I spent decades in the Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) church movement, from the early 1960s until the late 1990s. I attended Midwestern Baptist College, an IFB institution, in the 1970s. I continue to follow the IFB movement closely, reading scores of blogs and websites, and listening to far too many Fundamentalist sermons and podcasts. All that hellfire and brimstone preaching, and I am still not saved. 🙂 My wife’s family is IFB through and through. Polly’s dad was an IFB pastor, as was her uncle Jim Dennis. (Please see The Family Patriarch is Dead: My Life With James Dennis.) Several family members are pastors, missionaries, and evangelists. We have great-nephews and grand-nieces who are currently attending or plan to attend unaccredited IFB colleges. Last Sunday, we listened to a podcast where one of our grand-nieces was sharing her plans for after high school. She plans to attend an IFB college so she can become a school teacher. How sad, both Polly and I said. ________ is a wonderful girl. She’s going to spend the next four years getting a worthless education, one that’s only good if she teaches at an IFB school. Numerous young relatives have received similar training, convinced by their parents that this is what “God” wants them to do. I have said all of this to say that I continue to have my finger on the pulse of IFB church movement.
I have written countless articles about the IFB church movement since I started blogging in 2007. I am well-known in some corners of IFB world. As a result, I have received a lot of emails and comments from offended, outraged, angry, nasty, vile, vicious, hateful IFB zealots. From death threats to attacks on my character to threats of judgment and Hell, IFB zealots have tried to marginalize me and my story — unsuccessfully, I might add.
I have found that IFB zealots are experts in passive-aggressive behavior. Yesterday, I received an email from a woman from Alabama named Donna.
Here’s what he had to say:
Hope this warms your heart, I am NOT praying for you.
I will not be concerned if I don’t hear from you for a while, or at all.
Matter of fact, I wouldn’t read your response if you did so don’t waste your time.
Enjoy your life while you can.
Best to you and your wife.
Now that’s one passive-aggressive email.
I have no idea who you are. Your email is quite passive-aggressive. Was that your intent?
I see you came to my site looking for information on Pastor Mark Falls from the Newark Baptist Temple in Heath, Ohio. If you didn’t like something I said about Falls, you could have commented on the relevant post. Instead, you took the typical approach most Independent Fundamentalist Baptists (IFB) take with me: nasty, spiteful, passive-aggressive, complete with a subtle threat of judgment and Hell.
Please square the content of your email with the teachings of the Bible, especially the verses that tell you how to treat your enemies.
I have no idea who this person is. Mark Falls is an Alabama native and pastored in the state, so Donna could be a relative or a former church member. Falls currently pastors the Newark Baptist Temple in Heath, Ohio, a church previously pastored by Polly’s uncle, Jim Dennis, for over forty years. Polly’s mom attends Newark Baptist. She’s been a member of the church for forty+ years.
I’ve written several posts about Falls:
Donna did not respond to my email.
Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 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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