The Same Old “New Independent Baptists”

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The wisest man to ever live told us “…there is no new thing under the sun.” (Ec. 1:9). This statement could never be truer in relation to attempts made to “fix” Independent Baptists by turning our attention to the “New/Young/Up & Coming Independent Baptists.” On the surface this is a good and noble goal. It sounds refreshing, understanding, and so needed, but history teaches us other wise (I dealt with the history of this topic in an earlier post you can read here).

Another one of these type articles was published yesterday by Pastor Josh Teis. You can read it here. This article, as the ones previous to it, is so refreshing, understanding, and needed, but in the context of history should cause us some concern (again for the context of history please read this previous post here).

I realize by me publishing this it opens me up to being the “typical” Independent Baptist killjoy. I feel like writing this is kind of like not liking kittens. I assure you I love kittens and there is much in articles like this that I do like. I get frustrated at times at the petty and non-important things that get far too much attention in the Independent Baptist world.

Also let me say, I have nothing personally against Pastor Teis at all! From what I know of him he is very gifted, kind, and gracious man. We have mutual friends and we ourselves are Facebook “Friends.” I have very close friends who love Pastor Teis’ article and think I’m crazy to voice these concerns, but the great thing is after I write this we will still be close friends.

Here are my concerns about this article and ones like it:

1. The Presupposition that the things listed were not getting done before

Pastor Teis lists seven things that the “New Independent Baptists’ are doing. His list is:

1. Obsessed with the Gospel
2. Committed to Preaching the Bible
3. Men of Unity who Despise Hyper-Separatism
4. Turned Off by Denominational Politics
5. Dedicated to Fiscal Accountability
6. Well Read
7. Just Getting Started

The whole idea that these things are only being done by the new generation is just not true. The above list is typical of middle age and older Independent Baptist preachers as well. It’s safe to say that these things have been done for centuries by Independent Baptists.

I realize we each bring our own experience into what we think of the Independent Baptist world in general. My own up bringing was with a pastor who lived all the things mentioned above. My schooling taught me of all the above things mentioned above. My fellowship now, as a pastor, is with men who do all the things mentioned above. This is why I have a hard time trying to grasp that the above things mentioned are something “New”?

Are there “bad seeds” out there? Yes of course! But that has always been going on since the days of Diotrephes (III Jn. 1:9). There is nothing new about the problems we face, nor the solutions we have. We have no need for the next generation to “rescue” us, which brings me to the next point of concern…

2. The Presupposition that the “Young Guys” really “Get It”

I thank God for the “young guys!” I like to think I still fit into that category, but sad to say at 43 years old I’m probably kidding myself to think so. I still do feel young and I am not that far removed from remembering what it is like to be young. According to the Bible youthfulness is associated with foolishness.

I remember my feelings as a younger preacher when I would hear other young preachers say they need to have their voice heard. I would think, “Why? What do you know?” Thinking “the answer to problems is in the younger guys” is evolutionary thinking, not Biblical thinking.

Young guys wanting their voice to be heard or thinking they are the solutions to problems is a sign of pride, not hope. I Peter 5:5 says, “Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.”

3. That Which has Everyone so Excited is concerning (Attacking Vigilant Separation).

The reason Pastor Teis’ blog post is getting and will get a lot of attention centers around his third point – 3 – Men of Unity who Despise Hyper-Separatism. I contend that without point 3 his post does not get the attention it has. He makes the assumption that love and separation are mutually exclusive. So much could be said about this topic, that it would need to have it’s own post.

The most concerning thing about this point is something he says almost in passing which is and I quote, “The litmus test for fellowship has nothing to do with jeans vs. ties, hymns vs. CCM…” The term CCM is synonymous with rock-n-roll music. When people speak of Contemporary Christian Music they are not referring to current songs written by Ron Hamilton or Abigail Miller, but rather rock-n-roll style songs with Christian words. I hope that Pastor Teis was not using this term in that way.

It is not a bad thing to be vigilant about being separate from the world unto God. We are called to hate sin and to love the Lord our God with all our heart, strength, soul, and mind.

4. Having “New” Independent Baptists Would Take Care of our Present Problems

There are problems in the independent Baptist world, but there are problems in every other sector of human life. People are sinners, even if they are Independent Baptists. Mainline denominations, Bible Churches, Community Churches, businesses, public schools, PTA clubs, Elks clubs, NCAA football, etc. all have bad apples – people who abuse power, hide crime, embezzle money, belittle weak people, etc. The list could go on and on. Yes the church should be different, but sadly this isn’t always the case. And when Independent Baptists are not different it is not because of what we believe, but more to do with being humans. Sin is a human problem.

5. That Fighting is Bad

Paul said, “I have fought a good fight…” (II Tim. 4:7). Paul had to fight. Thankfully we don’t have the dangers Paul faced for what he believed. We should not be afraid to battle it out in the arena of ideas and words. And it is not bad to do this in public in the right spirit. I believe it is helpful to do this in public especially among preachers. I believe the key is to end the fight right. We can agree to disagree agreeably. We should be able to battle it out and allow the other person to be wrong without letting it upset us or lead us to slander that person personally.

I hope these thoughts will help those who read them. I’m grateful to be an Independent Baptist and to call them my friends. I will continue to respect the older Independent Baptist men who have lead the way and to encourage the younger men coming behind!  I’m not looking for change. I’m looking for Jesus!

7 Reasons to Stay an Independent Fundamental Baptist

Before you read this, you may want to read part one (click here – A Historical Perspective on Keeping Young Fundamental Baptists in the Camp)

I vividly remember the decision before me as a young Independent Fundamental Baptist (IFB) preacher. The “Young Fundamentalist” movement was very popular among my young preacher friends and the mood of that day was to “jump ship” and leave the IFB movement. I chose to stay in the IFB. I’m glad I did and here are the reasons why!

Now in this generation each young man will be making that decision. Of course IFB churches have problems, what group of churches doesn’t, but I stayed with the IFB churches for these seven reasons. I realize there are other groups of churches that would be characterized by some of these seven reasons, but few would fit all seven. I also want to say this is not an exhaustive list of what is good about IFB churches or doctrine, but rather a list of reasons I chose to stay an IFB preacher. A decision I am still standing by.

7 Reasons to Stay an Independent Fundamental Baptist

  1.  They Love the Word of God

IFB churches encourage people to read their Bible, carry it to church, memorize it, live it and love it! The Bible is very important and never capitulates to science, psychology, emotion, or experience.

IFB preachers and churches take hits for their strong KJV or KJB positions. Most would recognize that there are extreme positions in regards to this issue. If you don’t recognize extreme positions in this area there is a good chance you hold an extreme position. I find that many who are disgruntled and many outsiders to the IFB think that everyone in the IFB hold the most extreme positions (i.e. Ruckminism, double inspiration, etc.). We do not.

As I talk with IFB preachers who are “KJV Only” or “Only KJV,” I find a wide array of positions on the KJV issue spectrum. They vary on many levels and to the degree they are willing to make it a separation issue. But the thing that I love and is so refreshing is that it is motivated by a love for the Word of God. God’s churches should love the Word of God and have a heart to protect it. Frankly it is one of the most “touchy” issues to talk with others about because it is at the core of God’s communication with mankind. We believe that it is very important, and rightfully so. We appreciate and respect someone’s desire to protect God’s Word.

They preach the Word of God. Again there are guys who “preach” stories and pull verses out of context, but there are guys like that in every movement. Pastors with whom I have fellowship within the IFB are not fans of such a method, and don’t invite preachers who do so into their pulpits. It is sad that many who have left the IFB world for the higher learning world often believe that higher learning is a prerequisite for expository preaching. We know this is not the case. The Holy Spirit can use the preaching of unlearned and ignorant men who love Jesus, the Bible, and study it to the best of their ability.

There are many groups outside of IFB churches that put too little emphasis on the Bible. I stand with the IFB and their love for the Bible!

  1.   They Love the Souls of Mankind

Door-to-door, relational, missional, and confrontational soul winning is practiced in IFB churches, each to different degrees in various churches. Big days and buses are perceived by critical outsiders as ways to boost attendance, but the reality is IFB churches love people and want to do all they can to reach as many as they can. Can those things be done in the flesh? Yes, but they can be and are done in the power the Holy Spirit and as a result people are reached. I find it is a bit unsettling to see so many people leaving and then bashing the IFB movement when they or their family were reached with the Gospel by an IFB church!

Groups that want to be critical about our zeal for souls will often measure the validity of the method by the effectiveness. That thinking reeks of pragmatism. God never called us to only use methods that “work,” but rather He called us to tell every creature. The working in the heart is up to Him. I have seen IFB churches go to the slums and ghettos to tell them about Jesus. I have seen people sacrifice just about every evening of an entire month, to knock on doors to tell people about the saving grace of Jesus! Are there better ways? Maybe. Do we always “get it right”? Probably not. But by the grace of God and with His help we want to share the Good News with everyone!

There are many groups outside of IFB churches that seldom, if ever, even encourage people to be a verbal witness for Jesus Christ. I stand with the IFB and their love for the souls!

  1. They Send Missionaries to the Uttermost Part of the World

All around this globe there are IFB missionaries. They are winning souls and planting indigenous, autonomous churches. They do not come to an area to set up a tent, preach a few messages, and then leave. They move their families and their lives into the field the Lord has called them to. They love the people they are reaching and immerse themselves into knowing them, their language and their culture (to the extent that often missionary children suffer from culture shock when they move back to the United States).

They have a plan to share the Good News and plant churches. They are not there to feed them or meet their medical needs, although at times they do feed people and help meet medical needs. They understand the greatest long term hope for any people group is the Gospel, and an established church to keep it and propagate it. IFB churches pray and strategize on how to reach every soul in the world with the Gospel in obedience to Christ’s command.

There are many groups outside of IFB churches that make very little to no effort to establish churches that will remain in foreign mission fields. I stand with the IFB and their Plans to Send Missionaries to the Uttermost Part of the World!

  1. They have No Desire to be Contemporary, Don’t Love the World, and are Willing to Bear the Reproach of Christ.

You won’t walk into your average IFB church and find a “Cool” pastor. You won’t find the church trying to be like Hollywood. You will find that they are probably despised by a pretty large segment of the lost world around them. These are not negative traits, but rather indicators that they have a commitment to God before anyone else.

Being contemporary is not a goal at all! The word contemporary means “of the times.” Romans 12:2 says, “And be not conformed to this world…” The word “world” in this verse in the Greek is the word “aion” which means “of the age.” I’m very comfortable with a group of churches that are “behind the times” because God has commanded them not to be of this age. If a church is contemporary they would have to be, by definition, of this age, and God has clearly commanded us not to be. The Lord’s churches will always be slow at “coming up with the times,” because He commanded us not to be contemporary. Furthermore, the Biblical principle of “testing all things” necessarily implies a cautious and measured approach to “change”. IFB preachers have for years preached against everything from wire rimmed glasses, the internet, and yes even Facebook (some still do that), but through time and testing they can find them to be safe, or in some cases a dangerous snare of the devil. Do they always “get it right?” No, but I’m glad they care enough to be careful.

They also are willing to preach against the world system around them. Whether it be the sensuality of Hollywood or the materialism of Wall Street, they will cry against it. They recognize that the power to reach the world is in being not conformed to it (a Biblical principle taught throughout the Bible – Dan. 3, Mat. 5:13-16; I Cor. 15:34).

They are not liked. They are persecuted. They know that Jesus said, “Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! For so did their fathers to the false prophets.” (Luke 6:26) Are there IFB people and pastors who are jerks, pick fights, and seem to go out of their way to be hated? Yes, but the vast majority of them are not that way. They are normally broken and humbled when, by taking a stand, they are persecuted or under attack. The Bible teaches extensively that when we follow Christ we will bear His reproach. (Mat. 5:10-12; Jn. 15:18-17; Heb. 11:23-27; 13:13)

There are many groups outside of IFB churches that brag about being contemporary, work very hard at being like the world system, and seek to be liked by everyone (they’re “Cool”). I stand with the IFB in not being contemporary, in rejecting the world system, and in being rejected by the world!

  1. They Give Their Lives in Selfless & Sacrificial Service to God

Have you ever seen a man of God or a woman of God make sacrifices? I have. I’ve seen it in our church and in other IFB churches. Men and women of God who get up extra early to start buses, fix buses, and pick up needy kids on buses. They give their whole Saturday sometimes to knock on people’s doors to share the Gospel, or the whole day at a church-wide work day. They volunteer to help clean the church, cook meals, mow lawns, and a plethora of other things needed to be done around the church. They do all that without receiving a dime.

Critics like to say people only sacrifice because an IFB pastor has bullied them, or “guilt tripped” them into it. I think that is a low-down accusation that only impugns the dear saints of God who are serving in their IFB church. We have a “Man of God” in our church that I often think will have a greater reward at the judgment than me and many other preachers who vocationally serve the church. His name is Larry. He voluntarily and joyfully cleans our church with no pay. We would pay him if we could afford it, but we can’t. And do you know what? He doesn’t care. His testimony of sacrifice is such an encouragement to me!

Are there pastors who are “lords” over their flock and are hirelings, just in it for the money? Are their IFB pastors that are creepy psychopaths that manipulate the people? Yes and Yes, but most pastors I know are over worked and underpaid and are having the time of their life! I’ve seen progressive churches dishonor older pastors by kicking them out of parsonages. Men who have sacrificed almost everything materially this world has to offer. I’ve seen older pastors in the IFB die with very little of this world to their name.

There are many groups outside of IFB churches that sacrifice very little if at all and their pastors are paid very well to conduct one service a week, unless there is a holiday then they cancel church. I stand with the IFB as they give their lives is selfless & sacrificial service to God!

  1. Care about the fatherless and widows

(I have to be honest and say I am convicted at this point. I have personally been too negligent in ministering to the widows in our church. I want to be transparent with you about this because it illustrates the point that IFB pastors and people are just that, people. We have shortcomings and sin issues just like any one else. And it is not always easy to share those, but we know they are there. Some pastors will “buck up” if confronted with sin and shortcomings and act like they don’t exist. Some will cower down and maybe quit or embrace sin even more. IFB pastors are frail men. If they appear strong, it is either the Lord in them, or they are faking it. In either case they know why they appear strong.)

(So the world out there that loves to hate the IFB and especially IFB pastors remember they are people that you can hurt. Have IFB pastors hurt people in their churches? Yes! There are nightmare stories out there about abuse and cover up. I think of websites like stufffundieslike.com which display some of the lunacy of IFB which to be honest about half the time are really funny, but the other half of the time (mostly in the comment section) are down right hateful, vindictive and are doing the very thing they claim to be “exposing”, hurting innocent IFB pastors, their families, and their churches.)

But the Lord is gracious to have a man of God in our church like, Bro. Wood, who cares for the widows in our church. We have many loving people in our church who help the hurting and make meals for the needy. I’ve seen IFB churches having nursing home services, build retirement homes, and take up offerings for widows.

Being from a broken home and my father choosing not to have very much contact with me, I’m glad I was in an IFB church where my youth pastor cared about me. He spent time with me and invited me into his home. He taught me about things from how to hang vinyl siding to how to be a man. In my mind he is not the IFB church exception, but what IFB churches are all about. He is still serving as an IFB church missionary to the uttermost parts of the world.

There are many groups outside of IFB churches that have no time for the weaker people of the world other than to throw a little money their way. I stand with the IFB as they care about the fatherless and widows.

  1. They Care about the Lord’s Churches and Planting More.

Church attendance matters in the IFB world. Church polity matters in the IFB world. Church purity maters in the IFB world. There are those who will be critical about those statements, but why? I have no idea!

Jesus Christ established His church. I would think it would matter to Him how they are going. Jesus looks at churches as local, accountable assemblies of baptized believers; lead, shepherded, and overseen by an elder/pastor/bishop (different terms to describe the same person). (Rev. 2-3; I Pet. 5:1-4)

We need church! And we are glad Jesus gave us one. We need a pastor! And we are glad Jesus gave us one. We worship the Lord together. We receive instruction from the Holy Spirit together. We fellowship together, making friends that are sometimes closer to us than our own blood relatives. We evangelize together, taking all this Good News to people who need to hear it. And as if that’s not enough, we want to plant more churches just like ours all around the United States and the world. Sometimes we receive ridicule for planting a church right by another “gospel preaching” “contemporary” church, but we have learned from history that when a church ceases to live a miraculous Gospel, it will soon cease to preach a miraculous Gospel.

There are many groups outside of IFB churches that don’t even see a need for a church family or a pastor to shepherd them. I stand with the IFB as they care about the Lord’s churches and plant more.

Yeah, I’ll gladly stand with this group known as the IFB churches!

Let me encourage young preachers to stay. Not because we are problem free, but because of what we have and hold so dear. I can’t “try to keep” young fundamentalists in the camp, that is an impossibility. It will also get our focus off the things that matter. Why they leave is another question and I may deal with at a later date.  We must remember our ability to keep them is not in our hands. It is a decision each of them will make. I pray they chose wisely based on the right reasons.

A Historical Perspective on Keeping Young Fundamental Baptists in the Camp

There isIMG_0513 a famous saying that goes something like this, “The only thing we fail to learn from history, is to learn from history.”  Over the last ten years I have felt like I walked back in time.  I have felt like I have lived in the past, my past.  Ten years ago I became the pastor of United Baptist Church an Independent Fundamental Baptist (IFB) Church in Springfield, Missouri.  It wasn’t long until I had opportunity to enter into some great fellowship with a great group of IFB churches in this area.  Also, at that time I was just getting to know and fellowship with another “circle” of IFB churches in another region of the country.  I can think of no other way to describe what I experienced then, other than to say, it was like I walked back in time 20 to 30 years.

Learning From History

These IFB churches had the philosophy, burden, standards, and heart of the “circle” of churches I had grown up around.  Through these ten years I have seen these IFB churches face the same battles I remember watching when I was a teen preacher boy and a college student preparing for ministry.  I remember battles, fighting, and compromises that, at the time, I didn’t always understand.  I now understand why, as I was headed to Bible College, my pastor resigned from the board of that same college.  He said something like this at the time, “We need to learn from history.  Bible colleges who get accreditation never hold the line.  Compromises will be made.” (The year I went to Bible College the college I went to was seeking accreditation).  I thought at the time that he was over reacting, but now I know why he chose to do that.  He had learned from history.

On Tuesday March 11, 2014 I read an article someone had cited a link to on Facebook.  It was from the blog of Pastor Jeff Amsbaugh entitled, “Keeping Young Fundamentalists In The Camp”.  When I read the article it was like I was going back in time 20 years.  About 20 years ago there was a movement of “Young Fundamentalist” that sounded that same cry.  There was quite the stir about young guys leaving the ranks and what should we do about it.  It began with an article written by Jason Janz about why we are loosing young fundamentalists.  Jason Janz was a self proclaimed young fundamentalist in that day and in that circle of IFB churches.

He created a website named Sharper Iron, which was there to give a platform to young fundamentalists to speak their mind and “sharpen” one another.  In my opinion the website and movement of “young fundamentalists” were guys taking shots at older guys and their problems.  It also seemed that this group of disgruntled young fundamentalist eventually, and rather quickly, became middle-aged neo-evangelicals.  Many of my friends and college classmates bought into this thinking, and walked away from being identified as an IFB and they are still walking.

What I Loved About Bro. Amsbaugh’s Blog Post

The thing many people loved, including myself, about Bro. Amsbaugh’s blog post is the fact that he dealt with many huge problems within IFB churches.  We do have our wackos, but who doesn’t?  My wife has family members who have literally been on America’s Most Wanted for robbing several banks on their bikes.  I’m married into that family which now makes them my family.  Are you going to judge a whole family by a few bad apples?  (What are the problems in IFB churches and how do we fix them?  That is for another time and is worth considering.)  I’m thankful that Bro. Amsbaugh pointed out our crazy uncle and odd second cousin in the family, but, as I would assume he realizes, this does not condemn the whole IFB family.  Far too many Neo thinking minds used his blog post to do just that which is an unfortunate false conclusion.  Again, I would have wholly loved Bro. Amsbaugh’s blog post if it were not for the lesson I have learned from history and the gleeful reaction of those who love to hate IFB churches.

Repeating History?

Two things stand out in my mind about those days which would apply to this recent article by Pastor Jeff Amsbaugh:

  1. Why do we care what the young guys think? 

I mean don’t get me wrong,  I care a great deal about training young preachers.  We have several young men called to preach in our church (my oldest son being one of them).  Paul was about training young preachers, but  Paul never asked the younger men what they needed or how they felt.  Paul received from the Lord, and gave it to the young men.

I remember at the time I was in my early to mid twenties and I could not figure out why all of the sudden young guys became so smart.  The Bible doesn’t teach that younger people are more enlightened than older people, nor does observation, nor history.  At the time I wanted to respond with an article, but I remember thinking, “Who would care what I think” and “What do I know?” (That thought is still in my mind as I write this).  It is progressive/evolutionary thinking that asserts the younger ones are enlightened.  At almost 42 years old I’m not sure I’m worth reading yet.

In Bro. Amsbaugh’s blog post, Keeping Young Fundamentalist in the Camp, he references the fact that he is “listening” to the younger fundamentalists.  I may be a young fundamentalist (if I am, I’m on the old side), but when I was much younger I had these same feelings.  Why are we listening to the young guys?  Pride is often cited as a reason that young guys leave, they see pride in the IFB and it makes them want to leave.  Is it not pride if a young guy thinks the old men ought to listen to them?

  1. This is Nothing New.

Another memory from the stir caused around 20 years ago by the young fundamentalist movement is that this is nothing new.  My former youth pastor and I were talking about the hubbub at the time and he said something to this affect, “Steve, this is nothing new.  Guys I went to college with 20 years ago left the IFB too.”  He then went on to site a few examples.  What Bro. Amsbaugh has pointed out is not some new problem.  It is not exposing a problem that is new to this age.  I saw it 20 years ago and my youth pastor saw it 20 years prior to that.  In fact as you read the Bible you realize Paul faced this problem around 2000 years ago.

Biblically, how should older preachers deal with younger preachers who are disillusioned?  How does the Bible teach younger preachers to interact with older preachers?  Much could be said here.  In fact the long answer to that question is to exegete the Pastoral Epistles.  For the sake of our discussion consider these two verses (notice one is at the beginning of the book and the other is at the end):

I Timothy 1:11 According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.

I Timothy 6:20 O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:

Paul, the older preacher, was to commit to Timothy, the younger preacher, the Gospel.  Timothy was to take the truth given him.  Timothy was not called on to “share his concerns.”  Paul was not encouraged to “’keep’ the younger guys in the camp.”  Paul actually commanded them and trained them from day to day, and they gladly received the correction and training.  The young guys were not the “enlightened ones” and Paul was not the enlightened one either, Paul was pointing them to Jesus! (I Cor. 11:1)

I’m grateful that I had a Pastor who was an Independent Fundamental Baptist and not ashamed to be so.  He was kind, level headed, a great husband and father, an expository preacher, and the furthest thing from the wacko elements of the IFB.  If you were not blessed with such a good experience in an IFB church and with your IFB pastor, my heart breaks for you.  I believe it helped me stand as a young IFB pastor myself.  My Pastor committed something to my trust and that’s where I stand!

Young Men & Old Men Will You Stand?

When I was a young man the “Young Fundamentalist” movement was a foot in the circle of churches I grew up in.  I remember having to make a decision.  Would I follow most of my friends and college classmates into neo-evangelicalism or would I stand with the IFB?  I made the choice to stand.  Young men today, will you stand?  I stand with you!  I stand with all the young men who see what I saw around 20 years ago, that there is a need to lift up what has been entrusted!  I knew then what I know more clearly now, that the move into another realm of Christendom out of the IFB would not eliminate problems, but rather just create new problems… maybe bigger problems than exist in the IFB.  So the decision that I made to stand then, is the decision I still make now.

Older men of God we don’t need to “try to keep the young guys.”  We must keep standing!  We need to do right, honor God, and lift up the Lord Jesus Christ in our life and churches.  I never respected an older preacher who was willing to change just because some young guys were squawking.  I thought then, and I still think it now, if older preachers are willing to change what they are just to “keep” the young guys, then what they had wasn’t worth very much to begin with.

Where Were You on March 11, 2014?

Ironically, last Tuesday March 11, the day Bro. Amsbaugh’s blog was posted, I was at a preachers meeting where for the first time in my life I was one of the oldest preachers there.  Here I was at an IFB preachers meeting and all around me there were young guys.  It was great!  They were not griping about all the problems in IFBdom, but rather basking in the goodness of Jesus.  Are they oblivious to problems in the IFB?  No.  But they are more excited about what they have in the IFB, than what the problems are.

Do we have problems? Yes, but there are many great reasons to stand as an Independent Fundamental Baptist!  Part two of this post will give those great reasons.

Part II – 7 Reasons to Stay an Independent Fundamental Baptist

2013 A Church Aflame Conference

United Baptist Church is thrilled to host the A Church Aflame Conference September 9th-11th, 2013.  Our Church has been planning and praying over this conference since the end of last year’s conference.  I know God is going to use this to be a great help to all who attend.  Please plan to join us!  We are excited about being a blessing to you, but we can’t be if you don’t come!  So set aside some time and join us for this refreshing meeting.

The times in which we live have been described, and rightfully so, as The Church Age or The Age of the Holy Spirit, and with this in mind consider the help you could receive from a conference that considers these two realities concurrently.

The conference desires to help, encourage, and equip both pastors and church members by growing their faith in the powerful working of God’s Spirit in and through the believer and equipping their lives with practical helps to minister effectively in and through the Local Church.

United Baptist Church is excited to encourage you by the Holy Spirit, that God is still doing the impossible in and through Local Churches!

Read the report of last years A Church Aflame Conference and listen to the messages by clicking on the link below:

https://achurchaflame.com/2012/09/21/2012-a-church-aflame-conference-report/

2013 A Church Aflame Flyer pic

2013 A Church Aflame Conference Schedule

Sunday      

       9:30am            The Holy Spirit’s Tools of Humility & Surrender 

                                    Pastor Steve Brudnak

       10:30am          Our Position in Christ

                                    Evangelist  Billy Ingram

       6:00pm            The Spirit’s Call to Work in the Local Church

                                    Evangelist  Billy Ingram

                               A Church Aflame

                                    Pastor Steve Brudnak

Monday

       7:00pm            A Clean Channel

                                    Evangelist  Billy Ingram

                               The Answer to a Struggling Ministry

                                    Pastor Jeremiah Metsinger     

                               Dessert fellowship following the service

Tuesday

       8:00am            Continental Breakfast     

       8:30am            Prayer     

       9:00am            Who’s in Control of Your Life & Church

                                    Pastor Mark Bradshaw           

      

       10:00am          Split Sessions       

                                  Pastors Prayer that Matters  

                                    Pastor Jeremiah Metsinger     

                                  Church MembersTaking Care of Your Pastor

                                    Pastor Mark Bradshaw           

       11:15am          Confronting Unbelief in the Local Church

                                    Evangelist  Billy Ingram         

       12:30pm          Lunch      

Tuesday

       7:00pm            Local Church, Spirit-led Soul Winning

                                    Pastor Jeremiah Metsinger

                               The Spirit’s Call to Plant Churches         

                                    Pastor Matt Dedmon  

                               Dinner to following the service

Wednesday

       8:00am            Continental Breakfast     

       8:30am            Prayer     

       9:00am            Listening to the Holy Spirit Over the Noise of the Brethren

                                    Pastor Steve Brudnak 

       10:00am          Split Sessions       

                                 PastorsUsing Evangelists in the Church                  

                                     Evangelist Billy Ingram

                                 Church MembersGetting Ready for Sunday

                                     Pastor Mark Bradshaw

       11:15am          What is a Local Church Revival

                                    Evangelist Billy Ingram          

       12:30pm          Lunch      

       7:00pm            Local Church, Spirit-led Discipleship

                                    Pastor Jeremiah Metsinger     

                               Be Filled with the Spirit

                                    Evangelist Billy Ingram

2012 A Church Aflame Conference Report

This being the first “A Church Aflame Conference” we did not know what to expect, but now that it is over with, we are so glad that we followed the Holy Spirit’s leadership in having it.  It was evident form the very beginning that God was the one who planned this meeting.  May God receive the glory for the fruit of this conference.

The conference began with Friday night street preaching.  Evangelist Jonathan Barber is a very experienced street preacher.  God used him to lead us and teach us about street preaching.  The weather seemed like it was not going to cooperate, but after a time of prayer and instruction on street preaching, God stopped the rain.  God taught us about child like faith in stopping the rain.  Everyone of the men there that night were sure we would just gather for prayer and instruction on street preaching and then have to go home because of the weather.  But one 12 year old boy was convinced that God would stop the rain so we could go street preaching.  This boy prayed and God heard that prayer which was saturated with child like faith.  The older we get the more we like to look at things through our experience, rather than just believing God for what He says He wants to do.

We were excited to host each preacher coming to the conference.  They were encouraged and challenged by the preaching of God’s Word.  God really brought every sermon together bringing home the trust of the conference – The Spirit in and through the believer & The believer in and through the Local Church.  It was amazing how God showed us the inseparable connection of the Local Church and the Spirit’s direction and empowerment of it.  United Baptist was greatly helped and encouraged by the conference.  Our prayer is that through this conference God would make us A Church Aflame!

Report from Dr. Carl Boonstra:

Over the last 66 years I’ve been in many revivals fellowship meetings and conferences.  Your Church Aflame Bible Conference with emphasis on the work and ministry of the Holy Spirit in and through the believer and the local, visible church was one of the most refreshing and rewarding Bible conferences that I’ve attended in a long time.  There was no foolish fanaticism, no rigid formalism, just old time fundamental Bible teaching and preaching on a vital doctrine that is so needed in this Laodicean Church Age where in so many Independent Baptist churches we have become comfortable and complacent.
Brother Brudnak, you and your guest preachers amazed me.  Elsie and I sat in awe as we listened to the dynamic preaching of Evangelist Jonhathan Barber, Pastor Jeremiah Metsinger, both of whom are only 30 years of age, Pastor Matt Dedmon, church planter, and yourself, Pastor Brudnak.  The power of the Holy Spirit was evident during each message.  The altar being filled at the invitations indicated the moving of the Holy Spirit amongst all of us in attendance.
May God continue to crown your labors with souls for Christ.
Carl Boonstra
Missions Evangelist
We are already looking forward to what God is going to do next year at the “A Church Aflame Conference”  We hope you make plans to join us September 8-11, 2013.  Below are the sermons from this years conference. We hope they will be as much of a blessing to you as they were to all who attended.

Conference Sermons

(* indicates sermons God specially used & ** indicates the sermon you should listen to if you can only listen to one)

*01 The Importance of the Local Church – Pastor Matt Dedmon

*02 The Convicting Work of the Holy Spirit – Evangelist Jonathan Barber

03 Giving the Holy Spirit Absolute Control – Evangelist Jonathan Barber 1

03 Giving the Holy Spirit Absolute Control – Evangelist Jonathan Barber 2

04 A Church Aflame – Pastor Steve Brudnak

05 The Boldness of the Holy Spirit through the Local Church – Evangelist Jonathan Barber

**06 The Local Church Honoring the Holy Spirit as God – Pastor Jeremiah Metsinger

*07 The Humble Servant-A Channel of Holy Spirit Power – Dr. Carl Boonstra

08 A Plan for Soul Winning – Evangelist Jonathan Barber

09 The Holy Spirit’s Vision for the Church as a Team – Pastor Jeremiah Metsinger

10 The Lord of the Harvest Planting Churches – Pastor Matt Dedmon

11 The Holy Spirit’s Call to the Uttermost Part of the Earth – Dr. Carl Boonstra

12 The Specific Leadership of the Holy Spirit – Pastor Jeremiah Metsinger

14 Be Filled with the Spirit – Evangelist Jonathan Barber

15 Walking Down the Revival Road with the Holy Spirit – Pastor Steve Brudnak

16 The Fruit of the Spirit in the Local Church – Pastor Jeremiah Metsinger

The First – A Church Aflame Conference

United Baptist Church is thrilled to host the first A Church Aflame Conference September 10th-12th.  I trust you will purpose to be here and stay for the whole conference, but if you can’t stay for the whole thing come for part of it.  I realize the busy schedules we all keep these days, but I know your investment in this Conference will be well worth your time.  We are excited about being a blessing to you, but we can’t be if you don’t come!  So set aside some time and join us for this refreshing meeting.

The burden of my heart for this conference has a two fold emphasis and can be read on this blog under: My Burden.

I have been planning and praying over this conference for months.  I know God is going to use this to be a great help to all who attend.  Please plan to join us!  Below is the flyer with all the other necessary information.  I trust it will be a help.  If you have any questions or if we can help you in any way please give us a call.

If you are down, discouraged, feeling weak or being attacked by the devil, you need to be at this meeting.  United Baptist Church is excited to encourage you by the Holy Spirit, that God is still doing the impossible!

His Servant & Yours,

Pastor Steven B. Brudnak

A Church Aflame Conference Flyer

A Church Aflame Schedule

(The events on Friday through Monday afternoon are intended for United Baptist Church.  We are anticipating our guests to arrive in time for the 7:00pm Monday evening service)

Friday

7:00pm            Prayer

8:30pm            Street Preaching & Soul Winning on the Square

with Evangelist Jonathan Barber

Saturday

10:00am          Soul Winning

Sunday

8:00am            Church Wide Prayer

9:30am            The Importance of the Local Church – Pastor Matt Dedmon

10:30am          The Convicting Work of the Holy Spirit – Evangelist Jonathan Barber

6:00pm            Giving the Holy Spirit Absolute Control – Evangelist Jonathan Barber

        A Church Aflame – Pastor Steve Brudnak

Monday

9:00am            Prayer Watch

12:00pm          Lunch

7:00pm            The Boldness of the Holy Spirit through the Local Church – Evangelist Jonathan Barber

       The Local Church Honoring the Holy Spirit as God – Pastor Jeremiah Metsinger

Dessert fellowship following the service

Tuesday

8:00am            Continental Breakfast

8:30am            Prayer

9:00am            The Humble Servant-A Channel of Holy Spirit Power – Dr. Carl Boonstra

10:00am          Split Sessions

Pastors A Plan for Soul Winning – Evangelist Jonathan Barber

Church MembersThe Friendly Church Starts with You – Pastor Jeremiah Metsinger

11:15am          The Holy Spirit’s Vision for the Church as a Team – Pastor Jeremiah Metsinger

12:30pm         Lunch

7:00pm            The Lord of the Harvest Planting Churches – Pastor Matt Dedmon

       The Holy Spirit’s Call to the Uttermost Part of the Earth – Dr. Carl Boonstra

Dinner to following the service

Wednesday

8:00am            Continental Breakfast

8:30am            Prayer

9:00am            The Specific Leadership of the Holy Spirit – Pastor Jeremiah Metsinger

10:00am          Split Sessions

PastorsGrowing Your Church through the Sunday School – Dr. Carl Boonstra              

Church MembersPraying Effectively as a Church – Evangelist Jonathan Barber

11:15am          Be Filled with the Spirit – Evangelist Jonathan Barber

12:30pm          Lunch

7:00pm            Walking Down the Revival Road with the Holy Spirit – Pastor Steve Brudnak

       The Fruit of the Spirit in the Local Church – Pastor Jeremiah Metsinger

My Burden

The reason I am beginning this blog is because God has given me a burden to glorify the Holy Spirit and to encourage Holy Spirit filled believers to serve in and through their Local Church.  The verses the Lord used to give me this burden are:

Ephesians 3:20-21   Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,  21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

First, as an Independent Fundamental Baptist, I have seen for most of my life the neglect of the Holy Spirit.  It is very apparent to me that He is mostly understood as God and a Person in relation to doctrine, but seldom in practice; comprehended intellectually, but rarely personally.  In every day life, He has been made to be less than God.  Far too many Independent Fundamental Baptists do not honor Him, worship Him, glorify Him, or pray to Him.  The Holy Spirit is God!  Therefore, He is not someone to be feared or kept at arms length.  The fact that many other groups have twisted the doctrine of the Holy Spirit is not a reason to run from Him, but to study, love and adore Him more.  A. W. Tozer said, “The Holy spirit is the cure for fanaticism, not the cause of it.”  May God use me on this blog to lift up and honor the Holy Spirit!

Secondly, every Holy Spirit filled believer should be involved in a Local Church.  The Holy Spirit is the Lord of the harvest.  He convicts, calls, empowers, and equips believers to be effective Christ-like servants.  The Local Church is the framework that the Holy Spirit uses to reach and make disciples.  The Local Church gives organization and an authority structure to God’s Holy Spirit empowered plan to reach the world through making disciples and establishing more Local Churches.  It is impossible to be a Spirit filled believer and not be involved in, and part of a Local Church.  To ignore, or God forbid undermine, the Local Church is to destroy the tool the Holy Spirit uses to effectively accomplish His will.

In conclusion, I hope that with my posts on this blog you would be encouraged in two ways:

  1. Powerfully!  The Holy Spirit is the power of God.  His power, not to be wielded by us, but for us to come into union with Him.  Not an impersonal power to use for our machinery, but a powerful Person that we can follow and fellowship with.  His powerful working revealing the Reviving presence of our resurrected Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!
  2. Practically!  The Local Church is the practicality of God.  When God’s Reviving presence is known, God has provided a framework or net for that powerful working to be channeled through and secured in.  The Holy Spirit is practical and so should we be.  Being organized, being trained, properly relating to authority, and planning are some of the ways the Holy Spirit wants us to be practical in His power in and through the Local Church.

The Holy Spirit is not looking to use renegades, but Spirit filled servants submitted to, and serving in and through their Local Church.  A Church Aflame is where believers serve powerfully – the Holy Spirit in and through the believer; and where believers serve practically – the believer in and through the Local Church.