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Why Many Are Not Leaving (The Bright Future of the Independent Baptists)

Over the years I have fielded many questions from those outside of our ministry.  This is probably due to my overactive social media presence, a few controversial blogs, and a ministry style that is a bit unconventional within our circles.  What is Idea Day?[1]  What’s it like to Pastor in Las Vegas?[2]  What’s it like to pastor a church in the same city as your father?[3]

However, by far, the most asked question I have received over the last 5 years is…

Why are you still an Independent Baptist?

For those unfamiliar with the Independent Baptist Movement[4][5] I’ll provide a simple definition.  We are a loosely associated brotherhood of churches who are baptistic in theology, essentially non-denominational, but choose to collaborate for the purpose of national church planting, international evangelism, and support of Bible Colleges & Seminaries.

Okay Josh, that’s pretty simple.  Then why would so many ask if you are leaving that movement?

It’s because the IB Movement over the last 40 years has become known for other things.  Conservative music, conservative clothing, and KJVOnlyism are a few of these identifiers.  Recently the movement has even been associated with dictatorial leadership styles, ecclesiastical coverups, egregious sexual misconduct, and 2nd-Degree Separation.

Since it is broadly known that our church doesn’t hold to the former three distinctions and actively stands against the latter four, I have often been asked, “Why are you still an Independent Baptist?”

This is what I say…

The Independent Baptist Movement is far larger world than any one specific circle.

This is extremely difficult to see no matter in which circle someone happened to be trained?  For example, someone from the Hyles circle often only sees the Hyles people (and Hyles derivatives)[6] as THE Independent Baptist Movement.  Someone from the Bob Jones circle hardly recognizes the Hyles folk as anything close to what they are as a movement.  You have the Sword-of-the-Lord circle, the camp-meeting circle, the #oldpaths circle, and the large but declining GARB.  This list is not nearly comprehensive.  These are all distinct groups that would identify themselves, or have historically, identified themselves as Independent Baptist.  Not only do these circles seldom see eye to eye, they also don’t see the other as even being Independent Baptist.  So then, when an individual finds themselves in a particular circle but at odds with a particular mandate (KJVOnlyism = Hyles Circles; Conservative Traditional Music = Bob Jones Circles; Preaching Styles = Camp-Meeting Circles) in that specific circle, they often believe there are only 3 options.

    • Intimidation – Stay quiet and submit to denominational leadership lest I lose influence and friendships
    • Isolation – Do what I want and retreat from all denominational fellowship and collaboration
    • Integration – Find a larger denomination (most often the SBC) & affiliate with them.

Yet there is another option that is often overlooked: Inspiration.  Okay, I get it.  It’s a little corny and schmaltzy but it begins with the letter “I” and it really does describe what many are attempting to do. We are attempting to inspire the once-great Independent Baptist Movement to return to the principles of Biblical Unity[7], Individual Soul Liberty[8], Local Church Autonomy[9], and Optimistic Positivity[10].  Choosing to stay, but also speak up and address the biblical inconsistencies of our movement.

Admittedly this is not an easy choice to make because it opens you up to criticism from the establishment, scorn from those who question your motives, and outright attack from those who lack a sense of discretion and decorum.  However, for me and many others, the alternatives are simply too costly.

The Alternatives are Far Too Costly

  • Intimidation

    Sadly, too many good men have been intimidated in our ranks. They know what is right, but are too afraid to state with love and boldness the truth that is welling up in their soul.  I remember a conversation with one such leader many years ago who implored me to limit my liberty in methodology as to gain and maintain influence.  If I would simply keep our music more conservative, put on a tie, and not express differing opinions regarding minor points of theology – I would become much more influential in the Independent Baptist Movement.  I could keep preaching at certain places, have certain pastors continue to preach for me, and be well respected among my peers. He was encouraging me to compromise. The problem was that I wouldn’t be able to look myself in the mirror, let alone kneel before my Master.  This dear man had been intimidated by the hyper-separatists fearing the threat of being black-balled by the establishment of his day, and he thought I should make the same choice. Now, would I be willing to limit my liberty in order to see souls saved?  YES!  Would I be willing to limit my liberty to help a weak Christian?  Absolutely![11]  Would I be willing to limit my liberty in order to avoid 2nd-degree separation from hyper-separatists?  No, I will not be intimidated.

  • Isolation

“I’m independent, independent.”  “I’m only going to focus on my local church.”  “That’s it, I’m done.  It’s a waste of time getting involved in all this denominational drama.”  These are phrases we’ve all heard and have probably said ourselves.  Regardless of our denominational background, we can get tired of the fighting, political maneuvering, and general lack of Christ-like behavior.  This has led many good men to simply withdraw from fellowship and collaborative efforts with the broader family of God, and isolate their ministry into a purely local work.  This would be the RIGHT decision, if it weren’t for 2 main problems.  First, we are called to be unified.  This is never more clearly stated than by our Lord in His High Priestly Prayer of John 17.[12]  A cursory reading of the gospels will tell you that Jesus was absolutely distressed by the lack of unity among his disciples.  Second, we can accomplish more together than on our own.  Synergy is a real thing?  A singular local church will have difficulty planting new churches, establishing international missionary works, and building seminaries apart from the help of other local churches.  This is why denominations have formed.  This is why conventions have begun.  This is why movements of God have maintained fellowship.  So that, despite our minor differences, we could accomplish more for the Kingdom of Christ – TOGETHER!

  • Integration

I love the Southern Baptist Convention.  I love it’s history and it’s leadership.  I love their absolute dedication for church planting.  I love the many friends and mentors who have supported this heaven-sent institution for decades.  Alright Josh, if you love them so much, why don’t you marry them?  Here is why? They have as many problems as the one I’m married to now.  That bride is no less dysfunctional.  THE GRASS IS NOT GREENER.

I tread lightly here because I have many friends in the SBC.  And though it would be absolutely appropriate for someone within the movement to critique the movement, as an outsider – I would be disinclined to point out their problems.

Here’s the point.  We have problems.  They have problems.  You’ll find problems in EVERY local church, because in every local church you’ll find people.  You’ll find problems in EVERY evangelical denomination, movement, and fellowship of churches, because every group is made up of problematic people.

So then, what is the difference between IB problems and SBC problems? Simple.  You and I inherently understand the problems of the Independent Baptist Movement because we have been raised in it, trained in it, and lead in it.  We understand our history, our strengths, our weaknesses, and our potential.  And though many of us may feel like outsiders, we are actually outliers who have a great capacity to bring needed reform and renewal to a once great movement of churches.

Inspiration! Choosing to stay & strengthen the movement that remains.

I’m choosing to stay because I believe that I can be more of a help here than I can over there.  Some of my friends have made the same decision.  Many of my friends have not.  Still others are contemplating what they will do in the future.  This portion of the article is not meant to celebrate those who have stayed, condemn those who have left, or convince those who are on the fence.  This part of the article is meant to point out the great opportunity we have in our generation.

I’m honestly excited because I see…

  • A Return to Biblical Authority

It’s true that the IB movement has experienced the negative effects of hyper-separatism, legalism, pride, racial segregation, sexual infidelity, financial impropriety, ecclesiastical cover-ups.  We’ve elevated preferences to position of doctrine and openly attacked those who disagreed with our standards of righteousness.  We’ve preached the power of moralism over the power of the gospel.  Understand, I’m not accusing others of these crimes without implicating myself as directly involved or indirectly complicit.  However, things are improving.  We now see a generation of new leaders who are excited about the future, returning to Biblical authority, and refusing to repeat the mistakes of the past.[13]

Moreover, there is a rise of elder leadership who have begun to see the biblical inconsistencies of the past and have boldly, humbly, and honestly called for change.  Check out this Recent Article by the beloved Jeff Amsbaugh.  Or check out this succinct and powerful statement Recent Statement  from John Van Gelderen.  Or how about this Recent Sermon from Bob Gray II. Or the incomparable book The Road Ahead by Paul Chappell.[14]

  • A Refusal to Attack the Brethren

Toe the party line or you will be attacked.  This is NOT something that is unique to Independent Baptists, but it does seem that we have perfected it.  “Friendly Fire” will come your way, but you DO NOT have to return fire.  I’ve learned that when a brother feels it necessary to attack you, you are under no obligation to hit back.  Negative articles will be written by brethren.  Love them!  Disparaging comments will be made at conferences by brethren.  Love them!  Rumors will be spread by uninformed brethren.  Love them! Just because someone sees you as an enemy, doesn’t mean you must see an enemy in them.Love them!  Many of us have made the commitment that we will not publicly attack or privately gossipabout the brethren.[15]  I see this as a trend that will only grow as we draw closer to the heart of Christ.

  • A Responsibility to 1000’s of International Missionaries

This important point is often forgotten.  The Independent Baptist Movement has 1,000’s of missionaries on the foreign field who are relying upon the next generation of Independent Baptist Leaders.  Many of our churches are in decline.  Those that are growing are also growing older.  I don’t mean to startle the reader with dramatic statements, but what happens if the Independent Baptist movement does continue to decline?  What happens if we continue to lose hundreds of young preachers to other good denominations? What happens to the 1,000’s of missionaries?  What happens to the 10,000’s of acres of land, buildings, hospitals, orphanages, churches, and various missionary resources we’ve developed over the last 80 years?

I believe that the Independent Baptist missionary model, though far from perfect, is best positioned for 21stCentury international impact.  With very low overhead, minimal bureaucracy, and a superior percentage of missionary dollars actually arriving on the mission field – we have a very real opportunity in front of us.  Though flawed, we have a lean and mean missionary model that can improve to a place of growing global impact.

  • A Commitment to Optimistic Positivity

We will see the church return to biblical unity.  Once again, we will explain the Baptistic reality of individual soul liberty.  We must regain our commitment to local church autonomy by refusing hyper-separatism and 2nd-degree separation.  But more than anything, we must have faith in the God of Heaven that this will actually take place.  Revival is not only possible, it is unavoidable when we return to the Word and refuse to compromise.  Many IB churches across the country are experiencing this revival as we speak.  Pastors are walking with God as their intimacy with their wives are deepening.  Churches are seeing souls saved at an increasing rate.  Churches are being planted around the country that are quickly blossoming into established congregations.  Demanding of preferential standards upon the ministries of others is clearly in decline. I believe that God is going to use this little movement of churches in a renewed and powerful way, perhaps like never before. 

So then, why am I not leaving the Independent Baptist Movement? Because we are now on the precipice of something we’ve never seen before.  The tipping point has been coming for years and we are just now there. It’s 1997 and Steve Jobs has just returned to Apple.  Yes, things have been bad.  But this is NOT the time to leave.

And, by the way, I’m not the only guy who feels this way.  The movement is growing!

 

What are your thoughts?  Am I way off base?  Perhaps a little naïve?  Comment Below:

[1]It’s a day to share ideas. (www.ideaday.net)

[2]Amazing!  We never run out of business!

[3]Incredible!  He’s always just a 30 minute drive away.

[4]https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/episode-01-the-independent-baptist-movement/id1069672009?i=1000419204856

[5]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BuXYoyRy1bI

[6]I count four main “Hyles Derivatives” and many smaller ones.

[7]http://joshteis.com/2017/12/27/why-does-unity-matter/

[8]http://unashameduniversity.com/im-sorry-for-not-being-a-baptist/

[9]http://joshteis.com/2017/12/11/six-degrees-of-separation/

[10]http://joshteis.com/2015/12/01/the-new-independent-baptist/

[11]I Corinthians 8:9-13

[12]John 17:20-23

[13]https://natecalvert.com/2018/10/24/an-open-letter-from-millennials/

[14]These 4 men, whom I respect and admire, are unaware that I have referenced them in this article.  They are not formally associated with me and should not be separated from by conservative brethren simply because I have referenced them in a positive light.

[15]http://joshteis.com/2013/10/22/why-i-wont-criticize-another-church-leader/

 

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45 Comments

  • Reply
    Gil Garcia
    April 10, 2019 at 5:24 pm

    Pastor Teis, thank you for this post. The beautiful thing about being truly an independent baptist is that I don’t have to agree with everything you do, or believe, but I can still appreciate articles like this one. We can be different, but still have a common goal.

    • Reply
      Josh Teis
      April 11, 2019 at 1:01 am

      Amen! Thanks Gil

  • Reply
    Cody Harned
    April 10, 2019 at 6:32 pm

    I love this! The main aspect of being Independent is that you can make decisions as a church that are best for you, and not have every other churches leaders controlling what is best for your ministry. I think that aspect has been lost over the years, and many focus on the preferential, and forget why we call ourselves Independent. Thanks for writing this!

    • Reply
      Josh Teis
      April 11, 2019 at 1:01 am

      Cody! Nail on the head.

    • Reply
      Ray C
      April 11, 2019 at 1:50 pm

      Yes , this is a very good article. Some churches don’t make decisions as a Church and there lays the problem . The church should be included in all the major decisions.

  • Reply
    Matt Roberts
    April 10, 2019 at 7:20 pm

    I love this article!

  • Reply
    Julia Gilbert
    April 10, 2019 at 7:33 pm

    Thanks for the article Josh. My husband and I are about to start a church in Detroit, MI. We have been discussing non-stop about this exact topic. I wonder if the issues don’t go deeper? I feel like there is a change occurring within the movement and within young, passionate and burdened believers and I’m excited about it. But I’m also nervous that the name brings with it more damage than we care to admit. More baggage than we can carry. Why can’t God do all that you said under a different name? Or even no name at all? The missionaries can still be supported. Churches can still be united. If the name is not present, it doesn’t mean the doctrine has left, right?

    • Reply
      Joe
      April 10, 2019 at 8:09 pm

      Maybe there’s a 5th option. Maybe a church could hold strongly to the Baptist distinctives (unlike many Baptists) and without becoming intimidated or isolated just become more loosely connected (Irritated. lol). Then, if they did happen to become isolated or intimidated by the Baptists, what does that say about the Baptists?

      Fact is, many or MOST Baptist churches don’t align with the distinctives (Bible athourity being the most important). And those are the churches that isolate or intimidate anyone who doesn’t call themselves a Baptist! I consider myself an old-fashioned, separatist BAPTIST who’s finding it hard to associate with most modern, independent, godless Baptists.

      Think about this: Baptist is not a name that historical Baptists gave themselves, it’s what they were called by those they were separating from. Call me whatever you want, but I know one thing, many of these guys who are calling themselves Baptists have taken that good, old name and stomped all over it until it has become putrid, foul, and rotten! These are the guys who, if I choose not to call myself a Baptist anymore (haven’t decided yet), will seek ostrasize me from any of their groups. But why would I be the least-bit concerned about that?

    • Reply
      Josh Teis
      April 11, 2019 at 1:08 am

      Agreed. Names are certainly interchangeable. This is why I do believe that denominations, as a whole, are on decline and networks are on the rise. Someone can link up with a network that is theologically compatible and focused on any one specific aspect. Such as finding a church planting network for church planting. A missions agency for international evangelism (ABWE). Something like Revitalize Network for chirch revitalization. Something like Idea Day Network for fellowship and sharing ideas for local church ministry.

  • Reply
    Bud
    April 10, 2019 at 7:35 pm

    Thanks for this post. I identify with isolation. I have been in ministry now for 35 years; 17 years as a youth pastor and 18 years as a senior pastor. I have made the mistake of is isolating myself. Not wanting to be in any one camp or identified with a camp has been one reason I retreated into my local church and isolated myself. The big regret is having no close friends in the ministry. After my pastor passed into eternity it left me with no one to call upon to talk with or to pray with. I am excited to see the growth of a different spirit among Independent Baptist. Thanks for this article.

    • Reply
      Josh Teis
      April 11, 2019 at 1:09 am

      Hey Bud! You’d be welcome at Idea Day. Join up with the other liners and outcasts. Ha!

      • Reply
        Josh Teis
        April 11, 2019 at 1:09 am

        *loners

  • Reply
    Ted Sell
    April 10, 2019 at 7:48 pm

    I love this post because it reinforces that if one IB church’s preferences in music, etc., is something I’m not comfortable with, I can find another that I am comfortable and can still fellowship with the people and leaders of that other church. It helps reinforce the idea that we’re not supposed to all be exactly the same; Paul preached that some were the eye, others the ear, etc. – we all have a part to play for the glory of our Almighty God. We’re here make disciples of Christ, not a mini-ME.

    • Reply
      Josh Teis
      April 11, 2019 at 1:10 am

      YES! You get it.

  • Reply
    Laquisha
    April 10, 2019 at 7:58 pm

    There he goes again! Blowing us out of the water with truth. Preach Pastor, preach!

    • Reply
      Josh Teis
      April 11, 2019 at 1:11 am

      We love you LaQuisha!

  • Reply
    Leon Stevens
    April 10, 2019 at 10:19 pm

    I love your comment; “We are a loosely associated brotherhood of churches who are baptistic in theology, essentially non-denominational…” This is so important in the spreading of the Gospel to those who would turn away from any particular label or religion. More and more people are either afraid or offended by religious labels. So, remaining independent and non-denominational seems to be the most logical choice in promoting and furthering the Word of God.

    • Reply
      Josh Teis
      April 11, 2019 at 1:11 am

      Well stated Leon! It’s awesome to see how much you’ve grown in Christ since being saved. Love you my brother.

  • Reply
    Jay Ballou
    April 10, 2019 at 10:55 pm

    Wow, you just said so many things that I have been thinking. The point about sticking with known weaknesses in my own world vs jumping into another world with another set of weaknesses is especially poignant. The whole article here is spot on!

    • Reply
      Josh Teis
      April 11, 2019 at 1:13 am

      Thanks Jay. I’ve been stewing on this myself for nearly 5 years.

  • Reply
    Mark Joy
    April 11, 2019 at 2:19 am

    I am forever greatful for you staying and inspiring, despite others who’ve tried to attack you because of this. The impact you’ve had on pastors all over the world, including myself is incredible. Wait until you see the full impact on eternity!

    • Reply
      Josh Teis
      April 11, 2019 at 4:14 am

      Love u bro. What you’re doing in Perth is incredible! Truly

  • Reply
    Scott
    April 11, 2019 at 3:45 am

    This article couldn’t have come at a better time for me. I’m a 25 year old Associate Pastor of an IB church who is beginning to realize that our methodology is grounded more in tradition than it is in Biblical truth. As a graduate of Crown College of the Bible, my view of the IB was very small (like the circles you mentioned early on in the article) so I thought in order to find a different way to deliver what I hold to be true was to leave the IB entirely, to begin looking elsewhere. You’ve given me much to think about. Thank you.

    • Reply
      Josh Teis
      April 11, 2019 at 4:14 am

      That’s great scott. I’m glad to hear it. Don’t be discouraged. The future is looking good.

  • Reply
    Josh Teis
    April 11, 2019 at 4:09 am

    Great article Josh. I step down from staff position left the I.B. movement about 5 years because of all reasons you mentioned in article. I thought about staying to inspire but found myself rejected from any ministry. And the judgement was difficult to handle. What I found is what you and I want the I.B. movement to be already existed in other circles outside of I.B. These are churches that want to see great
    commission fulfilled and the Bible as the
    their heart beat driving them. The awakening you are talking about is not just in I.B. churches but it is happening in sbc churches and CB churches(where I now serve) and other church networks. There is a generation that is returning to the Gospel. It would be amazing if we could all work together to reach people for Christ. I would love to come to one of your idea conferences.

    • Reply
      Josh Teis
      April 11, 2019 at 4:12 am

      Thanks man. That’s the great hope of the future. That each movement/denomination/convention can work together and not attack one another in order to please the savior and advance the kingdom. Love it. Great name by the way.

      • Reply
        James K
        April 11, 2019 at 7:58 pm

        Sorry it auto filled your name

  • Reply
    Lee
    April 11, 2019 at 12:39 pm

    You make some great points, and I found this piece encouraging. I would probably fall more into line with what you are describing, but can Independent Baptists really get along as a unified movement? As you mention, there are many different camps within the independent Baptist movement, and I believe at one time they were more closely aligned (I know that Hyles, Roberson, the Joneses and even Falwell had overlap for a while), but that hasn’t been the case for some time. Can a church which is truly King James Only, for instance, really be comfortable with supporting missionaries or other ministries who have a different idea on the doctrine of Scriptures — or vice versa?

    While I am not opposed to being a part of a church which uses the KJV, and I am supportive of the spirit and evangelistic zeal of many KJV-Only ministries, personally I do not hold that position. This is why I did not consider joining any of the independent Baptist churches where I currently live since as far as I know, they are all King James Only (or at least strongly tilt that direction).

  • Reply
    Ryan Livingston
    April 11, 2019 at 1:41 pm

    I left. I pastor a SBC church. I still support independent missionaries as a ministry. I travel both circles for conferences and fellowships. One thing I have learned is the problems you described within the Idependent movement are here as well. I find my church is more indepndent now as an SBC church than I was at a much larger IFB church.

    • Reply
      Josh Teis
      April 11, 2019 at 11:11 pm

      What you’ve stated I’ve commonly heard from those who are in the SBC. Thanks for sharing bro.

  • Reply
    Tyler Tran
    April 11, 2019 at 2:03 pm

    Great thought! Thank you so much. This is something that I’ve been struggling with recently within the IFB. Thanks for inspiring me!

    • Reply
      Josh Teis
      April 11, 2019 at 11:10 pm

      Hey man. Appreciate the feedback.

  • Reply
    Stephen
    April 11, 2019 at 4:56 pm

    Spot on! People inside the “circles” you mentioned need to wake up and realize they are losing members who are newly saved or growing in the Word because they see the constraints and legalism that is often associated with Independent Baptists. I am Baptist to the core and although I attend a church who broke from one of the circles mentioned above, I know some of my former “friends” think I have gone by the wayside. Our family and our love for God has never been stronger. It is like a weight has been lifted.

    • Reply
      Josh Teis
      April 11, 2019 at 11:09 pm

      Ha. I get it man. Keep serving Jesus.

  • Reply
    Seth Alcorn
    April 11, 2019 at 7:02 pm

    Thank you for your article Josh. I think it is helpful for the discussion to young adults who have been associated with the IFB. Definitely takes courage to stand against the unbiblical nature of what has been identified with Independent Baptist Fundamentialism for a long time. My time in Vegas with your family in 2004 was life changing because it was the genesis of my understanding that God’s circle was much bigger than mine. If I have one critique or concern about the movement going forward it would be what I believe got us into this mess from the beginning. That is a lack of Biblical authority and depth in preaching and preparation. Many of us who went toFundamentalist institutions were taught how to build a Sunday school but not the taught the doctrine of the Trinity or the importance of bus ministry instead of learning how the NT was formed. The movement needs more than a “loosening up” from traditional rituals and more of a tightening up for Biblical exposition, theological soundness, and apologetical explanation. Unless the new IFB moves in that direction the same pragmatism that has ruled fundamentalism for generations will rule the new IFB. God bless you my friend.

    • Reply
      Josh Teis
      April 11, 2019 at 11:08 pm

      A valuable and serious warning. You are absolutely right my friend.

  • Reply
    Mike
    April 11, 2019 at 10:18 pm

    Thanks Josh for this article. As a recent bible college graduate fresh into the ministry I have found this has been a topic hard to address and come to conclusions on. This has given me a good perspective on what to think of al of this.

    • Reply
      Josh Teis
      April 11, 2019 at 11:06 pm

      Awesome! Thanks mike!

  • Reply
    David Francis
    April 12, 2019 at 3:23 am

    Josh Teis: “We will see the church return to biblical unity. Once again, we will explain the Baptistic reality of individual soul liberty. We must regain our commitment to local church autonomy by refusing hyper-separatism and 2nd-degree separation. But more than anything, we must have faith in the God of Heaven that this will actually take place. Revival is not only possible, it is unavoidable when we return to the Word and refuse to compromise. Many IB churches across the country are experiencing this revival as we speak”.
    I completely agree with you about this. Other denominations are diminishing as members age. IFB’s long time focus on missions is driving enthusiasm among its youth and IFB has more youth growing up among its members than others. Unity will be its high octane fuel going forward. Things to watch for; 1) Tares among the wheat: Enthusiasm will draw both types in and we are instructed to let them “grow” together until the “good man” (God) divides them in the Judgment. 2) Fruits: “by their fruits ye shall know them” (Matt. 7:20). 3) Straight & Narrow – leads to life and “few” there be who find it (Matt. 7:14). 4) Foundations: the Rock and the sand – storms came to the life built on the Rock – “and it fell not” (Matt. 7:25) – storms came to the life built on the sand – “and it fell, and great was the fall of it” (Matt. 7:26). All of these existed among IFB congregations in the past and, likely, will continue to be part of the congregations going forward. Given the description of the group of active watchers for the Lord’s return as being 5 with “oil” in their lamps and 5 with “no oil” in their lamps, we might expect 50% of the congregants in a “lost” condition. I believe that this possibility in any IFB church should not be discouraging to the leadership of the church because that is the nature of man. The ultimate responsibility of each soul to operate in “truth” rather than “pretense” and to have the oil of the Holy Spirit dwelling within them rests entirely with that soul alone after hearing the “Good News”.

    • Reply
      Josh Teis
      April 12, 2019 at 3:33 am

      Well stated David Francis!

  • Reply
    Brandon
    April 12, 2019 at 1:51 pm

    Pastor Josh, I appreciate your brutal honesty. As a new church planter, who is an Independent Baptist- that’s also a millennial, I had to learn to do what the Lord has called me to do to reach the people in our area. Not compromising on doctrine, but doing unique, “out of the box” methods to reach the college students and unchurched in one of the most liberal college towns on the East Coast. I especially identify with your line: “I’m independent, independent.” “I’m only going to focus on my local church.” “That’s it, I’m done. It’s a waste of time getting involved in all this denominational drama.” Let’s keep it going forward!

    • Reply
      Joshua Teis
      April 12, 2019 at 2:14 pm

      Thanks Brandon! Let’s keep marching forward with the brotherhood and for Christ!

  • Reply
    Adrian Tabone
    April 13, 2019 at 12:55 pm

    I’m with you on all this. I’m not opposed to tradition but am against a tradition that is not biblically based. We will all get on with each other in heaven, so why not start now? Thanks Pastor Josh!

  • Reply
    Dwayne Vargo
    April 17, 2019 at 6:00 am

    Hey Josh! Been a long time since PCC! Great thought provoker. I grew up 2nd gen IFB, and was in full-time IFB ministry for years and I am currently involved at a SBC church. Our Pastor has a IFB background up until this church. He has just as much liberty to lead our church as IB, and as a bonus more resources to do so. We have a very unique DNA. Our pastor most of the time will not promote any denomination. He is a Biblicist that cares about his congregation’s relationship with Christ and knowledge of the word of God first and foremost. Our church does not have a denomination filter. What good is it to say you are a SBC or IFB if you dont hold fast to either with any integrity? I have friends on both sides of the fence that hold to standards which were eisegeted opinions that were preached as “longstanding creeds”. I enjoy that we fellowship with a lot of other local churches regardless of their denomination. We do however care if they believe the same doctrinally( important).
    I have a whole new respect for SBC missions after seeing both sides. It took a while to unravel many biases and take a fresh approach. Both have effective points and perspectives.
    I agree, every church has their imperfect report card much like the churches in Revelation ( commendation, condemnation, challenges etc…). Our church is no exception. We spend too much time putting churches through comparison charts, when the focus should be inward, comparing only to the Word of God. If we would dedicate the time to study and rightly divide the word, then take that to a lost world, I believe lines would disappear.

  • Reply
    Alex Simmons
    May 11, 2019 at 5:25 pm

    I think IFB is being co-opted now by Andersonite “New IFB” and it seems as though you are calling for a new IB. Does this leave IFB in the dustbin of history, or do you believe that there can be good, solid IFB churches in this era?

    I miss the good old days of just calling ourselves “Baptist” and having a general idea of what that entailed (more conservative music, clothes, etc. but also a strict believe in Scripture and spreading the gospel).

    If IB is “essentially non-denominational” – as you wrote in your article – does that not create additional confusion? It is a symptom of postmodernity in that the believer buffet has now crept into Baptist churches, where preference dictates who joins the church. It’s like a reverse legalism. Instead of looking for a Baptist church, we now have to find a Baptist church that uses our preferred translation, plays our preferred music, and somehow feeds us through powerful preaching. It’s like searching for a unicorn on the sun.

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