The Recovering Fundamentalist

The Recovering Fundamentalist

Three men began this podcast more than a year ago. They have attracted the attention of many in the IFB movement. I think it is accurate to say that they have “stirred” the waters. Let me make several statements from the outset:

  • All three of these men are my brothers in Christ. We may differ in many areas of separation, standards and church governance but I do not question their salvation.
  • I have never spoken with these men personally other than a very few times through DM. These messages have been cordial.
  • I do not intend to start a fight with our brothers in Christ but simply believe addressing their assertions is important.

So, with that being said, I want to simply share my thoughts. You may say, “who are you?” The answer is a nobody. But I do pastor men and women, boys and girls that hear what is being said and are influenced by their narrative. I am friends with men (and women) who are being influenced by what I believe is a slanted perspective of what IFB stand for. Further, the RFP and their followers continue to attack good men and women with distortions of their character and malign ministry philosophy that may differ from theirs

Broad-brushing

I have heard all three men say many times on their podcast, “Not all IFB are like ‘this’,” after sharing a clip or statement from one of the brethren. They make these statements and then proceed to broad brush the entire movement. How, just listen to them…they say “the IFB” rather than dealing with an issue. Such statements are in essence saying…only IFB who believe like them are “good people.” The rest are simply not and its ok to label them cults and/or question their salvation, which I will say has been done by them AND some of their followers.

Legalism

If you listen to the RFP there is a theme to these podcasts, legalism. Legalism IS a problem in Christianity, especially American Christianity. However the definition of legalism from the RFP and the Bible are not the same. Legalism, Biblically speaking, is adding works to salvation. Paul addresses the issue of legalism in Galatians, Jude warned of creepers amongst us and the early church wrestled with those who fall back into religious traditions as a source or foundation of salvation. Yet, we as Bible-believers, know that salvation is through Christ and Him alone. The accusation has been made by the RFP that IFB pastors preach a standard’s based, works based salvation. I know of NO IFB preachers who have added standards or any work to salvation. Quite the contrary. As far as I know, this evidence has never been produced, yet they continue to insinuate that IFB pastors preach this…

Standards and Biblical holiness are the fruit of salvation NOT the foundation of it. This fruit manifests itself in the action and attitudes of His people. God’s people should strive to be more like Christ each day. God is interested in His people being an example of the believer in every aspect of their life, inside and out. But let’s be very clear…this is not about trying to “get” God to love you. Nothing, NOTHING shall ever separate you from the love of Christ. This is what Romans 8 teaches us. We are instructed all through Scripture to be holy, to keep His commandments and yield ourselves to the instructions of the Word. Doing so does not make you a legalists, it simply means you are obedient to Scripture. After all, Jesus said, “if you love me, keep my commandments.”

The rub here is simple. The RFP do not embrace what we believe to be the Biblical basis of standards. These areas include music standards, dress, entertainment, the KJB and simply an entire overall ministry philosophy. Does this mean that these men (and women) are lost? Of course not. Do I believe they are wrong. Yes. Are they my enemy? Nope. But somehow, I get the impression, for many, the feeling is not mutual. When souls are saved, we rejoice. But when an IFB pastor talks about souls being saved, the professions of faith are questioned by the RFP crowd and even maligned through innuendo and scorn. It seems to me that the RFP crowd does not rejoice when a lost man or woman comes to Christ at a IFB church because many of them accuse IFB churches of being a cult. To me this is highly offensive to anyone who was reached for Christ through these churches and seems to simply be a tactic to squash dialogue and malign anyone who disagrees with them.

My question is simple…the RFP and their followers insist on Christian liberty to make the choices they wish to make. I say, sure, they have that. But where is the Christian liberty for those of us that hold to the standards that we believe are Biblical? It seems like this is a one way street for them. Do it our way or you are a legalist. Accept our interpretation or we will label you a cult.

Abuse

While other podcasts have focused on the abuse of minors and women, the RFP seem to use these events to try to undermine the stand of IFB pastors and churches, no matter their involvement in any such terrible instances. Let’s be clear, any man, no matter their position, who abuses a child or women should be reported to the police. Cover ups are unacceptable when it comes to criminal behavior or hurting those who are innocent. I believe this is where the overwhelming majority of IFB pastors are in their stance. It is frustrating to hear of situations that seem to be different. With that being said, I believe it is wrong to quickly judge a situation without knowing all of the facts.

Now patriotism

Now with 9/11 days away, one of the founders of the RFP posts that we should not have an American flag on our platforms. They think we are not capable of appreciating our country while at the same time worshipping our worthy Saviour. I do not think this is by accident. They will criticize ANYTHING the IFB are known for. This pious crowd takes their freedoms for granted. After 9/11, the motto, “Never forget” was popularized. The RFP have done just that. They have forgotten the price paid for freedom. They have forgotten our forefathers who have given us our Bible-believing churches today. Many in the RFP were saved because IFB churches knocked on their doors and led them to Christ…yeah, they have forgotten. I believe as a church we should be grateful for a free country and say so. We should honor our first responders and those who have purchased our freedom and liberty with their lives. To ignore this as a church, shows a level of disregard for sacrifice that shows poorly to the next generation.

Identity

Seems to me that the RFP crowd has built a name on what they are against rather than what they are for. They have built a brand, sponsorships and now are selling merchandise. Perhaps this is the reason why they started the RFP, perhaps not. But the reality is these men rarely post anything about their ministries and what Christ is doing in their circles. My advice to these men is simple…focus on the Great Commission rather than trying tear down men and women who are doing just that. Now, I am not naïve, they won’t. But here is a promise. We won’t be silent when you attack friends and family that we love. We won’t be silent about holiness, standards, soul winning and being separated from the world.

To be continued…

Author: William Tyson

Pastor of Woodlawn Baptist Church - www.wbcbowie.org Founder of Bus Them In - www.busthemin.com Husband to an amazing wife & father to three kids than I love very much!

3 thoughts on “The Recovering Fundamentalist”

  1. You use the phrase “To be more like Christ”, what does that even mean in the IFB? Suit on Sunday? Pressed white shirt? Fancy shoes? Nice high and tight hair cuts? A tie? Skirts and dresses? Nylons? Listening to only classical music? Only singing hymns written between 1600 and 1970? Using only the KJV? Did Christ do any of these things? If not (because he didn’t) what makes these things Christ like? Who says they are Christ like? If outward appearances make one Christ like, what prevents anyone from assuming a Wallstreet banker, a K Street lobbyist or a politician on Capital Hill is like Christ, they where suits and ties, they wear fancy shoes and white shirts, they dress sharp and cut their hair just right. They even give large donations to charity.

    All I see here is man made rules for behavior. Who are we trying to impress? The Bible calls human good works filthy (literally menstrual blood soaked) rags.

    Am I broad brushing? Am I painting a picture that is not accurate? I came out of a IFB background, I’ve tried and failed to live by these rules believing that I would be more acceptable to Christ. It was bondage of the soul to rules that were not Biblical. I’m not even talking about lifestyle choices that may be gray line like alcohol consumption or actual outright sins such as sexual immorality. Please explain the term Christ like and acceptable to Christ. And explain how mandating man made rules that isn’t legalism. Please.

    Like

    1. Josh,
      Thank you for your response. You ask the question, what does “be more like Christ mean?” It means humility, holiness, the fruits of the spirit and the mind of Christ. In short, our lives as Christians should be different than the world. We should strive to be like Christ and less like the world, each and every day. Sometimes that puts us at odds with the world and even fellow Christians. Being Christlike can only be strived for when the Holy Spirit lives within us. You assume that I as an IFB only look at the outside. Incorrect. A man (or woman) who has the “outside” in order but is out of control in their spirit and attitude is not right with the Lord. In fact, the reality is that nearly 100% of the counseling and problems I deal with have nothing to do with “standards” but rather are the result of matters of the heart, issues with ones spirit and self-control. Josh, you seem to be angry at your heritage as an IFB. I don’t know you or your story. You make a lot of assumptions and assume yourself to be the authority based on your experiences. The reality is that many of been won to Christ and loved and cared for by IFB churches and others have been mistreated by those who were supposed to be their caretakers. Frankly the latter is contrary to what churches should be. I have been in the same IFB church for 38 years. I have focused on caring for people, standing for the truth and calling out those who create a false narrative about good men and women. I will ask you…what man made rules have you so fired up? What principles do you follow? Does the Bible not teach us that we are responsible for our actions and attitudes? You have standards Josh…the question is what is the basis for YOURS? I know what I believe and why, do you? Thanks for reaching out. – Bro Tyson

      Like

  2. I am not angry, I am at peace with my Independent Baptist heritage. Please don’t assume a false narrative about me. In fact I still attend an Independent Baptist church. I have simply moved on from the artificial shackles of my previous point in my life. My struggle is not with Standards so much, I do hold standards I simply don’t feel they are a requirement for acceptance my before God. On my own my best standards are simply filthy rags. My only acceptance and holiness is in Christ and Christ alone.

    My standards that I hold to are more for an good report among men. I dress well so I won’t look like a slob. I speak well so as not to offend, I avoid ill reputable institutions to prevent that ill repute from becoming my reputation. I don’t drink, smoke or use other substances because I find there is no benefit in life or health from drunkenness, smoking or drug abuse. I seek to not cause offense to any man, to prevent my behavior from becoming the purpose of offense toward the gospel. But those are my personal standards. I don’t expect others to hold my standards or preach my standards on others as a means to godliness, because they are not a means towards godliness. If you hold different standards, I don’t take issue with what you feel is right. I honestly don’t know you, your ministry, your heart in discipleship your interactions with people or your motives, I simply am cautious as one Christian brother to another about what you mean by “Christ like” I have seen a lot of very unchristlike so called “christ like” behavior. This was my experience in IFB college and in IFB churches. Where if one didn’t tow the line Christ might not find you acceptable. I reject that attitude of the heart and sinful spirit.

    You are exactly correct in your statement that most sins are sins of the heart and of the spirit. On that we agree, for sure. No argument.

    I guess that is what I read in your assessment of Recovering Fundamentalist. I have gotten to know a lot of these people. They are not wicked, rebellious or lascivious people. Instead what I have found is people who experienced hurt at the hand of those who were tasked with shepherding them, broken at their inability to live up to enforced standards, condemned for questioning preaching that was or at least appears to be contrary to scripture, starved because as they grew in faith their pastors refused to give them anything but milk. Many are people who have walked away from spiritual abuse at great personal and emotional expense,often facing rejection and harsh treatment at the hands of people they trusted including family.

    Not all IFB are the same, I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt (not knowing you) that you aren’t spiritually abusive and are a good follower of the good Shepherd. Not all pastors are like you. It’s from these hirilings and abusers of Christ’s flock who the majority of Recovering Fundamentalist have walked away from. Please accept my words here with the deepest humility and please let those who are seeking shelter from abuse find refuge.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: