Tag Archives: kjv

Baptist Dysfunction #1

I have so encouraged to see a resurgence among young independent fundamental baptists calling for a revolution back to truth. It is encouraging to hear the stories from so many who are prayerfully seeking balance in their faith, their families, and their ministries.  For too long, legalists have ruled, dictators have oppressed, and ignorance prevailed. [If you’re a rebel, don’t click here.]

church_clipart_whiteI sincerely apologize if that sounds condescending – I know it’s hard to interpret tone on a blog – but I can vouch for the guy at the keyboard… it’s not at all condescending. I am very much a student. I am in process. I’m still growing – hopefully – toward Christ. But I do find issue with some things that many of my IFB friends continue to practice and preach. I have been silent, had quiet conversations with gentlemen in dark corners (okay, that’s a bit overstated and dramatic); but seriously, I feel like it’s time for me to step up and speak up…

I was raised on the old B-A-P-T-I-S-T acrostic.  The one that supposedly made us ‘distinctive’ in our faith. But as I’m reading and learning, I’m discovering that most -if not all- of these are not exactly as they seem. So, today I’m kicking off a 4- or 5-part discourse on our dysfunction. I will seek to be open and not authoritative, subjective and not snobbish, truthful but not negative. These first two deal with the F and the I of IFB…

B- Biblical Authority

Can I still be included as a “fundamentalist” – even if I don’t ascribe to all the extra standards? I had a preacher tell me once that the issue of women wearing pants should be included with the fundamentals (as in: biblical inerrancy, deity of Christ, etc). True story! Why can’t we fellowship if we aren’t exactly the same? (If Amos 3:3 applies like you say it does, then our churches should be a lot smaller.)  Speaking of that, why do we intentionally exclude people from our church?  For example, a friend’s church has a statement like this on their wall: “If you like the KJV, you’ll love this church!” What about someone who doesn’t know about Bible versions, will they love it? What if someone just loves the Lord, will they love your church… or just like it?  Why do we do that?  It sure doesn’t seem like the Bible is the ‘sole authority’ any more. (Speaking of the KJV, I’ve got Bible version questions, do you?) Seems more like Bible+ or Bible*! It’s as if I’m in the twilight zone and I’m the only one who sees that we are doing what we accused everyone else of.

We are not the only bastions of the truth. There IS more than one right way. Yes, there is right and wrong, black and white, and absolute truth. There are right ways to do things, just like there are wrong ways, but God’s will is not a tight-rope to be walked. Why am I saying this?  Because I was told many times that there was only one right way, but many wrong ways.  That’s nothing short of a lie.  God didn’t just create butterflies, He created over 12,000 varieties.  He loves variety.  Why do we demand sameness in our pursuit of unity and agreement?  Why do we force Borg-like assimilation? ‘Comply or be destroyed.’  Why is there no room for discussion, disagreement, or debate?  (More to come on this in the next few weeks… the P & I)

A – Autonomy of the Local Church

Why was I told that Southern Baptists (and other baptists, for that matter) are not autonomous? Unless you think autonomous means isolated, there are many other kinds of churches besides IFB which are self-governing. Baptists are not the only sovereign group. There are independent Christian churches, non-denom, and even autonomous protestants (settle down, that’s not an endorsement). When I was starting a church outside of Louisville, I was told there were no “gospel-preaching churches” in the county.  That was a lie! There were several.  Just because they aren’t IFB doesn’t mean they don’t have the gospel. I can name you at least 3-4 pastors in that county preaching the gospel and teaching evangelism (and practicing it). I regret not working with these great men many years earlier.  The tragedy is that I bought the lie that I couldn’t be ‘equally yoked’ with these men.  Lies!

IFB preachers are lonely and their fellowship meetings are growing boring. (Sorry for being Debbie Downer here, but we continue to isolate in the name of Biblical separation.)  There are great men who passionately love the Lord who are quickly discounted because they carry an ESV, sing a song written after 1950, or wear shorts in church. The term “ecclesiastical separation” has been egregiously misused and, therefore, been the tool of many a leader to abuse a congregation into cultish tendencies. Calling a man a heretic because he believes in God’s sovereignty and election (which are both Biblical terms) is sin. He is a brother – treat Him like one (but not like you treated your brother growing up, that probably wouldn’t be good!). I’m a firm believer in defending the truth, but destroying kingdom relationships and firing your #oldpaths bullets at brothers MUST cease.

Last year, I attended a conference where a prominent IFB pastor from Southern California was preaching.  He was very organized, very classy… until he proceeded to turn his message into a bash ‘Saddleback Sam’ (his words) session.  Three different times, he kept going back to it. Why? Is he jealous? Did RW do something to hurt him or his children? This guy isn’t fringe, he’s a leader.  He’s respected; his church is booming.  So why? When I wrote to him, he didn’t respond back.  I just don’t get it.

Conclusion

I’m NOT writing this to stir up stuff. In fact, for the last year, I’ve been almost totally out of the loop – and I LOVING it!  The P4G blog has sat quiet as I (and many other contributors) have been very busy for the kingdom, and that’s okay.  But two things have stirred this up in my heart: 1). Recent weddings/ funerals which have caused me to cross paths with several good brothers with genuine concerns;  2). Recent conversations with former church members with multiple questions about these very issues.

I am not a leader, so don’t follow me (Ha! Like I really needed to say that anyway!). I’ve found my tribe and it’s not in the IFB… although I’m still very much I, F, and B! So many men are considering deep questions. Questions that their peers don’t want to hear.  They are weighing the evidence. and nothing could be better for the movement. They shouldn’t have to choose between old paths and right paths!  Could a Truth-Revolution be on its way?

Feel free to leave a comment – a positive one. I’d love to hear how your pastor is different from the ones that I keep hearing about. Surprise me. Please be solution-oriented.  If indeed our movement is sinking, should a Christian jump ship or try to bail water? Is it too late or am I just not patient enough? What is the future of ‘fundamentalism?’  What do you think of this new fundamentalism?

Article by Patrick Nix

@patchnix

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Enjoying Your Bible

“The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
“These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.”  Psalm 19:8a, 10; John 15:11

Is your Bible a like a desert (dry, boring) or like a dessert (sweet, satisfying)?  The Bible compares itself to food – and, considering the average American’s fetish with junk food, I’m not so sure that’s a good comparison.  Most of the time, good food isn’t really good – if you know what I mean.  We have to choose between good and good-for-us.  But the Author would have you have your cake and eat it too (spiritually speaking).  He desires to fill you with joy through His Words.

People don’t enjoy their Bible because they don’t __________________ it!  What’s your guess?  Because they don’t read it, understand it, obey it?  Or is the answer deeper… because they don’t treasure it?  Truth is, there’s not an easy, cookie-cutter answer to this question.  It’s different for each person.  Keep reading to find out your answer.

God’s Words are LIFE

In every realm, God’s Words are life: the natural, the physical, & the spiritual. In every form that God’s Word has taken, it is life: the uttered word, the Word made flesh, the Word recorded in Scripture.  We were created by His Word (Hebrews 11:3).  We are redeemed by His Word (James 1:18).  We are sustained by His Word (Hebrews 1:3).  We live by His Word (Matthew 4:4).  In case you don’t get what I’m trying to say, God’s Word is the most powerful thing in the known universe.  It’s more potent than the U.S.S.R.’s Big Ivan Bomb–a multistage hydrogen bomb (which contains 5.4 yottawatts –approximately 1.4% of the power output of the sun — with a blast more than 10x’s greater than all of WW2′s munitions combined).  It’s more powerful than the Great Chilean earthquake of 1960 that registered a whopping 9.5 on the Richter scale.  In fact, these things don’t even compare to the power of the Word of God!

The Bible Fuels your Joy

True joy has faith at it’s core – and there’s no real faith without God’s Word (John 20:31 & Romans 15:13).  Joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit, and where the Bible goes, so goes the Spirit (Romans 8:5).  Hope and comfort come from the Scriptures (Romans 15:4).  Joy is found in a freedom that many on death row have experienced (John 8:32).  Peace and assurance of God’s great control fuels joy in the midst of difficulty (Ps. 119:50,52; 1 John 5:13).  Find joy in the Bible’s wisdom (Prov. 3:13) and in the victory it guarantees (1 John 2:14).

Learning How to Enjoy Your Bible More…

George Mueller is a great example of the ‘blessed man’ of Psalm 1:1-3.  He determined that his happiness would be in first seeking ‘soul nourishment’ by reading, pondering, and living-out the Word of God.

  • Increased Bible INTAKE … reading / listening to it.  How often does the Bible enter your heart (through your eyes and ears)?  It will not affect you by osmosis!  I’ve been encouraged the last two weeks to hear of three church members who have been making time to read their Bibles at work during down- and break-times.  Many others have already chosen to use their commute times to listen to the Bible (CD/iPod).
  • Increased Bible INTERACTION … meditating / talking about it.  Is the Bible becoming a part of your soul (thoughts and emotions)?  It takes time to digest its nutrients.  This simple step of reviewing what you’ve read a couple of times a day will allow the nuclear energy of the Bible to radiate into your soul and amplify the Bible’s meaning exponentially in your life!  But don’t just keep it in… talk about it with others.  Ask questions about it.  Tweet about it.  (This is why small group study is so important!)
  • Increased Bible INTEGRATION … obeying / applying it.  The Bible was never meant to be a textbook or fact-book to be learned.  It is God’s message of hope and salvation meant to be lived.  Real Christianity (religion) happens when His Words come out of you, when you ‘Just Do It.’ (see James 1:25-27).  God’s Word will change you from the inside out if you allow it.

Is your heart set to intake, interact, & integrate God’s Word into your life?

For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.  Ezra 7:10

Article by Patrick Nix

@patchnix

Other Articles  |  Bio