Independent Baptist

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Independent Baptist churches (some also referred to as Independent Fundamental Baptist, or IFB) are Christian churches generally holding to traditional Baptist beliefs. They are characterized by being independent from the authority of denominations and church councils. Independent Baptists remain autonomous and congregationalist in nature and are generally fundamentalist in teaching. The IFB movement is not a denomination per se, but there are similarities that run throughout most Independent Baptist churches.

Contents

History

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, Baptist churches were awakened to the advancement of modernism and liberalism into national Baptist denominations and conventions in both the United States and the U.K.. Many local Baptist churches began to feel that the core elements and doctrines of the Christian faith, such as the nature of God, the infallibility of the Bible, the literal person of Jesus Christ as both God and man, the nature of the Trinity, the literal resurrection of Christ, and the need for Christians to be separate from worldliness were being watered down and abandoned. Although during the same time period mainline denominations were struggling with the Fundamentalist-Modernist Controversy, many within these local Baptist churches felt that any association with Liberalism/Modernism even in the forum of debate was tantamount to compromise and was therefore unscriptural. As a result, many of these local Baptist churches separated from their former denominations and conventions and reestablished themselves as independent churches. Often within these Denominational churches more conservative elements would set about establishing new Independent Baptist churches instead of remaining within the denominational churches.<ref>In Pursuit of Purity: American Fundamentalism Since 1850, by David O. Beale, BJU Press (June 1986), ISBN 978-0890843505 </ref>

Current developments

In the last 20 to 30 years, Modern Bible translations based on the Critical Text, the use of Contemporary Christian Music in worship services, increased Calvinistic teaching, and the issue of Lordship salvation have divided many liberal leaning IFB churches.

Distinguishing elements

Independent Baptist churches are very conservative in their beliefs and many are still conservative in their styles of worship. They tend to reject many things found in most denominational churches because they believe in the doctrine of separation, based on the command "...Come out from among them [the unsaved world], and be ye separate, saith the Lord...."(II Corinthians 6:17) <ref>John Brock, A Pedagogical Discussion Related to Biblical and Durable Behavior in Contemporary Society, Maranatha Baptist Bible College. Article discusses these issues.</ref> They may exclude the following, depending on the individual church:

  • Rock and roll and other forms of modern music, including Contemporary Christian Music
  • Dancing
  • Certain contemporary dress styles, such as pants on women, as well as long hair and earrings on men
  • Visiting movie theaters
  • Drinking of alcohol
  • Use of tobacco
  • Sex outside of marriage between one man and one woman, such as premarital sex or any other sexual contact, extramarital sex, and homosexuality
  • Abortion (in some cases, all forms of birth control are opposed)

Independent Baptists tend to also support conservative American politics, with one notable exception—the general consensus opposes school vouchers on the basis that such vouchers, if accepted by church-operated schools, would allow the government a "foothold" into the teachings and practices of the individual church, giving it authority to dictate what could and could not be taught.

IFBs may choose to homeschool their children rather than sending them to public school, in order to give them a Christian education over a secular one.

Attributes

IFB churches are generally defined by several attributes:

  • Very conservative Christianity; "hellfire and damnation", "fire and brimstone" preaching
  • Taking a literal ("fundamentalist") interpretation of the whole Bible (in other words, believing the Word of God as God had it written), and thus also believing in Biblical inerrancy, usually through the King James Bible.
  • Being independent (local and autonomous, as opposed to being affiliated with a national or international organization or governing body such as the Southern Baptist Convention or the Roman Catholic Church), with congregational polity.
  • Practicing believer's baptism by immersion, as described in the Bible
  • Shunning of the ecumenical movement and liberalism in all forms -- social, political, and religious and shunning of social movements that are perceived to be anti-Biblical such as feminism, environmentalism, and acceptance of homosexuality, as well as pre-marital sex and divorce and other such things
  • Shunning of worship expressions of Charismatic Christianity, including syncopated and non-traditional music such as Christian Rock and so-called "praise bands" in favor of traditional old-time hymns
  • Coming down firmly on the missionary side of the missionary/anti-missionary controversy (for more on the latter, see primitive baptist)
  • Shunning of activities seen as immoral in light of the Bible, such as gambling, consumption of alcoholic beverages (see temperance movement), drug use, and tobacco use.
  • Advocating a traditional paternalistic lifestyle - a family based around a husband who works, a wife who keeps the home and is in submission to him, and children who are taught to honor and obey their parents. 1 Peter 3:1 [1] and Ephesians 5:22 [2]
  • Shunning of needless pomp and circumstance which was created by man for man's enjoyment and which may violate Exodus 20:4 (the 2nd Commandment), in favor of glorifying God and focusing on the eternal fate of people's souls. This manifests itself in ways such as the choir wearing their normal "Sunday" clothes instead of wearing matching uniforms, the preacher wearing a regular suit-and-tie instead of fancy robes and shawls, the sanctuary being very basic and austere in terms of architecture and decoration (an absence of stained glass is not uncommon), and the church building itself being rather simple in terms of architecture and construction.

King James Bible debate

A number of Independent Baptist churches and associated educational institutions support exclusive use of the King James Bible or other Bible translations based on the Textus Receptus (or Received Text). <ref>Directory of Fundamentalist Ministries (KJV) (online list of fundamental Baptist ministries in the United States and Canada that support the Authorized King James Version)</ref>

Other IFB churches have moved to newer translations such as the New King James Version, New American Standard Bible, English Standard Version and the New International Version. These churches that use newer translations accept that there are disagreements on some textual issues but feel the most important issue is what the King James translators themselves fought for — that the common man should have the Bible in his common language.

Fundamentalist colleges and universities are divided on which Greek text to use. Several colleges and universities hold that other texts including the Byzantine and Alexandrian texts should also be compared and used as reliable texts. These would include Bob Jones University, Calvary Baptist Theological Seminary, Central Baptist Theological Seminary, Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary,<ref>Dr William W. Combs,ERASMUS AND THE TEXTUS RECEPTUS Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary </ref> Maranatha Baptist Bible College, Northland Baptist Bible College, and Temple Baptist Seminary. However, other colleges support the idea that the Textus Receptus is the best and the only Greek text that should be used as a source for New Testament translation. These colleges are the ones who hold the belief that the KJV is inspired by God just as the original, these colleges include Ambassador Baptist College, Arlington Baptist College, Baptist Bible College (Springfield Missouri), Boston Baptist College, Chesapeake Baptist College, Heartland Baptist Bible College, Hyles-Anderson College, Pacific Baptist College, Pensacola Christian College, Crown College, Golden State Baptist College, West Coast Baptist College, and International Bible College.

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Spanish versions

Even though there is a unanimous stand on using the Authorized King James Version (KJV) in English, for the Spanish language the IFBs suffered a rift in their camp after pastor Elmer Fernández parted company with pastor Mickey Carter since the latter affirmed that the Reina-Valera 1960 is an "Elephant in the Living Room", that is, saying it is unacceptable. KJVO pastors who are not familiar with Spanish linguistics use the Reina-Valera 1909 Version in Spanish due to the belief that newer Bible versions have various problems in text and translation. However, these churches are not really united in their stand in light of their many projects to come up with a new Bible in Spanish; this was what prompted some of their fellow Hispanic pastors to challenge them. A more thorough defense in Spanish of the RV60 has become a safeguard for those native speakers.

Outreach

Many Independent Baptist churches have very organized outreach ministries such as weekly "soul winning," in which groups go and evangelize areas surrounding the church building. Many churches will also have “bus ministries”, in which volunteers drive church buses or vans to surrounding areas to bring people to the church's services. A few still practice "street preaching," the open-air preaching of the Gospel in a public setting such as a park or street corner, though this is very rare. Like many other types of churches, Independent Baptist churches often have prison ministries and send missions or evangelists to other parts of the country or to other countries to start more local churches. [This is done in accordance with Matthew 28 verses 19 & 20. "19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen."]

Some Independent Baptist churches have dismayed moderate Baptists and other evangelical Christians by using outreach techniques that many American Christians do not practice in modern Western culture.<ref>Baptist Center</ref> These techniques include marching in local parades with signs urging watchers to repent.<ref>GodTube.com - Springtime Tallahassee Parade</ref> Not all Independent Baptist churches use these techniques, although this technique was widely used in the beginning of the fundamentalist movement.

Other information

IFB churches tend to be very committed to mission work, revival meetings, and local evangelism. Frequent methods are door-to-door canvassing, distribution of Bible tracts, operating Christian radio stations such as the Fundamental Broadcasting Network, operating a Christian schools, and encouraging members to become involved in local politics and school boards.

Biblical gender roles in church management are observed. All preachers, deacons, and ministry leaders are male. All adult members, both male and female, are allowed to vote on matters of church business.

Bible college movement

Many IFB churches start and maintain their own Bible colleges. These colleges are often unaccredited and rely heavily on an "apprentice" approach to education, rather than extensive formal training in ancient languages of the Bible, systematic theology, and hermeneutics. An example of one of these unaccredited colleges is Hyles-Anderson College in Crown Point, Indiana. This college was started by and is a Ministry of First Baptist Church of Hammond in Hammond, Indiana, Pastored by Dr. Jack Schaap.

In more recent years, some IFB colleges, such as Boston Bible College, Maranatha Baptist Bible College, Northland Baptist Bible College and Pillsbury Baptist Bible College, have become accredited.

Colleges and institutes

See also

Notes

External link

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