“Bible Believing, Bible Preaching” Deception


I don’t have much to say about this issue except to give my story of how I came to realize this deception from the Independent Fundamental Baptist Church.

The IFB are notorious for claiming the importance of attending a “Bible Believing, Bible Preaching” church. The implication, of course, is that you will be attending a “Bible Believing, bible Preaching” church ONLY if you attend an IFB church. It was never overtly stated, but implied that if you didn’t attend an IFB church then you weren’t attending a “Bible Believing, Bible Preaching” church.

They never used scripture to defend this, just the idea that only the IFB truly believe and teach the Bible. I remember during my final year as an IFB discussing this with a trusted friend who had already come out of the IFB. We were discussing the differences among our churches and I had mentioned the importance of attending a “Bible believing, Bible preaching” church.

Her response was simple, but remarkably profound for me and began the change in my thinking that was so desperately needed. She simply said: “Do you really think that I don’t believe the Bible?” That simple question was enough to get me thinking about this subtle, but extremely manipulative idea that the IFB holds the patent on truth, that somehow only they truly believe the Bible. Honestly I had never thought about it before. I just accepted that the IFB was the ONLY source of truth. I was truly brainwashed into thinking this lie.

This is directly tied to the IFB’s incessant insistence that the KJV is the only version that is truly God’s word. The idea is that other churches/denominations don’t use the KJV therefore they aren’t preaching or teaching the truth.

This deception is directly tied to the idea that one must go to church as well and that that church should be an IFB church otherwise you aren’t really getting Biblical truth. I plan to talk about church attendance in a future post.

I wish all who read this and have been fed the lie that the IFB is the only source of Biblical truth and that if you don’t attend an IFB then you aren’t really hearing the truth to reconsider. You will be – or perhaps have been – told that if you don’t attend an IFB church that you aren’t really a “Bible Believing” Christian. This is a lie and a deception. Because of the subtle nature in which the IFB promotes this idea, this deception is very abusive and dangerous. Be aware of it and I encourage you to questions your pastor should he ever mention this idea to you.

This entry was posted on Saturday, March 26th, 2011 at 11:23 am and is filed under "Bible Believing Bible Preaching" Church, Independent Fundamental Baptist Church . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

42 Responses to “ “Bible Believing, Bible Preaching” Deception ”

  1. greg says:

    This is exactly the way it was in my last IFB church.

    Many IFB’s stop by here and want to contest that their IFB is not like this, and I believe it is possible that they are correct, in a very few rare instances, but the fact that you can write a post like this one, and it be exactly like thousands of others fundies/ex-fundies is too much of coincidence for it not to be a huge problem with IFB’s.

    I would suggest to anyone that is in an IFB church, that is not like the one described above, to come out from this movement/denomination and change your name, this insidious IFB movement has harmed thousands of families, and I wouldn’t want to be associated with it, were I you.

  2. Tim says:

    To my knowledge, different churches may hold different views regarding baptism. I think it is really odd that Baptists are called Baptists because I thought they were the “only ones” that supposedly DIDN’T believe that Baptism saves a person! I think I will name a company “Bank Robbers, Inc.” and say that we help honest people protect themselves from bank robbers. Really?? That makes sense… right?! It may be a bad analogy, but it is late and you get my drift I think.

    The real reason I am writing is to say that, as long as a church is conservative, it doesn’t really matter if they sprinkle or whatever. Free Methodists, Independent Baptists, Reformed Presbyterians and Missouri Synod Lutherans are all conservative, traditional denominations with good Bible-believers. I would advise staying away from liberal, mainline Methodist, Presbyterian and Lutheran churches although there are good older Christians stuck there when a good pastor leaves. It would be hard for me to hold out until they get rid of the liberal nut they just hired who doesn’t believe in the authority of Scripture, the blood, but instead replaces it with abortion and gay marriage social issues which we should support “in love”. Don’t tell me a liberal pastor loves a gay man that doesn’t warn him about AIDS.
    I just found out that conservative (or moderates, or any) Nazarenes think you can loose your salvation like the conservative Church of Christ (not to be confused with the COC in Christian Union) or the United COC which is Jeremiah Wright-liberal. I didn’t know Disciples of Christ had conservative churches.
    They aren’t great on expository preaching, but I think you can be saved and still attend if you find a conservative one. I don’t know if I would consider a woman Methodist pastor conservative. The beauty of the Methodist church was (even if you had a flaming liberal in the pulpit), there was some good organ or orchestral music. Not anymore. This is far and few between as of the last 5-6 years. Everyone here will probably think I’m a heretic but I attended a country Catholic church that didn’t say “Hail Mary”, had a great sermon and uplifting new music. I really tire of clapping my hands with the rock drummers with the spotlights on the performers “jammin’ with the Lamb”, but I don’t mind other music outside of the church building necessarily.

  3. tammy says:

    I don’t know that Baptist Churches are the ONLY ones that don’t believe Baptism saves…actually most Bible believing churches don’t. Baptism is an outward expression of salvation.

    The rest of your comment didn’t make a whole lot of sense.

    But, on topic, as a Christian I am appalled at what the IFB stands for in the name of Christ. What I have seen/read shows they have let Satan distort the Bible for their own sick, selfish pratices.

  4. Larry says:

    This article and the 20/20 program are misleading and inaccurate to the point of being an outright lie. Both are very unfair attacks on churches and people who have no way of defending themselves. There IS NO SUCH THING AS “THE IFB”. Therefore any article referring to “the IFB” or any thing that it is guilty of has to be false logically. What do you think “independent” means??? The term “IFB” implies some form of an association like “Southern Baptist”, “Presbyterian”, or Methodist. There is no IFB. Period. Therefore each “independent ” church rises and falls on its own merit. And the blame for what one “independent ” church does or doesn’t do cannot logically be passed on to another church. It is like saying all people are bad because some people are bad. The crime that another human commits, cannot logically be blamed on me unless some conspiracy can be proven between me and that person. Likewise the blame for a supposed wrong done by an IFB church cannot be passed on to another IFB church. For denominational churches the same cannot be said, because they have an established church hierarchy that is vested with powers over the member churches and even the buildings are supposedly owned by the hierarchy. Therefore, the Catholic church can be blamed and held responsible for wrongs committed in a catholic church (not picking on the Catholic church here, but they make a good example of what I am trying to say) because of the existing church governmental structure. The blame for anything that go on within an IFB church begins and ends with the pastor and officers and members of that local individual church. Nothing else makes sense. Therefore the article is unfair and wrong as is the 20/20 program broadcast.

    • greg says:

      Hi Larry – I tend to agree with some of your statements but I suppose its now up to you to decide why the hundreds of stories on this site and others are very similar to those depicted on 20/20, including my own story. Indeed I know of several other sites that say the same things. Dependence on one translation,KJV, strict adherence to whatever the pastor says with no discussion, the pastor’s strict standards on everything from dress to alcohol consumption whether or not these are biblical standards. I could go on and on about the IFB, or churches that call themselves IFB. Literally thousands upon thousands of stories that detail abuse in these IFB churches, eerily similar. I say if it walks like a duck, well you know the rest of the story.

      This site details much more of how the mind control and manipulation goes on in these IFB’s.

  5. Larry says:

    There is no deception possible for people who can read and understand. I own a Bible which I believe to be the best version in the English language. Therefore , if I hear preaching that does not agree with what my Bible says, I am obligated to approach my preacher and inform him that I do not agree with what was preached. And if this happens often, I would be obligated to take my family to another church or further discuss the issue with my fellow church members and pastor to resolve issues. The less that you know about your Bible , the more likely you are to be deceived.

  6. tammy says:

    Seriously, this argument is old. If there are, say 1000 churches that Identify as IFB and 800 of them commit some form of abuse, one would say there is a problem with IFB churches, whether or not they want to own up to being a united group or not. Anyway, I will not debate this as it is useless to get into a battle of the wits with an unarmed person.

  7. Tammy says:

    Larry,

    While I do agree with you (perhaps we would have disagreements on the translation, but that’s an assumption), if one has been deceived since birth, and ones parents are bringing him/her up in a deceitful environment, it may take years before they explore the Bible enough to see the truth.

  8. Michelle says:

    All I can say is, “Wow.” I have not seen the sexual abuse shown in the 20/20 special, but I can see how it could happen in such an authoritative place. I used to think legalism was tying salvation to anything but faith in Jesus; but now I see it as more – taking man’s words/the pastor’s and presenting them as God’s. We are just coming out of such a “stupid” environment.

    Small background – I was raised very Roman Catholic attending Dominican and Jesuit schools. I was saved in college through the campus Baptist Student Union – a southern baptist ministry. That was back in 1985. My husband was raised in a UMC, and the church his parents still attends has a woman pastor. After marriage we started attending and joined a Baptist church – North American Baptist. It was great. The pastor was solid – exegetical preaching through the Word. That pastor moved on; then a new pastor came who was following Rick Warren’s “system”. In his 1st newsletter he spoke of marketing the church – had meetings for the target age group of 18-35, and everything else suggested in Warren’s methodology. We left searching for a Biblically sound church – not knowing what we were really looking for. We thought we had found a church – an IFB. Our recent entanglement with an IFB church only confirms many of the common threads exposed on this site.

    I am a pants wearing homeschooling mom of 5, ages 6-18, – and was recently used as multiple negative examples in a sermon. I guess since we didn’t respond to his family’s various “hints” he decided to use his pulpit to make his point.

    Back in Oct. the pastor’s wife caught me as I was leaving Sun. morning service and in “encouraging” us to come back that evening said, “Put God first in your life; it’ll be a change but a good one.” We know that gathering together with other believers is ordained by the Lord and important, and we were “regular” – but not every-service attenders. We don’t see Sunday as a holy day of obligation, are not Sabbath keepers and do not hold one day higher than another – although we know it is important to hear the preaching of God’s Word, to gather with other believers, and be a part of a local body.

    Her statement concerned us,but it was the pastor’s wife who really doesn’t speak for the church. I was hoping it was a misspeak.

    We kept going; then on the 1st Sunday of the new year the pastor did what our teen aged daughter described as a “fire and brimstone” sermon on church membership and attendance. This was to introduce his theme for the new year – “being in one accord” and using Acts 2 loosely as his text. It seemed like the one accord he was speaking of – was his accord – not the Lord’s. Believers are in one accord because of our position in Christ.

    After “the sermon” we met with the pastor and his wife wanting to confirm and discuss our identity in “the sermon”.

    Out of complete ignorance yet trying to let them know that we would miss the next Sunday, I told the Pastor’s wife in Jan. of 2010 that we wouldn’t be there the next Sun. because we were hosting a Superbowl party. Fast forward to the 1st Sunday. of this year, and the pastor with clenched fists said in his sermon, “And some miss church for football games.” At our meeting he confirmed that was me. He said, “Well, you know when you said that you weren’t going to come to church because of a football party.” Yet, in another breath he said that he doesn’t keep “lists” on people. This church absence happened 49 weeks earlier.

    Then in the same sermon he said, “And some say they coach, and that makes them miss church.” BINGO me again – This past summer/fall, I coached our 5 year old twins’ soccer team which did not cause me to miss Sunday services, but practices did start the same week as their VBS. The pastor’s wife with a smile on her face told me, “They can miss soccer practice.” I said, “But I’m the coach, and it’s the 1st week.” Apparently that went on the unofficial “list” and made it into the sermon. Practices were twice a week from the middle of July until school started; so it was 2 nights of missed VBS. I guess we were supposed to clear our schedule to conform to the church’s.

    The really funny part of this is that I hardly ever watch football, and let’s just say I’m not an athlete; yet you would think I’m a sports loving obsessed triathlete for being mentioned in his sermon for these sports things.

    Then – I knew this was about me when he said it. In his sermon he was talking about people coming only for the meal at church – “those who come to only fill their belly”. When he said it, I first was sitting there thinking – “What is he talking about? Who only comes on Sundays on which there are meals? There aren’t more people here on meal Sundays.”
    Then it hit me. He was again talking about me. The Sunday before Christmas was a part of a crazy weekend. Our twins ice skate and had 2 performances on the Sat.in a Christmas ice show. It was a 13 hour day for me. The church was having a meal after the morning service on the Sun. I didn’t get food cooked for the Sun. meal with my 13 hour day the previous Sat., so on Sun. morning, the whole family goes to church. I stayed home to prepare for the potluck. I went for the potluck. After the potluck they were having another service; but the ice rink was having an end-of-show party on Sunday afternoon, so I took our twins and left.That was me I was guilty of “only coming to fill my belly.” I explained to him that I didn’t come to the meal because I was hungry. I came because I wanted to be there. He actually said you shouldn’t miss church because you’re tired. If you’re too tired, you need to rearrange/reduce your schedule. I never said I was tired; although I guess I could have gotten up really early on Sunday morning to cook for the meal.

    Previously their only child, a son our son’s age pestered our son all summer about wearing shorts to church. He wore knee length khakis and polo shirts. Well at our meeting, the pastor confirmed that shorts are not appropriate for church, and the members(male & female) know not to wear them to church functions – even church picnics. We are very sensitive to modesty issues. Would even men in pants be considered modest compared to the robes of Bible times?

    Then in Sept. our oldest daughters went to an IFB youth day type recreational event with the pastor, his wife and son and one other girl. The pastor’s wife told my girls and me soooooooo many times for them to dress modestly that I thought she thought there was some chance of them showing up dressed like prostitutes. Our oldest wore a knee length golf skirt – even though the pastor’s wife suggested culottes – and our dd said she felt like the pastor’s wife kept looking down at her exposed knees in the van on the way there.

    At our meeting we also discussed the issue about church attendance being an indication of the Lord’s place in one’s life; and they said, “No, we’re not saying that God isn’t first in your life because you’re not at church for every service.” Then the pastor’s wife chimed in, “We’d like our son to play baseball, but they practice on Wed. nights, and we told him that God comes before baseball.” What’s in the well comes up in the bucket. We are so glad to be out of there. We’ve run into an older gentleman who hasn’t been able to sing southern gospel songs there for special music since this pastor took over 8 years ago. All very sad, and we feel very stupid for the time we spent there. What an abuse of the pulpit from which God’s Word should be preached.

    • Michelle says:

      I posted on this page because it was the “Bible believing, Bible preaching” deception that sucked us in.

      • Stephanie says:

        It was the Bible Believing Preaching that SAVED ME. Some people try to help others, but so many today don’t really want help. They want to live their life their way. When I got saved, Jesus bought me. He controls me. No one in this world would ever die for you and suffer like Jesus did. WOW to be so judgmental on others. Others who have given up their dreams, their desires their financial goals, to preach and teach the word of God so you don’t have to drop off into Hell one day. You people ought to be ashamed of yourself.

        • Katie says:

          It was the Bible Believing and Bible Preaching that saved me too! But guess what? It wasn’t in an IFB church. The article is about the IFB’s claim to be the ONLY group that believes and preaches the Bible (i.e., the truth). Perhaps had you actually read the article you might have understood that.

          WOW to be so judgmental of us who are trying to speak out about the harmful teachings of the IFB! See it works both ways.

        • Michelle says:

          Wow back at you. We are to be controlled by the Lord – not by a pastor who has rules for many externals. There is one church in our county that had the girls on a youth ski trip wear culottes over their ski pants. Jesus conquered sin and death and made eternal life available. He is the Word made flesh. It is his Word that I must follow – not that of an IFB pastor. You’ve made my point that IFBers seem to think that their teachings/beliefs are the same as the Word of God.

    • greg says:

      Michelle – Thank God you’re outta there. I too feel stupid for having put in nearly 20 years in my old fundy church. I also coached ball and had a very active life, plus shift work, so I can really relate.

      God bless you and stop by anytime, I have found this site to be a Godsend, and I come by often. It’s cheaper than a psychologist!

  9. [...] not a cult by any means. I belong to an independant fundamental baptist church and it it full of bible preaching bible believing christians. There are good and bad in more churchs than just the baptist but what happened was [...]

  10. Tammy says:

    It’s unfortunate that some chose to read only what they want to see. I don’t think the creator of this site is debating the Bible as the true word of God. I think the point is that no one church/person/organization has the claim on teaching/practicing/interpreting (when there is room for interpretation) the Bible.

  11. Maria says:

    My husband is an IFB pastor. I am very sorry to some of the things that members of the IFB church have been through. However, it is not the IFB church or any other religion that saves us. A GOD in Heaven sent HIS only Begotten Son to save a Lost and Dying world! I am all about standards but I also have enough common sense to know that those standards will not save you from hell! Men of God need to preach the gospel and spend a little less time on preferences and opinions! I assure you that my hubby is not one of those types of pastors!

  12. jeff says:

    ISIAIh 41 BRING forth your IDOLS did they PREACH to you see they can’t speak they can’t DO ANYTHING all they do is cause confusion. spalms 115 and spalms 135 thier IDOLS are FALSE cant speak can’t hear cant smell and those that make them shall become like them. Jeremiah 10 they nail their IDOL down like a scarecrow it can’t move can’…t speak can’t move must be carried these are nothing but the WORK of CON men.john 10 jesus christ sais his sheep hear his voice and another voice thy will not follow and if another person tries to preach to them they WILL FLEE from him. jeremiah 5 the priests bear rule on their own authority what will you do when your judged my word is not inside them. Now here is the kicker john 5 son of man voice goes back in time mathew 16 jesus christ claims to be the son of man.‎1 cor2 mind of CHRIST preached internally and john 16 sais the spirit of truth comes in the future. Ezekiel 13 lying prophets of ISRAEL my word is not inside them saying god sais god sais god sais wrote hoping mankind would CONFIRM their WORDS. all of this is EASILY verifiable.

  13. Fred Widdowson says:

    I was a Southern Baptist for 20 years but after spending several years studying manuscript evidence and the writings of the early church “fathers” I came to believe that the KJV was the only really authoritative Bible. Reading it and believing it changed my and my wife’s life and now I’m on my 56th time around.

    We looked for a church that believed like we did and were tricked into thinking a local church we found was suitable. Within a relatively short time I realized that this Jack Hyles wannabe preacher and his crew didn’t so much as believe the Bible I loved as they did their own press. A mixture of Narcissism, Mafia-type lust for money, and, in my mind, secret Sexual Predator was the spirit there. They hid it well, though, and I gave them the benefit of the doubt until I realized the truth. Watching a single mother and her family abused we left the church. The woman’s Sunday School teacher left as well and we formed a new church with the woman and others who realized what was wrong and the Sunday School teacher as Pastor. The other churches like the one we left ignored us but other local IFB churches embraced us. I suppose you would call us IFB although we have no such affiliation. There are about 20 of us meeting in a storefront. The thing I’ve learned since we left the first church is that most of the little IFB churches around here aren’t staffed by narcissistic predators but well meaning and well intentioned men and women who truly love each other in Christ. The monsters are an abberation but the structure of the IFB church attracts them for exploitively sexual, financial, and other sick reasons.

    In that first church we weren’t even encouraged to associate with other churches. It was like a reclusive rule to keep us from hearing the way others did things. Now, we even have Pastors from other churches visit ours to HEAR preaching and we share things like evangelists, tent ministries, and such. I know the abuses go on all over the country and it is horrible but do you honestly believe that the evil ones represent the majority of IFB churches?

    I’m not trying to argue with you. If all you hear about are the criminals then I’d expect you to paint with a broad brush but has no one on here ever had a good experience with a so called IFB church?

    Thanks,
    Fred

    • Steve says:

      Hi Fred, Welcome and thanks for asking questions rather than making assumptions.

      First, We talk a lot about “broad stroking” the IFB. Just read through the site’s content and comments and it won’t take you long to read our answer to this misunderstanding.

      Second, to answer your questions: 1. I don’t “believe that the evil ones represent the majority of IFB churches”, but I do believe that the majority of IFB churches (if not all) contain harmful practices, traditions, beliefs and/or teachings. We talk a lot about this on the site also. 2. I’ve had lots of good experiences with the IFB, I don’t deny that. But the bad experiences have left such a sour taste in my mouth that it has ruined my pallet. You can read more about that Here.

  14. Fred Widdowson says:

    @Steve I tell you what. Reading this site makes me very thankful for the Pastor we have and the other Pastors he works with. We have two Sunday services split by a dinner we have together (no evening service so that people can go elsewhere or go home) and we were talking about how to determine whether someone comes through the door to preach is evil or not. We decided that if he focuses on dissing women that’s a dead giveaway. The women all agreed that there were some men that they just felt dirty being around like after certain type of person talked to you you just wanted to take a bath. The men agreed and that sometimes, rarely, but once in awhile you find women like that, as well. They talk the churchspeak really well but lying and manipulation are in them. The women said the biggest problem is if they aren’t listened to and how long time and much older men church members are more likely to ignore a complaint. We all agreed we have to be vigilant. The Pastor’s sermon was about focusing on Christ and not making gods out of men. This Matt Jarrell jail suicide thing has some people upset because a couple of them had been fooled by him. They’ve accepted the truth now and want to move on.

    Just out of curiosity. We have a tent meeting in Shrewsbury, Pa. coming up with an evangelist Justin Cooper. Does anyone know anything about him?

  15. greg says:

    Hi Fred – I googled Justin Cooper, seems like your everyday, run-of-the-mill fundy. He and his wife sing and he accompanies them with his guitar, which is what I would probably like best, were I to attend one of his meetings, which I don’t see happening in the near future.

    On his website he goes on about the bible how its verbally inspired to be followed for all things in faith and practice, then says we use only the KJV. So he didn’t call out other translations as perversions as many fundies will, but I got a funny feeling that he has a couple of those KJVonly sermons in his back pocket. Btw, nothing wrong with the KJV, but its odd that you would want to “advertise” that on your website.

    When he is talking about the offices w/in the church he lumps the pastor, Bishop and elder all together saying they are the same office, I completely disagree with that. It’s been awhile but I believe that the KJV only uses the word “Pastor” once or twice in the whole bible, but the fundies have him being the king in their churches which really seems so funny, becasue they constantly hold up the bible as their only guide. (I find that alot with fundies)

    A website I frequent (stufffundieslike) had a video clip of him and then the users of that site comment on it, apparently the video has been taken down, but the comments can still be seen. It was a mixed bag, apparently he does the ol preachertainment and theatrics (where do fundy preachers find examples of this style preaching in the bible?) alot of yelling, where is that in scripture?

    All in all, like I said earlier, Cooper seems to be a run-of-the-mill fundy preacher/evangelist. Many of us have left that sort of thing behind, he may be very sincere and love the Lord with all of his heart, but he has chosen a path that detours around an awful lot of folks that need Jesus.

    I hope your upcoming meeting sees many souls for the Lord.

  16. greg says:

    Fred – Forgot to mention the date that (stufffundieslike) did their bit on Cooper, it was September 18, 2010, in case you wanted to read the comments.

  17. John 10:10 says:

    I’ve never heard of Justin Cooper. I’ve heard of John Cooper. John Cooper is the lead singer for the Christian band Skillet. Also John has a wife named Korey that is a member of the band Skillet as well. Hope this helps.

  18. Norman Silva says:

    Spot on. It’s like they are clones of one preacher – mentally I suppose they are. My wife and I have left the IFB movement and will never go back, never be part of the “one pastor system” again. I will never listen to any man’s sermon if he teaches tithing – it shows me that he has no discernment whatsoever. It’s like a politician who believes in global warming – out of touch with reality.

  19. Philip says:

    My buddy’s son got in a terrible car accident and he turned to the IFB Church in town . This guy has half the town in there listening to his homophobic rhetoric. The KJV is used as a weapon against anything this pastor ses fit. My buddy has come over less often since attending. Coincedence ? I doubt it. When he does, he rambles on about subject matter that is bizarre for a Bible loving person.

    I’m a simpleton I tell him , but anyone who makes they’re wife wear a dress everywhere has serious issues. A person that I believe hates on this country , ought to move the hell out of it ! Why do you listen to this idiot? Because Rex knows the word of the lord and you could do yourself a favor by attending. No thanks.

    If a church can’t respect the laws of this country and stay out of politics at the expense of uneducated good people, then shame on them. Thats really what is at the heart of these churches. Politics.

    Every sermon is preached out of the KJV in the subcontext of our country being full of sin. Like I said, leave my great country out of the pulpits. It’s sickening and I am losing a friendship over that idiot IFB Church.

  20. Lily says:

    I would be very interested in what you have to say about the church attendance issue. My family and I are currently members at an IFB church, but we have really been questioning for the last year or so if that is really where we belong. We really differ a lot on a lot of the issues. The only thing keeping us there are the families in the church because we truly love them, and they are a great group of people. The current pastor, however, is ultra conservative, much more so than most of the members. One of our issues with him is the number of times he has mentioned in the two years we’ve been members at this church how we need to be at church every time the doors are open. We are not there all the time as we have little ones that make it hard for us to be out two nights a week past their bedtime. There are other families with little ones that are there all the time, but then I find out the days following those late evenings are horrible, stay at home days as the kids are so overtired and cranky that nothing can be accomplished. I find that ridiculous and believe our God who is full of grace certainly understands family situations and isn’t viewing my non-attendance as disobedience. All that to say, please write about church attendance soon! Also what is your understanding of alcohol and wine in the Bible?

    • Steve says:

      Hi Lily,

      I’m currently working on articles on both of those topics, but some personal things have come up for me so they’ve taken a back seat. I plan to finish them in the near future though so stay tuned.

      I can offer some thoughts though. First, church attendance… I was just reading through my discussion with Ike. I talked a lot with him about the church attendance issue. Basically it’s bogus – at least the way the IFB teaches it. One of the arguments that the IFB always presented with me was that Jesus went to the temple to teach so we should be in church to be taught. This misses the mark on several fronts, however. It’s clear in scripture that the “Temple” of Jesus’ day was VERY different from the churches we have constructed in modern society. Also, as a boy Jesus went to the Temple to teach the religious leaders of that day, however, during his Ministry, Jesus went out among the people to teach them, he didn’t ask people to come to the Temple/Synagogue and then teach them in there. Jesus taught on the hill side, by the river, at the shore line, etc. The Great Commission tells us to “go out into the world and preach the gospel…” it doesn’t say build church buildings and try to get people to come to the church.

      The IFB uses passages like Luke 4 to say that Jesus was in the Temple (or according to the IFB, church) on a regular basis which is why we should be “faithful” in church attendance. The problem is, though, that in Luke 4 we are told that Jesus went to the Synagogue on the sabbath which was his usual practice (it says “usual practice or custom” NOT daily and certainly NOT Sunday AM and PM services), but he went there to TEACH. It wasn’t a local synagogue like we think of the local church. The synagogues of that time were filled with traditions and customs that Jesus wanted to eliminate. He went there to correct the religious leaders and make sure the people knew the truth apart from the traditions and customs.

      The IFB will also use passages like 1 Corinthians 11:17-18, 1 Peter 5, Acts 13:1 to tell us that we are supposed to be in church on a regular basis. I’m unable to justify that conclusion from those passages, however. These passages do NOT instruct us “to come together in the church” like we do in our traditional church service and they give no indication that Christians should meet on Sunday. I don’t argue that Christians shouldn’t meet together, encourage, edify, teach, support each other etc. I agree that meeting together is a good thing and that even meeting on Sunday at Church is a good time/place to do it since it’s kind of cultrualized (for lack of a better term) now in our society – in other words Sunday Church meeting is the common method of today’s society for Christians. But the point is that the IFB’s message that one MUST attend church on Sunday (am and pm services) is simply in error.

      Finally the biggest one is 1 Corinthians 16:1-2 which is used to argue for weekly meetings and tithes. This passage is commonly misunderstood ESPECIALLY among IFB circles. There are entire books written about the “First Day of the Week” issue. It’s very confusing for most people because there is a lot to understand about it. I will try to simplify it and give a reasonable summary.

      1 Corinthians 16:1-2 is actually one of exactly eight references in the NT to the phrase “the first day of the week”. The other seven are: Matthew 28:1, Mark 16:2, Mark 16:9, Luke 24:1, John 20:1, John 20:19 and Acts 20:7. The thing is, however, that the word “Sunday” appears zero times, and none of the eight passages speak of Sunday worship.

      Careful study of the 1 Corinthians passage will show you that the first day of the week was Sunday, BUT it wasn’t a time of worship. It was a time of work. The Sabbath (the time set aside to worship and rest) was always on Saturday the seventh day of the week. This was established in Exodus and didn’t change in the NT.

      This 1 Corinthians verse was printed on the little offering envelopes in my church and I was told that this passage sets the first day of the week as the time for taking up the church offering. This is a major misinterpretation of scripture by the IFB

      This passage is NOT about going to church nor is it about giving tithes. If you read the context you will find out that the Corinthians were meeting on the first day of the week, NOT to rest or worship but to work. This was a routine AFTER SABBATH workday where they gathered food to take to the poor. This was not a day of rest and worship but of work. It was the day after the Sabbath, the first day of the week.

      Second, the alcohol issue. I can sum it up in one sentence. “Do not be DRUNK with wine…” We are admonished to not get drunk on alcohol or allow it to become an addiction where it controls us. We are NEVER told in scripture to not drink alcoholic beverages. At least I can’t find it anywhere. I’m laughing as I write this remembering that the IFB churches I was in taught us that wine simply meant “fruit of the vine” and was nothing more that grape juice. What a crock!!! The bible clearly describes people getting drunk from this “grape juice” so it certainly wasn’t just juice. I think you’d be hard pressed to find any support from scripture that drinking alcohol is a sin.

      Hope that helps a little. Stay tuned for more information about these topics in the near future. Thanks for visiting!

  21. Katie says:

    @Lily

    Lily, from my experience, the people you go to church with seem like a “great group of people” to you because you go to church there. If you didn’t go to church there or chose to leave they would want nothing to do with you. That’s an IFB trait. As long as you go to their church you will be their friend. The moment you show signs of wanting to leave they will scold you for wanting to leave, then they will shun you for leaving. Should you chose to leave, they would cease being nice to you since you don’t go to their church anymore. That’s exactly what they did to me.

  22. bob says:

    Lily,

    I had similar questions about church attendance when I attended an IFB church. The one thing I would like to know is “why does your pastor have to remind you so often to be in church three times a week if it were already obvious to people”. In other words, if the Bible clearly taught 3x a week church attendance and Spirit filled people were inclined to do that already, why does it need to be said over and over and over again?

    The Bible does say that the first day of the week is important in light of Christ’ resurrection on Sunday. It was the first day of the week that the apostles and early church recognized and set aside for worship because Christ was raised that day and we partake of the benefits of His resurrection. However, there is no mandatory requirement as to which day or how many times a week a believer must appear in church.

    Just as an aside, Jewish men under the Mosaic Law were required to go to Jerusalem three times a year and appear before God at the appointed Feasts. The Scriptures were clear that this was a requirement. This is an example of what it was to live under law. Church attendance is a good thing, but if your motivation is to please men or preform a religious duty then its all wrong. Church attendance should be a response to God’s grace in Christ Jesus. Be careful that you don’t allow someone to bring you under law.

    If you have a radio station in your area that broadcast Turning Point, David Jeremiah is teaching an excellent series on the book of Galatians that I would highly recommend.

  23. EBR says:

    There is an interesting article called Doctors, Are They All ll doctors: Preachers and Their Honorary Doctorates by Timothy S. Morton. It also has very interesting scriptural references.
    It also explains what is involved in earning the traditional doctorate degree. It lists nationally recognized abbreviations for legitimate traditional doctorates as well as these honorary doctorates from diploma mills.

  24. EBR says:

    Greg, some of the very groups which condemned the existence of conservatives as centrists or compromising moderates years ago are now identifying themselves as conservatives now. I mention TRACS. These groups claim they hate anything to do with government interference, liberal theology, or secular humanistic practices of the world. They claim to object to accreditation. Why do they have their own bodies? Also why do they call themselves TRACS — Transnational Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools? I’m not saying that these bodies can’t exist? I can understand dual or triple accreditation providing that it’s not a substitute for the necessary regional or professional accreditation. I know these are totally different organizations. Doesn’t one sound like the national body while the other sounds like a regional body? Why would they want an acronym or name to be so similar? There are lots of accredited bodies which have names that can’t be confused in any way, shape, or form. This doesn’t make sense to me.

    I mentioned another reference in my previous post. I found an article called Independent Institutions with Advanced Degrees? Independent Institutions with Advanced Degrees Are a Joke which also references the previous article i mentioned in the previous post. They claim truth. Yet, they are not being true about the qualifications, educational background, and relevant work experiences of their faculty and administration. This is important. We expect ministers to perform similar duties as teachers, host, administrators, social workers, human resource directors, chauffeurs, medical health professionals and legal advocates. Missionaries are often also expected to perform various trades including construction, plumbing, wiring, and others with limited staff and supplies. We demand professional standards for these other occupations. Actually there are professional standards expected for ministers too, but some use the church exemptions to ignore some of those requirements. I can understand church exemptions in respect to beliefs and values. i don’t think they substitute for licensing and insurance though. i’m not sure they should be a loophole to cut corners on safety either. many occupationsand trades have organizations that hold their members accountable. I guess I have mixed feelings cause I also see this argument taken to a ridiculous extreme by others. Sometimes I feel like I’m in the center of a frayed rope in a tug-of-war between those who think they belong to the correct church and others who want to totally remove my right to practice my faith in public or private. Church needs to be a place of trust. I wonder whether we should call this website dysfunctional or toxic ministries. That might be more fair to the ones who are trying to do what’s right in God’s sight. Why should the churches that are good examples be forced to change their identification? it’s like asking a good citizen in the communitiy to change one’s identification soley because the offender has the same name. I think they should find another way to rebuke and discipline the offender. I remember Katie discussing this on another post.

  25. EBR says:

    There are other assemblies of believers who also believe in the Bible besides those who call themselves Bible Believing Churches or Baptists. I too am convinced there is an implication even if it’s not stated directly, although in some cases, it is definitely taught in sermons, classes, and publications or implied by the marquis. There are other assemblies and denominations which also practice Baptism by immersion. Baptism is an outward sign of an inward conversion. I like this practice because it lets an older person confirm the faith and promises made by one’s parents shortly after birth when the child is initially presented to the church body for the first time. It allows the individual to make a profession of faith when one understands the teachings of one’s faith, often during the teenage years or even early adulthood. I know some churches do baptize as soon as the children are able to make a profession of faith. This can also be done at the time one transfers from one church to another or when one converts and joins as a brand new member.

    There are ways that the achievements of an individual can be publicly recognized: plaques, fountains, gardens, buildings, bridges, dedications in books and publications, special celebrations, DVDs, named streets, furniture, and endowments. I’ve listed a few examples.
    A promotion is a great way to honor a person’s achievements. Some churches have special offerings or provide heir members and staff and faculty with gifts. In some churches there are even restricted designations for preachers which may not have achieved the educational level of a senior pastor. I don’t think the title dcctor should be used unless one actually has earned a doctorate degree through traditional postgraduate education. I know this is a common practice and I know it’s not limited to just religious institutions either. I know some major institutions have banned the practice altogether. Some overworked families may just welcome some time off and a paid vacation. Some mothers mighit appreciate a volunteer babysitter for a mother’s day out.

    The issues that I felt were relevant at the time i was there were issues that have been on the news and are on public record. I wasn’t aware of all these since I hadn’t made my decision at an earlier time or really spent a lot of time reading the newspaper or watching the news. It’s important to be aware of current events not only in one’s immediate locality, but in the state as well as the country and abroad. Unfortunately there is not an emphasisi on current events and often it’s not taught in a way that seems relevant to young people. i didn’t acquire an intereset on my own until I was in my thirties and my life was directly impacted by events. At an earlier point, it was just an “academic requirement.” This is not just true with current events but also with math and other subjects that need to be taught in a way that’s relevant and applicable to daily life. Many young people also have a limited amount of experience and can’t necessarily see the application beyond the books or blackboard. The teacher has to convince the students that there are actually applications one will use later in life outside the classroom. Some people also feel that it’s a taboo to mention politics, money, and religion cause these subjects are contraversial and people disagree. lIt’s avoidance to me. These subjects must be taught and people must be taught how to handle disagreements in a way that’s civil, not just to avoid them. Others expect people to learn through osmosis pretty much by stumbling and trial and error. Some are more motivated and can be self-taught and others need more traditional instruction. We had libraries back then so we didn’t have immediate access to information the way people do now with search engines on their computers or portable ipods. We had the reserve section of the library which required membership. also each library had different materials on reserve for different periods of time. Some of the larger libraries in metropolitan areas or at colleges and universities had larger collections and some of the smaller libraries didn’t have the information at all or had it stored away on microfische. I’m so old that these tehcnologies existed but were not readily available to everyone everywhere.

    I’m so old that it took an entire environmentally controlled room to store a hard drive. I even used manual, portable, and selectic typewriters in my school days. I remember when calbe had 10 channels and when many houses had antennas on the roof with lousy limited reception. I should say the only interest I had in history was a daily quiz. AS I got older, that changed.

    There are responsibilities for the church to provide disclosure. I also think individuals and families have responsibilities to do some research also prior to becoming members. We may have been able to claim partial ignorance back in the 1970s, but i don’t think that’s true today cause even i rural areas, many have access to computers and ipods and cell phones, and most have access to TV and radioand telephones.

    If the church administration or school faculty will not answer questions before it is time to make a major decision, perhaps it’s time to consider another option where those questions will be answered, or just take one’s time until those questions are answered. I don’t think serious questions should be brushed off, especially when they require time, commiftment, investment. I’m not sure why I let myself get influenced by “phooey” and other expressions or refeerrals to other people, being singled out publicly, or even the silent treatment. Children are as important as adults. Their concerns should not be taken lightly. I am not saying all churches do this. i am not even saying the churches I attended after 1981 did this. i went to one which did. It reesulted in a decision I might have not made otherwise. There are many posts written by others. I realize I am not alone. I do believe there is a network here even if churches can make decisions at a local level at a business meeting or in the form of a grassroots movement rather than from top to bottom.
    My posts deal with a church and university I attended between fall, 1977 and winter, 1981.
    A decision made at an earlier time in youth can have a serious impact on one’s life. I know they dont’ like to tell young students this. But it’s true.

    I’m hoping that I will see change that has been recommended. I know some skeptics feel it’s improbable or miraculous. That’s not something within my control at this point. I can only deal with the situations that affect my life directly. The rest has to be submitted to God and i just have to wait like others and see what actually transpires over time.

  26. EBR says:

    An ordained minister is often called to serve as a “first response” during an emergency. I expect an ordained minister of any denomination or affiliation to have certain qualifications, experiences, and personality traits: formal education, at least a bachelors degree, preferably either a masters or doctorate; professional training as a first response for emergency crises; knowledge of local community and private resources, faith, compassion, sound judgement, empathy, humility, good communication skills, a vision, and respect for others. I expect a minister to be a team player and example. One’s life should reflect one’s beliefs and values. I expect a minister to be a mentor and role model. When an individual leads a church with sound doctrine and these personality attributes and prayer, my guess is that many visitors and members will attend enthusiastically not because of entertainment, parental expectations, or social interraction, but due to a desire to learn the scriptures. I’ve heard about a lot of problems. It’s refreshing to read posts where people are really happy with their churches too. It gives me some hope. I don’t find this offensive in the least way. I’m not one of the administrators of this website, just one more blogger. Numbers are not necessarily an indication whether a pastor is or is not doing one’s job. Neither is wealth. This is a matter between God and a particular minister based on one’s relationship with God and obedience to his word and submission to his will. I do think God honors commitment. He is also there to help anyone through a crises. Pastors are also human. Sometimes we forget that or don’t provide any way for them to receive help. They too need help from time to time. So do their families. While I’ve had one bad experience in my life, I can also say that I have met pastors who were very good examples. I have also attended healthy churches. I do believe there are good schools out there.

  27. EBR says:

    Independent churches own their own assets. This may give a church more flexibility in the decisions they make whereas the property and salaries are determined by the denomination. Larger independent churches may be able to be large enough to offer many of other own services. Many independent churches do look outside for a variety of their needs: the selection of ministers, education, publications, mission boards, other para ministries and social services, etc… While they may have a little more flexibility in some respects, I think they are either more restricted in others or may also be directly strongly influenced by external sources. So the line of independence I see may be in the financial ownership of a church’s assets, not necessarily in the independence of their practices. Both have advantages and disadvantages. What I definitely know in s pite of differences and similaries is that when there is a major scandal, whether it’s in an independent church, interdependent association, or a denomination, statistics show that the public judges everyone and does not necessarily make the distinction externally even though internally, Arv and others, including myself, have mentioned differences. Irregardless of where the problems occur, there is a ripple effect that affects the reputation of Christianity as a whole religion. We see a relationship with Jesus Christ. Non believers see one religion as a whole cause they don’t make the distinctions. The outside world lumps everyone into the same group. I see the picture clear in respect to financial ownership; however, I think it’s blurred in other respects of independence or interdependence.

  28. Don says:

    @Steve
    Don’t get me going on wine and alcohol! My IFB pastor just preached a sermon against alcohol. “God can’t contradict himself” is his justification for creating a biblical prohibition against drinking. Using the wedding at Cana as an example, he said God wouldn’t make wine (fermented) to get people drunk. I say, if the IFB church wants to prohibit consumption of alcohol, make it a church rule, but don’t make it a biblical doctrine when its not there!

    • Steve says:

      Hi Don,

      You’re welcome to write as much as you want on that topic. It’s much needed!!! I agree with you. I just haven’t gotten around to writing about it yet.

  29. Jamey says:

    Wow!!! I’m not sure if it was outright taught or just implied, but I certainly grew up thinking that only people who got saved using the KJV and then attended an IFB church were truly saved. I actually used to pray for some of my family members who were Southern Baptists to get saved and join an IFB church.

    Now, I myself am a member of an SBC church. When I was making the decision to leave my former denomination, the “umbrella of authority” teaching kept running through my head. I didn’t want to step outside of God’s protection, and that is taught as though God only accepts and protects people within the IFB. Finally, I had to realize that God is my protector…not a certain denomination. I also saw that the doctrine of “once saved, always saved” is a contradiction if they were then going to base my salvation on where I went to church. I think it helps that I knew plenty of people who I considered as good, Godly Christian people, who did not attend an IFB church.

  30. greg says:

    Hi Jamey – You reminded me of an old joke.

    What’s the difference between a Southern Baptist and an IF Baptist. The Southern Baptists believe everybody’s going to Hell, the IF Baptists do too, especially the Southern Baptists!

    There were some teachings in the IFB that I simply couldn’t quite swallow, and this “umbrella” teaching was one of them. If one believes the “gospel” of Jesus Christ is “The Power of God unto Salvation, to all that believe” Then one must concede that Catholics, yep even the Catholics could actually be saved or anyone else that “believes” and “the gospel of Christ” is not dependent on any man or “denomination”

    After coming out of this man-exalting denomination (IFB) I have detemined to let the word of God be my ultimate guide! I will listen to men expound on it and check the scripture for myself to determine if the message is from God or not. I will never “place” myself “under” any man’s “authority” as I was taught from a child. Most men cannot handle that type of “authority” and it simply isn’t taught in the scripture, we see in the scripture that even though God gives us a new nature, we still are capable of mega-sin.

    I enjoyed your posts, pls share more if you are inclined. It is so refreshing to worship God in Spirit and in truth!

  31. Jamey says:

    Greg,
    I understand. I swallowed everything hook, line & sinker. I was told in my teen years not to question authority, so I didn’t. Steve put in one of his articles (I think it was the Spiritual Abuse one) that people who come out of this often have to figure out exactly who God is. I’m still figuring that out. You’re right about it being a man-exalting denomination. I had never looked at it that way until I was out of it for a few years. I think I’ve only been back to one service in an IFB church since I left the denomination. It was VERY weird because I was then a third party, looking in.

    The Bible is very clear about the marks of a true Christian. It is very clear on how a person struggling with their faith can know for sure that they’re on their way to heaven. I haven’t read anywhere that one must be a part of an IFB church, wear the right clothes, listen to the right music, and only use the KJV in order to get there. Of course, I’m still reading, but maybe another Bible translation says that??? LOL Just kidding!

    I’m enjoying reading all of the articles and also the comments that people have left. I’m remembering things that I haven’t thought about in years. I plan to share snippets of my story as I read and comment on things.

  32. greg says:

    Jamey – Pls continue to share, it is some of the cheapest therapy you can find!

    I think it’s a life-long journey figuring out who God is, and if we follow His word in any good translation, we can find out much about Him. One thing is for sure He’s not trying to smash us every time we do something wrong like the IFB teaches! He always remembers our frame that “we were made from the dust.”

    What is so sad is that “many” MOG’s (men of God) take advantage of their/GOD’S flock. And one of the big ones is to get the sheeple to follow them, you see the structure is God first then me the Pastor! So you know folks that really want to serve God then start looking to “God’s man” for what they should be going to only God for! Like should I change jobs, should we buy a new car, house etc, where should I send my kids to school? Everything needs to be run by the MOG first, we give him the authority that only God should have had, but the MOG was the one that taught us that this was the “right” way, it didn’t come from God or His Word.

    My way of getting out was really through the word, which at the time was the KJV, of course. First I just couldn’t make myself see “tithing” the way it was taught by the MOG and the IFB, I simply couldn’t see it, especially when I would read verses like “Let every man give according as he purposes in his heart so let him give, not grudgingly or under compulsion, because God loves a cheerful giver” Wow, that was never taught in my IFB, and then, I also started studying about bible translations, and found out that much of what the MOG taught about was nearly completely all wrong. So slowly the scales began to fall off my eyes, and as I got a look behind the curtain, I found a very simple little man doing alot of the controlling.

    Hey my half hour is up, but the price was right……free! Pls feel free to share whatever you like!

  33. Patty says:

    Could not have explained it much better myself



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