Who Do the Independent Fundamentalist Baptists Say They Are?

 

"There is something childish and legalistic about churches in which all of the saints observe precisely the same standards. When all lives begin to sink into the same mold of denial and exercise of liberty, something is amiss.".         Walter J. Chantry

 

 

 

from IFB survivors facebook

Bob Jones Cheerleaders: Thanks to IFB Cult Survivors.   Cute jackets!

 

 

About 10 years ago, while living in Dallas, my husband and I were contemplating making beautiful North Carolina our permanent home. Before making the final decision, we decided to visit Pensacola, Florida, since we were both enamored of the beautiful beaches in this region. Due to a myriad of personal reasons, we decided to educate our children in Christian schools. Well, the big one in that area was Pensacola Christian Academy, home of the Abeka curriculum and located right next to Pensacola Christian College.
 

With our 6th grade daughter in tow, we decided to take a tour. Having no experience with the IFB, we were in for quite a shock. The building was beautiful-that Abeka stuff must rake in the dough. Upon my arrival, I noticed that my daughter and I were getting evil stares from the adults. Apparently her above the knee jean skirt and my really cute pair of  capris were just plain sinful! Girls in this school  had very long hair and wore dresses well below the knee and the boys wore shirts and ties and very conservative pants.

 

They took us into a beautiful cafeteria in which about 30 kindergarten students were seated, eating their snack. What struck me was the utter silence. All milk containers were to the right, the apples to the left and napkins placed just so. I asked if they were having a prayer time. I was told that they were to be silent while consuming their snack. I felt like I had stepped onto the set of the Stepford Wives, Part Three: The Kids Are Robots, Too

 

My daughter, looking like she had seen a ghost, whispered to me, “Mommy, please don’t make me go here.” I replied, “Over my cold, dead body.” So, we bid farewell to the beaches of Pensacola and settled in North Carolina where, in her Christian school, she was able to wear her jean skirt.
 

I had heard stories of IFB churches and just assumed they were just a group of really strict people who didn’t like rock music. It is far more complex-they don't like regular Baptists, either!
 

Years ago, when spending time with a Mormon, I found it very helpful to read about their faith in their own words. I became quite adept on the LDS and BYU websites. In fact, it was on those sites where I learned some things I never read about in Christian apologetics books like the fact that Brigham Young believed that there were people that looked like the Amish who lived and farmed on the moon. I promise you, I am not kidding. Even my friend didn’t know about this so I showed it to him. His response? Young wasn't always right! Egads!
 

So, in search of IFB info as told by an IFB true believer, I found the following information. The questions are mine in order to make the material easier to read. I have not included all the information but bits and pieces that will help the reader to get started. I suggest reading the entire article. LINK

 

A Brief Survey of Independent Fundamental Baptist Churches: What are their Beliefs and History Compiled by Cooper P. Abrams, III

 

Why the name?
“The name Independent Fundamental Baptist Church is used traditionally by churches which pattern themselves strictly after the example of the early church, as found in the New Testament.
 


Why the need to differentiate on the Baptist moniker?
“Today the name Baptist is used by many churches that are not following the teachings of the New Testament. Thus the words "Independent" and "Fundamental" have been added by many Baptist churches to further identify themselves as true Bible believing churches and to show a distinction between themselves and Baptist churches that were not following God's word.”
 

 

What is the regular Baptist (I assume they mean SBC) Church doing wrong?
These other Baptists have “compromised the Word of God by their teaching, practices and church polity trying to conform to popular religious trends. These worldly churches still call themselves "Baptists," but in fact they do not believe or practice what true Baptists have historically believed and more importantly what the Word of God says”.

 

Is the IFB a formal association?

“The word "Independent" means the church is not a member of any council, convention or is a part of any hierarchy outside the local congregation. A true Independent Baptist church governs itself apart from any outside agency and would not be apart of a national or international denomination that would exercise authority over the local church. Thus, the name "independent" means the church patterns itself after the New Testament example and stands alone under the authority of the scriptures. Independent churches are autonomous assemblies having no organization over them in authority. “
 

How is each church governed?

"The organization of a New Testament church is simple. Christ is the head of the church, (Eph. 5:23) and its Chief Shepherd (1 Peter 5:4). The local pastor is the under-shepherd (bishop), overseer, or leader of the congregation. (Heb. 13:17, Acts 20:28, Eph. 4:11) The Independent Baptist church has a congregational form of government with each member equally having the right of to vote on all the affairs of the church.”

 

Do your churches ever cooperate with one another?

The churches “have fellowship one with the other and often cooperate in such endeavors as evangelism.”
 

Do your churches ever cooperate with other non-IFB churches? What is separatism?

An IFB church “will not participate, as a church, in any outside function with churches which do not also strictly base their faith and practice on the New Testament. They will not engage in joint meetings, or evangelistic endeavors, with Protestants, Catholics, or other doctrinally unsound church groups, who do not hold to the fundamental teachings of the New Testament.”

“They practice the biblical teachings of separation as taught in Ephesians 5:11, which state, "Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them." Independent Baptists believe that to join with churches that teach and practice false doctrine is to tolerate and approve of errors. True, New Testament churches strongly believe that all doctrinal error is sin as the New Testament teaches.”

 

What do you mean by Fundamentalism?

The IFB disagree with perjorative, societal use of the word. They “use the name in its strictest sense as meaning to hold soundly the fundamentals of the New Testament teachings without error. True Independent Fundamental Baptist Churches uphold the purest teachings of the early church as revealed in the New Testament.”

 

Do those in the IFB consider themselves Protestants?
The Calvinists are going to dislike this one! They are characterized as murderers!
 

“Historically, Baptists were never a part of the Roman Catholic Church or the Protestant Reformation. In recorded church history there is not one recorded incident of a Baptist church being founded out of Roman Catholicism. Protestants for centuries, saw the Baptists as their "enemies" and murdered them by the thousands in the name of Protestantism. It is surely an affront to any historically informed Baptist identify to himself by the name of a group that has so hated and persecuted Baptists down throughout history. It is revealing that the reason the Protestants who hated the Baptists was that the Baptist would not compromised God's word or accept the Protestant false teachings and traditions.”
 

What is the IFB’s main beef with Protestants?

1.“Protestants have never accepted the principle of separation of church and state.”

Apparently the IFB believes that any sort of state church is a compromise.
 

2. Many Protestants believe in some sort of successions from pastors (or priests) down thru the ages.

However, the IFB believes that true succession is seen in churches who did not cave into unBiblcal practices. To hold to the "secessionist" position takes the authority away from the New Testament and places it in the hands of man.“It cannot be stated too often that the importance of these churches was not in their name, or their succession, but in what they believed and practiced. These churches patterned themselves strictly after the New Testament example, and this made them valid churches approved of God. This is the true heritage Fundamental Independent Baptists holds dear, that is there have always been assemblies which submitted themselves only to the sole authority of the Word of God. However, it is difficult to document these congregations because they were rarely in the spot light of history.”

 

3.Some Protestants adhere to a false teaching of communion.

“The idea the bread and wine (biblically grape juice) in the Lord's Supper being a sacrament and becoming the literal physical body of Christ which takes away sin, is a false Roman Catholic teaching. Protestants, although becoming separate from the Roman Church, only slightly changed this false practice.”

 

4. Protestants still practice some form of infant or paedobaptism.
 

It appears to be a belief of the writer that the stand against infant baptism is a major marker of who is IFB.“He states there were Baptists in England 1400 A.D., and mentions William Sawtre, who was identified as a Lollard and Baptist. He was the first person burned at the stake after Henry IV's 1400 A.D. decree to burn heretics. His "crime" was he refused infant baptism and rejected the Anglican church as being biblical."
 


What do you think of the Puritans? (I included this one for our Calvinist friends).
“One may admire their piety, but a true believer in the New Testament would have a great problem with their doctrines, church polity, and especially their persecution of Baptists and driving them from their colonies. The Puritans practiced a grace plus works salvation. One must correctly understand that when they preached piety, they were preaching salvation by works.”
 

He points out that everyone was forced to be a member of this state sanctioned church and pay taxes to said church and the IFB believes this means that the Puritans were not part of the true church.

 

Must you be IFB in order to be saved?

“(IFB) Baptists believe you do not have to be a Baptist in order to be saved and have eternal life, but a person must believe the Gospel and follow the teachings revealed in the New Testament. Further, if a person is truly saved and strictly follows the principles of the New Testament he will in a true sense be a Baptist whether he uses the name or not.”

 

How do you interpret the Bible?


“Baptists interpret the Bible literally within its historic, cultural and grammatical context. True Baptists believe, as the New Testament teaches, that Christ is the only head of the church.”

 


What are the five Baptist distinctives?

 

  1. “We accept only the New Testament as our authority in all matters of faith and practice.
  2. We believe the church is to be made up of saved baptized believers.
  3. We believe in strict separation of church and state.
  4. We believe in the priesthood of the believer.
  5. We believe in the autonomy of the local church.”

 

Hmmmm, let's see. It sounds all so simple, doesn't it? How can it be so bad with the priesthood of the believer and local congregational rule? Well, it's not and the number of survivor sites out there are pretty impressive. In fact, it sort of reminds me of couple of other groups of "autonomous" churches that we have written about. I found the following Facebook group enormously helpful. They call themselves the Independent Fundamental Baptist (IFB) Cult Survivors (and their Supporters).  LINK  This is how they describe themselves. "If you grew up indoctrinated under the aberrant religious teachings of Bob Jones University, Pensacola Christian College, Hyles Anderson College, or ATI (Bill Gothard) and are no longer "one of them," you understand the need for this group."
 

Below is a list of websites dedicated to exposing the radical beliefs, as well as the sexual, physical and spiritual abuses within the IFB:

 

  • http://www.baptistdeception.com/
  • www.freedomfromabuse.net
  • www.jeriwho.net
  • http://dannimoss.wordpress.com/
  • http://independentspirits.net/
  • http://www.formerhephzibahgirls.webs.com/
  • http://reformatvictory.com/
  • http://www.healingspiritualabuse.com/
  • http://nolongerquivering.com/vyckies-story/
  • http://www.batteredsheep.com/gothard.html
  • http://www.midwestoutreach.org/
  • http://www.stufffundieslike.com/
  • http://www.hephzibah-girls.blogspot.com/
  • http://xatigirl.wordpress.com/

 

 

On Monday we will discuss the myriad of issues that have defined the IFB over the years. These include: informal, rigid associations, separatism, literalism, and accusations of abuse. Tomorrow, we have a couple of videos for the Easter celebration.

 

Lydia's Corner: Joshua 19:1-20:9 Luke 19:28-48 Psalm 88:1-18 Proverbs 13:12-14

 

Comments

Who Do the Independent Fundamentalist Baptists Say They Are? — 58 Comments

  1. Hm. From the quotes you took, Dee, I’d guess that the writer is an IFB apologist. (I hadn’t heard of him before.) But you can see from what he says how the testimony given in the 20/20 exposé lines right up. “We are the best. We are the only church that is truly Christian. We are the only ones who are doing it right.” It’s arrogance on the part of the IFB in general, regardless of any particular pastor’s personal demeanor. So leaving an IFB church (unless you’re leaving it for a “sister” IFB church) is like walking out into the Godless wilderness. The church becomes your whole life – all your friends are there, your world revolves around that church. It’s part of the reason my family hasn’t gone to church regularly since; we can’t find one outside of IFB that “measures up” to the one we left. (But we’re not going back, either.)

  2. These quotes are really really funny — do they think that somehow there were tiny Truely Baptist congregations somewhere during the whole long time between the early Christians and the Reformation? Are we now going to throw out everything that we know about the history of Christianity?

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  4. Saying that they are not protestant is as silly as the claim by Church of Christ folks that they are not a denomination.

  5. This sad state of affairs is what happens when one tries to add in a little Law to the gospel. The Law will take over.

    Hence, St. Paul’s ire at the Galatians.

  6. Thanks Tina. There are probably not too many Church of Christ people that would agree with my statement.

  7. These groups formed out the the modernist/fundamentalist controversy of the 1920s. Hence the word “Fundamentalist.” These churches are one particular expression of a lot of movements within different churches at that time. Westmiinster Seminary, for example, was a breakaway from Princeton, in the Presbyterian Church.

    They were admirable in one major way – they believed the Bilbe to be true and they thought it was wrong to try and mix belief with unbelief. They actually believed in the truth of the Bible and its major doctrines, as had been taught for hundreds of years before. Modernists, on the other hand, began to see the Bible as more myth than truth, and Jesus was more of an inspiring character than God in the flesh and a necessary sacrfice for human sin.

    From the 1920s through the 1960s, these groups attacted many people who began to abandon major denominations. And they were evangelistic, too. So, they reached out to new people.

    In the 1960s, especially, these churches began to become more detached from the larger society. As societal changes began to occur, these churches began to emphasize separatism more and more, and they began to emphasize lifestyle regulations. They were right in some ways, but overboard in others.

    Since that time, they have become known more for their lifestyle regulations. And has time has gone by, they have become less effective in evangelism because they are so separate from the larger society, that one almost has to be born into the movement to be part of it. And they have not done a good job keeping their kids.

    Southern Baptists have always had a strain of this in their midst, as I suppose any religious group has (i.e. legalistic churches). The SBC, however, did not split over the moderninst/fundamentalist controversy. Many SBC churches left. But more stayed. The SBC adopted the Baptist Faith & Message, which was a conservative doctrinal statement. But the statement avoided some of the hot button issues of the 1920s (evolution, for example) and contained, intentionally, some ‘soft’ language that could be interpreted in different ways, thus giving cover to the liberals that were in the SBC seminaries already and other places in denominational life.

    It is sad to see the IFB churches today. There are lots of good people in them. There is a range or degrees among the churches in terms of how IFB they are. Some are more than others. Others have actually returned to the SBC.

    The bottom line is that legalism is a bad thing.

  8. Anonymous

    Thank you for filling in some historical points. Well stated.

    Do you see any of these legalistic trends into today’s SBC? Who do you think is the voice for the SBC-Mohler? Patterson?

  9. Anonymous at 11:02,

    re: “These groups formed out the the modernist/fundamentalist controversy of the 1920s.”

    First of all, very interesting history. It’s so helpful to understand how and why something came to be as it is.

    I’m afraid I’m rather clueless on this area of history, so can I ask what prompted the modernist/fundamentalist controvery of the 1920s? What was happening in the world, in the US, in American christianity that prompted it?

  10. “The bottom line is that legalism is a bad thing.”

    Amen! And you see it all throughout history. The AnaBaptists, The stepchildren of the Reformation, come to America and become legalistic as you see in the Mennonites. The Puritans did the same thing. Roger Williiams was disgusted with them and went to found Providence where Anne Hutchinson ended up after being excommunicated. And all were orginally escaping the legalism of the state church and other problems asociated with legalism of kings imposed upon them. But when they seperate, overtime, they become even more legalistic and their leaders act like the kings they loathed.

    The SBC has been heading this way for the last 30 or so years. From a foundation of the priesthood and soul competency to strict gender roles and authoritarian pastors we must obey.

  11. well, they are correct in saying that anabaptists (like the Mennonites) were persecuted by other Protestants in Europe – that was relentless and you’ll come across a *lot* of material about it should you ever read up on Mennonite, Amish, etc. history.

    Their understanding of a lot of other Protestant groups’ theology re. communion is… well, kinda lacking, I think.

    I haven’t read their stuff (above) closely, but the bit about “we are not a denomination” sounds suspiciously like SGM to me.

  12. Dee:

    I do see legalism in the SBC. I see legalism in many Christian movements. The specifics depend on the background and ethos of the group.

    Several independent churches have joined the SBC since the SBC seminaries and agencies are now theologically orthodox. The most prominent are Thomas Road Baptist (Falwell’s church) and First Baptist Fort Worth, J. Frank Norris’ old church.

    The SBC has always had strains of legalism. Piety is important to Baptists. Any group that stresses personal piety is going to deal with legalism. The Puritans are the first example in this country of that.

    Legalism in the SBC takes many forms. There are certain quarters of the SBC where legalism is strongest. Home schoolers, some of what are called the Baptist Identity crowd, some of the reformed crowd.

    I am theologically conservative and have friends in many of these camps but do not see eye to eye with them on certain issues. I feel like God can use me in those areas – to stand up and say “I am theologically conservative, I am your friend, but I disagree on …”

  13. Elastigirl:

    The effects of Enlightenment thinking, which had been around for a couple hundred years, progressed into the areas of theology in the early 1800s in Europe, Germany in particular. This lead to the development of what is called “Higher Criticism” in biblical studies. The result was that the Bible, both the OT and NT, was not seen as historically true. It may be true in a religious sense. But the miracles, the incarnation, the resurrection, the person of Jesus, all began to be questioned – within the church. Many seminaries in this country had professors who began to adopt a way of looking at the Bible that was not the way Christians had viewed it for years. The Bible was no longer true. It was a collection of myth, stories, etc. from men who were trying to understand what God was doing. It was not that God spoke to men who wrote the Bible (revelation). The Bible was also seen in an evolutionary sense. The early writings about God (Genesis etc.) showed an angry God with moral problems. But as man progressed over the centuries, man’s ideas about God progressed also. So, when the NT writers write about Jesus, we see a much higher view of God (though still particular men’s view of God).

    Over the years, these views went from the seminaries into the churches, and slowly, preachers began to teach their congregations these things. The fundamentalists saw the Bible in the historical way. The debate raged on for decades. Men like Moody, Spurgeon (England), Boyce, Broadus (the SBC founders), saw the Bible in the traditional way. In the 1920s the controversy exploded on the national scene in a big way. There were many who would be considered Fundamentalists who did not go by that name. There were others who coined and used that name. The word was a reference to a series of papers in which the Fundamentals of the Faith were espoused by the Fundamentalists. Most people in the SBC (probably 90 to 95%) were fundamentalists. But the 5 to 10% were educated and teaching in State Baptist colleges and the SBC flagship seminary (Southern). The same may have been true for Methodists, Presbyterians.

    The Modernists chief spokesman was Harry Emerson Fosdick, a Presbyterian preacher in New York.

    The SBC finally decided in 1992 that its seminaries would no longer house neo-orthodox or Modernist teachers.

    Many denominations have been given over to the Modernist view of scripture. Many of the people in those denominations have remained out of denominational or church loyalty.

    And many independent movements and nondenominational churches have sprung up. The PCA, for example, was founded in the early 1970s as a breakaway from the USPCA. The Presbyterians did not have the numbers or the polity to be able to reclaim their seminaries, so the conservatives formed a new denomination. The SBC did have the numbers, so they reclaimed the seminaries, and the modernists, neo-orthodox, liberal (or what have you) went to other places. The Southern Baptists lost most of their state colleges, however.

    Famous and well known Fundamentalists (whether going by that name or not) would include Moody, Machen, Bob Jones, Billy Sunday, John R. Rice, Lee Roberson, R.G. Lee, W.A. Criswell etc. Billy Graham is a fundamentalist but would reject the label. He left Bob Jones to study at Wheaton and became more open to working with others in evangelistic efforts. Sociologically, Graham is not a Fundamentalist, but theologically is.

    On the sociological side, the Fundamentalists, in later years (as American culture began to change) adopted more strict lifestyle guidelines and regulations, though they would have been conservative already.

    If you are in an evangelical church (Baptist, independent, PCA, CMA etc.) you can trace your roots to the Fundamentalists probably, even though you may disagree with them on sociological matters.

  14. Anonymous

    I know that your approach works sometimes and I have used it myself with many friends who have stayed friends. However, let me tell you a true story. We were members of a very conservative SBC church. A group of us decided to go through a full book which dealt the Systematic Theology. In order to stay in the good graces of the church, we used Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology and taught the whole thing (not the short version, but the full. It took us a long time).

    During the course of the teaching, we got to the part on creation. Grudem said this subject is used by Satan to create divisions and that it is possible to allow for several views on creation in order to preserve unity. You can read it for yourself at the end of his creationism chapter.

    Well, the head pastor does not openly admit that he only promotes YEC. A group of very rude YEC came to our class when we allowed for a debate on YE vs. OE. They were so rude that we approached our pastor about the church policy in this area.

    We met with him. I read to him directly from Grudem which is the theology book that the staff recommends. He became irritated and accused me of being condescending and arrogant. I was shocked! I was reading directly out of the book-Grudem’s words not mine.

    All this to say, when someone is legalistic they will reject even their own theologians.

    I recently received a comment on this blog that I am theologically loose and liberal. Funny thing, I have also been accused of being too conservative. That probably means that I am striking the right note.

    Conservatism is being redefined by the Calvinistas and the CR crowd in the SBC. They define so much that one day, they will only have each other to go after. And, believe me , they will.

  15. Anonymous

    Thank you for the detailed history. I love it when our readers fill us in on some things.

    I am not sure that the CR took care of just the Modernists in the SBC seminaries. There are far too many people who were conservative and affected by this roust. I actually used to believe that it was to reclaim the seminaries from just the compromisers of Scripture. No more. In fact, I think that the attack on the “liberals” was merely a cover for something far greater.

    Please don’t misunderstand me. There were some liberals and they needed to go. But, like many movements, the stated reason was only a small part of a greater purpose.

    Women, who merely taught languages were thrown out of the seminaries- some of whom were conservative. Modernism was now extended to mean females who taught.

    This movement extended to the IMB which recalled missionaries that spoke in private prayer languages or those women who might have had a merely administrative “authority over a man. Oh yeah, and those who were not baptized by churches who adhered to the exact beliefs of this conservative crowd. They needed to get rebaptized.

    They didn’t stop at the modernists, they went after those who held slightly different views of charismatic gists, etc. That is not a movement to reclaim seminaries from liberals. It was a movement to reclaim the seminary from liberals and any conservative who did not march lockstep. And that is to the shame of the SBC
    at doesn’t fit These are some of the reasons I have left the SBC.

    One other thing this category: It is the failure to protect their churches against pedophile pastors and there are quite a few of those in the SBC. They have protected the faithful from “private prayer languages” but all but ignore the growing scandal of sexual abuse.

  16. Re Anon at 12:48 today said: “BC since the SBC seminaries and agencies are now theologically orthodox.”

    That would be since they were founded. The seminaries were never anything but mainstream Baptist Christian entities. The “liberalism” charge was because they taught people how to read and interpret scripture for themselves rather than teach them what to think and say. That requires people to look into the original texts of scripture, possible alternative translations of the terms, whereupon most people discover that some cherished beliefs about what the Bible says, it does not say, except in mistranslation. BTW, most strict conservatives have a hard time accepting Matt 25, which says if you have hungry people in your community and do not feed them, you go to hell.

  17. Arce

    As always, you challenge us to go beyond the easy platitudes. You live it in your life and are an example to all of us.

  18. Dee said:

    “We met with him. I read to him directly from Grudem which is the theology book that the staff recommends. He became irritated and accused me of being condescending and arrogant. I was shocked! I was reading directly out of the book-Grudem’s words not mine.”

    Dee,

    You left out the part about your BODY LANGUAGE!!! Those details have forever been etched in my mind, and I even remember exactly what I was doing on the day of that infamous meeting.

    School was out, and I had taken both my daughters and my older daughter’s friends to Wrightsville Beach. We were sitting on the beach by Johnny Mercer’s pier on a beautiful sunny afternoon when my cell phone rang. It was you calling to say you were on your way to this meeting and asking me to pray about it, which I immediately did as soon as the call ended.

    Remember the oversized tea cup and saucer you were holding in your lap when you were accused of being arrogant and condescending?

    It’s been four years since that meeting occurred, and I still can’t believe you were treated that way.

  19. Deb

    Yeah, right. Size medium middle aged woman holding a giant cup of tea with no handle is exhibiting hostile body language. Methinks he has been talking too much to his Calvinista control freak buddies. It’s time to grow up and treat people as peers, not as sparring partners. Good flaming night!

  20. “No more. In fact, I think that the attack on the “liberals” was merely a cover for something far greater.”

    A few liberals who WERE teaching heresy was a great excuse to get rid of those who were not bowing to Caesar or those who dared to disagree or question Caesar. Mohler’s firing of Paul Debusman is a perfect example of what they were really about. They are thugs and charlatans. Conservative has nothing to do with it. That is the window dressing. Power was the real issue.

    Mr. Debusman turned out to be a gentleman and the one truly bearing fruit of salvation even though ousted a few months before retirement because he dared to correct, with facts, a bold faced lie.

  21. Dee:

    The things that you cite happened almost 20 years after the CR ended. The Klouda matter and the IMB matter. And in both cases Conservatives who disagree and participated in the CR have disagreed with those decisions. I think that you will be hard pressed to find anything in the CR from say 1979 to 1992 (the official years when Conservatives mounted political action) where these issues were discussed or cited as a reason for the CR. With regard to prayer language issues, Rankin was hired by conservatives put in place by the CR and they hired him knowing that he had a prayer language. Jack Taylor, Peter Lord and other more Charismatic SBC types were CR supporters and promoters. The prayer language issue was a fight that erupted among conservative trustees at the IMB. The more Baptist Identity types had the votes on the trustee board to have their way on this issue. But other CR conservatives on the Board did not agree, but did not have the votes.

    I have a hard time seeing how these things were the “real” agenda of the CR since they were not part of it. Heck, Mohler wasn’t even in favor of the CR in his early seminary days.

  22. The colloquial term is “bald faced lie”. Goes back to people who did not trust bearded men to tell the truth. Cf. A. Lincoln. Experienced it myself.

  23. It is CR2 time. Again, the pattern is, keep narrowing the allowable range on any issue, keep adding issues, and boot anyone who does not toe the line. They are now requiring the tithe to be in good stead and if a pastor doesn’t preach it, he won’t be in their hierarchy. Soon the path will be very long and so narrow no one can avoid touching some line or the other, so they can consolidate their power and hastily become irrelevant. If most of the SBC church members paid attention, they would take their church out and the SBC would shrink to near nothing. And I was in SBC churches from age 5 to 55, except when there wasn’t one where I could go within 30 miles of home.

  24. Dee and Arce:

    Most people who say there were a “few” liberals in the seminaries, or deny their existence altogether really have very little knowledge of who was teaching at Southern and the other seminaries at the time. This is not a criticism of you, but I find usually that people who say such things have 1) never been to seminary, not evern for a visit to hear a lecture etc., and 2) have really very little practical knowledge of who was on the faculty during those years, what their views were etc.

    if you have not done so, and have any interest, I would encourage you to read the recent History of Southern Seminary. The book is about many things, mainly the incredible story of Southern’s founding. But it also does a really good job of outlining the doctrinal concerns at Southern over the decades and how almost every President of Southern from Mullins on tried to deal with liberalism on the faculty. The problem was that the faculty was in charge of hiring new faculty. They controlled the process except for the final approval. Mullins knew that he had faculty problems, Sampey did, Fuller did, McCall did – and fired about a dozen faculty members at one time. I think it was called a Friday massacre or something. But McCall ended up with a more liberal faculty afterwards because of the replacements that were brought in.

    And every one of the faculty signed the Abstract of Principles, Southern’s creed and founding document authored by Basil Manly Jr., one of the first faculty members. It is very conservative. Very Calvinistic, in fact. Each faculty member at Southern has to sign it and promise that they will teach in accordance with and not contrary to the Abstract.

    So professors at Southern are not supposed to, and never have supposed to, teach outside the parameters of that founding document. Southern, and all SBC seminaries, are confessional seminaries. Not schools of divinity where all opinions are thrown out as equal options for each person to decide upon. Of course each person can decide what he/she believes. But the faculty does not have the liberty to teach what they want to, and they never had that liberty. They were to have been governed by their consciences when they said they believed the abstract and said they would not teach contrary to it.

  25. Lydia:

    As I said, Mohler had nothing to do with the CR until the late 80s if I am not mistaken. Pressler, Patterson and others were being mocked by Dr. Honeycutt and others at the time.

    Debusman was an employment matter. He was an employee, and did something that the President of the Seminary and the Trustees did not like. The details are sketchy, but I think that he wrote a letter or something either criticizing the seminary or the SBC etc. Many companies would fire employees for getting involved in things like that, but again, I am not sure of all the details. I just remember it as an employment matter. I don’t think it was doctrinal, however.

  26. Arce:

    I don’t know what you are talking about. Our church doesn’t teach the tithe. We are a faithful SBC church.

    On programmatic matters, the SBC has become more broad.

    Under the Moderates, theology was flexible, but program was not. Under the conservatives, theology is not flexible, but methodology is not. That is creating some problems, witness the fight over the GCR. Some conservatives are old school on programs. Some are not.

    But I don’t disagree with one thing we have talked about in this post – that there are elements in the SBC that are legalistic and inflexible. There always will be that. You just have to stand up to it and do what God has called you to do.

  27. Anonymous
    I have taught Christian history for a number of years. There is a way to look at history so that one sees the connections, not merely some isolated incidents. What came before influences now while now influences tomorrow.

    I do not believe the CR was a simple plan to get rid of some professors who were denying some basic doctrine. Yes, that was true, but the plan extended far beyond a five year plan. One can only see the effects 20 years later and PP is still around, continuing a plan. That plan included the travesty that involved Klouda, et al.

    It all continues. Now Mohler wants to go after me and the rest of the majority of Christians who believe in an Old Earth. He has already fired the shots, saying that I am throwing my beloved Scirpture under the bus. That is code language for heresy. It will continue but, since he adheres to the CBMW, I, along with all women are “gullible an d easily deceived!” So, they can now ignore women, OE/TE, an d whatever else they have deemed unChristian.

    The SBC is not doing so well in the membership department. But eventually they will get all the theologically pure people and start a nice little church with all 500 of them until the start going for each other.

    The CR was only the beginning and I bet if you could inject PP with truth serum or demon hootch you might get him to admit to a long range plan. Same with Mohler. But I have left the SBC and have joined a nondenominational church that seems to show that differing thoughts on eschatology can actually coexist as a loving body of Christ instead of an Inquistion on views on which church body is eligible to bapize missionaries.

  28. Anonymous

    I am learning to use my IPad and am making many typing errors. Hope what I wrote makes sense.

  29. I was on a committee that did an evaluation of Southern in the 1970s. We found no faculty that did not teach in accord with the abstract of principles. In fact, all taught in accord with the abstract, WHILE teaching seminarians (graduate students after all) how to study and exegete the scripture for themselves.

    Yes I know about the history, and I know the pressure on the people who wrote it. If it came out any differently, it would never have seen the light of day.

    The great purge of the seminaries started at Southern, but took longer there than at some other places. We are seeing another at present. The issues now are whether the faculty agree with the CBMW. Those that do not will be gone shortly.

  30. Arce:

    Thanks for this information.

    What committee was that? What was the name of the committee? Who assembled it, why was it assembled and who was on it? Was there anyone on the committee who would be identified as a movement conservative or who disagreed with the final conclusion?

    What did the committee do to evaluate Southern? (e.g. read faculty writings, interview faculty). Did the faculty cooperate? Was it done with the knowledge and blessing of Dr. McCall?

    How did the committee come to the conclusion that all the faculty was teaching in accordance with the Abstract?

    I would be very interested in the committee’s report. Where can that be located? Did you keep a copy or was it filed anywhere? Was a copy given to the seminary administration? Are any faculty interviews or a bibliography available?

    I would think that this report would be of interest to those studying Southern and its history.

    I find it hard to believe, for example, that every professor at Southern in the 1970s would agree with the following portion of the Abstract on Election.

    V. Election
    Election is God’s eternal choice of some persons unto everlasting life-not because of foreseen merit in them, but of His mere mercy in Christ-in consequence of which choice they are called, justified and glorified.

    Frank Stagg did not believe that. Dale Moody did not believe that. I believe this is fairly well known. They were not Calvinists. Moody also did not believe in the perserverance of the Saints, at least according to Dr. McCall.

    Now, I certainly believe that people can be Christians and not be Calvinists, for sure. But if one believes that article of the Abstract, it’s pretty clear that one is a Calvinist. Are you claiming that your committee found that the entire faculty of the Southern Seminary believed the above article on election? If so, I would find that claim fantastic.

    I ask these questions because they really are of interest to me.

    But I also ask to get some perspective on why a committee would be assembled, who assembled it, what was done and how conclusions were reached.

    After all, there are evaluations and then there are evaluations.

    Paul Pressler writes that there was a committee assembled at Second Baptist Houston in the early 1960s to study the seminaries or colleges. Pressler was a young lawyer who originally was not on the committee, but was appointed when a vacancy occurred. John Baugh was on the committee, too, and was furious when the young Pressler was appointed to the committee. John Baugh spent his lifetime trying, unsucessfully, to discredit Pressler. Most of it starts with this incident.

    The committee that was to evaluate the seminaries did so and reported back that they could find no problems.

    Pressler requested to file a minority report, and that was allowed. Pressler actually did homework on the issue. The majority of the committee was determined in advance to exhonerate the seminaries and give them a clean bill of health. But Pressler’s minority report was more persuasive and demonstrated that the majority had not done a very good job because they were predisposed to a conclusion.

    The point being – there are evaluations and then there are evaluations.

    So, I would be very interested on the details of this committee. I have read a lot of SBC history and I have never heard of this.

  31. Arce:

    You also say that you “know about” the recent book about Southern’s history.

    Does that mean you actually read it, or that you know there is such a book and others have told you or worte about what it says?

    You say “the people” who wrote it were pressured.

    The book was authored by only one person, Dr. Greg Wills, not multiple authors.

    Do you have any evidence for pressure beyond supposition and conjecture?

    Is it not possible in your mind that Dr. Wills came to his own conclusions?

    Maybe if you sent that evaluation your committee did in the 1970s to Dr. Wills, it would have been helpful to him.

  32. I cannot believe that people posting here continue to believe the lie of “liberalism” in any of the SBC seminaries in the post WWII time frame. Did not happen, it was a fabrication to get control and to turn the seminaries into indoctrination centers, not graduate education institutions where tools for analysis and thinking are taught in the area of supposed future learnedness, that is, in the case of seminaries, how to exegete scripture, how to deal with differing Hebrew and Greek versions of the same biblical text, etc., in order to be able to preach and teach the lay public about God, the person and ministry of Jesus the Christ, and the early church.

  33. So,

    I’ve seen the comment that “Legalism is a bad thing”, several times in recent posts. I would enjoy having someone explain to be just “why” legalism is a bad thing.

    The people who insist on, what are commonly termed “B” issues, believe it is relevant and either effects one’s believes on the “A” issues, or that the existence of “A” and “B” issues is a fabrication, invented by those who believe “some” things in scripture but not others.

    Isn’t, demanding that people recognize a difference in “A” and “B” issues and insisting that they allow for differences of “opinion” on “B” issues, being just as legalistic?

  34. Karl

    Happy day to you. One of my all time favorite shows was Monk which told the story of a beloved obsessive compulsive detective. He was loved by his friends despite his issue. But his problem interfered with his ability to live a free life. So his friends encouraged his treatment even though they loved him anyway. Is treating an obsessive compulsive individual obsessive in and of itself? He was happy, or at least thought he was. So why obssess about his obsession?

  35. Dee and Deb, check the ISP and time stamps. Anon sounds like Louis the lawyer, again. If it is him, it is important that folks reading here know that Louis claimed over at FBCJax a while back that he ‘did not anticipate working with any SBC entity’. What he did not know is that quite a few bloggers knew who he was and knew he had been appointed to the SBC Foundation Board earlier. For the second time. So, he lied because he wanted his defense of SBTS and Mohler to sound “neutral” and therefore “reasoned”.

    “Heck, Mohler wasn’t even in favor of the CR in his early seminary days.”

    “As I said, Mohler had nothing to do with the CR until the late 80s if I am not mistaken.”

    As Louis well lknows, MOhler was 33 when he became President of SBTS in the early 90’s. Long before he had stuck his finger in the wind to see where the political power was going. Before that, he was supposedly more egalitarian and also worked for one of the “liberal” Presidents

    “Debusman was an employment matter. He was an employee, and did something that the President of the Seminary and the Trustees did not like. The details are sketchy, but I think that he wrote a letter or something either criticizing the seminary or the SBC etc. Many companies would fire employees for getting involved in things like that, but again, I am not sure of all the details. I just remember it as an employment matter. I don’t think it was doctrinal, however.”

    Oh yes, a lowly 34 year employee who worked there longer than Mohler had been alive!

    The details are not sketchy. And I am not sure how one seperates “doctrinal” from behavior. What Mohler did to that man is horrific and shows what an authoritarian and thinskinned thug Mohler is. It also proves that they do not care about truth but only total obedience. An employment mattter? Come now. We must bring the lowly employees into line so they won’t tell the truth.That is what it was really all about.

    Here is what happened for the record:

    Debusman was the reference librarian at SBTS for 35 years and was fired 10 months before his retirement. Why was he fired? Because he dared to correct Tom Eliff (now IMB President!) about something he claimed while speaking at SBTS. Eliff claimed that no conservatives were allowed to speak in chapel before the CR. Debusman, the reference librarian who would know who spoke in chapel over the last 35 years, sent Eliff a letter correcting the statement he made. Eliff was offended and sent the letter to Mohler who had him fired. Ten months before retirement! Now if that is not meant to send a message to others to quake in their boots, I do not know what. they could not allow a 35year employee to finish out his time for 10 months? No. They needed an example.

    Now, do I have to explain the “doctrinal” problems with Mohler’s and Eliff’s behavior? Because it does show they had “serious” doctrinal problems. Serious enough for any bible believer to question their fruit.

    “ost people who say there were a “few” liberals in the seminaries, or deny their existence altogether really have very little knowledge of who was teaching at Southern and the other seminaries at the time. This is not a criticism of you, but I find usually that people who say such things have 1) never been to seminary, not evern for a visit to hear a lecture etc., and 2) have really very little practical knowledge of who was on the faculty during those years, what their views were etc. ”

    Nice try. I come from a very conservative SBC background and our relationship with SBTS goes back to the 1920’s and my grandparents. I have a ton of family (extended also) who went there. We were all in favor of the CR until we saw the fall out early on and the fact it was more about power grabs. (Did Criswell really have to sell minature busts of himself at the convention? tacky)

    “f you have not done so, and have any interest, I would encourage you to read the recent History of Southern Seminary.”

    That would be like reading Calvin for the facts about the Reformed church in Geneva. :o)

  36. The real POINT is where the SBC is headed now. Is the leadership joined to the heart of God and producing the “fruit of the spirit”? I do not see it in many parts-seminaries chiefest. The Al Mohler/Paige Patterson voices are DIFFERENT from the churches and message I started with in the SBC. I entered the SBC through the church where Peter Lord was Pastor, the best church experience in my life as a believer because JESUS was the MAIN THING. There have been many unscriptural actions taken in the name of orthodoxy. The end does not justify the means. So the decisiion many are making is whether to stay and hope legalism can be overcome or leave.

  37. asachild,

    I agree with you. I am watching what’s going on NOW in the SBC, and the same old tactics are being used to gain even more control.

    When Al Mohler accuses Old Earth Creationists of throwing the Bible “under the bus”, I see the CR from a different perspective that I used to. I now believe it was a power grab. The result will be that the SBC will continue to shrink as doctrinal positions are narrowed even further.

  38. Don’t even bother with the History of SBTS by Wills. He is an “employee” of Mohlers. And remember what Mohler said about the GCR Task force that promised transparency and then voted to put meeting notes under lock and key for 15 years. Mohler theatened those demanding the task force do what they promised:

    No future committees would even keep records if forced to reveal their workings.

    The king has spoken and the peasants had best get in line.

    That is the Mohler that Anon/Louis wants us to trust. And trusting one of his employees to write a comprehensive truthful history is a stretch since anyone working there knows better than to be anything but a sycophant.

  39. “Isn’t, demanding that people recognize a difference in “A” and “B” issues and insisting that they allow for differences of “opinion” on “B” issues, being just as legalistic?”

    Would it be legalistic to protect the individual rights of Muslim women in the US against the legalism of Sharia law?

  40. Legalism always tries to add something to what is required to be a Christian. Sometimes we call it “Jesus +”, as in:
    Jesus + YEC
    Jesus + tithing
    Jesus + certain language (e.g., “inerrancy”. BTW, that is inerrancy in the “original autographs” whatever that means)
    Jesus + voting Republican (changed in the South from pre 1960, when it was Democrat!!!)
    Jesus + “don’t drink, smoke or chew, or befriend those who do”
    Jesus + “no mixed bathing” meaning swimming with a person or persons of the other gender
    Jesus + pro life
    Jesus + KJV only

    Jesus alone is enough: ” . . . whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life!”

  41. btw: The trustees of the SBC entities work the same way as the boards of AIG, Lehman Bros, Merril Lynch, Bear Stearns, Countrywide, Citigroup, etc, work.

  42. This may be of interest to some.

    A friend of mine who is a life-long IFB Believer until a few years ago when she left IFB told me that she corresponded with an evangelist who was Baptist. I’m not sure if he appeared on the Fighting Fundamentalist Forum where IFB members past and present members post or whether this was private correspondence. If others know more about such a discussion, please feel free to add or clarify!

    I was told that this evangelist wanted to get into IFB churches to speak but was told that he could not unless and until he was essentially vetted and accepted by the unofficial IFB network. I guess it was nothing personal, but I understand that this independent Christian evangelist thought it was a bit disingenuous that these churches claim to be independent but function so tightly like a group that they, in effect, behave something like a synod.

    There are lots of unofficial ways that these churches are connected with one another.

    Here is a list of churches I happened upon today while searching out another matter online:
    http://www.21tnt.com/roll/

    I’m also told that there is an annual pastor’s conference that takes place in Hammond, Indiana. Part of the way that you can pierce through the barrier to get into the inner circle involves participating in these conferences held in affiliation with Hyles-Anderson. The college does have a directory of churches on their site:
    http://hylesanderson.edu/alumni/alumni-info/
    Someone at Bob Jones U apparently keeps a list of affiliated churches as well:
    https://protect.bju.edu/extensionoffice/

    I’m reminded of the old advice that if something walks, talks, sounds and acts like a duck, it’s likely a duck. This group operates and functions in the practical sense just like a denomination or a synod does. They might be congregational and each church may be without an overseer and without accountability, but they can sure pull together and act like a denomination when it serves their purposes.

  43. Piercing through that barrier of leadership is quite big in cults. In my former cultic church, we called it the “inner circle.”

    Working as “middle management” is craved in manipulative and elitist systems because it gives the person some type of validation. In works-oriented religion where your peace depends on your performance and rewards of “success” that come from outside of yourself and how well you look and smell, an invite into leadership helps soothe the wounds that the group creates by berating the followers and manipulating them with shame all of the time.

  44. Lydia
    Thanks for the revelation. I am still irritated by the secret GCR task force. Oh right. There is sooo much to keep secret when talking about how to raise funds for missions. History is often told from the vantage point of those who have the most to keep secret.

  45. Arce,

    I don’t think these people are saying you must believe in Jesus + “whatever” in order to be saved, I think they are saying “How can you participate in, or partake in these “B” issues and still claim you are following Jesus”…

    In other words, they are not adding to the requirements for salvation, they are simply questioning whether that person is following Christ at all, they are questioning your primary salvation…for them, the “B” issues are the fruit of your salvation … if they aren’t there (or they are at odds with what they believe scripture teaches), then the natural assumption of whether you are really saved in the first place arises.

    IMHO

  46. Yes, but there are poor people, homeless people, hungry people, sick people, and people in jail/prison all over this country, and they are not being fed, sheltered, provided medical care, or visited. JESUS said, in Matthew 25, that if you don’t do those things, you are not going to heaven, rather you are going to hell. That is the only test of faith that JESUS put forward. So all of those people who push all the issues other than faith in Christ, carrying out the great commission and taking care of our fellow human beings, who are not doing what JESUS commanded, are not Christians!!! In other words, if there are hungry or hurting people in your community and you haven’t helped them, you haven’t lived up to your responsibility and JESUS said you are not one of his. That is the only command that I know that he made for us. All the rest is totally secondary or tertiary or whatever.

  47. Arce

    Why do you think that this command is so overlooked by the Biblical literalists who say we must take Genesis literally? I know the YE brigade in my area never mention the poor in their crusade for purity.

  48. It irritates me when Baptist churches act like they are following the true teachings of the Bible to a degree other denominations are not. I went to a couple Baptist churches (SBC and an independent one). When someone went forward at an altar call, they would be immediately asked if they were willing to teach Sunday School. There was no vetting, no waiting a few months or years to see if they showed any maturity. I had many crisis of faith moments as many of my Sunday School teachers as recent converts would go back into drugs, affairs, etc. The leadership did not give a damn that throwing new untested converts into leadership positions might undermine many of the church kids’ faith.

  49. I think they discount it. It is so demanding so they just choose to ignore it and confess their inadequacy over it and assume they will be forgiven!!!

  50. “Lydia

    Are you saying the the SBC mimics the very culture they pretend to despise?”

    Yep. Except they do it in the Name of Jesus.