Repost from 2015-2016. Edited, updated, and corrected.
Bruce Goddard pastors Faith Baptist Church in Wildomar, California. Faith Baptist is an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) church. Here’s how they advertise themselves:
Malls are trendy, churches should feel timeless. With the forceful current of constant change sweeping over every part of our lives, people have the need to connect with something enduring and firm. We believe Christ designed the church to fulfill that need by representing an eternal kingdom and ageless truth with no need to imitate the culture. We want you to know that there is still a church that feels like a church. It will not feel like a rock concert, comedy club, or motivational seminar. It is not old-fashioned, as in 50 years ago, it is timeless, as in 2000 years ago.
IFB churches are noted for bait-and-switch methods used to lure the uninitiated into their group. Often, they advertise themselves as being the friendliest church in town, and outwardly they often are. But, once a person becomes a part of the church, they often find out that things are not as they first appeared to be. Let me illustrate this with several paragraphs from Faith Baptist’s website.
On the I’m New page, we find this:
HOW SHOULD I DRESS?
There is not a dress code at FBC for members or guests. Our ministry leaders and many of our church family dress in more traditional “Sunday” dress; however, our main goal is that you would feel welcome and comfortable on your visit here at FBC!
AM I EXPECTED TO PARTICIPATE IN THE OFFERING?
No. We do not invite you to FBC for your offering. We want our service to be a gift to you. We hope you will find a warm, family spirit in this place, truth from God’s Word, and a place where you can grow in God’s grace. Please do not feel any obligation to participate in the offering as a guest.
A literalist, normative, King James reading of these two paragraphs would lead a new person, one not initiated in the IFB way of life, to think that they could dress any way they want and the church is not interested in their money. Yes, I see all of you former IFB church members laughing and rolling on the floor. This is what I mean by bait and switch: we love you just as you are, but once we have our claws into you we are going to rip you apart and remake you into what we, uh what God, wants you to be.
There’s an Evangelical church not far from where I live that prides itself in being tolerant and accepting. Why, they have two gay people attending their church. But, here’s what the two gays might not understand. The love, tolerance, and acceptance are a ploy. They have no intention, over the long-term, of accepting them as they are. The church is willing to put up with having two vile, wicked sodomites attending services because they confidently believe that through preaching and the fake “we love you just as you are” schtick, the two gays will get saved and realize that homosexuality is a BIG, BIG, BIG sin. In other words, Evangelical salvation turns LGBTQ people into heterosexuals. Praise Jesus!
Here’s how the two gays can prove the sincerity of the church’s love, tolerance, and acceptance. Just ask to join the church or work in the nursery. Tell the pastor you’d like to work with the youth or in junior church. I hear you former Evangelicals snickering. Stop it! I guarantee you, this church will not allow two gays to become members or allow them to be anywhere near their children.
Bruce Goddard and Faith Baptist Church want first-time visitors to see the “good” side of the church, the loving, tolerant, accepting side of the church. Come as you are, Bob and Mary, they will tell them, thinking to themselves, “when we, I mean Jesus, get a hold of you, he’ll let you know that wearing the clothes you have on today is a sin and an affront to God.”
Bruce, perhaps Goddard and Faith Baptist are different. After all, you’ve never visited the church, so you can’t KNOW how they really are. I wish that was so, but IFB churches are quite predictable. Go to the church’s photo page and take a careful look at the pictures. This should tell you exactly what the church’s dress standard is.
Still not convinced? Here’s an article Bruce Goddard wrote for Old Paths Journal, (link no longer active) an IFB website that features the writing of men such as Bob Gray Sr. and Allen Domelle:
Forgive my sarcasm, it simply fits this morning as I read and laugh at how messed up some men must get if they read their Bible. It makes me smile. This Book will mess with your mind unless you surrender to it. Amen! Just how do contemporary preachers read their Bible at all without gagging?
Proverbs 6 brings up some very uncomfortable issues. If God knew the politically correct times in which we would be living, I just do not think He would have written some things in the Bible. Consider these few verses:
Proverbs 6:23-25, “For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life: To keep thee from the evil woman, from the flattery of the tongue of a strange woman. Lust not after her beauty in thine heart; neither let her take thee with her eyelids.”
So, here is a matter of Bible reproof and a what the reproof deals with. Take a good look at how “off” God is in our contemporary world.
First of all, God thinks our preaching should contain reproof! Wow! Is that ever out-of-date! Then, the reproof should deal with these four things, can you believe it?
1. The wrong crowd: to keep thee from the evil woman.
2. Wrong speech: flattery.
3. Lust: now it is hard to have lust for a woman without it having to do with her looks. So this indicates preaching and reproof on appearance and what a man looks at.
4. The draw of a woman’s eyes: take thee with her eyelids.
That sure sounds like God wants some serious instruction on how a gal looks, how she acts and warning a young man about that woman. It appears God is so archaic that He thinks we ought to warn young men about the danger of flattering words and forward woman. It appears God is so out-of-touch that He wants us preaching to young men about what and who they look at. How 1950ish!
If God only knew the times in which we would be living, I am sure He would have dropped this kind of thing about 1950 and changed our instruction to simply loving God, loving people and getting rid of the foolish “do’s and dont’s.“ Oh, well! When your God never changes I guess He is bound to be old-fashioned and out-of-step with the times.
Maybe God can read some modern blogs and visit some big name conferences to catch up with the men who really know what is going on. If only God had not said that His Word would not change, then I am sure God would drop this “legalism” and pushy stuff. Man! That was a mistake. Now, God is stuck with these old-fashioned statements. I guess it is good most modern preachers are not stuck on the Bible. Good thing they have enough sense to ignore the Bible when needed and do the “appropriate thing.”
Where would we be if we only had an old-fashioned Bible, and we were having to find our path without these men who know better than to preach on appearance, flattery, forward women and the things at which a man looks? I am sure it was not God Who brought us these modern enlightened prophets, but whoever it is, our world owes him…
Did you see the bait and switch? The church website says:
“There is not a dress code at FBC for members or guests. Our ministry leaders and many of our church family dress in more traditional “Sunday” dress; however, our main goal is that you would feel welcome and comfortable on your visit here at FBC”,
Yet Goddard says in his article: (link no longer active)
“That sure sounds like God wants some serious instruction on how a gal looks, how she acts and warning a young man about that woman. It appears God is so archaic that He thinks we ought to warn young men about the danger of flattering words and forward woman. It appears God is so out-of-touch that He wants us preaching to young men about what and who they look at . . .
Where would we be if we only had an old-fashioned Bible, and we were having to find our path without these men who know better than to preach on appearance, flattery, forward women and the things at which a man looks?”
Need I say more?
Bruce Gerencser, 64, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 43 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.
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