Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Why I Am Still an Independent Baptist #2

So after yesterday’s long background explanation, let me tell you why, in spite of all these things, I am still an Independent Baptist.

1. God’s Word does not change. The true Baptist believes that the Bible is the only authority for faith and practice. The problem is that many church members do not know the Bible for themselves. Instead of searching the Scriptures to see whether these things are so, they allow someone else to tell them their interpretation of what the Bible says and accept it as fact without even thinking about it. This is dangerous, because the Bible is the greatest check and balance given to man, and it puts the power of doctrine in the hands of those who read it. Do not get me wrong – I believe in leadership, and in the authority of the pastor, but only as far as he follows the Bible. It is up to the average church member to know what the Bible says and to make sure that he is being taught truth.

2. I am an independent Baptist. The term independent means that I am not connected with any other church. Just because the Baptist church down the road teaches that ladies have to have hair down to their knees with six inches of split ends to be spiritual, does not mean that I have to accept that. That is one man’s interpretation of Scripture, not a direct Bible command. They do not have to follow the same order of service as my church does. They even have the freedom to have their midweek service on Thursday night if they wish (gasp)! The beauty of the plan is that no matter what the individual church policy is on any number of things, one day, we will all stand before God and give an account. The pastor will give account for his behavior, practices, preaching, and teaching, and the church members will give account for the way they have lived, including the way they have allowed themselves to be led. All of it will be determined by God’s Word. The safest course of action, then, is to filter everything through the Word of God.

3. I can think for myself. I do not need someone else telling me what the Bible says. I have learned much from pastors, teachers, evangelists, my husband, and even friends over the years. When God’s truth is presented, most of the time it does not need lengthy explanations. I have seen way too many people trying to figure out “deeper meanings” of Bible doctrines by reading the works of educated heretics, and in almost every case, they have turned their ears unto false doctrine, swallowing the lies of men rather than accepting the plainly stated truth of God. God does not contradict Himself or His Word. I can, with study, take a verse of Scripture and, by comparing it with other verses in the Bible, come to a proper conclusion. I do not take this privilege lightly. I will one day give an account for all that I say and do. A proper perspective of the Judgment Seat of Christ is enough to make me very careful in the explanation and application of Scripture.

In retrospect, as I look over this post, it all boils down to one thing: God’s Word. These scandals that I have mentioned came about because someone, or several people in some cases, was not following the Word of God. Every abuse of power, every hurtful situation is a result of sin – it is not condoned by Scripture, no matter how loudly some critics may claim that it is. God is not abusive, nor does He want His people to be abusive. He does not want His flock to be abused. The prophets of old were descried for their abuse and misuse of God’s people.

My question is this: Why do people who (should) know this leave the Independent Baptist realm and claim that all Independent Baptist churches are the same? That assertion is not logical or founded in truth. I personally think that they are using a bad situation as an excuse to do what they have wanted all along. Too many people have a casual view of God and His holiness. The fact that most IFB churches have high standards is a reflection of what the Bible says, “Be ye holy, for I am holy.” I believe God has a high standard for His people, and it is set forth in many principles in His Word. My husband has written a whole book on holiness and standards, so I will not cover that here. What I see is a widespread dislike for standards, especially in music, media, and dress, and those who have been “forced” to conform lose sight of the holiness of God that is to be reflected in our manner of living. The result is rebellion and abandonment of personal separation. Many times, they find a church with a more “acceptable” view of separation and end up with a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof. From there, it is a slippery slope into a more relaxed view of theological separation, and the story almost always ends badly. The farther you stray from God’s Word, the farther you will be from His will. Those who love God will love His Word, His people, and His church. I am sick of people leaving good churches for stupid reasons. Just tell the truth – you are leaving because you are carnal, bitter, and rebellious. You don’t care what God’s Word says, you want a church that allows you to live as you please. Beware! You are on dangerous ground! Yours is not the final authority – you will give an account one day.

4 comments:

  1. I am in agreement with you. One thing people forget is that the heart is deceitful and desperately wicked...that goes for saved as well as lost. Hopefully, we grow in the Lord and the Holy Spirit controls our hearts and minds. None of us are immune to sin. I have been in IFB churches since my salvation. I have been in good as well as bad, but the Lord has taught me many things in both. If there is true abuse, the laws of our land will take care of the offenders. Report it. If it is gossip spread by disgruntled people, confront them in a biblical manner, pray for them, and keep serving the Lord with gladness.

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  2. Wow, Sarah! You couldn't have said it any better. Completely agree with you. I am an INDEPENDENT Fundamental Baptist and the church we have chosen to go to does not have all of the "abuse" in it that people assume all IFB churches take part in. If and when it ever does, we will see it as an abuse of the Pastor's authority and misuse of Scripture or whatever caused it and we will find another church.

    Thank you for taking the time and having the courage to write this!

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  3. Very well expressed. I have been contemplating similar ideas, but could not have expressed it so well.

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  4. Thanks for taking the time to put your thoughts down and thank you for sharing them with us. I think this was a very needed post. It is not time for Independent Baptists to shy away, it is a time for us to faithfully proclaim God's Word and let our light shine by living the principles we see there. Thank you again for taking a stand!

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