Fall of the IFB Empire

This morning was a sad moment to find out about the news coming out of First Baptist Church of Hammond, IN, but even sadder to say, it did not take me by surprise. I attended that church when I was attending their college for one year back in the 1990's. Jack Schaap was the most admired man next to Dr. Hyles himself.  I heard him at many youth conferences challenging young people to give their lives to serve Christ in the ministry. Again, the world I grew up in during my adolescence has been resurrected from the past as I witness the demise of the Independent Fundamental Baptist movement. The fruit of the IFB movement continually proves to be rotten. For those of my IFB friends that are sure to mourn this terrible news, I am afraid that they will simply chalk it up to an isolated incident that was simply his choice and that he just got tempted in a rare moment of weakness. I will be first to acknowledge, that when I first heard this news, my first reaction was to go to prayer and beg God to protect me from ever sinning in this way and disgracing His name. I am the first to fear and tremble when I contemplate this warning in Scripture:

1 Corinthians 10:12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall

What needs to be taken heed as well is what we think we're standing on! The IFB movement is a very ill part of the Body of Christ and those who are committed to it need to wake up and understand that there are deep rooted problems that make stories like this one and the 20/20 piece last year a regular occurrence.

The first problem that we all face is the problem of pride:
Proverbs 6:16-17  These six things doth the LORD hate.... 17 A proud look,
Proverbs 22:14  The mouth of strange women is a deep pit: he that is abhorred of the LORD shall fall therein.
The problem of preachers falling into the pit of strange women is because the Lord abhors them. The Lord abhors them because of the first thing that He hates - pride.

The IFB movement itself is built on pride of being the most pure and correct among all other Christians. There is an elitism among them because their dress standards are higher, because they use the KJV Bible, because they are not liberals, because they take strong stands against social evils, etc. etc.

The second problem that comes from IFB pride is isolation. They call it Biblical Separation. They have cut themselves off from all other Christians who could influence because they find fault in all the ways they have compromised the truth in some way. Fundamentalism is several small huddles of like-minded people who all agree on the same standards and associations. They refuse to be rebuked, criticized or corrected by anyone outside of their own group because they feel that they are the epitome of doctrinal purity. However, because of this blinding pride, they refuse to be corrected by anyone within their own huddle either. As soon as someone in their ranks begins to chastise one of the others, he is tarred and feathered as "bitter, petty and jealous". So, even when there is sin, the standard operating procedure is to just stay quiet and not rock the boat.

The third problem that come from a collective isolation is personal isolation. It starts with the leaders. Since they won't stand up and speak up in their own fellowship, all of them have free reign to preach and teach whatever weird doctrines without ever fearing rebuke. So, in their own pulpits, the pastors isolate themselves as the island of all truth and authority in the church. They have a monopoly on accountability and they have trained their churches to never question them.

Because of this unhealthy system that is set up, the only way that a pastor in the IFB can ever get corrected is when he blunders so badly, that it has to be dealt with. The whole culture is closed to being corrected and therefore, the whole empire will fall just like their pastors do since they can't receive instruction from anyone outside of themselves...only others that sympathize with them. They set themselves up for failure. The whole IFB movement is falling apart because of this. Jack Schaap is probably one of the largest figures in their little huddle and this will strike a major blow to the movement.

IFBism needs to be humbled...all of it's superiority, all of it's supposed purity and pride needs to be humbled.

~ Originally posted at Reforming Baptist

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