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What does it mean to be IFB?


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I know what the terms mean.. independent,  fundamental, baptist..  

And I know those terms I'd be comfortable sitting with.. but I think there is a danger in making it like methodist.. Anglican.. catholic etc... in the sense of attaching a name and making that the priority rather than the Bible. 

I don't think people are really doing it here... but the denominational name can be what people attach to rather than the biblical content and teaching that leads to the labels.

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Independent Fundamental Baptist is what identifies us, and the terms indicate that we are different from other denominations. To remove those "labels" is actually counterproductive, as it does not tell others where we stand (therefore they may not know how to identify themselves when talking to others about denominations*).

It is a lot easier to tell someone we are IFB's and state what that means, then when comparisons come we can say, "No, we do not have a headquarters telling us what to believe or preach." We can speak about the fundamentals of the faith. We can discuss what the Baptist Distinctives - in distinction with what other denominations believe. When I go somewhere, I know in general what type of church to look for and what to avoid. I am not going to attend a Methodist church, a salvation army, an anglican church, seventh day adventist church, etc. - because I know what they believe and why I do not believe as they do. Yes, not every IFB church is good - BUT I know in general what to look for and that narrows down the prospects.

Also, I have found that many who once declared themselves as Baptists (including IFBs) but now have just a generic name, like Bible or Community Church, typically have changed their names because they have watered down their doctrine and their stands.

I found out what an IFB church was through research on various issues, and one main site kept identifying themselves as such. Seeing what they believed, comparing it to my beliefs, I realized I was the same, and therefore started looking for a nearby IFB church, which I attended for about 13 years until I moved to where I currently live, and then sought out an IFB church here. When travelling, I also looked for other IFB churches. Some were disappointing, but it gave me a starting place.

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2 hours ago, Jerry said:

Independent Fundamental Baptist is what identifies us, and the terms indicate that we are different from other denominations. To remove those "labels" is actually counterproductive, as it does not tell others where we stand (therefore they may not know how to identify themselves when talking to others about denominations*).

It is a lot easier to tell someone we are IFB's and state what that means, then when comparisons come we can say, "No, we do not have a headquarters telling us what to believe or preach." We can speak about the fundamentals of the faith. We can discuss what the Baptist Distinctives - in distinction with what other denominations believe. When I go somewhere, I know in general what type of church to look for and what to avoid. I am not going to attend a Methodist church, a salvation army, an anglican church, seventh day adventist church, etc. - because I know what they believe and why I do not believe as they do. Yes, not every IFB church is good - BUT I know in general what to look for and that narrows down the prospects.

Also, I have found that many who once declared themselves as Baptists (including IFBs) but now have just a generic name, like Bible or Community Church, typically have changed their names because they have watered down their doctrine and their stands.

I found out what an IFB church was through research on various issues, and one main site kept identifying themselves as such. Seeing what they believed, comparing it to my beliefs, I realized I was the same, and therefore started looking for a nearby IFB church, which I attended for about 13 years until I moved to where I currently live, and then sought out an IFB church here. When travelling, I also looked for other IFB churches. Some were disappointing, but it gave me a starting place.

This is similar to my experience also. I was presented with some biblical teaching and over time I realized it matched doctrine taught in many churches with the ifb (or independent missionary baptist) label.  

 

I think though someone could have a church without the label but believe very similar things.  

 

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6 hours ago, MikeWatson1 said:

This is similar to my experience also. I was presented with some biblical teaching and over time I realized it matched doctrine taught in many churches with the ifb (or independent missionary baptist) label.  

 

I think though someone could have a church without the label but believe very similar things.  

 

They can, and the often do. We've been in many "Bible" and "Community" churches, as someone seems to have disparaged here lately, that have been every bit as doctrinally sound as one that bears the title of and "Independent (Big "I"), Fundamental, Baptist. What MAKES a Baptist? I hate to disagree with many here, but, it's definitely not a label. I know it's not a popular opinion here, but, that's the way it is. 

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It's not the label that makes someone a Baptist - it's an identifier. When it comes to a church, it is a very helpful identifier.

I am not and did not say ALL "Bible churches" are bad or wrong - but I have seen a trend and it shows that USUALLY when a church goes from a Baptist name to a generic Bible or community name, it usually signifies a watering down of doctrine or standards, or shows that they have now become ecumenical. Praise the Lord for those who have not gone this path.

But also, how are people supposed to find these sound churches easily if there is no "label"? Do they need to check out every church in that community and hope they come across the one that mostly aligns with their beliefs? The more time it takes for a traveller to find and/or contact each church, the less possibility of attending a sound church that particular Sunday (or midweek).

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As you've indicated earlier, Brother, even IFB churches can be deceptive using that "label." Case in point, FBC Hammond, In. They've used the label for years and were run by an egomaniacal dictator with many accusations of sexual impropriety and helping his son to live in an ungodly manner. Yet, many people I know, and knew then, swore by JH, and loved his immoral son, DH. This isn't the only church or set of people that lived like this. Joe Combs and his wife over in Knoxville, TN, a friend and associate of JH and FBC Hammond. Then we have Mr (Pastor) Greg Locke who used to be at Franklin Road Baptist Church in Tennessee who split off from FRBC and started the Global Vision Baptist Church (now the Global Vision Bible Church) in the Nashville area. He suckered many people into his IFB church and slowly changed his doctrinal stance, though I don't believe he ever held to the fundamental doctrines that many IFB pastors/churches claim to hold. I know of many IFB churches that claim to be "Independent, Fundamental, Baptist" churches, but don't hold to the Baptist dinstinctives any more than a Lutheran or Methodist church would. Names can be deceiving. 

On the note of the "disparaging," of the Bible and Community churches, that was not aimed specifically at you. There have been several here who have made disparaging remarks. I stated this only to point out that Baptists don't hold a monopoly on Biblical truth. That sounds more like a David Cloud idea implying they do. 

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On 7/9/2022 at 6:09 PM, MikeWatson1 said:

This is similar to my experience also. I was presented with some biblical teaching and over time I realized it matched doctrine taught in many churches with the ifb (or independent missionary baptist) label.  

 

I think though someone could have a church without the label but believe very similar things.  

 

Yes, they could. My local church use to be Decatur Chapel, we had a meeting and said we embrace these Baptist distinctives and embrace fundamental Biblical practice. We petitioned the state and changed our name to Decatur Baptist and state on all our documents, signage, and tracts and literature that we are an Independent Baptist Church.

 

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On 7/10/2022 at 9:29 AM, BrotherTony said:

I stated this only to point out that Baptists don't hold a monopoly on Biblical truth. That sounds more like a David Cloud idea implying they do. 

Yes, I certainly do not think ONLY Baptists hold to the truth or that ALL Baptists (including IFB's) are true today to what Baptists have historically believed and stood for - however, I am a Baptist specifically because I see that historically what Baptists believe(d) is true to the Bible and that is where I choose to stand. If the label on my church or my website, etc. helps others to find likeminded believers clinging solely to the truth of God's Word and choosing to be separate from the evil and confusion of this world and worldly or apostate Christendom, I am all for that.

David Cloud has not (to the best of my knowledge) ever stated ONLY Baptist churches hold to the truth. He teaches on the difference between various denominations, where each (including certain Baptists or IFB's) depart from the Bible, and shows what the Bible does teach. From what I have seen, He is an IFB because that is where he is convinced the truth lies today - though he exposes all IFB's, etc. that turn from the old paths. He also teaches on the history of each denomination and therefore shows why most are not fully based on the Word of God today or why they departed from the faith.

I don't knock or reject a "community" or "Bible" church solely on the title (I had attended Bible chapels on and off for a couple of years before I found out what IFB churches were), BUT it is one red flag which draws my attention when I am checking that church out (when someone else refers to it or states they are now attending it). Then I look for their doctrinal statement, what Bible they preach and teach from, what type of music they listen to and play in their church services, among other things.

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Posted (edited)
On 7/10/2022 at 6:31 PM, 1Timothy115 said:

My local church use to be Decatur Chapel, we had a meeting and said we embrace these Baptist distinctives and embrace fundamental Biblical practice. We petitioned the state and changed our name to Decatur Baptist and state on all our documents, signage, and tracts and literature that we are an Independent Baptist Church.

That is moving in a positive direction - showing the world around you clearly where you stand and having a name that also identifies that stand. Too often (again, not saying in every case), when a church goes the other direction (ie. from a Baptist name to a general name), it is usually indicative of a negative direction, often due to doctrinal compromise, CCM entering the mix, acceptance of worldly values or becoming "diverse" in some manner (some even now use that term on their websites to indicate the changes and the acceptance of other philosophies or lifestyles).

Case in point, a local church (in my town) that now seems to accept native and East Indian spirituality, has loud CCM music in their services, and has a VERY effeminate pastor (who used to pastor Baptist churches, but now identifies as a community church to welcome everybody). They also have LGTB Thursdays in their group studies - don't know if that means they discuss LGTB issues and how to relate to those kinds of people OR studies and groups specifically for those in their congregation who consider themselves LGTB. In this case, ALL the red flags added up together and made a horribly apostate picture - even though they consider themselves a "Christian community that loves Jesus." (My comments here are in regards to that specific church, and I am not in any way saying anyone here who has a church with a different type of name is like that.)

Edited by Jerry
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2 hours ago, Jerry said:

Yes, I certainly do not think ONLY Baptists hold to the truth or that ALL Baptists (including IFB's) are true today to what Baptists have historically believed and stood for - however, I am a Baptist specifically because I see that historically what Baptists believe(d) is true to the Bible and that is where I choose to stand. If the label on my church or my website, etc. helps others to find likeminded believers clinging solely to the truth of God's Word and choosing to be separate from the evil and confusion of this world and worldly or apostate Christendom, I am all for that.

David Cloud has not (to the best of my knowledge) ever stated ONLY Baptist churches hold to the truth. He teaches on the difference between various denominations, where each (including certain Baptists or IFB's) depart from the Bible, and shows what the Bible does teach. From what I have seen, He is an IFB because that is where he is convinced the truth lies today - though he exposes all IFB's, etc. that turn from the old paths. He also teaches on the history of each denomination and therefore shows why most are not fully based on the Word of God today or why they departed from the faith.

I don't knock or reject a "community" or "Bible" church solely on the title (I had attended Bible chapels on and off for a couple of years before I found out what IFB churches were), BUT it is one red flag which draws my attention when I am checking that church out (when someone else refers to it or states they are now attending it). Then I look for their doctrinal statement, what Bible they preach and teach from, what type of music they listen to and play in their church services, among other things.

Thank you for the clarification. I'm Baptist because I believe they're historically closest to the Bible teachings as well, though I have been instrumental in starting a couple of Bible churches, and Community churches. Out of the 18 churches we've helped start, whether they had the label "Baptist," "Community," or "Bible" only seven stood firm and are still doing so today, with six others closing or being absorbed into other churches within the first five years. The other five drifted off into the "woke" ideologies and have gone the way of Hillcrest, Elevation, etc. I hate to see that, but, the Bible says that many will depart from the faith.

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5 hours ago, Jerry said:

Too often (again, not saying in every case), when a church goes the other direction (ie. from a Baptist name to a general name), it is usually indicative of a negative direction, often due to doctrinal compromise, CCM entering the mix, acceptance of worldly values or becoming "diverse" in some manner (some even now use that term on their websites to indicate the changes and the acceptance of other philosophies or lifestyles).

Case in point, a local church (in my town) that now seems to accept native and East Indian spirituality, has loud CCM music in their services, 

I've seen it in a Texas church. The first time I visited the sign read Baptist, that was the most that was Baptist about them. The next time I went by that church while on a visit to that city, the Baptist had been dropped. 

 

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