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The Modern Fundamental Independent Baptist Movement

Cork Bible Institute                 Church History Class                             Dan Eberly   Dec. 2010

Preface:  My hope is to throw some light on the very movement of which I am involved. I am excited to write about that which is current, ongoing, and I am apart of every day. That certainly does not mean it is all together totally right and the only bastion of truth. With that said, I would clarify that I am a fundamental Baptist preacher and missionary in an independent fundamental Baptist church. First an foremost I am a born again Christian, who is a Bible believer. I have learned (an am still learning) to follow the principles of God as I understand them and not follow man except he follow the Bible and Jesus Christ. 1Cor. 11:1    

            Intro: It would help to give some definitions of the words being thrown around (even in my title). I want to say these definitions are Webster’s and the way we ‘should’ understand them. This may not be the way they are understood or put forth by many in the movement.

1)     Modern – Pertaining to the present time, or time not long past; late or recent.

2)     Fundamental – Pertaining to the foundation or basis; serving for the foundation. Hence, essential; important; as a fundamental truth or principle; a fundamental law. A leading or primary principle, rule, law or article, which serves as the ground work of a system; essential part; as the fundamentals of the Christian faith.

Psalm 11:3 If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?

Note: I believe a Fundamentalist would have to use the King James Bible!

3)     Independent – Not dependent; not subject to the control of others; not subordinate. A local church that is not subject to any superior authority but Jesus Christ, and able to perform every act of church’s affairs as the Bible allows and guides.

4)      Baptist – As a contraction of Anabaptist, one who denies the doctrine of infant baptism, and any saving grace attached to it, and believes that baptism ought to be administered only to saved individuals by immersing them in water.

 

What is the Modern Fundamental Independent Baptist Movement supposed to be?

Using these definitions and departing or adjusting as I see fit it would be as follows.

Ø  An indeterminate number of local assemblies (Churches) who are obeying and practicing the commands and instructions for the New Testament church in obedience to Jesus Christ. Matt.28:19,20

Ø  These same churches would only use the King James Bible for faith and practice. Their goal would be to adhere as closely as possible to the scriptures and live godly lives in a dark and sinful world. 

Ø  These churches would hold to the Baptist distinctives as they understand them, and would seek to promote unity and fellowship accordingly.

 

Where is the Modern Fundamental Independent Baptist Movement (MFIBM) in 2010?

 

            If we consider the above attempt at a lengthy but hopefully clear and distinctive synopsis of what the MFIBM is about, then where is it found? How is it doing in fulfilling the Great Commission? How is it the “right” movement and not the others?

            All through the centuries back to the beginnings of the church there has been a called out people who simply obeyed the commands of scripture. They obeyed from the heart the things they were told to do and served with joy their King. Now, a perfect man we will not find but we should be able to find the movement that began some 2,000 years ago.

            Simply put what was begun with Jesus Christ was a Christian movement, followers of Christ. Christ came and preached the Kingdom of God. A Kingdom that dwelt in the hearts of born again believers. Rightly said it may be referred to as “Christ on the throne of our hearts” dwelling in His kingdom. If that is the case and it is, then a yielded Christian then and today would and should be considered of the same mind. All through religious history the battle has been fought by a few to remain separated from any and all things that were not sound doctrine and did not promote holy living. Whether 65AD or 2010AD we would hope to find this separated group of believers.

            This movement grew in great part to the zeal of early Christians and their desire to obey the Bible. Today that same group should have those same characteristics. If we are looking for the MFIBM today then that is what we should be looking and we should find it.

            Today we see a decline in the study of God’s word. Christians are enamored with the world and consider it their playground. The focus has moved away from Jesus Christ and the will of God to the flesh and self interest. I give a short list of the primary reasons for a declining MFIBM.

  1. Ecumenism – the blending together of all faiths, denominations and creeds
  2. Lack of Separation – Dress, Music, Worldly Entertainment & associations 1Cor.15:33
  3. Departure from the KJV – any version will do, there is no single authoritative Book
  4. Liberalism – little emphasis on literal interpretation of scripture, embrace higher criticism of the bible, tears down everything fundamentalism builds

 

             I hope to give some clear cut reasons the MFIBM is fading not getting bigger. Today there seems to be a remnant in the remnant of believers. We have modern churches, fundamental churches, independent churches, and Baptist churches, but what about Modern Fundamental Independent Baptist Churches. We have some big churches, little churches, rich churches and poor churches but we don’t seem to have the Power of God in and on the church like the early Christians did. Why are there fewer and fewer modern fundamental independent Baptists? And churches?

 

  1. The Move away from The King James Bible

            What is this King James only controversy? I am King James only. That to me means I only trust and believe the 1611 King James Bible to be the Word of God. It is the ‘only’ bible translated from the right Greek and Hebrew texts so that means it is the only right translation. Why this is such a controversy would be beyond me if I didn’t know the other side of the KJV only controversy. Let me just say that some believe that the KJV is advanced revelation, and that it is a re-inspiration from God. I believe it is not advanced revelation but the inspired word of God in no less power and authority than the original autographs. If I didn’t believe that God preserved His inspired revelation to man for me now in my KJV well than I might just as well throw it in the trash. God’s inspiration carries on through His preservation. I believe with strong conviction that the KJV is the only preserved word for the English people. Many though have moved on or should I say backslid to the NKJV or some other plate full of serpent’s meat.

 

  1. The Watered Down Preaching – The Preachers Fault

            What happened? How can it be that the preaching today in some ‘so called’ fundamental independent Baptist churches is so watered down you would think an Episcopalian pastorette was preaching. The preaching has been relegated to the back seat while the music is moved into the driver’s seat. That is another topic altogether. It is not enough to open the bible and say some relevant things. God said “preach the word.”

            The problem lies in a least two areas.

    1. There is the preacher who doesn’t study but just gets up and yells out his same points that get their amen’s, but never really helps anybody. There is no real teaching or feeding of the flock. The great truths and principles are never taught to the people. They go away hungry because the preacher never fed them. Because there is a lack of personal study by the preacher he cannot give to the people what he has not learned himself.

      Preaching is also not a popularity contest, nor is the pulpit a place to beat the sheep. The goal of the pastor is to feed the flock good sound doctrine not moldy bread. When a man takes his place behind the pulpit he should know his subject. He should preach what God has given him and deliver the message in the power of God. My point is many good churches begin to lose people because they are not being built up and strengthened in the word of God. Sunday’s are the time when the same things are yelled out over and over to the benefit of no one. We know we should use the KJV, we know women shouldn’t wear britches, and we know only heathen go to the movies, sic. I am not saying we shouldn’t preach strong messages but not at the expense of prayerful study of the word of God and give people the whole counsel of God.

    1. The other side and problem area is the preacher who doesn’t call sin, sin! He just will not name some sins from the pulpit. I can think of two reasons why; he is afraid of offending someone in the congregation or he is neck deep in that sin. So, every Sunday the bible is preached but with care not to step on toes or rub the cat the wrong way. This preacher is not pasturing his church but he is a compromiser, because he will not say what needs to be said. He has watered down the preaching not by what he says but by what he doesn’t say!

      Churches are starving and growing weaker because they are not getting the whole counsel of God. Paul said his hands were clean and conscience clear because he had not shunned to preach it all to everyone.

      There are probably several reasons why this happens but I think the main two reasons are pastors dabbling in sin and also afraid their numbers will drop if they preach hell fire against sin in the church. They think somebody (the biggest tithers they think) is going to up and leave church. The preacher who will not be honest before God and preach the word isn’t worth the powder to blow him up! Shame on us if we fail in this vital area of growing the church.

  1. The Move away from God honoring Music and Standards.

            The music in many MFIB churches today is the very reason (along with their move away from the KJV) that within a few years they will lose any power they had with God at all. The standards in all areas will grow weaker and their outreach to the lost will be less and less. The outward vision for souls will turn inward more and more as the flesh seeks to please itself.

            Some of us are labeled Pharisees and legalists (though they have no idea what a biblical legalist is) because we take a strong stand on how we live. That would include what we watch, our music, dress, friends, and places we would go. How we would entertain ourselves should be of less importance than how the world sees us. We can have some fun in social gatherings with other Christians but we need to take care of that becoming the focus of all gatherings.

 

 

  1. The Lack of Separation with the World – James 4:4

      Christians today think they can be a friend of the world and a friend of God. Scripture tells us that is impossible! You are the enemy of God if you are a friend of the world. The bible tells us that: John 2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. So, we must choose who we are going to be friends with but not both. Why? God will not be second and the world hates God. It has got to be one or the other. Today the church knows this but still choose the world at the expense of their relationship with God. The desire today even in good churches with high standards and strong preaching, is that we find a larger and larger fringe group that loves their electronics, entertainment and earthly treasures more than God.

      The church grows weaker everyday with less impact on the world around it. More playtime means less service time. More entertainment means less bible reading let alone actual study. Later and later night’s means less morning time devoted to bible study amd prayer. There is no line in the sand or gauntlet thrown down that says enough! The Christian today says I want both. I want to be saved and be a friend of the world. What a sad scenario.

      Christians today will not separate and live holy lives. They refuse to put away the toys that weaken and distract them. The home suffers from lack of strong leadership and the children are reaping the consequences of the fathers. Today a pastor has to almost beg people to serve the Lord. If someone does start in a ministry they seldom finish their course. Why? Because they are carnal! Serving God isn’t fun like xbox Kinect, or mind numbing as T.V. or doesn’t appeal to the flesh like the filth in movies or on the internet. Little do they realize the joy of serving Jesus is a million times better. There is a true deep fulfillment not superficial gratification for a moment. Moses knew the difference we read in Heb.11:24-26. Paul knew he had to die daily and walk in the Spirit so as not to fulfill the lust of his flesh. They wanted to finish their course with joy.

      Yes, a lack of separation and a lack of faith iin the Lord has weakened the MFIBM. We are going the way of the same churches we preached against just 20 years ago. The music worldly, the minister is a compromiser and the men are spiritual mice!

 

  1. Christians not Preaching the Gospel of Repentance

            I believe this is a big problem today in our Baptist churches. We seem to want to tell the world God loves them and died on the cross for their sins; but we stop short of their personal accountability for that. The lost are told to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and they will be saved, and that is true. That belief cannot come at the cost of not realizing their own responsibility for Christ Sacrifice. He had to die because we are wicked sinners. We must preach that the sinner see his condition and his standing before a Holy God. They have broken God’s Law and are guilty, hell deserving sinners. The reason we got saved was because someone told us how God sees us. Yes, He loves us and sent His Son to die on a cross for us. The question is why? That is what needs to be told to people that Jesus died for THEIR sins. They must see their responsibility in this thing. They must be told they have to repent. Turn around and away from their to God’s way. The sinner who sees themselves as God sees them; lost, hell bound, guilty sinners now has the broken ground that faith can take root in. This notion you just take Jesus in your life and everything is fine, phooey! That sinful heart needs to be cleansed, and forgiven.

            Churches that are not preaching repentance wind up with a house full of unregenerate members. People who got Jesus they say but never got saved. This happens in fundamental independent Baptist churches all the time. A church that increases it’s numbers at the expense of the preaching of repentance in salvation will be in for a congregation who looks inward instead of outward. This church will be more about social gatherings and entertainment than preaching, prayer and fellowship. Many good churches have forgotten or neglected to preach repentance and now must suffer from struggle with at best nominal Christianity in their midst.

           

What is the answer for bible believers today who want to see the MFIBM grow?

 

  1. Back to the Bible

            The Bible was written by 40 different authors representing some 19 different occupations (shepherd, soldier, farmer, fisherman, tax collector, medical doctor, king, etc.) who lived during a period of some 1,600 years. That is approximately 50 generations. The first 39 books of the Bible were written in the Hebrew language over a period of about 1,000 years. There was then a 400-year gap when no Scriptures were written. After that, the last 27 books of the Bible were written in the Greek language during a period covering roughly 50 years. The writers could not have collaborated, because they did not live at the same time. Yet the product is one book that fits together perfectly and contains no contradictions or errors. There is nothing else like this in all of man’s history. Some have claimed to have found mistakes in the Bible, but I have studied it for years and any time I thought I found a supposed error or contradiction, I have found that the Bible is true and the critic is wrong.                         The only way back to a strong fundamental Baptist position is to get back to the Book of books. There is only one (no pun intended) and that is the King James Bible. Also let me say this that a return to the bible is not enough but a diligent study of it and a obeying of its commands. 2Tim.2:15  It would suffice to love God’s word.

 

  1. Preach the Book – Not your opinions or convictions

            As I have already stated we are to feed the flock. The preacher that takes this duty of preaching seriously can and will be used of God greatly to feed the flock of God. The people don’t need our opinions but truth. Not our convictions but their own developed by strong, spirit empowered preaching of the truth!

            The church should always be encouraged to study the Book so they are of a ready mind. The people should be good Bereans, daily searching the scriptures. The man who preaches the word will be encouraged that his people are growing because he took them to good pasture and encouraged a good diet. Eat hearty of the eternal truths because that is what we all need. Preach the word Paul said to Timothy – reprove, rebuke and exhort with an attitude of longsuffering. This is what the church needs and if their ear tickles let someone else scratch it.

  1. Honour God in Our Churches – Music, Worship, Standards

            Music is one of the most potent tools in the devil’s hands. Today in the church the devil is weakening entire works by slipping in the world’s music under the guise of so called Christian songs. Too many pastors and lay people are ignorant to the lure and power of music to draw away Christians. If the music starts to slide in the church you can be assured the dress standards will follow. Soon enough the sermons on hell and sin will get weaker and few and far between. People will not want hard preaching because they will be enamoured with the music, entertainment and the compromise will have begun. The slide is always slow and imperceptible to those many times that are in the church. Have an outsider come in who may have been in the church only a year before and they will see and hear the change.

  1. Come out of the World and be Separate  - 2Cor.6:17

      Before we know it this life we is over. We will stand before a holy God and He will take account of our life of service.

 

  1. Preach the Gospel of the Bible

             There is only one gospel and that is repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. It is believing in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ that we are saved. 1Cor 15:1-4, Rom. 10:9, 10;

Mark 16:15 "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature."

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E-mail: eberlydc@juno.com
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