I link to this article , “Welcome To The Church Barbeque” and I am reminded of the past 38 years I have spent in the IFB movement. I firmly believe that the Independent Fundamental Baptist movement has done more harm in the past 100 years than it has good. It is exponentially greater in error and legalist traditionalism than Galatia ever approached. The clergy/laity approach to the way church is performed is unbiblical and creates the passive pew-Christian that is unable to exercise the Gifts God has given regarding the preisthood of every believer. The local Pope attitude of the hired professional, full-time, “man of God” has created a cult practice that has more to do with the personality of the man behind the pulpit than it does with God and His word. Churches define themselves not by the Word of God, and the Biblical mandates found in Scripture but by the personality, and the dictates of the “self-anointed” man of God who tells the passive pew dwellers what to think, how to think, and is considered a good preacher if he can stir their emotions and make them feel something, or manufacture the presence of God so they have an experience to get them to the next meeting. Just like junkies in search of their next fix the IFB crowd is in serach of their next “sweet spirit” experience, looking for the ultimate religious high, the Revival!
In the article Bruce states, “In Independent Baptist Churches the pastor is god. He is the law. What he says goes. The Church CAN fire him but it often very hard to do. After all, in many cases the pastor started the Church. He often has a following no matter what he says or does.
When the pastor stands up and preaches whatever he says he taken to be the gospel. A good Church member hates what the pastor hates and loves what the pastor loves. To go against the pastor usually meant you were looking for another Church to attend.”
I can say that (3) three of the (4) four “pastors” I have sat under the past 38 years are defined by that statement. And they had egos to to match their delusions of godhood. At the very least they considered themselves to be no less than the Pope. If you did not agree with them then you were ran off in suble ways (multiple messages preached explicitly at you, just like Bruce’s examples) and sometimes not so subltle outright public confrontations where the Pope-ette’s word was final. Even to manipulating and entire congregation to support the “man of god” and publically declare their love and support for him, even when he knows that he has committed a crime and is facing conviction. In this case “the man of god” manipulated the entire local IFB area-wide system of “pastors” and churches to come together in support of this poor martyr and show the local authorities how much he was loved and supported. (I have no doubt this influenced a plea deal that kept him out of jail at that time.)
I have watched several generations of young people become disillusioned with “church” and God then completely abandon the church after they get old enough to make their own decisions. They have seen the shallowness of the religion that the IFB practices. God may be preached hot and heavy but the hypocracy that is found in the IFB movement is untenable. The movement has nothing once you get past the facade of “faith.” The IFB battle cry is, “all you need is faith.” There is no need to go to school and learn anything more than is necessary to get you to seminary, to the mission field, or to teach in a Christian school. Seminary is actually frowned on in the IFB circles because no-one wants the preacher to be too smart… if he is then he must not be a good preacher since he is not in the class of Acts 4:13.
Yes, faith is the litmus test of the good IFB prosolyte and Anti-intellectualism is considered godly. If you think too much then you loose your blind faith and that is a mainstay of the IFB movement….blind, unquestioning faith. The “man of god” requires loyality from his flock and demands it from the pulpit. To question the “man of god” is to attack, come against the “Lord’s anointed. (of course this would mean that the “man of God” is either a king of Israel or Christ himself) Don’t raise your hand against the “lord’s anointed” or you will be cursed… and yes I have actually heard visiting IFB evangelists refer to the local “pastor” as the Lord’s anointed when they come in to hold “revival” (remember what I said above regarding “revival.”) services and set the congregation straight on who is to be the boss around the church.
Well I’ll leave off here for now. Again this is a De-Construction article I am not offering solutions at this point. I am in the process of de-constructing 38 years of traditionalism that has been paraded as good preaching and ligitimate Christian faith. It is neither. I believe there are good well meaning people who sincerely love God in this movement. I also believe these same people are brainwashed to not think for themselves and blindly follow the leader who himself has been programmed by the movement. I also believe that the way the system is arranged, the unaccountable, business model way of practicing “church” corrupts even the best of men. Like I said, I am not offering solutions at this point I am deconstructing all the garbage that has been built up as an edifice to IFB style of churchainty.