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a couple of IFB quickies

Here are a couple of quick blog postings, both of them related to Independent Fundamental Baptist (IFB) churches. The moniker is used by some fundamentalist Baptist churches but not all of them: I attended several fundamentalist Baptist churches in the South as a child, but none of them called themselves IFB then. Back then you had to piece together the relationships among fundamentalist Baptist churches according to what school their pastor attended and what missions board they belonged to.

Anyway, here they are: a posting from Wade Burleson regarding “authority” and its use in IFB circles [link]. Since he uses only the first name and home country of the woman who was being held against her will I have to assume that this is a story that has been cleaned up, simplified, composited, or what-have-you. Here’s the pull quote:

I tell you that story for one purpose. In my opinion, the greatest danger in the churches of America is that pastors and “leaders” have a warped view of authority. Rather than seeing “servant-leadership” and mutual submission as the norm for Christian living, pastors have this bizarre view that they are “God’s anointed” and if anyone does anything to cross them, then God will avenge them.

His use of the term “servant leader” here is a telling one, and is just as oxymoronic [link]as it seems. Hint: if someone tells you they’re serving you by telling you what to do they don’t get it.

Second, here’s a guest appearance by someone named Jason Wredberg regarding IFB identity and the perceived crisis facing IFB churches [link]. He talks about the tendency of IFB types not to know their history, much less their place in it or what it means.

Therefore, the cultural/separatist Baptist will functionally make the gospel an issue of secondary importance when he separates from someone like John MacArthur because of his associations but continues to invite Joe Evangelist who butchers the gospel but associates with all the right people.

In other words, as best I can tell, Wredberg is reconsidering what IFB folks call secondary separation: the announced separation from people who don’t separate from people we’ve already separated from.

I’m glad to see IFB types discussing topics like this in mostly straightforward language, and wish Wredberg et al well.

By the way: what is a “church planter?” That’s someone who expects all the honor due a pastor without the commitment implied by the term “pastor,” isn’t it? I have no idea when this term came into fashion, but I’m tempted to lump it in with “worship leader” in that category of terms we’ll someday wince to have ever used.

Anyway, I’m recommending both of these articles as evidence of what I hope is a healthy reconsideration of the cul-de-sac the IFB movement has wandered into; as someone who misses certain aspects of the Baptist churches I attended twenty-plus years ago (making me what? a post-Baptist?) I’m glad to see this tiny bit of examination within the cultural Baptist church, even if not always by the most doctrinaire Baptists.

Oops: I’m a BrianD reader, and he linked to the Wade Burleson article above about a month ago [link]. Credit where credit is due.

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