The following is expanded from A History of the Churches from a Baptist Perspective, which is one of the 14 titles in the Advanced Bible Studies Series published by Way of Life Literature:
Though the Protestant Reformers of the 16th to the 18th centuries demanded religious liberty from the Roman Catholic Church, in many cases they did not give liberty to others. A fact rarely told in church histories and therefore little known is that the Protestants of the Reformation era persecuted Baptists and others who differed from them.
ZWINGLI IN ZURICH, SWITZERLAND, WAS A PERSECUTOR
1. Before adopting Baptist principles, Anabaptist leaders Conrad Grebel (1498-1526), Felix Manz, and George Cajacob were associated with Zwingli in the beginning of his work in Zurich. Unlike Zwingli, they moved beyond Protestantism and state churchism to a true New Testament faith and practice.
2. By the end of 1524, Grebel and Manz had taken a position against infant baptism and wanted to establish a true church composed only of regenerate baptized members with a simple Lord’s Supper as a memorial meal.Continue reading this article……
The latest slightly disguised onslaught against godly reproof of fundamental Baptist error is from the pen of Paul Chappell, pastor of Lancaster Baptist Church, Lancaster, California.
In a blog entitled “Questions to Ask When Criticized,” August 8, 2011, Chappell advises that God’s people treat “critics” like “bubble gum.” More about that at the end of this article.
Chappell offers a list of 33 questions that should be asked when deciding how to receive “criticism.”
Now, we know that it is wise to weigh criticism. I have no doubt that I have far more critics and receive far more criticism than most preachers do, and some of it I take more seriously than others. And, sure, we tend to take heed to criticism from a source of sterling repute and from someone we know personally more quickly than from one who is less reputable or from a stranger, but the proper test of criticism is not to ask dozens of questions about the critic and his motives. The proper test is whether the critic is speaking the truth. Even if the critic is Balaam or Balaam’s ass, if he is speaking the truth I need to to take heed. Period.Continue reading this article……
Speaking very broadly and very generally, I thank the Lord for the fundamental Baptist church movement. It represents a variety of congregations that hold certain things in common, chiefly (again, speaking very generally) sound Bible doctrine, independence from denominational structures, a stand for biblical separatism. Or at least this used to be the case. Fundamental Baptist churches have exhibited a tremendous zeal for evangelism and world missions. Multitudes throughout the world have been saved because of this zeal.
Fundamental Baptist churches have also been at the vanguard for the defense of the truth in these end times. George W. Dollar, one of the foremost historians of the fundamentalist movement, made the following observation:
“Increasingly, independent Baptists have dominated the scene of Fundamentalism from 1935 onward. Their hard-hitting evangelism produced some large churches; their constant emphasis on soulwinning and the erection of independent Baptist schools, with a strong push from interdenominationalism, have given them a commanding place on the American continent. … One added factor in this new situation has been the deepening apostasy among organized Baptists, Presbyterians, and Methodists. Fundamentalists among the last two groups have had great difficulty in getting many people to leave the old-line denominations. In fact, few Presbyterians and Methodists have been willing to leave at all, even in the face of outrageous apostasy and Liberalism” (Dollar, A History of Fundamentalism in America, third edition 1989, p. 213). Continue reading this article……
“Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance” (Luke 3:8).
“I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:32).
“I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3, 5).
“And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Luke 24:47).
“And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent” (Acts 17:30).
“Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21).
“But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance” (Acts 26:20).
In the June 10, 2011, issue of the Sword of the Lord, the paper’s editor, Shelton Smith, published a reply to my warning about the Sword’s position on repentance. His response was to the following brief report that appeared in the Friday Church News Notes last December:
SWORD OF THE LORD OMITS REPENTANCE FROM SPURGEON SERMON (Friday Church News Notes, December 17, 2010, www.wayoflife.org email@example.com, 866-295-4143) - Recently I received the following e-mail from Jim Koenig: “Last night we watched your video ‘How to Avoid False Professions’ for the second time and the segment on repentance was even more enlightening this time around. Over the years we have noticed that the Sword of the Lord has shifted away from the doctrine of repentance and cunningly led their readers in that direction. A good example is the Charles Spurgeon sermon ‘Only Trust Him’ in the November 26, 2010 issue. They have left out what he said about repentance. The original sermon can be found at www.spurgeongems.org/sermons.htm (sermon #1635) and the omitted part is on page three of the sermon, the 6th full paragraph down. Years ago my wife and I graduated from the Sword Soul Winning Director’s College, taught personally by Bro. Smith, Bro. Norris Belcher, and the late Bro. Larry Staner. At no time, never, was the word ‘repent’ mentioned or implied during the three day course. I am not anti-Sword, but they are 100% wrong on repentance and have influenced thousands of young preachers to spread their one-two-three repeat after me prayers.” COMMENT BY BROTHER CLOUD: I could not agree more. The Sword of the Lord truly has a problem with repentance, and this is not a new thing. While the founder of the Sword, John R. Rice, taught that repentance is “a change of mind toward God and toward sin” and “to turn from your sin” (What Must I Do to Be Saved, 1940), Rice’s successor, Curtis Hutson, changed the biblical definition of repentance. He did this in his influential 1986 booklet Repentance: What Does the Bible Teach? Hutson denied that repentance means to turn from sin (p. 4), that repentance is sorrow for sin (p. 8), and that repentance means “a change of mind that leads to a change of action” (p. 16). He claimed that repentance simply is “to change one’s mind.” Hutson quoted Scripture that appears to support his position but he ignored the many Scriptures that plainly contradict it. He misquoted the writings of men like his predecessor John R. Rice and mixed in a heavy dose of human reasoning. (See our book Repentance and Soul Winning for documentation of this.) Under Hutson’s watch, the Sword also removed repentance from some of the hymns in the 1989 edition of the Soul Stirring Hymns. For example, the lyrics of “The Old Account Was Settled” were changed from “O sinner, seek the Lord, repent of your sin” to “O sinner, trust the Lord, be cleansed of all your sin.” (They also did this with the lyrics to “Almost” and “Give Me Thy Heart.”) I am thankful for many things that the Sword has stood for through the years, but the issue of repentance is not a light matter. The Sword has been at the forefront of the downgrading of this doctrine and of the promotion of the heretical practice of “Quick Prayerism” whereby psychological manipulation, human salesmanship, and an empty “sinner’s prayer” have too often replaced Holy Spirit conviction and miraculous regeneration. I refuse to join hands in ministry with men who are guilty of this serious error. (The Sword has also been at the forefront of exalting men far beyond scriptural bounds.)Continue reading this article……
The following is Pastor Marty Wynn, Lighthouse Baptist Church, Columbus, GA, firstname.lastname@example.org
Does saying a prayer produce salvation? If I say, “Lord, I know I am a sinner and I believe you died for my sins, and I want you to save me,” does that save me? I realize that I am treading upon ground that can be very volatile and, yet, this is an issue that must be addressed among those who care about the souls of men.
It is my belief that my early ministry left many people more lost than I found them. As I would go out door-knocking, I would apply the principles I had been taught in soul-winning class. You know the drill. . .Knock the door. . .slide your foot into the door opening so they could not close it again. . .lead them down the Roman’s Road. . .and, ultimately, lead them in the Sinner’s Prayer. The number of people that I lead through the “Sinner’s Prayer” is many. Yet, they did not experience the changed life that Second Corinthians 5:17 speaks of. They never darkened the door of the church. They never forsook their wicked lifestyles. Yet, if you asked them today if they were saved, they would probably say, “Yes I am. . .I prayed a prayer years ago when a preacher came by.” Thus, they were left more lost than I had found them.
Continue reading this article……
I am glad that Bro. Ouellette has published this, because it is a critical issue that needs to be aired among Independent Baptists.
Ouellette has been pastor of First Baptist Church of Bridgeport, Michigan, since 1975.
“Prove all things; hold fast that which is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21).
June 2, 2011
I heard someone quote an old preacher who said regarding this text, ‘I believe in chasing buzzards off. I don’t believe in chasing buzzards.’ It seems to me that this text and the thought given by that man of God now in Heaven are especially significant to us today. It is an important part of our ministry to stand against evil (Isaiah 58:1 - ‘Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.’). It is, however, not the only part of our ministry. We are also to ‘feed the flock of God.’ We are to ‘preach the Gospel to every creature.’ We are to ‘comfort the afflicted.’ We are to ‘weep with those that weep and rejoice with those that rejoice.’ We are to ‘exhort one another.’ We are to ‘comfort one another.’ We are to ‘bear one another’s burdens.’ When we focus on the buzzards, we run the risk of becoming unbalanced and even unscriptural in our ministry. ... I’ll never forget the shock I felt as a young man, realizing that I had been named negatively in a national magazine. It seems to me that this kind of ‘gotcha’ approach is part of what drives some young men away from independent, fundamental Baptist leaders. This blog is part one of some thoughts on this phenomenon.Continue reading this article……
The following is an abbreviated edition of a book-length report that is available as a free eBook download from the Way of Life web site. In the book we give much more information and documentation. http://www.wayoflife.org/free_ebooks/path_from_ib_to%20shack.php
Heresies and High Places in the SBC and Evangelicalism
The Path of Protection: Full-orbed Biblical Separation
Frightful Examples of Those Who Have Been Shipwrecked
The path from Independent Baptist to the broader evangelical church is clearly marked, and it typically leads through the Southern Baptist Convention. There we encounter treacherous waters where ancient heresies and end-times fables abound.
I don’t know of any Independent Baptist preachers (yet) who believe in the non-judgmental Shack god/goddess or salvation apart from faith in Christ or Christian homosexuality or the downgrade of hell or the partial inspiration of Scripture or Robert Schuller’s self-esteemism or who love the Roman Catholic mass or promote contemplative mysticism or deny the substitutionary atonement of Christ or promote New Age practitioners.
But many evangelicals and Southern Baptists are guilty of these things.
Enlarged May 23, 2011 (first published April 12, 2011) (David Cloud, Fundamental Baptist Information Service, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061, 866-295-4143, email@example.com; for instructions about subscribing and unsubscribing or changing addresses, see the information paragraph at the end of the article) -
Highland Park Baptist Church in Chattanooga, Tennessee, is the home of Tennessee Temple University.
Beginning in 1942, the church was pastored for four decades by Lee Roberson, and under his direction the church left the Southern Baptist Convention (or was kicked out, depending on who is telling the story), learned to support missionaries directly, and became a real spiritual powerhouse for world evangelism.
Founded in 1946 as an educational arm of the church, Tennessee Temple began as a simple Bible School for the training of preachers and Christian workers. As the years passed, a college and seminary were added and the emphasis changed to Christian education in general. (John R. Rice was vice-president of the seminary for its first decade.)
World War II had just ended and through funding from the GI bill veterans flocked to Tennessee Temple for Bible training, 184 students right off that bat. At one point there were 1,400 married students enrolled. Tennessee Temple was the largest Independent Baptist school well into the 1970s. Continue reading this article……
A pastor friend recently sent me a brief report of his experience at this year’s Bible Conference at Lancaster Baptist Church in Lancaster, California (home of West Coast Baptist College). His objective seemed to be to prove that I have been wrong about my warnings. He wrote:
“As promised, I am sending you a report of our recent visit to Lancaster and WCBC.
“First, Jerry Falwell is NOT in their Baptist Heritage Hall of Fame. I made a point to check that out.
“The music for the most part was excellent: traditional hymns in all services, traditional prelude/postludes, traditional choir music. Their special music is of a flavor that is not to my taste, but it was NOT CCM or as best as I could tell not adapted CCM. My wife is even more critical on music than I am, and she was pleased. Additionally, they have recently published their own hymnal which is all traditional hymns etc and it was edited by Al Smith. The latter name should say it all.”
RESPONSE FROM BROTHER CLOUD
Thank you for writing.
As for Jerry Falwell, I’m glad he is not in Lancaster’s Baptist Heritage Hall of Fame, but he has most definitely been exalted at Lancaster. Two friends were in the crowd in 2007 when Paul Chappell spoke highly of Falwell. One wrote a testimony of this as follows:
“Concerning Falwell, I do recall that he was mentioned by Paul Chappell (along with a picture on the big screens) and men who are mentioned are always for the purpose of being honoured and praised, never criticized. If it wasn't their hall of faith, then it was for some special achievement award which they tend to give out on such occasions.”Continue reading this article……
Updated and enlarged May 12, 2011 (first published April 29, 2008) (David Cloud, Fundamental Baptist Information Service, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061, 866-295-4143, firstname.lastname@example.org; for instructions about subscribing and unsubscribing or changing addresses, see the information paragraph at the end of the article) -
From time to time people write to ask, “What exactly is an independent Baptist church?”
One reason I have never written an article on this subject is the fact that the Independent Baptist movement is not homogenous. There is a great variety of doctrine and practice among Independent Baptist churches.
I have decided, though, to answer the question, plainly acknowledging that the answer will only be my own.
It is doubtless true that if you had 100 Independent Baptist preachers write an answer to this question, you would get 100 different answers!
I would say first that the Independent Baptist movement is large. There are thousands of Independent Baptist churches. There are more in North America than anywhere else, but they are located throughout the world. Yet there is no way to know exactly how many Independent Baptist churches exist, because they have no headquarters and no centralized statistics are kept. There are loose associations of Independent Baptist churches, such as the Southwide Baptist Fellowship and various regional fellowships, and there are Independent Baptist mission boards that some of the Independent Baptist missionaries are associated with, and the churches that participate in those organizations could be counted to some degree if one were to go to the great effort that would be required to collect such statistics (though they don’t all keep statistics!). A significant percentage of Independent Baptist churches, though, do not appear on the report of any association, fellowship, mission group, or other type of organization.
In my estimation, the worst problem with Clarence Sexton’s Independent Baptist Friends International movement is that it has circled the wagons against “criticism.”
Soon after I was converted in 1973 I joined an Independent Baptist church after visiting several other types, being particularly drawn by the zeal I witnessed there for separated Christian living, a willingness to take the whole Bible seriously, even “fanatically,” and a bold defense of the faith. They not only believed the Bible; they contended for it (Jude 3)! As a young Christian I was devouring the Bible and I saw much there about separation and contention for the faith, but I had never seen this emphasized in the Southern Baptist congregations in which I had grown up. This is not surprising as the SBC is the denomination of Billy Graham, the king of non-judgmentalism and the chief enemy of separation in our generation. Being convinced that the Graham philosophy is unscriptural, I joined the Independent Baptists. Continue reading this article……
We have recently discovered that listings from our Church Directory were placed verbatim on the Baptist Friends International list as churches that have “registered” to support their program. This is a very deceptive practice that should cast doubt on the methods employed by this group.
An announcement of the IB Friends International church directory was during their recent conference. Pastor Bobby Mitchell of Brunswick, Maine, said that during one of the broadcasts that he heard “it was stated that ‘thousands’ had ‘registered’ their churches and ministries at the IBFI website.”
When he examined the website he found that his church was listed without his knowledge, and that no one in the church had “registered” it with the IB Friends. He said, “I also noticed several other churches that were ‘registered’ that had not been ‘registered’ by anyone associated with those churches. The more I read the stranger it became as I looked at listings of churches that no longer exist, the names of pastors who are now in heaven, and the names of pastors who have moved to a different church.”
Pastor Mitchell says that when he spoke with a staff member at Crown College about having their church removed from the directory “he apologetically stated that, in fact, they had built the majority of the directory from other existing church directories that were created and owned by other groups.”
This is duplicity, and a loud public apology should be made in regard to the directory.
The Way of Life Literature Church Directory was created with much labor over many years, and not just anyone can get on our list. We began it for the express purpose of helping friends of the ministry find churches that are like minded with our position. For years prior to starting the directory I had received requests from readers of my material inquiring if I knew of like minded churches in their areas. I started the directory to provide a list of any such churches that we learned of. A few years ago we developed an extensive questionnaire that churches are required to fill out before being added to our directory. There are large numbers of independent Baptist churches that we cannot recommend, and we turn churches down every week from being added to our list.
In addition to Bobby Mitchell, I have heard from several other pastors who have found that their churches were listed in the Independent Baptist Friends directory without their knowledge or permission, and these are men who expressly DO NOT support the IB Friends agenda.
I am certain that there are many other churches on the Way of Life directory that would not appreciate being lifted from our directory and placed into a list of "Friends."
We would encourage you to search their directory and see if your church was placed on this list without your knowledge or permission. If so, you can write to ask to have them remove it.
Distributed by Way of Life Literature's Fundamental Baptist Information Service, an e-mail listing for Fundamental Baptists and other fundamentalist, Bible-believing Christians. OUR GOAL IN THIS PARTICULAR ASPECT OF OUR MINISTRY IS NOT DEVOTIONAL BUT IS TO PROVIDE INFORMATION TO ASSIST PREACHERS IN THE PROTECTION OF THE CHURCHES IN THIS APOSTATE HOUR. This material is sent only to those who personally subscribe to the list. If somehow you have subscribed unintentionally, following are the instructions for removal. The Fundamental Baptist Information Service mailing list is automated. To SUBSCRIBE, go to http://www.wayoflife.org/wayoflife/subscribe.html . TO UNSUBSCRIBE OR CHANGE ADDRESSES, go to the very bottom of any email received from us and click "Manage My Subscription." If you have any trouble with this, please let us know. We take up a quarterly offering to fund this ministry, and those who use the materials are expected to participate (Galatians 6:6) if they can. Some of the articles are from O Timothy magazine, which is in its 27th year of publication. Way of Life publishes many helpful books. The catalog is located at the web site: http://www.wayoflife.org/publications/index.html. Way of Life Literature, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061. 866-295-4143, email@example.com. We do not solicit funds from those who do not agree with our preaching and who are not helped by these publications, but only from those who are. OFFERINGS can be made at http://www.wayoflife.org/wayoflife/makeanoffering.html. PAYPAL offerings can be made to https://www.paypal.com/xclick/business=dcloud%40wayoflife.org
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Recently I received the following challenge:
“I want to thank you for your ministry. It has been a help to me much over the years.
I would like to clarify one minor thing with you, though. In your letter to Clarence Sexton, you stated about Andrew Phipps: ‘Another speaker scheduled for the Friends conference in April is Andrew Phipps (shown right). He regularly speaks at Freewill Baptist, Southern Baptist, Christian Unity, Social Brethren, and other types of churches.’
“I do not dispute with you that this man has problems and I agree with you that this pattern of preaching indicates a real problem. It is here that I would like to make a distinction. Though I am an ‘old school,’ separated Independent Baptist, where I preach is between myself and God alone. It is He who called me to preach the gospel. I’ll preach anywhere as long as they don’t mess with my message or invitation. Preaching in a Freewill Baptist church doesn’t make me a Freewill Baptist. Preaching in a Southern Baptist Church doesn’t make me Southern Baptist, etc., etc. Continue reading this article……
The following is from Pastor Gary Webb, Calvary Baptist Church, Carrboro, North Carolina <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Dear Calvary members and others who are acquainted with our church,
Recently I was asked what involvement our church has with the “Independent Baptist Friends International” – a new Baptist fellowship started by Clarence Sexton, pastor of Temple Baptist Church in Powell, Tennessee, and president of Crown College. When I asked the reason for the question I was told that our church was listed on the IBFI website as a participating church.
There are a number of good men who participated in this conference. However, there have also been a number of Baptist pastors who have expressed their concern or opposition to this new fellowship. No one at Calvary asked to be listed on the website, nor were we contacted. According to the person who asked about our church’s involvement, last week during the conference Dr. Sexton made several statements about how many churches were registering to be on his Baptist Friends website. However, because a number of pastors and churches have complained about their names being on the list without permission, a disclaimer has now been posted on the website.Continue reading this article……
The following is by Pastor Bobby Mitchell, Mid-Coast Baptist Church, Brunswick, Maine, www.midcoastbaptistchurch.com, email@example.com
The autonomy and independence of New Testament churches is plainly taught in the Scriptures. We must be very careful about "meddling" in another church's business. However, when a pastor and church seeks to start a "movement" that involves thousands of other churches then it is only right to comment on that movement if error, or compromise with error, is being promoted. When such an influence is presented to New Testament churches then New Testament pastors are under holy obligation to speak out about it. Some have asked why I am not involved with the newest Baptist group that is titled Independent Baptist Friends International, and why I felt it necessary to state that I was embarrassed that Mid-Coast Baptist Church was listed on their church directory. I am happy to answer and I thank you for asking. I am not able to give much time to a long and diplomatic response, so please be forgiving of the pointedness of this. I harbor malice towards none of those that I am stating disagreement with. I believe that there is much good that could be said about many involved with the IBFI, but the following are my reasons for not participating. Continue reading this article……