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This was written as a response to a blog in which a disillusioned, Independent, fundamental Baptist was giving his reasons why being a fundamental Baptist was no longer “exciting”. While he made some valid points, I felt he was throwing the baby out with the bath water and swinging the pendulum to the extreme other side. However, this response to his blog was excellent (In my humble opinion).
“Having been raised in a “true” denomination (Baptist General Conference) I was drawn to IFB because of its independence, passion, strong stand for “thus saith the Lord”, and it’s courage to pick up discarded doctrines (separation, true Biblical authority, the crystal clear Gospel, personal evangelism). Once “in” I was disillusioned by the lack of true independence it really had. While the pastor’s didn’t have a denominational director, per se, the pressure to fit in and appear conforming was the invisible ex officio denominational director in every flavor (aka camp) of IFB church.
When super structures are created and are as revered as Scripture then a group or movement is doomed to the “crabs in a barrel” phenomenon.
Having said that, we need to be thoughtful to not allow our current culture of fast-paced neuro stimulation addiction to revise the truth of the Early Church (or the Early IFB Church). I do not believe these times were “exciting”. I believe we read that they were quite the opposite: they were riddled with hard work, persecution, suffering, fear, discouragement, heart-break, physical injury and death (or the threat of both), financial challenge, etc. The NT epistles are basically correction for carnal believers, encouragement for persecuted believers, and sound doctrine for growing believers full of commands, exhortation, rebuke, edification, example, and evangelism.
To over-sensualize these “movements” is to create a false sense of hope that Christian work is somehow exciting and fun if we’d just make some changes. Paul needed to exhort them (and us) to “be not weary in well doing.” Serving God in a wicked, cursed world is hard…not exciting. Are there moments of excitement during the battle? Yes! But the routine of daily warfare is hard (2 Tim 2:3).
Remember, this is a war and our time is short. There is a devil. He and his host do not sleep. This is not the child of God’s time to build a comfortable life for themselves in Babylon…but to war and fight and rescue for our King and His Kingdom.
At the same time there is never any room for pride, envy, strife, self-righteousness, selfishness, politics (within the church), etc. MOST of the New Testament repeats this ad nauseam…this is not a new problem and this is not an IFB problem…it’s a sin problem. Sin always hinders the work of God and our effectiveness in the field. Sin taints our love for others, our ability to care and have compassion, our desire to “go” when “staying” is more fun (Netflix, Facebook, Video Games, Sports, etc). IFB is simply a reflection of you and me and the choices we’ve made and, like a real mirror, we don’t like what we see when we stop and stare. The solution? Others, Lord, yes others; let this my motto be: help me to live for others, Lord, that I might live for thee.
Note: Samuel grew up under the pastorate of Eli, Phinehas, and Hophni. Not once do we find recorded in Scripture Samuel’s dissertation of the problems with the EHP movement….but, rather, we see an individual who surrendered himself to the Lord and served the Lord all the days of his life.
Your church is only as strong as the individual members that make it up. Your duty is to be and to stay surrendered to God and encourage others in your church to do the same….firstly, by example, and secondly, with words.
Herein is true humility, righteousness, and leadership practically lived out. Herein is where Bible-based and Spirit-led improvement to the IFB exercised.
May God bless your submission to His Will and your Obedience to His Word and Spirit as you passionately serve Him!”