Those of us who spent a lot of years in the Independent Fundamentalist (IFB) Baptist church movement know that IFB churches and preachers are known for what they are against rather than what they are for.
IFB preachers pride themselves on stepping on toes, naming sins, naming people who sin, preaching hellfire and brimstone sermons, and preaching on any other negative subject they can find in the Bible. They joke about church members needing a helmet or steel toed shoes when they listen to them preach. Cecil Hodges, a preacher from the early days of the IFB church movement, said, we hit our people over the head with the sin stick so often that they duck every time they come to church. Very true.
Many IFB churches and preachers subscribe to the Four W’s:
- Win them
- Wet them
- Work them
- Waste them
While IFB churches do have people who are long time members, in general, the front door of the IFB church is a revolving door. Why do so many people end up leaving IFB churches? Why is the IFB church movement dying?
If you listen to IFB preachers they will tell you that the reason the IFB church movement is dying is because of “worldliness.” These preachers preach against the same sins they have always preached against and many people, according to the IFB preacher, want the world more than they want good standards and holiness, so they leave. The IFB preacher never bothers to consider that maybe it is his PREACHING and his legalistic interpretation of the Bible that causes people to leave the church. The people who left peered behind the curtain of puppeteer, AKA the man of God, and found a man rather than God. A man who confused his personal opinion, interpretation, and lifestyle, with what God said in the Bible. When they find this out…they leave.
“Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.” (Hebrews 11:26)
Moses learned the hard way that if you are going to serve Christ that you will not always be liked. He was reared in the palace of Egypt by the daughter of Pharaoh. He had every opportunity to forsake his Jewish lifestyle and embrace the lifestyle of Egypt, but he did not do that. He even thought one time that he could make everyone like him when he defended Israelite men from being beaten by an Egyptian master, but he quickly found out that even his own people were not really fond of him. It didn’t matter what Moses did, he learned that it was not him whom people did not like, but it was Who he represented that caused people not to like him. He came to a point in his life when he threw away his desire to be liked by the world and accepted the reproach of Jesus Christ.
Too many preachers are changing what they believe for the sake of being liked by the world. It amazes me how preachers forsake their standards so they can be liked, but they soon find out that it is not their standards that cause people not to like them, it is Who they represent that causes the world not to like them.
Churches have become more worldly in an attempt to be more liked by the world. We have seen churches bring rock music into their services so they can be liked. We have watched churches become casual in their attire so they can be liked by the world. We have observed churches adopt worldly activities and lifestyles for the opportunity of being liked by the world, but in every instance they world continues not to like the church. Why? Because the world doesn’t like Christ.
Christians continually change their beliefs and standards to be liked and accepted by the world, but they quickly find out the world does not like them. Christians have adopted worldly philosophies and language just so they can be accepted by the world, but they find out the world still does not like them even after they conform. If you look at what Christians do today to be liked and accepted by the world compared to those of yesteryear, you would find there have been drastic changes to no avail.
Let me make it clear that there is nothing you can do to ever get the world to accept you as a Christian. The world didn’t accept Christ when He was on this Earth, so why do you think they will accept Him and His philosophy while He is in Heaven? The world is at enmity with Christ, and there is nothing you can do to EVER be accepted by the world if you represent Christ.
God says in the verse above that you have a choice to make. You can accept the reproach of Christ as the greatest treasure you have, or you can attempt to be liked and accepted by the world to no avail. Always remember that the day you accepted Christ, you became the enemy of the world. You can fight the reproach of Christ or you can accept it. Your ability to reach the world for Jesus Christ will never be realized until you accept Christ’s reproach as the greatest of riches. Stop trying to be liked by the world! You can change until you look like the world, but the world will never like you for it does not like the Christ Who dwells in you. Always remember that it is all about Christ, and that it doesn’t matter how much you try to become like the world they will never accept you because you are His representative.
Allen Domelle is a classic, can’t see the forest for the trees, IFB preacher. Of all the “worldly” things he could have mentioned in his post, he decided to focus on:
- Preachers forsaking their standards (standards are the preacher’s rules and regulations that he finds justification for in the Bible and he expects every church member to obey)
- Preachers bringing rock music into the church (rock music is anything with drums, a back beat, contemporary Christian music)
- Preachers letting church members dress casually (casually defined as whatever the preacher says is casual)
Domelle, and other IFB preacher like him, is convinced that the “world” doesn’t like IFB churches and preachers because of their standards, their stand against the world. He is convinced that the “world” hates the IFB church and its preachers because they are pillars of conviction, morality, and righteousness. However, the reason the “world” hates them is because they are mean, arrogant, judgmental, name-calling hypocrites.
As I have stated before, it is hard not to see the IFB church movement as a cult. Whatever they were sixty years ago, they no longer are. IFB churches have become temples of intolerance and bigotry, presided over by egomaniacal men who are the biggest god in the room. It is THIS God people reject.