Acts 2: 1,2 “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.”
It doesn’t take a theologian,
whatever that is, to discern and apply God’s Word. A simplistic and “non-deep” approach is the way to go!
Even more, the verses above confront us with these two thoughts: Unity, and then power. Now, consider the following –
While researching a topic, I ran across some thoughts about the IFB church that rang loudly within my being. However, this isn’t a ringing of something exciting and new but of remembrance and concern.
The IFB church is not a denomination, as we’d agree. Above all, the IFB church is an autonomous, local, and visible organism empowered by the Holy Spirit with the head being Christ. There is no outside organization that rules over the IFB church such as the Southern Baptist Convention, the American Baptist Church, and the General Association of Regular Baptists. Certainly, the IFB church is committed to sound doctrine, the King James Bible, and the distinctive history of the Baptists.
This being said, many IFB churches tout their own doctrine depending on the Pastor in place at any given time. Wondering if the authority (the church) follows a man or the Man, Christ Jesus? For it seems, that different Pastors may sway the thinking of the church collectively. Come on, a local church may have many Pastors over and through the years. So, again, who’s running the Spiritual and doctrinal foundation of the church? The Pastor, deacons, the church collectively, or Christ? Upon whose authority?
“For it seems, that different Pastors may sway the thinking of the church collectively.” Muse upon the list below and consider the words conviction and preference. Unfortunately, a church’s convictions and preferences are subject to influential change if the authority, the church, doesn’t keep their Spiritual eyes wide open. To be clear, convictions are those beliefs you will not change your mind about and preferences may be something you are willing to be flexible about. These 2 words are the empowering drivers of most IFB churches and the visible evidence that supports the inconsistencies within the IFB church. As a result, have you wondered why the IFB church is so cliquish? Why don’t we fellowship with each other as we used to? Why are the wonderful attributes of the church in Acts 2 a foreign object?
Now for your consideration, the list of Baptist’s preferences and differences:
- repentance and evangelistic practices, church growth practices, evolution, and abortion
- infallibility of the Bible (except there is a question of whether we have an infallible Bible anywhere today), female preachers, homosexuality
- universal church vs local church
- election, sovereign grace, Calvinism
- music (piano only vs “canned music”), dress standards (skirts and dresses equal Godliness and pants does not), the Bible version-text issue, Baptist briderism or Landmarkers, charismaticism
- communion: open, closed, close
- alien baptism vs re-baptism (Baptist baptism is only acceptable)
- Pastoral authority i.e. unquestionable loyalty to Pastor (dictatorial) vs corporate church authority
- “old fashioned” doctrine of separation–modest apparel WHO DEFINES MODEST?), warnings about television, movies and pop music, no drinking, smoking, gambling–and others today having a contemporary (OF TODAY, PRESENT) position with dwindling concern for such things, and with every range of views in between these two positions.
- Peter Ruckman position that the KJV itself is infallible and unchangeable and even “advanced revelation” over the Greek and Hebrew, others holding to the King James Bible as a correct translation of the preserved Greek and Hebrew texts, and others using various modern versions and believing that the version-text issue is unimportant.
- ecclesiastical separation, with most being purposefully separated from Roman Catholics, New Evangelicals, Charismatics, Contemporary Christian Music while others are moving toward a more tolerant New Evangelical outlook and an inclination toward “conservative evangelicals.”
- pre, post, and a-millennialism; pre, post and mid-trib
- holidays: santa clause, easter egg hunts
- Christ crucified on a Wed vs Friday (observance of Good Friday)
- divorce and remarriage
- deacons as an advisory board or board of directors (btw, a deacon is a servant, not a director or manager. They possess 0 authority)
- can a divorced man be a Pastor
It’s no wonder the IFB church has weakened during the past 30 years
Independent Baptists are independent and each should give an account to its only head Jesus Christ. The IFB should have no desire to be independent of Christ! In addition, the Independent Baptist should want to fellowship with other like-minded churches but not yoked together, in an organizational sense, with other Independent Baptists who might hold a different doctrine or practice.
The IFB church must focus on the fundamental doctrines wherewith agreement is necessary. The distinctive Baptist doctrines are of utmost importance and need strict adherence.
Be careful about using your preferences to create a doctrine that the local church must swallow as a need for service.
We, as Christians, need to focus on encouraging each other to more astutely embrace the Holy Spirit’s wooing on issues not implicitly taught in God’s Word. Therefore, be sure to wisely approach the issues when using it as a teaching method, for your preferences may not match the preferences of the Christian you’re engaging.
“We better spend more time learning the fundamentals of the faith! These are things we must agree upon and if not, separation may be necessary.”