Arminian Today

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What Unites IFB Churches?

I read this blog post and I wanted to briefly comment on it.  I agree with the author that it is true that the IFB (Independent Fundamentalist Baptist) are not a denomination.  Unlike say the Southern Baptist who are based out of Nashville or the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church (ARP) who are based out of Greenville, SC, the IFB has no central headquarters.  You’ll find no central church in the IFB that leads the group.  You’ll find no president or bishop who is the leader of the IFB.  In that regard, he is correct.

The author also notes that the IFB is diverse.  I would agree with this.  For example, the brethren at Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary would not agree with the KJV-only position of the author but they would identify themselves as IFB.  It seems in the IFB that while there is diversity, they usually unite around certain ministries that are alike.  In some cases, those in one corner would bash those in the other corner for not holding to what they hold.  In this case, many IFB evangelists and preachers would bash DBTS for “being liberal on the KJV Bible.”  IFB folks at Pensacola Christian College would claim that IFB folks at Bob Jones University and DBTS are liberals.

My point is that IFB folks typically unite around a few churches or a few evangelists that they agree with.  In the past you would have a group of IFB pastors who would all unite around Jack Hyles or around John Rice or around Bob Jones.  This is still true today.  IFB’s are not united because I believe of the spirit that they present: one of a fighting fundamentalist.  Someone said a fundamentalist is an evangelical who is mad about something.  Perhaps this is true.

From my point of view, the IFB is often divided over ridiculous issues such as whether a 17th century Bible translation is the inerrant Word of God, the length of a man’s hair, whether rock music can be used by God or not, whether you should own a TV (yes I personally heard an IFB evangelist say that no true Christian would ever own a TV).  This tendencies, to fight over pointless issues has led to the IFB’s being viewed out of suspicion and often not taken seriously.

Let me close by saying that I have met many godly IFB people.  I know of several IFB preachers who love God, love His Word, and love to see people saved.  While we would disagree over the KJV Bible, they don’t make it an issue of salvation.  Further, they are dedicated to reaching people with the gospel.  So I want to be fair here and not paint all IFB people as bizarre or divisive. They are not.  Many of them love the Lord and do want to honor Him.  DBTS is a great example.  Godly leaders, expository preaching, evangelism, a heart for prayer – all this is found at DBTS.  So please understand my heart here and don’t believe that I view all IFB preachers or churches as what I described above.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

05/06/2013 at 9:35 AM

Posted in church, Theologial Issues

Tagged with ,

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