The Independent Fundamental Baptist Denomination lists 5 distinct doctrines or beliefs (click here). Central to their beliefs is the idea of Separation and this, I believe, is where the Independent Fundamental Baptist Denomination goes completely wrong and this one thing skews the entire denomination making it invalid. Keep in mind that the Independent Fundamental Baptist Denomination is exclusivistic, meaning that they believe that they are right and everyone else is wrong. Add to this the belief of Separation and you have a combination that is not only incredibly unbiblical, but also very dangerous and damaging to the name of Christianity.
Here is a run down of the Independent Fundamental Baptist Denomination’s “doctrine” of Separation:
SEPARATION: We believe that we are called to be a separated people to abide in Christ, to walk in the Spirit and to enjoy victory over the world, the flesh and the devil. (Romans 12:1-2; Galatians 5:16; I John 2:15- 17; Colossians 3:1-17 and II Corinthians 2:14).
OUR RESOLUTION ON SEPARATION: Whereas the practice of inclusivism is infiltrating fundamentalism, and whereas fundamentalism is a movement of separation, be it therefore resolved that we re-affirm our historic separatist position by observing Scripture.
- SEPARATION FROM DOCTRINAL SCHISMATICS AND APOSTATES:
- “Mark them” (Philippians 3:17-18)
- “Avoid them” (Romans 16:17-18)
- “Identify them’! (I Timothy 1:20; II Timothy 1:15,4:14)
- “From such turn away” (II Timothy 3:5)
- “Reprove them” (Ephesians 5: 11)
- “Have no fellowship with them” (Ephesians 5:11)
- “Be not unequally yoked together with” (II Corinthians 6: 14-16)
- “Come out from among them” (II Corinthians 6:17)
- “Reject them” (Titus 3: 10).
- SEPARATION FROM DISOBEDIENT SAINTS AND APPEASERS:
- “Note that man” (II Thessalonian 3:14)
- “Withdraw yourself” (II Thessalonian 3:14)
- “Have no company with” (II Thessalonian 3:14)
- “Rebuke them sharply” (Titus 1:13)
- “Admonish him as a brother” (II Thessalonian 3:15)
- “Count him not an enemy” (II Thessalonian 3:15)
- “Keep not company” (I Corinthians 5:11)
- “With such an one, no, not to eat” (I Corinthians 5:11)
- SEPARATION IN SOUL-WINNING ACTIVITY:
- Jude 22-23, “And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.” Be it further resolved that while’ adhering to this separatist position, we “let brotherly love continue” – Hebrews 13:1.
This is the doctrinal stance that is the foundation for the spiritual abuse that happens in the IFB churches. As you can plainly see, the Independent Fundamental Baptist Denomination is blatantly pulling scripture out of context, misinterpreting it, and manipulating so that is supports this doctrine. It is because of this belief that the Independent Fundamental Baptist Denomination teaches that Christians should be as completely separate from the world as possible. The abuse begins when they interpret something that someone does, says, eats, drinks, thinks, etc. that is in the least remotely associated with the world. When the Independent Fundamental Baptist Denomination pushes this belief on others it leaves no other option than to judge others to see if they measure up to their standard of living. when a person fails to measure up, they are seen as rebellious, living in sin, and in some instances unsaved. This is judgementalism in it’s purest form.
As you can imagine, since everyone lives in this world already, this is a very tall order, one that is unattainable. This doctrine is the foundation upon which all the teachings and beliefs of the Independent Fundamental Baptist Denomination rest. The Independent Fundamental Baptist Denomination has very strict standards that include everything and anything that could be considered deviation from their separation doctrine. Anything that gives the appearance of “worldliness” Such things as going to the movies, drinking alcohol, smoking, listening to secular music, listening to Christian contemporary music, certain styles of dress, certain styles of hair, tattoos, motorcycles, dancing, and the list goes on and on, are considered a violation of their separation doctrine and thus sinful.
The members of the Independent Fundamental Baptist Denomination call themselves “Bible Believing” Christians. They make the claim that they are the only ones who truly believe the Bible. All others (other churches/denominations/fellowships) are misinterpreting the Bible and spreading false doctrine. They teach that if you don’t go to an Independent Fundamental Baptist Denomination church than you are believing a different message, especially if that other church doesn’t use the King James Version of the Bible.
I would like to illustrate this topic with a story. It’s meant to be a funny story but considering the context and how real it really is, it’s not so funny after all because most Baptists really think this way.
I was walking across a bridge one day, and I saw a man standing on the edge, about to jump off. So I ran over and said, “Stop! Don’t do it!” “Why shouldn’t I?” he said. I said, “Well, there’s so much to live for!” He said, “Like what?” I said, “Well, are you religious or atheist?” He said, “Religious.” I said, “Me too! Are your Christian or Buddhist?” He said, “Christian.” I said, “Me too! Are you Catholic or Protestant?” He said, “Protestant.” I said, Me too! Are your Episcopalian or Baptist? He said, “Baptist!” I said, “Wow! Me too! Are your Baptist Church of God or Baptist Church of the Lord? He said, Baptist Church of God!” I said, “Me too! Are your Original Baptist Church of God or are you Reformed Baptist Church of God?” He said, “Reformed Baptist Church of God!” I said, “Me too! Are you Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1879, or Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1915?” He said, “Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1915!” I said, “Die, heretic scum!” and pushed him off.
(attributed to Emo Phillips).