see a new age cooperation and Christian unity.

  • Reply
    Lauren R.
    December 12, 2017 at 1:43 pm

    I used to be KJV only, but now that the KJV has gone through so many changes in the last couple of years I’m not sure if I can still put myself in that camp. For example, Genesis 1:1 changed to “the heaven and the earth” from “the heavens.” (So now God only has the ability to create a heaven and not the plural heavens?) I have to throw out all my messages for weddings because 1 Corinthians 13 is no longer the love chapter. The entire chapter has changed from “love” to “charity.” Romans 8:24 is full of hope, which is good, but why did “hope” replace what used to be “faith” in that verse? The KJV is also full of just odd and frankly sloppy grammar errors now as well. For example John 1:41 mentions “Messias”. Really? Genesis 42:32 says “We be twelve brethren…” We be? Really? Can’t the KJV editors even get basic grammar correct anymore? I used to be a big KJV only person, but these recent changes have really made me think twice about being in that camp.

    • Reply
      Joshua Teis
      December 12, 2017 at 3:04 pm

      Thank you for your post Lauren. Though I don’t consider myself KJVO at all, I do love the KJV and beleive it to be one of the greatest translations out world has ever seen. Extremely poetic with depths of beauty and emotion that are difficult to reproduce. Thank you for your comment. In a few months I plan on publishing another article dealing with the King James Version.

      • Reply
        Matthew
        December 14, 2017 at 2:19 pm

        Not KJVO! You mean like every other believer before 1611!…..Honestly, that is not bad company! 🙂 All kidding aside, King James Preferred is a perfectly reasonable position to take. That is where I am. I also know that you know that there are a lot of “bible versions” that are more or less paraphrases or commentaries. The number of truly scholarly translations available is a relatively small number. If we want to have a discussion/debate over actual translations then I think there is a place for that. That being KJVO every became a thing is sad.

  • Reply
    Joseph DeHass
    December 12, 2017 at 2:12 pm

    Great article. It almost seems as I grew up in the FIB movement, that the focus shifted from separating to Christ to separating just because. “They aren’t separated enough,” or “They are not like us” made them the enemy. Thank you for the plea of focusing back on Christ. Many IFB today would not have John R. Rice in their pulpits… We need the Lord, yes. We also need each other.

    • Reply
      Joshua Teis
      December 12, 2017 at 3:05 pm

      Sadly , you are correct about many church’s who admire John Rice would likely not have him in their pulpit.

  • Reply
    Bryan
    December 12, 2017 at 4:22 pm

    Thank you, Josh, for a well-spoken and courteous article. I know your thoughts are resonating with many younger, like-minded pastors and missionaries. I grew up in the pastor’s home of an IFB church in northwest Indiana in the ‘80’s and went to Bible college and seminary in Minnesota so I am familiar with many of the names you and other respondents have mentioned.

    My father is a great man who faithfully pastored for 4 decades and continues to train young men to be IFB preachers at a small Bible College. I have nothing but respect and admiration for him. However, I am unable to maintain the same secondary, third, fourth degrees of separation that most of the pastors and leaders of his generation espoused.

    Several years ago we sensed God calling us into missions. I struggled internally with the question of which mission to join, knowing that choice alone would close or open doors for us. However, I did not want to make that serious of a decision based on money (who would or would not allow us to present our ministry in their churches, etc.). It definitely closed doors to churches with whom I am familiar and have been previously associated.

    But, the true reality of secondary separation set in for my wife in a particularly painful manner. While on pre-field ministry after a pastor’s meeting, we were approached by a pastor who had supported my wife’s family (also missionaries) for many decades. My wife had been in this pastor’s home and church several times growing up. We began to discuss possible meeting dates when this pastor realized we were not with the same mission as my in-laws. When he found out which independent Baptist mission we were with, his entire countenance changed as the color drained from his face and his smile disappeared. “We can’t have you in,” he stammered. “We only allow missionaries from three missions at our church.” (He named them for us, one of which he served on the board.) My wife felt like she had been kicked in the gut. I could see that immediately she was fighting with everything in her power to fight back a flood of tears in front of this pastor and friend of decades. Thankfully the meeting was over, so we packed up our display and left.

    I mean no ill will toward this man, but he exemplified for us why this is such a serious issue. The gospel (Jesus death, burial and resurrection) ought to be our highest banner. That means we shouldn’t aim our weapons at our brothers and sisters who wear a different uniform, but serve the same King of Kings. (i.e. The U.S. Marines may not like their fellow Army soldiers, believing themselves to be stronger and better trained, but they never attack them because they represent the same entity.) Does that mean we can work together to plant churches with everyone who calls himself a Christian? Of course not, but we don’t have to hate them or gossip about them, either. I also am not suggesting that doctrine is unimportant, because that is vitally important. If one truly desires to be a “fundamentalist” then we need to stick to the “fundamentals” and agree that not everything is fundamental to the gospel.

    For us (Brazil) the issue is that most churches (Baptist or otherwise) are Pentecostal or Charismatic to some degree or another. I can’t necessarily work together with them, but I don’t have to throw stones at them or their ministries. The irony is that the outward “convictions” of many of these churches would be in line with most IFB churches, but here they tend to tie the security of their salvation to keeping those outward standards.

    I love the account in the Gospels where the disciples think they are alerting Jesus to the great danger of another group of God-followers who were not part of their group, but were casting out demons in Jesus’ name. “We ordered them to stop” the disciples told Jesus (probably expecting an “átta boy”). I love his reply “Do not stop him, for no one who does a mighty work in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me.” (ESV) Or as the KJV reads, “Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me.” If Jesus was okay with someone not being a part of “their group” then I guess I should be also. And, perhaps I could even pray for—or with him occasionally!

    • Reply
      admin
      December 12, 2017 at 5:41 pm

      Bryan. You’ve touched on my biggest concern and the biggest potential problem with so much division and lack of unity in our movement. Missionaries! We truly need to come together for the sake of worldwide evangelism. Thank you for your faithfulness and your comment.

      • Reply
        Anthony Master
        December 12, 2017 at 11:20 pm

        I agree with this article to a point but disagree on other points, but this is why we are independent fundamental Baptist. These three words all have separate meanings which should apply if we claim the title. For brevity, I will only mention the independent part. Being independent means that we are controlled by none other than God and His Word. I will follow God and associate with who God allows me to associate with and eat with sinners that God will allow me to witness to. I will agree though that the ones feeling the hardest with divisions like this are the missionaries trying to raise support. Having a bachelor’s in missions I do not claim to be the smartest or most educated, but do claim to at least know what I’m talking about. A missionary should not be told who they can or cannot receive support from as long as their support does not come with strings attached other than a report back to the church on a regular basis. I have not seen, nor would imagine it happening of a IFB church returning tithes or offerings from a visitor because they held different beliefs. Anyways a way to help ifb missionaries with these problems is a new service I have been developing at ifbmt.info Gain insights about a church gleaned from other missionaries with public notes and then keep private notes for personal reference plus many more features. Thank you for your thoughts and being open to discussion.

  • Reply
    Caleb
    December 12, 2017 at 6:09 pm

    Josh, the question I was hoping you would answer is whether Scripture ever instructs believers and local churches to separate from disobedience brothers? 2 Thessalonians 3 and Romans 16 seems to indicate that the answer is yes.

    • Reply
      admin
      December 12, 2017 at 6:30 pm

      Oh yes! I do agree that the Bible teaches (especially in the context of the local church) that we are to separate from willfully disobedient brothers. However, I see the majority of the NT focusing on restoration rather than separation. Even church discipline is primarily about restoration.

  • Reply
    Rebekah Tastet
    December 12, 2017 at 6:26 pm

    Wonderful article. I think the most that speaks volumes to me is not necessarily the content. It is the spirit that you have regarding the topic. It is a spirit to help and not to just win an argument. I also admire your family greatly. You, your dad and your siblings exemplify what you convey in your blog. God bless.

    • Reply
      admin
      December 12, 2017 at 6:35 pm

      Thanks Rebekah –
      The Bible says that the servant of the Lord must not STRIVE (Fight) but instead – “servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; and that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.
      We are not called to win an argument but patiently help those who have trapped themselves in the devil’s snare. It might be, that if we gently and Kindly explain the truth – many will be freed and the kingdom work can advance as never before.

  • Reply
    Mike Hand, Ph.D.
    December 12, 2017 at 6:36 pm

    Without a doubt the best dissertation of the plight of IFB’s I have ever read. Many of the points made were conclusions I came to in 1988 when I moved to the SBC camp.

    I am who I am today because of my IFB roots. It’s a shame IFB’s today do not remember or never had the opportunity to come from those same roots.

    Mike Hand, Ph.D.

  • Reply
    Mark Fields
    December 12, 2017 at 8:52 pm

    One of the things that has caused separation is KJV-onlyism. Can anyone else answer what is going on with the KJV and why it has changed in Gensis 1:1, like that previous poster mentioned? All of the versions of the Bible say God created the heavens and the earth, except for the KJV. Why has the KJV decided to now be the lone standout that does not say this. I grew up in IFB, KJV (but not KJV-only) churches since youth and I memorized that verse as heavens and earth? Was I wrong? (sorry, I know this is not directly related to the topic at hand, but a fascinating point that the poster brings up.)

    • Reply
      Pastor Roland G
      December 13, 2017 at 6:56 pm

      This good debate concerning unity and direction of the IFB could get easily sidetracked with textual discussions, but since this question has come up twice, I’ll give a brief response. The reading in Gen 1.1 for the KJV is the same that it has been for over 400 years now.

      The Hebrew שמים (shamayim) can be translated as a plural, but it can also denote expanse, or size. If we are to follow the order of things, the other heavens weren’t created until later in the chapter, so technically, Heaven (singular) is better. The modern versions decided to go with the plurality choice in translation, which is not technically wrong, but does go against the tradition of translation in the English language (Tyndale, for example, went with Heaven (singular) in his 1494+ translation)

      • Reply
        Shelly Jo
        December 19, 2017 at 2:49 am

        Pastor G., you are close, but not quite correct. For over 400 years the verse in Genesis 1:1 did say “heavens” in the plural. Most of these recent Bible changes have occurred since about 2016 or so, or so it seems. Another very recent change is Luke 5:37. This was used for years and years as an example of how old wine may have different properties than new wine in a flexible wineskin. Now the verse has been changed to bottles. That unusual. Wineskins have the potential to burst. bottles do not. Why did it just change to “bottles” in the last year or so? Genesis 3:15 has also changed. The word “bruise” is there now instead of “crush” like it used to be. Why is that? And of course, the most well known recent Bible change is Isaiah 11:6 where it was changed from the lion lying with the lamb to the wolf lying with the lamb? And what is the deal with phrases, like “dumb ass” in 11 Peter 2:16? That was never there until recently.

        Some people claim that these changes are not actually changes, rather our perception have changed and it only looks like changes were made. In other words, nothing has physically changes, only the wave patterns of our perceptions have changed, thanks to evil and evil technology. I have no idea and make no claim there. The only thing I can say is that the verses in the KJV have definitely changed or “appeared” to have recently changed; these verses were not like this until recently and something strange is definitely going on.

  • Reply
    Mike
    December 13, 2017 at 1:13 am

    Thank you for authoring this article. It is true ten times over. I am a perfect example of one who didn’t quite fit the mold and was tossed away. Blacklisted. It hurt at first but the Lord used it to open my eyes to what He is doing with folks who didn’t go to my school, and weren’t IFB. God has been so gracious to widen my sphere of influence and I love serving Him more than ever. I really hope your article saves a dying group of mostly sweet Christians 😉

  • Reply
    John D. Chitty
    December 13, 2017 at 1:35 am

    Baptist Bible Fellowship. Baptist Bible Fellowship. Baptist Bible Fellowship. Baptist Bible College. Baptist Bible College. Baptist Bible College.

    You stepped on one of my landmines by saying G.B. Vick founded the “Bible Baptist Fellowship.” Everybody makes this mistake, and I’m not too holy to admit that it makes me crazy! Even when I was a student at BAPTIST BIBLE COLLEGE (yes, I’m yelling!), before I dropped out and ended up an Orthodox Presbyterian, I coined a mnemonic device to help people remember the proper order of the words in this difficult to remember name: “Being Baptist cones BEFORE the Bible!”

    Great post, by the way. The Kevin Bacon Game is an inspired analogy for fundamentalist separatism.

  • Reply
    Cico
    December 13, 2017 at 2:18 am

    Josh, fantastic article! And long overdue but perhaps it can even go further…against the “sin of denominationalism”.

    When reading the book of I Corinthians in it’s entirety it’s clear that God, through his servant Paul, was frustrated with the separation between the church at Corinth. Actually, the phrase “church at Corinth” means that in any city believers didn’t separate among themselves and in Chapter 1 Paul addresses this separation. I’ll not elaborate here but I believe most of 1st Corninthians is dealing with the issue of separation among the church of the city. And I Cornithians also has very specific prescriptions for how a body of believers (of the entire city) ought to function…despite their idea differences.

    I would add, also that Jesus didn’t separate from Peter, despite his innacurate theology…of course Peter was humble enough to accept correction.

    The underlying idea of “separation” from another believer is fear. And, while we are to be separate from the world when we gather as a local body no one would ever suggest not working alongside an unsaved person or purchasing goods & services from unbelievers.

    So, we have to ask what are separatists afraid of…here are some thoughts:

    1. They are afraid of wrong teaching entering into their flock.

    Well, to this I say, get all of the wrong teaching out in the open. Jesus said “when he the Spirit Of Truth will come he will guide you into all truth.” If anyone is afraid of men being more powerful than the Spirit of God then we have a bigger issue at hand.

    2. We don’t want to expose our children to wrong teaching.

    Really? Has a pastor never change his own understanding of God’s word. Does he not grow? Of course…so any teaching by men is constantly getting closer to what the LORD intended. Children and new believers need to see that the idea of “having all of the answers” is a false paradigm…we have a relationship to our God who has all of the answers and any good son or student will grow in their own understanding so false teaching should not cause “fear” especially since fear is not of God.

    God is not afraid of false teaching…when our minds are renewed and our purpose is beyond being “right” but being full of Him who is righteous then we can overcome false teaching.

    Here’s a statement that is 100% accurate from my participation in Independent Baptist Churches or listening to preachers on YouTube…they all have false teaching.

    Finally, I would close by saying…the church is a family and a body. Removing appendages or family members from fellowship is a man-made construct. God is not interested in the body or the family operating like deformed thing. We have replaced the head of church, who is Christ, with the ideas of men.

    Now men are signaling (neurological signals if you will) to the body how to function rather than Jesus having that role.

  • Reply
    Ryan Flanders
    December 13, 2017 at 2:54 am

    I came to all the same conclusions a few years ago and led our church away from the movement. My study of fundamentalism and the NT along with a growing embarrassment to be associated with IFB moved me along. BJU I feel started the divisions when they began attacking men like Rice, Falwell and Jack Van Impe. That tone has been picked up by many since. I have also found several loving and sincere IFB pastors that are a blessing and that I thank God for.

    • Reply
      kevin mouring
      December 13, 2017 at 9:12 am

      We accept you for who you are ?

  • Reply
    Kellie Sims
    December 13, 2017 at 3:11 am

    This is SO well worded. It strikes at the core of “our” issues. I know we struggle with removing the BC from our church name as a means to free ourselves from this bondage. It is draining, constraining, and not sustainable. The truth has truly set my pastor (and husband) free. I pray he continues to follow only Christ as he lovingly leads us away from vain repetitions.

  • Reply
    Chris
    December 13, 2017 at 4:34 am

    Tremendous article, Pastor Josh! Wow! As someone who has been through this very struggle for the past 3 years, and spending time in you congregation during that time, this was very helpful … and, very much from the heart I have come to see, know, and love from you. This needs to be read in 10000 churches nationwide!

  • Reply
    kevin mouring
    December 13, 2017 at 9:10 am

    Foot note #8 ?

  • Reply
    kevin mouring
    December 13, 2017 at 9:27 am

    Great read! You have an interesting perspective of the history of IB. Is this based on person experience?

    • Reply
      Joshua Teis
      December 13, 2017 at 3:20 pm

      Yes. And research.

      • Reply
        Caleb
        December 15, 2017 at 4:50 pm

        Josh, I would kindly disagree with your use of the word “research” here. It would seem that many in the comments and many commenting on the “Sharper Iron” feed (linked above) disagree with the history you have listed. You seem to have written your history with a self-centered slant. It’s very obvious that your roots are southern. You seem to have totally forgotten that there was a Northern Baptist Convention out of which came the whole GARBC (1200 churches) the Conservative Baptists (over 1000 churches) and many FBFI independent fundamentalists. I would strongly encourage you to do a follow up to this post where you rehearse this history after doing more research. Maybe start that research process by talking to people who grew up in fundamental circles that were very different than your own. Seems like your research was all in an echo chamber.

        • Reply
          Josh Teis
          December 16, 2017 at 3:31 pm

          Thank you caleb. I completely agree. I would point to my 3rd footnote in the article that stated clearly, “This is admittedly a very brief and incomplete history of IB churches.”

          • Lee
            December 27, 2017 at 6:00 am

            So this makes your article deceptive …and from where I’m standing you, and all the others you’ve deceived into believing all you said was true, are simply making excuse for not separating!! ‘Meddle not with them that are given to change.’ The fact that you don’t reverence the KJB as the only true Word of God discredits everything you say…and that is your excuse for not separating! The God I serve demands holiness…and I’m commanded to love Him above all else. When I dirty the waters of holiness by not separating, then He is not pleased and I don’t love Him as I’m commanded!

  • Reply
    Tony Fraley
    December 13, 2017 at 3:48 pm

    As a young missionary trying to raise support, I just wanted to say thank you for this. The majority of my frustrations were well spoken in your article. I am trapped in a battle over subjective methodologies and not over actual doctrinal issues as I contact churches who are independent from one another. And it’s a matter of playing a game—do I discuss my passion to share the Gospel with the lost? I can’t because that doesn’t seem to matter unless I align perfectly with a pastor’s preferences.
    It tears at my heart.

    • Reply
      Josh Teis
      December 13, 2017 at 4:53 pm

      And THIS is the reason we (IB) won’t exist in the decades to come. Unless we repent. I’ve heard this story SOOOO many times.

      • Reply
        Eugene Fisher
        December 14, 2017 at 1:53 am

        I ? disagree.

  • Reply
    Joe Shakour
    December 13, 2017 at 6:27 pm

    Just a few quick thoughts here on a short break.

    1.) I enjoyed reading this article due to your subject as well as writing style. You are certainly gifted when it comes to communication. Many articles I read I feel like the writer is trying to prove something to himself or his audience, but your writing is clear and to the point.

    2.) The opening Kevin Bacon connection was catchy and served to prove that we cannot entirely be free of associations and connections. It’s one of the reason why I don’t recommend boycotts because it’s impossible to be consistent.

    3.) The picture of the boarded-up church and the parenthetical statement (and the rapid crumbling of the IFB) was a little off putting since my first thought was, “Oh boy, another IFB bashing exercise where some straw man extreme is beat to death while the writer holds his cure to inevitable demise in his conclusion.” I’m glad that’s not entirely where you went; however, a boarded-up building with a dire subtitle isn’t exactly what I see in my experience as an Independent Baptist. We are the movement of revival and soulwinning. We are the movement of the autonomy of the local church not some shady or controlling denominational headquarters. It’s the SBC that is dying with other mainline denominations. It just seemed like the so-called resurgence in the SBC is often extolled and the Seeker-Sensitive movement imitated with their many flaws and dangers ignored as we once again beat ourselves up and sell ourselves short. Our flaws are minor compared to controlling denominations running rampant with false doctrine and compromise. I’m not even slightly ashamed to be an Independent Baptist. As John R. Rice said “we have no headquarters but in heaven and no superintendent but the Holy Ghost.” As an Independent Baptist we’re not even to view ourselves as a whole but give critique of our own ministries we are accountable for.

    4.) Secondary separation may inhibit one being interdependent but not independent. At the end of the day, I don’t really care what another pastor or church does. I don’t give an account for those ministries. Let’s rejoice Christ is preached and make our own decisions on associations and activity including separating from those whom we believe would be a point of contention, confusion, or carnality if connected to our church.

    5.) The separation discussion was on full display with J. Frank Norris and John R. Rice. Rice went to preach at the Assemblies of God headquarters (my family’s first denominational home before becoming Independent Baptist), had Nazarenes and other denominations in his meetings. Norris hated that and wrote vociferously about him. When I read Rice answer some of these issues, I discover a clear decision to respect Norris’ position while continuing to operate as the Lord led him. My point is that any “separation anxiety” didn’t start with the death of John R. Rice and the reins of the Sword of the LORD being passed to Curtis Hutson, it was well within the discussion in that day from what I’ve read from Rice’s writings. John R. Rice concluded his position would be, Psalm 119:63 “I am a companion of all them that fear thee, and of them that keep thy precepts.” I’ve taken a similar position with my associations and at times the second part of that verse excludes some who I believe are operating in disobedience to precepts. The difference with Rice with modern day soft separatists was that he went into those environments with the same message and often clearly confronting error. As my dad read the “The Sword of the LORD” he became more and more convinced that the Assemblies of God had false doctrine and that he needed to be in a more biblical model of a church.

    6.) Putting “Hyper” on anything makes it sound crazy or extreme. Let Pickering and those who practice such separation continue as they desire. I’ve ready Pickering’s book and while I may not personally practice everything he espouses, I respect his position. What gives anyone a right to separate from or criticize the “hyper-separatists.” Most non-separatist churches would never even invite a Pickering to preach fearful of perceived “unloving spirit.” It’s a double standard to label something unbiblical as he labels another activity unbiblical. Let the Pickerings continue to have their own comfort level and standards of separation. I don’t need to change or even rebuke a Pickering. I just need to change me.

    7.) When it comes to David Ring or anyone else who would speak at the Crystal Cathedral I would certainly have a valid question about where he stood on Schuller’s beliefs. I imagine he was invited there, paid to be there, and while he gave the gospel may or may not have offered any rebuke. Before someone invited a Ring with where he went, there would have to be some direct questioning. I personally wouldn’t bring him. You know more about him than I do, and that’s fine. I’m not condemning a Ring or anybody else for hosting him, but when it comes to my comfort level I don’t want to be on the same itinerary list as the Crystal Cathedral. The same goes to the Kingdom Hall or some Mormon Temple. For me, if a missionary, preacher or a singer is fine being associated with apostates without a clear rebuke then I have some major concerns. Call it what you will, but if I’m not clear on where he stands when it comes to his responsibility and beliefs I won’t be associating with him or inviting him to preach.

    8.) I challenge both sides to point to those who have left error to enter into the truth. Because of John R. Rice, my family made steps for truth. Some say I am too involved with other pastors and organizations. That’s ok, but I can point to several former Pentecostals, Nazarenes, Free Will Baptists, United Methodists, and Southern Baptists who now identify with Independent Baptist beliefs and practice. The point isn’t the Independent Baptist but Christ and His Word which the former organizations often betray.

    9.) The problem isn’t the boat being in the water, it’s the water being in the boat. Let’s be involved, but let’s do some search and rescue not polishing brass on sinking ships.

    10.) To close, let me say I appreciate the subject matter and your thoughts. Let me add a warning on being too hard on those like Pickering who have all their levels. For me, it’s the same as those who boycott Target. That’s fine, and if you want to be upset at me for shopping at Target that’s ok too. I’ve got my own walk to watch which often involves separation. Call it what you will but if someone is wrong about which Bible to use, wrong about what our responsibility is to confront error and separate, wrong about personal standards and holiness, wrong about speaking the truth in love, or any other struggle they are in need of instruction not being put in a place to instruct. That’s not being “hyper”, that’s just trying to help.

    • Reply
      Jay
      December 14, 2017 at 10:21 pm

      No name IFB Assistant Pastor from SoCal here. Full name doesn’t matter, because it doesn’t matter. Just a guy. But I’m still trying to wrap my head around the issue with David Ring preaching at the invite of “smiley in the glasshouse” (point #7). You’re ASSUMING “there would have to be some direct questioning”. Even if there was, so what? The only problem I would have preaching for a group waaaaaaaay outside of my “camp” (whatever that is, I’m not really sure, personally) is if they demanded that I not preach the full gospel. I spent almost two full decades in youth ministry. I preached in public schools. In California, Bible clubs must be student run. So I preached for clubs led by girls from Pentecostal churches. I’m wondering if that association would be a deal breaker for you. They made no demands of me to not preach about speaking in tongues. But I figured I probably shouldn’t if I wanted an invite back. I had enough wisdom to know that the subject wasn’t very important in comparison to the opportunity to tell young people about true salvation in Jesus Christ.

      Josh, nice read. To be honest, I align closer to the right (“Gimme that ol’ tahm religion, yee-haw, amen, sho’ ‘nough” **waves hanky on way to altar during the special**), but I’m embarrassed by the demeanor and lack of logic of some of the well-meaning people in my camp.

      But some of my best friends are New Independent Baptists!

  • Reply
    Matthew
    December 13, 2017 at 7:19 pm

    The term Independent Baptist Movement is an oxymoron. The word independent is suppose to stress autonomy and autonomous local churches grouped together and referred to as a movement is the greatest mistake that has been made over the last 60 years. Fellowship with who God leads you to fellowship with and do the work of the Lord. If we would just stop caring so much about who people do and do not fellowship with and worry about ourselves we would be better of.

  • Reply
    Eugene Fisher
    December 13, 2017 at 9:39 pm

    I am more concerned how so many IFB can defend Trump. Notes I didn’t say vote for him. But I had to stop following some preachers for their constant defending Trump. Secondary separation is the less of the problems facing IFB movement.

  • Reply
    Rand Saffell
    December 13, 2017 at 10:28 pm

    The big problem with denominations is…denominations. To what “denomination” did Christ belong? The Bible says what it says. And when “denominations” begin to “interpret” scripture is where the problem begins. If the Bible does not SPECIFICALLY say it…then it should not be said. So many Christians these days “preach” the Bible without having a clue what they are talking about. It seems all Christians now are chiefs….and there are no Indians. But the Bible ALSO tells us in 1 Corinthians 2:12-14
    “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words. But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.” I would guess without any hesitation….that most of the comments here are NOT spiritually discerned…. But that they are only assumptions and guesses and old wives tales passed down from father to son and mother to daughter….without even so much as a prayer to the Holy Spirit….asking for His advice.. And then people wonder….why is there so much dissent among Christians?? I don’t.

    • Reply
      Eugene W Fisher
      December 13, 2017 at 10:36 pm

      Amen

    • Reply
      T.W. Mclure
      December 18, 2017 at 6:57 pm

      Eugene, we would be interested in your comments. You’re the one who brought up Trump into the conversation, no one else did. Can you explain to us why there is small subset of IFBs who are so radically against him? It would be interesting to try to hear your views.

      • Reply
        Eugene Fisher
        December 18, 2017 at 8:18 pm

        You are a little slow.
        I said see a problem with Christians supporting Trump.

      • Reply
        Eugene Fisher
        December 18, 2017 at 8:21 pm

        And if you can’t see why some would be against a lying ” grab them my their private parts Trump you need help.

        • Reply
          Mary Sanders
          December 18, 2017 at 11:59 pm

          Eugene, let me guess, you are an older gentleman who grew up when CBS, NBC and ABC were the only games in town? There’s nothing wrong with that, of course. A person can’t help what age they are. You seem to be a a person who believes everything you see on the news because of course, there’s no mind control agenda held by these organizations. I’m not trying to be unkind; there are millions of people in that category. I’m not saying I’m any better or smarter than you by any means or trying to be unkind, but you seem pretty gullible if you believe the agenda and the storyline put out by the mainstream news, which includes FOX most of the time.

          Is Trump for real? I don’t know. Maybe he is the ultimate Trojan horse. But until he proves otherwise, he’s the biggest breath of fresh air I’ve seen in over 50 years of my adult life.

          • Eugene W Fisher
            December 19, 2017 at 1:30 am

            Boy are you dimwit!

          • Eugene W Fisher
            December 19, 2017 at 1:33 am

            Correction: from my last post,
            Bawhahaha! ! !!!!
            Complement breeds low. Standards!

          • Eugene W Fisher
            December 19, 2017 at 1:36 am

            I hate auto correct! That’s compromise breed very very low standards!

          • Pastor Jim
            December 19, 2017 at 3:23 am

            Eugene, I at first took your comments in this thread seriously. You must be what my grandkids call a “troll”, whatever that is supposed to mean? But you do have me laughing, so you are at least good for comic relief. Most people here are trying to have a serious, intelligent conversation and you come in and are the only one acting juvenile and calling people names and acting like a 3rd grade. You were funny for a comment or two. Please stop now. Your act is really getting old. If we were at a comedy club you would have received a few laughs at first, but now it’s time to just exit stage right. Thank you.

          • Eugene W Fisher
            December 19, 2017 at 3:35 am

            Thank you Jim

  • Reply
    Wayne Larson
    December 14, 2017 at 1:55 pm

    I’m not an IFB, although I grew up in that as an IFB. This topic is fascinating to me. It’s interesting how any article linked to Sharper Iron somehow some time of anti-Trump article. That site is fascinating. It seems to be nothing but an anti-Trump political ad. I remember a day when it was actually more diverse and covered more topics than anything anti-Trimp. Oh well, it it certainly their prerogative to be whatever they want to be. That’s the beauty of free speech. All of the few IFBs I still know from days of my youth are Trump supporters as well as any other Christians I know. Being away from the movement for decades, I know nothing of it. Has it really gone so far liberal that being anti-Trump is not one of the prices of entry? Or is this Sharper site some kind of anomaly?

    • Reply
      Wayne Larson
      December 14, 2017 at 2:38 pm

      To all the readers and management at SI, I wanted to clarify. Please don’t take my posts as acerbic or unkind. I’m sure that I would agree with you on the major points of doctrine. I do not want to be offensive. My apologies. I just happen to disagree with you politically, but I want to do so in a kind, humble manner.

  • Reply
    Rodney Love
    December 14, 2017 at 5:12 pm

    Josh, I want to thank you for writing this article. I grew up in a IFB Pastors home and truly loved it. My father worked hard to keep the outside stuff out of our church and family. Since I have been in the ministry myself I have become discouraged with the things you wrote about. I saw the politics and how it controlled our churches and philosophies and was discouraged because it only seemed to bring struggles not help. As I moved into the Senior Pastor I desired not to repeat what I had seen and strive to balance and a grace centered, Jesus focused ministry that was driven by Biblical principles. not personal preferences. At one point I felt that we may be alone because I did not know to many would agreed with me. In the last couple of years I have learned how many are in the same place I am. Appreciative for what I was given as a child, and grateful that there are many who desire to keep the premise that makes Independent Baptist a strong movement while not allowing the negatives to control. I am grateful for your comment that you are not just leaving the movement but working to make it better. My wife and i made that same decision a few years ago and I am glad you are doing what you are. Keep it up and remember that you are being praying for

  • Reply
    David Sorenson
    December 14, 2017 at 5:24 pm

    WHY I AM A SEPARATIST

    I recently read a blog written by a young pastor who had grown up in the independent Baptist movement but has largely forsaken it. The gist of his article was belittling separation, particularly ecclesiastical separation. Well, I for one, have been a separatist by conviction all my adult life ( I am 71 years old). But his article gave me pause to reflect on why I hold the convictions I do. Let me share five reasons.

    I AM A SEPARATIST BECAUSE:

    1. It is scriptural. From Exodus 33:16 where Moses said “so shall we be separated, I and thy people, from all the people that are upon the face of the earth” to Revelation 18:4 where the angel said, “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins,” separation is scriptural. It extends from the Pentateuch to the Book of Revelation.

    2. Erosion of ecclesiastical separation invariably leads to declension of personal separation. The defining difference between fundamentalism and evangelicalism is basically the principle of separation. Historically, that demarcation commenced as ecclesiastical separation. However, it has been my observation after decades in the ministry that churches and institutions which are cavalier about ecclesiastical separation invariably see a declension of personal separation. What starts in the pulpit quickly moves to the pew. When preachers compromise ecclesiastical separation, their people soon begin to accommodate the world on a personal basis. I have watched this phenomena repeatedly for decades.

    3. I will someday stand before Jesus Christ and give an account (Hebrews 13:17). I have been in a pastoral ministry for close to 50 years. The Bema is coming and as a pastor, I will give account to the Chief Shepherd. Among other things, I believe I will be held accountable for how I influenced my church. After having read the Bible through more than 300 times, there is no question in my mind that our Lord takes a dim view of a churchy world and worldly churches. The mandate of II Corinthians 6:17 has never been abrogated. I suspect middle-of-the-road pastors who soft pedaled separation from the world and the compromise of the age will be chagrined in that day. And that day is coming!

    4. I have observed the worldliness of the people in churches which soft pedal separation. Ideas do have consequences. Most members of evangelical churches look like the world, partake in the same entertainments of the world, and pretty live like the world. Richard Quebedeaux, a non-separatist, wrote more than 40 years ago about the “worldly evangelicals” – his own words. Then Francis Shaeffer, likewise not a separatist, stepped back and looked at his own movement — the non-separatist evangelical movement and wrote a book about it entitled, The Great Evangelical Disaster. The line of demarcation between the fundamentalist movement and the evangelical movement is separation, both ecclesiastically and particularly in personal separation. Shaeffer accurately described his own movement. The non-separatist evangelical movement today is worldly disaster.

    I have observed over the decades that the people in the pew almost always will have a lower standard of separation from the world than their pastor. When the pastor soft pedals separation, his people will invariably have even lower standards than him.

    5. The next generation is at stake. To be sure, there have been failures and embarrassments of second generation fundamentalists. But in general, I will compare the youth of a separated church, who grew up with godly standards of separation, to the youth coming up out of the non-separated evangelical movement. There are always exceptions, but in the main youth who have had the biblical principles of holiness and separation instilled in them over the years are far more devout than young people from non-separated, evangelical churches.

    Conclusion: We can debate at length the merits or demerits of fundamentalism versus evangelicalism and separated versus non-separated Christianity. But the proof is in the pudding. Far, more separated youth head to New Testament missions than their non-separated counterparts. Far more youth from old fashioned fundamental churches continue on in faithful service to Jesus Christ than those who grew up in non-separated evangelical churches. I speak from close to 50 years of experience in the ministry.

    As I look across biblical history, I suspect that Elijah the prophet or John the Baptist or the Apostle Paul would take a dim view of the soft-separation, middle-of-the-road Christianity so prevalent today. I suspect the Holy Spirit is grieved thereby as well.

    After all these years, I have no regrets of having been separated from the world and separated from ecclesiastical compromise and apostasy. It was the heritage of my father and grandfather. I firmly believe it will be a significant criteria at the Bema. Separation has never been popular. It was not in Moses day. It is not today. Non-separatists will likely draw larger crowds. But that will not be criteria at the Judgment Seat of Christ.”

    • Reply
      Josh Teis
      December 14, 2017 at 9:02 pm

      Dr Sorensen,
      I am honored to have had you comment on this post. Thank you for taking the time and for sharing your heart. I have been an admirer of yours for nearly 20 years since reading your books in college.
      I may have given you and others the wrong impression. Therefore, I would like to humbly clarify that I do not beleive I have forsaken the Independent Baptist movement (I’ve planted an IB church and send over $100,000 per year to independent baptist missionaries). I love being IB. I’m simply questioning one teaching that has been expressed in our movement, that I beleive has caused damage. Secondly, I mean not to belittle ecclesiastical separation. I too am a separatist – just not to the degree that some may wish. I will once again read through my original post to make sure these things are being properly expressed.
      Again, thank you for your comment and, more importantly, thank you for your many years of faithful service to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I hope the Lord will give me a long and fruitful ministry as he has done with you. God bless you my friend.

      • Reply
        Joshua
        December 16, 2017 at 9:05 pm

        Why not join the conservative evangelicals Pastor Teis?

        I read your post about the New Independent Baptists a couple of years ago and figured you would have made the jump by now.

        You share their dress standards, their music standards, their critical textualism, their love of Calvinist authors, and their desire to separate only over the gospel and a short flexible list of conservative hot-button issues. It sounds like you would fit in perfectly running with MacArthur/Piper/Dever et al. What major difference in doctrine or practice is holding you back from throwing your lot in with the conservative evangelicals?

        They would welcome you with open arms as one of their own, even if you can only get yourself to 4/5 points on the TULIP, and they would amen every single point you raised above. I’m a former conservative evangelical myself and what you are expressing here is a longing to go to the house I left. You share the exact same spirit (small s) they operate by and are clearly longing for more. They’ve got everything you want. What’s holding you back?

        • Reply
          BERNIE SANDERS
          December 19, 2017 at 7:40 pm

          David Sorenson is a hypocrite and a false preacher. He supports Steven Anderson, a crazy IFB pastor in Arizona whose church is listed as a hate group.

  • Reply
    Stephen Ensley
    December 15, 2017 at 1:51 am

    Having grown up the IFB movement myself, I do not see it in the positive light you do. I see it as a fundamentally negative movement created by power hungry leaders desperate for control. They found a way to turn the greatest story ever told into chains of bondage. They used the very Words of God to shame people into compulsion. I believe much more people have been hurt than helped. I believe there are so many who think they were saved who actually weren’t. You talk about 2nd degree separation, I think you’d be hard pressed to prove 1st degree separation. Jesus himself didn’t even separate from the Pharisees and Saducees and all the all other theologians and philosophers of his day. We have become isolated from the world as a faith because we operate in a silo. We do not engage those think radically different than us and are more concerned with proving ourselves right. This has lent us to polarized views and the marginalization of certain communities. I don’t believe the IFB movement has had a net positive impact on the earth. In fact, I think the church would be better if it had never existed.

  • Reply
    Recovering Southern Baptist
    December 15, 2017 at 11:45 am

    Very disengenious article, that could be very deceiving to many young people in the IFB movement. I’ve been IFB for 20 yrs and have never herd of any type of separation to this level or degree. That’s coming from the Bible Belt, where fundamentalism is abundant. I was saved in a sourthern Baptist Church and after a short time in the scriptures left because Of church polity. I’m not saying that this doesn’t exist, but it’s on a very minute level. Maybe your running with the wrong type of fundamentalist. My question for you would be why would you care what others thought about who you ran with or preached for. Better yet, who in their right mind would allow someone else to tell them who they could and couldn’t be friends with or preach with. This is child’s play. As a Baptist, We believe in soul liberty. Each to his own I say, but taking the responsibility not to become a “stumblingblock”. You have every right to run with and preach for whoever you want. It becomes part of your resume and yes I have the responsibility to listen to what you are saying by who you run with. I have the responsibility to form my opinion of you using that criteria. You should expect me to, but why should you care?My advice would be, just be you! Serve God with all your heart, stay true to the scriptures and buckle your chin strap as we will all stand before God as the judgement Seat and give account for our actions and attitudes concerning his Word. But please, refrain from using a straw man Situation like this and giving the perception to young believers that there is an epidemic problem in fundamentalism. Any organization with people has issues that need some correcting, and IFB have some, this however doesn’t even make the radar in my opinion. Sadly these types of comment boards become smear campaigns. A few poor souls will chime in with their personal bad experiences, which I have noticed have not been so much about the subject you wrote on, but started varying quickly. What these same well meaning folks will not tell you is the other side of the story they are telling. I just hope for your sake that you will consider such as you write in the future. We are all responsible for the sphere of influence that we have and how we use it. Myself? Just trying to let the Lord help mold me into the man He wants me to be. Best to you and yours.

    • Reply
      Jay
      December 15, 2017 at 5:14 pm

      I really don’t mean to be rude or sound condescending buuuuuut…

      Do you really believe Bro. Teis is being disingenuous? What do you know about him AND what do you read in the article that causes you to question his sincerity?

      For me, personally, his view is left leaning (I hope that’s not insulting). I’m just right of what most would consider the center of our movement (KJO, traditional worship, etc.; but I’m not much of a hanky waver and I prefer to wait till the invitation to go to the altar!). So while I’m not in complete agreement with his views/methodology, I appreciate his passion to reach people and genuine desire to preserve our movement.

      “I’ve been IFB for 20 yrs and have never herd of any type of separation to this level or degree.” Really? I’m a no-name 20+ year full time Asst. Pastor with no Bible College allegiances. So I don’t find myself in the middle of the drama. But I know it’s there. It blows my mind that you’ve never heard of it. No sarcasm when I say I envy the utopia you’ve found.

      • Reply
        Recovering Southern Baptist
        December 16, 2017 at 10:38 am

        The Utopia I have found is available to all. Simply put, its just Ministry. We are called to be all about the flock, the local church. Only when a man tries to become somebody in the larger gamut of Christianity does he encounter the foolishness that the article expresses. Me personally, I’m still persuaded that “He must increase and I must decrease” When that’s your mentality of operation, your don’t need the approval of others, you labor for the audience of one. BTW yes I believe he was being very disengenious. Taking a non issue, something that bothers him and writing an entire article about it, he’s just trying to stoke a fire that isn’t there. As I said earlier, notice how the responses are not even about the subject of the article. You know why? Because by and large it doesn’t exist. Maybe Josh has seen a little of it, but this article is click bait. Evidently Mr. Teis is trying to raise his superstar statues among the next generation, by raising more issues with the old hat of the IFB. This time though, he’s crying wolf, where there is no wolf. He needs to be reminded, that if he wants to write about REAL IFB issues, write about HERO WORSHIP! In the IFB that is one of the most Christ dishonoring issues that exists. IFB tend to want to make a hero out of anyone who has outwardly visual success in Ministry. The Hustons, Hyles, etc. IFB worship them and set them as the gold standard. That’s a real issue that needs addressing, not this straw man. I have found in the past that only the men who are trying to be HEROS stay silent about it. But again, I could care less, carry on wasting your time and trying to build your earthly kingdoms, even if you have to use such tomfoolery as this. Just remember, every idol word will be given account for in that day. In the meantime, keep patting each other on the back and assuring each other that your doing the cause of Christ a great service, time will tell.

        • Reply
          Jay
          December 16, 2017 at 6:47 pm

          “Only when a man tries to become somebody in the larger gamut of Christianity does he encounter the foolishness that the article expresses.” You are so very wrong. Unless it is your belief that we have an epidemic of missionaries trying to “become somebody”.

    • Reply
      Josh Teis
      December 16, 2017 at 3:42 pm

      Dear RSB,
      Thank you for commenting. I can understand why many would question even the importance of this topic. But here is why it matters. Though we are independent and must remain focused on our individual local churches we are also interdependent and need one other for world wide evangelization. It is necessary that the church is unified for this to occur. I hope this answers your question. God bless.

  • Reply
    Paul
    December 15, 2017 at 10:03 pm

    Josh,
    For some time now I have been deeply concerned with the direction of your church as well as the direction you are seeking to lead many young preachers and churches. If I were you I would greatly heed the polite warning of Dr. Sorenson. To me it appears that you are trying to play with words and titles by giving new definitions to titles and meanings. New Evangelicalism has always been appropriately called a “mood” or attitude. I think the mood that is conveyed through your article is the same exact mood of the New Evangelicals. I believe the great leaders of Fundamentalism would have separated from you because you have the same attitude they were separating from.

    Perhaps the predominate underpinning of the New Evangelicals is the subtitle shift from a philosophy that is Doxilogical to Soterialogical. Repeatedly you have proven this point by saying “why can’t we all just agree or focus on the gospel and reaching the world?” That is important but that shift in thinking is dangerous and has been proven historically by men like Billy Graham and others. If your underlying philosophy is not the glory of the Holy God and Creator then you will be willing to do things for the sake of the gospel. Things like….change our music, don’t preach against anything that would keep people from coming to hear the gospel or preach in places like Crystal Cathedral. Ask Uzzah in the Bible if God cares about how we worship him. The Gospel is important but the first and foremost thing is the Glory of God. This shift is the reason we have mega churches today who are afraid to say homosexuality is wrong and are as wishy washy as can be on just about everything, because it’s just about the gospel.

    In my experience I have also noticed that many young preachers who get swept into New Evangelicalism are there as a reaction to some preacher or teacher who perhaps didn’t handle a situation right and as a result the young person reacts. Because they don’t like a personality they prove their point by swinging to the other side. Many of the comments above have this tone of reaction. I imagine when Paul withstood Peter to the face, this could have given reason for some to react. Probably a lot of young people today would react to Paul and say he was wrong and would be afraid to associate with him, much like many have drifted to New Evangelicalism because of some preachers position. This shows a lack of maturity and a self focus which makes sense in the “me” culture we live in.

    I trust this post will bring glory to God and serve as a warning not to minimize crucial Bible truths.

    Respectfully,

    • Reply
      Eugene W Fisher
      December 17, 2017 at 7:21 pm

      Amen

    • Reply
      Joshua Lancaster
      December 25, 2017 at 7:39 am

      Amen!

  • Reply
    Joshua C
    December 15, 2017 at 10:52 pm

    Well written and appreciated by this independent Baptist who has has struggled with and contended against fundamentalist hypocrisy in some of the darkest valleys of my life. Valleys that split my church drove away friends and left my family isolated. Valleys that have woken me up from dead sleep in cold sweats and robbed me of full nights of sleep even years later. Valleys that have caused a real struggle against bitterness and deepest darkest soul searching, and but valleys that have made me who I am.

    Every Christian should be fundamental in their doctrine, it’s the “ism” that is so often tacked on that is the problem. When we elevate any “ism” above scripture, (“ism” being a practice or way of life) it turns the scripture into our own image instead of us being conformed into the image of Christ.

  • Reply
    John
    December 16, 2017 at 4:05 am

    What if the SOTL, Jack Hyles, Curtis Hutson and the “men” who held up fundamentalism preached a false gospel?

    These men perpetrated an anti-Christ, repeat a pray, just believe and pow, you get to go Heaven.

    To be a Christian is a repentance unto God and a belief in Jesus Christ. It is a committment to Christ forever.

    What if all these men were heretics? Could I separate from them? What if the neo baptists, fundamental baptists and the SOTL crowd were preaching heresy?

    What if thousands were destroyed over a repeated prayer because all it was were vain words from a tract?

    I must separate over the many anti-Christs that have preached for numbers and money.

    Sincerely,

    John

  • Reply
    Benjamin Pearson
    December 16, 2017 at 4:55 am

    I appreciate your post, Josh. I grew up in an IFB church, and I attended two different IFB colleges for my undergrad and masters. While I’m now the pastor of SBC church, I’m always encouraged when I hear from moderate fundamentalists. I struggled with many of the issues you highlighted during my college and seminary years. Unfortunately, I concluded that far more of the younger generation of fundamentalists have the same militancy and arrogance that tore the movement apart in the 80s and 90s. I decided that I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life playing the type of politics that typifies many fundamentalist circles. I consider myself more of a conservative evangelical but I still appreciate my fundamentalist heritage. However, I’m glad for moderate fundamentalists like yourself who are more interested in carrying out Christ’s work in this world than fighting about secondary issues. I pray that fundamentalists who hurt people and the cause of Christ would see the result of their pride. Also, I pray that our Lord would raise up more bible believing pastors (whether fundamentalist and conservative evangelical) with love for God, a heart for people, a passion for the Bible and a zeal for the glory of God.

  • Reply
    Brent
    December 16, 2017 at 10:18 pm

    I haven’t been able to peruse all the comments yet, so if I am redundant, it is unintentional. 1) I am so relieved to read this article; in many respects, I have felt alone for quite some time now. Thanks for writing this, and when I’m in your neighborhood, I’m looking you up. The intermountain west already has a peculiar brand of fundamentalism under the label of LDS. If you compare the two (IFB and LDS) the doctrine is different, but not the substance. On the other hand, a very shallow Christianity encapsulating itself in entertainment and marketing has captured the minds of those who are either courageous or rebellion enough to leave Mormonism, and we are faced with a wishy-washy and equally illegitimate representation of the church. It’s time to quit teaching as doctrines the traditions of men. I loved this: “The elevation of preferences to theological status did not help. To codify a style of music, building decoration, pulpit attire, and service schedule as Biblical helped to corrupt our churches.” 2) It’s interesting to consider the impact of the professional nature of ministry in making related decisions. A pastor who is not beholden to the camp for financial support (aka survival and provision for his family) is free to obey his conscience. I’m not sure financial solvency is to be the primary consideration in determining the desire of God.

  • Reply
    William Dudding
    December 17, 2017 at 4:49 am

    I came to this same realization about ten years ago when I was a pastor. I lost contact with most of my IFB friends because I openly used to blog about the manifold errors within Fundamentalism and increasingly associated with people within Reformed Theology.

    Today, If I were to become a pastor again, or if I were to start a church, I really don’t know what use Fundamentalism would have anymore. There are more and more younger Fundamentalists like the author of this blog who are turning away from the erroneous traditions of Fundamentalism. I’m really glad to see this development. You can stay Independent and not be a part of any association, denomination for a while, but you will probably find yourself more and more isolated from Fundamentalism and so much more in line with people in the SBC (or some other group), that you’ll eventually wonder why you’re still holding out without a larger group to be at home with. You will need a fellowship. The idea that a church should be completely disassociated with others only hurts the independent church. You will eventually need the wisdom and or resources of others which are an unutilized gift from God.

  • Reply
    Eugene Fisher
    December 17, 2017 at 11:57 pm

    “Bible-believing Christians would do well to beware of the New Evangelicalism for four valid reasons.

    ● First, it is a movement born of compromise.

    ● Second, it is a movement nurtured in pride of intellect.

    ● Third, it is a movement growing on appeasement of evil; and

    ● Finally it is a movement doomed by the judgment of God’s Holy Word.

    Strong language, this? Let us face the facts.” William E. Ashbrook (John E. Ashbrook’s father), The New Neutralism.

    • Reply
      BERNIE SANDERS
      December 19, 2017 at 7:42 pm

      This is exactly why Paul Chappell is becoming a liberal, Paul Chappell is a compromiser.

      • Reply
        Eugene W Fisher
        December 20, 2017 at 12:30 pm

        Truth!

  • Reply
    jack
    December 18, 2017 at 7:17 am

    Meh.

    Who cares.

    If your wasting your mental energy thinking about this and worrying over how others might perceive your post or your replies, just get out already and get on with life along with the rest of Christianity which really doesn’t care who John R. Rice was and what Jack Hyles said and what Paul Chappell’s son’s wive’s are wearing.

    The IFB is not worth saving. Act like your noble forefather’s and separate from this anachronistic movement. And just to be on the safe side, separate from those who have not separated from those who are still in it.

  • Reply
    Pastor Jim M.
    December 19, 2017 at 9:59 pm

    Thank you, Mr. T., for your article. And thank you poster for your interaction. This has been interesting and insightful. There has been some disagreement, which is not a bad thing. We can still be gracious and kind to those we disagree with, even if we vehemently disagree with them This article and the comments have covered a broad swatch of topics and I myself have found myself disagreeing 100% with some of the views here. Please forgive me if my comments were harsh; that was not my intention. And I don’t think it was the intention of anyone here to be harsh. Thank you, Sharper Iron, for linking to this blog. Without you, I’m sure we would have received much fewer views. I am not a fan of that site because I find it too anti-Trump and too political for my tastes. As an older man and an older American, it disheartens me to see the anti-Trump fervor among young IFBs. On the other hand, God’s word tells us to be kind and patient and that we need to each examine our own lives first and foremost before we worry about others so much. Even so, I’m sure that on many issues of basic doctrine (aka “the fundamentals”) we would agree with and have fellowship over. And in the end, the fundamentals are much more important than any former or current political office holder. In any event, this has a good article and I’m glad for the author and for everyone’s input. I’m not a representative of this site at all, by the way. I’m just a poster who has found it interesting and thought-provoking. I wish all of you (whether I agree with you all views or not) God’s peace. Thank you.

  • Reply
    DT
    December 21, 2017 at 7:50 pm

    If the rules ever said that girls can’t wear pedal-pushers, you might be IFB!
    I remember way back in my childhood, being at a church that had both Hyles and Falwell in the same year, and no one thought anything of it. You are right, when Rice died, the whole thing went to splat… Hyles went Ruckmanite and started pushing his “the blood, the book, and the banner” stuff, and drew much of IFBdom after him.
    But hey, does separation really matter if you lose sight of what you are separating against? You write all this stuff about separation but does anybody really care about liberal theology anymore? The last time I went to a mainline church (United Methodist) I might as well have been stepping into an evangelical church. No, the fight became about “standards” and “worldliness” as defined by your favorite “man of god”. It’s become about worship style, parental discipline methods, and other assorted odds and ends that fundies have decided to get their panties in a bunch about. It is so freaking ODD to watch IFBs litigate stuff the broader American evangelical church hasn’t concerned itself with for 20+ years.
    None of this matters because the overall demographic shift as well as the economy post-2008 has been thoroughly punishing to fundamentalism, forcing them to throw their lot in with conservative evangelicals. The remaining few fundies that resist this shift won’t last another generation, not in any meaningful form.
    Religion is a cultural phenomenon… it can be cultural or anti-cultural but IFBdom is so detached from broader culture at this point it is neither. It is some sort of quaint throwback in the way that watching B&W movie classics is. Who needs to invent a time machine when you can visit an IFB church?
    IFBdom remains comforting to a subset of conservative boomers and some of the later generations that have been steeped in traditional worship/church style to the point that contemporary services are uncomfortable. Every other justification among laymen, with the sole exception of KJVOism, for remaining IFB boils down to this. To take away from nearly every IFB preacher I’ve heard — don’t get mad because I speak the truth.

  • Reply
    Derek
    December 24, 2017 at 1:09 am

    Paul has sharp disagreements with others, including Peter, and even said in Galatians that the aspotles in Jerusalem added nothing to him. I wouldn’t call that unity.
    I think your frustration lies in an incorrect view of unity. I used to hear the same cries for unity in the mid 90’s when the BBF was drifting. The problem is that unity is never expected from movements, unity is expected in churches. If you’re position in the church is Biblical, then you know that God expects unity within church bodies. To expect unity from a movement – especially one called independent- totally contradicts the Biblical truth of unity in the first place, and you will exhaust yourself fighting to achieve it.

  • Reply
    Joshua Lancaster
    December 25, 2017 at 7:08 am

    Compromise was always used with a negative connotation when I was growing up, when used in relation to convictions and standards of Biblical holiness (separation). Now it appears practically to be the catchphrase of a segment of independent Baptists. Jude talks about men that teach such things:

    16 These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage.

    17 But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ;

    18 How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts.

    19 These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.

    You say you don’t want to separate, but you have already separated yourself by your actions and words. You are simply calling others to join you, and if they don’t, well, you have made it clear that you believe you are right and they are wrong.

    Articles like this draw lines of separation as well. Agree and you find yourself separating yourself from those that disagree.

    The kicker is, those like myself that never agreed with this line of thinking will be treated as the ones causing division, when we simply hold to the same convictions we always have.

    You do, of course, have the right to hold to whatever beliefs you want. The fact is, your stand isn’t new. It has been around for a while. It just used to go by the name New Evangelical.

    I was taught that a team member should wear the jersey of their team. It identifies them. Wearing the jersey of an Independent Baptist but the convictions of an ecumenical New Evangelical is confusion. The Southern Baptists might be happy to have you in their denomination. You line up with their beliefs. Why continue misrepresenting independent Baptists?

    • Reply
      Paul
      December 27, 2017 at 12:26 pm

      Very well said! Names and words have meanings and it’s not helpful to anyone to change definitions.

    • Reply
      Eugene W Fisher
      January 3, 2018 at 1:02 am

      Amen

  • Reply
    David Crist
    December 29, 2017 at 11:50 pm

    Thanks for writing this Josh! Well said

  • Reply
    Robert Sweatt
    December 30, 2017 at 2:20 am

    I greatly appreciate your article I do have a question for you. I understand that you received your degree from PCC. I am very familiar with PCC and many of their recent grads and understand that the KJV is still pushed as the only true version for a Christian to use. After this article and the points that you have made, would you still separate from another pastor wh ok used the ESV or any other version (even if they are willing to use the KJV in “your” pulpit). I am asking bc i have heard other younger pastors make the same statements that you made in thi s very well thought out article and yet would still separate over the “version issue”. What is you view on this? Thank you

  • Reply
    Mark
    January 16, 2018 at 7:24 pm

    The entire article exhausts me. I forgot how utterly exhausting it was to be in the IFB, and to be a pastor of an IFB church. I am drawn like a moth to the flame on articles such as this and then realize how happy I am apart from all that IFB ridiculousness.

    I choose Grace and hope that Grace will have me.

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