Independent Baptist

Independent Baptist churches (also referred to as "Independent Fundamental Baptist", or IFB) are Christian churches holding to generally Baptist beliefs. Like all Baptists they are characterized by being independent from the authority of denominations and church councils. However, the reason for the distinction, "independent," is that they eschew even the Baptist conventions or associations in which other Baptist churches participate (although many Independent Baptist churches do belong to fellowships). They remain and congregationalist in nature and are generally fundamentalist in teaching. The IFB movement is not a denomination "per se", but there are similarities that run throughout most Independent Baptist churches.


In the wake of the advancement of modernism and liberalism into National Baptist denominations and conventions in the late 1800s and earlier 1900s in both the United States and England, many Baptist local churches began to feel that the core elements of and doctrines of the Christian Faith, such as the nature of God, the infallibility of the Bible, the literal person of Jesus Christ as both God and man, the nature of the Trinity, the literal resurrection of Christ and the need for Christians to be separate from worldliness were being watered down and abandoned. Although during the same time period mainline denominations were struggling with the Fundamentalist-Modernist Controversy, many within these local Baptist churches felt that any association with Liberalism/Modernism even in the forum of debate was tantamount to compromise and was therefore unscriptural. As a result many of these local Baptist churches separated from their former denominations and conventions and reestablished themselves as independent churches. Often within these Denominational churches more conservative elements would often set about establishing new Independent Baptist churches instead of remaining within the denominational churches. ["In Pursuit of Purity: American Fundamentalism Since 1850", by David O. Beale, BJU Press (June 1986), ISBN 978-0890843505 ]

Current developments

In the last 20 to 30 years, the use of the King James Version (King-James-Only Movement) and the use of Contemporary Christian music in worship services, more Calvinistic teaching, and the issue of Lordship salvation have divided many IFB churches. [Dr. Rolland D.McCune, [ Doctrinal Non-Issues in Historic Fundamentalism] , Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary.]

Distinguishing elements

Independent Baptist churches are very conservative in their beliefs and many are still conservative in their styles of worship. They tend to reject many things found in many denominational churches because they believe in the doctrine of separation; based on the command to "be ye separate." [John Brock, " [ A Pedagogical Discussion Related to Biblical and Durable Behavior in Contemporary Society] ", Maranatha Baptist Bible College. Article discusses these issues.] They may exclude the following, depending on the individual church:
*rock and roll and other forms of modern music, including contemporary Christian music,
*certain contemporary dress styles such as trousers on women or long hair and earrings on men.
*visiting movie theaters,
*drinking of alcohol,
*use of tobacco,
*sex outside of marriage between one man and one woman, such as premarital sex or any other sexual contact, extramarital sex, and homosexuality.
*and abortion. (in some cases, all forms of birth control are opposed).

They tend also to support conservative American politics, with one notable exception—the general consensus opposes school vouchers, on the basis that such vouchers, if accepted by church-operated schools, would allow the government a "foothold" into the teachings and practices of the individual church and give it authority to dictate what could and could not be taught.

IFB's might choose to homeschool their children rather than sending them to public school in order to give them a Christian education over a secular one.

King James Bible debate

Many Independent Baptist churches and associated educational institutions support exclusive use of the King James Bible or other Bible translations based on the Textus Receptus (or "Received Text"). [ [ Directory of Fundamentalist Ministries (KJV)] (online list of fundamental Baptist ministries in the United States and Canada that support the Authorized King James Version)]

Other IFB churches have moved to newer translations such as the New King James Version, New American Standard Bible, English Standard Version and the New International Version. These churches that use newer translations accept that there are disagreements on some textual issues but feel the most important issue is what the King James translators themselves fought for — that the common man should have the Bible in his common language. Some IFBs feel that even the latest revision of the King James Version (made in 1769) is very different from common American English today.

Fundamentalist colleges and universities are divided on which Greek text to use. Several colleges hold that other texts including the Byzantine and Alexandrian texts should also be compared and used. These would include Calvary Baptist Theological Seminary, Central Baptist Theological Seminary, Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary [Dr William W. Combs, [ ERASMUS AND THE TEXTUS RECEPTUS] Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary ] , Maranatha Baptist Bible College, Northland Baptist Bible College, and Temple Baptist Seminary. However, other colleges support the idea that the Textus Receptus is the best and the only Greek text that should be used as a source for New Testament translation. These colleges include Ambassador Baptist College, Arlington Baptist College, Chesapeake Baptist College, Heartland Baptist Bible College, Hyles-Anderson College, Pacific Baptist College, Pensacola Christian College, Crown College, Golden State Baptist College, West Coast Baptist College, and International Bible College.

Spanish versions

Even though there is a unanimous stand on using the Authorized King James Version (KJV) in English, for the Spanish language the IFBs suffered a rift in their camp after pastor Elmer Fernández parted company with pastor Mickey Carter since the latter affirmed that the Reina-Valera 1960 is an "Elephant in the Living Room", that is, saying it is unacceptable. KJVO pastors who are not familiar with Spanish linguistics use the Reina-Valera 1909 Version in Spanish due to the belief that newer Bible versions have various problems in text and translation. However, these churches are not really united in their stand in light of their many projects to come up with a new Bible in Spanish; this was what prompted some of their fellow Hispanic pastors to challenge them. A more thorough defense in Spanish of the [ RV60] has become a safeguard for those native speakers.


Many Independent Baptist churches have very organized outreach ministries such as weekly "soul winning," in which groups go and evangelize areas surrounding the church building. Many churches will also have “bus ministries”, in which volunteers drive church buses or vans to surrounding areas to bring people to the church's services. A few still practice "street preaching," the open-air preaching of the Gospel in a public setting such as a park or street corner, though this is very rare. Like many other types of churches, Independent Baptist churches often have prison ministries and send missions or evangelists to other parts of the country or to other countries to start more local churches. [This is done in accordance with Matthew 28 verses 19 & 20. "19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen."]

Some Independent Baptist churches have dismayed moderate Baptists and other evangelical Christians by using outreach techniques that many American Christians consider tasteless and inappropriate for modern Western culture. [ [ Baptist Center ] ] These techniques include marching in local parades with signs urging watchers to repent. [ [ - Springtime Tallahassee Parade ] ] Critics say the aggressive techniques used by fundamentalist groups give Christians a bad name.Fact|date=March 2008 Not all Independent Baptist churches use these techniques, although this technique was widely used in the beginning of the fundamentalist movement.

Bible college movement

Many IFB churches start and maintain their own Bible colleges. These colleges are often unaccredited and rely heavily on an "apprentice" approach to education, rather than extensive formal training in ancient languages of the Bible, systematic theology, and hermeneutics. An example of one of these unaccredited colleges is Hyles-Anderson College in Lake County, Indiana. This college was started by First Baptist Church of Hammond in Hammond, Indiana.

In more recent years, some IFB colleges, such as Maranatha Baptist Bible College, Northland Baptist Bible College and Pillsbury Baptist Bible College, have become accredited.

Colleges and institutes

ee also

*Fundamental Baptist Fellowship International
*Independent Baptist Federation
*Independent Baptist Fellowship
*Independent Baptist Fellowship International
*Independent Baptist Fellowship of North America
*New Testament Association of Independent Baptist Churches
*Westboro Baptist Church
*Unregistered Baptist Fellowship
*History of Calvinist-Arminian debate
* [ Independent Baptist Society]


External links

* [ A Brief Survey Of Independent Fundamental Baptist Churches] - by Cooper Abrams
* [ Independent Baptist Articles]
* [ The Case For Independent Baptist Churches] from
* [ IFB Reformation - A brief survey of the origins of Independent Fundamental Baptists]
* [ Independent Baptist Directory]

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