I grew up in IFB churches and spent NINE years under the ministry of the pastor [First Baptist Church of Hammond, IN] ABC posted video of (about women keeping themselves up, etc.). I was educated in an IFB college and my first two ministries (assistant pastoral positions) were in IFB churches. It was actually while serving in my last ministry that I began to (Study/Meditate) on the Scripture. I began to see the teachings of the IFB were largely out of touch with the Scripture (Free-Will salvation, KJV-onlism, no-alcohol, strict dress requirements, strict music requirements, single pastor polity, VERY legalistic, etc.) As each of these before mentioned belief positions began to fall way in light of Scripture I knew I was about to face the most difficult decision of my life. I had become almost completely reformed (minus paedo-baptism), and I couldn't keep their teaching down (it made me sick to my stomach). So basically breaking all ties that I had (family, friends) I resigned the ministerial position and the denominational movement. I now pastor a reformed baptist congregation. I consider myself independent as our church has no ties to a conference or fellowship, I consider myself fundamental (in that my beliefs are founded on sola scriptura and continue to as I grow in understanding of His Word). I also am baptistic (though not necessarily immersionist only). I am now 32 years old 26 years of my life where under the IFB influences. It took several year after leaving before my wife came to the understanding that I am at presently (she thought I was a heretic and going off the deep end = losing my faith), now she thanks me continually for being true to the Word of God, although I know it wasn't me but God. All I could do was pray that God would show her these things. Now as to the the 20/20 interviews let me say this. They presented EXTREMES. While I KNOW that things like this take place (I have heard all kinds of stories) the average IFB church truly does want to please God and obey His Word. I have experienced IFB churches exercising proper and biblical church discipline. I have also seen the cover ups and the ignoring of sin as well. 20/20 did present a few things well. 1. The mentality that the Pastor is somewhat untouchable does exist in these groups. To question him will bring more trouble than good (I know, I've done it). Usually you will be the one to lose. The only accountability may be to their version of elders called "deacons" But even then, sometimes they are only "yes" men. Sometimes they may actually have influence and/or power over the pastor (thus the pastor is doing what they want him to do). But normally the Pastor is where the buck stops. 2. All the "independent" groups are tied to a silent creed of beliefs. For instance, my in-laws just moved to our area to be close to the grandkids. However, they WILL NOT come to our church. They have narrowed their choice by looking up all the IFB churches in the area. Any church that does not say IFB will not be considered. So there is this unspoken understanding that they do, in general, believe the same thing. There are circles in the IFB. These circles are defined as liberal and conservative. The liberal circles may let their women wear pants, and may have a stronger rhythm to their music. They may also dress more stylish then others. This is a source of contention within. There are some IFB pastors and churches that do believe they are the only church, and their understanding is the only understanding. There are some IFB churches that have "loyalty" complexes. For instance, I know of one church where the pastor poured a glass of cool-aid for every staff member sitting on the stage behind him and asked them to drink without questioning. They did. THAT I believe is a "cult". Yet other pastors have preached "follow me as I follow Christ". They usually had the more sound churches. Duh! The real concern that I have is that they are very "unintelligent" in the area of bible literacy and of the arts. They promote "systems" of doctrine (KJV-onlism, Dispensationalism, Pre-trib rapturism, Arminianism, strict literalism, legalism, and separatist). It wasn't until I became reformed that I was challenged to better myself by educating myself in the Scriptures as well as in the arts (I presently play the viola and am learning languages). Not that these things determine if one is "intellectual" or not but the mindset of pursuing these things is absent generally in the IFB. The Arts arte of the devil and the world and will ultimately cause us to distrust "the faith". ONLY Christian ministry is to be pursued and every young person feels the pressure of entering the ministry (almost Mormon like). Any way I just want to say that yes the basic mindset and attitudes were as 20/20 presented but not in that extreme. Not all IFB churches and members should be labeled as such nor do they funtion in that way. Honestly, I think every institution that has man as a participate are in danger of evil things happening. I guess that is the evidence and result of original sin. Thank you O Sovereign God for your love and great salvation!
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I know several of the people who were interviewed. I've been following this for a while. One of the great points that Vargas nailed was that the IFB is really not that independent. Chuck Phelps wasn't a lone island; he was on the board at Bob Jones University and (I think) the WILDS, which is a fundamentalist Christian youth camp heavily associated with BJU. There is no denominational oversight, and thus no accountability, but they do run in packs. They know how to ostracize someone who criticizes "The University," or the group, or whatever. So, Fuller's attempt to distance himself from the IFB in general is a bit disingenuous. I mean, the very fact that Tina Anderson was sent from one IFB church to another one for safe-keeping proves there are ties everywhere.
The other great point is that IFB is a culture of authoritarianism (which is different from authority) and separatism. Authoritarianism says, "Take my word for it," and separatism says, "And don't ask anyone else's opinion." It breeds fear and inaction. The girls were afraid to speak out. The ex-church members were afraid to question the handling of the situation. The pastor, other than a few phone calls of unknown content, showed no interest in ensuring the safety of minors in his church. The victim received the greatest punishment.
I wish I could say that this is just an anomaly. It's not. I personally know several other girls who were raped and made to "confess" in front of their churches, churches not featured on the report. It's a culture that fosters and conceals abuse. And it is a cult.
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The whole episode is available on the 20/20 section of ABC's website.
Originally Posted by StrictBaptist
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