Ok, finally taking time to get around to this. First off, thank you men so much. This has been such a blessing and a healing for a lot of bitterness that has taken root in my heart towards the IFB. You guys have shown so much grace to the IFB and so much love for the people. Again thank you.
So I’m out of Winston-Salem, NC. Grew up in a Christian home, went to IFB church, praise the Lord parents weren’t strict IFB (I got to wear shorts growing up, sister got to wear pants). I went to Gospel Light Christian School, managed to survive there K5-12th. On the positive, that is when I learned about Jesus, and through that was saved (as a fifth grader), but never discipled.
Part 1: Testimony of Salvation
So what brought me to Christ, was God honestly. My 4th grade year was in 2001-2002. They started teaching us Revelation right after 9/11. I remember them going over the rapture and all that and being left behind and scaring us 4th graders into terror. Fortunately, we had another teacher around that same time tell us about Jonathan Edwards and his sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” (yes, all this as a 4th grader) but this peaked my curiosity. Well, in that, spent a lot of time wrestling with becoming a Christian. Well that year ended, summer was a great way to push off, 5th grade….Revelation again. This time they used the “Thief in the Night” movie which I’m still terrified of hippies to this day. So, the wrestling went to round 2 and praise God this would be the last round. I feared death, I feared hell, and through J. Edwards, I knew it was the wrath of God for the unrepentant sinner. Started having dreams, one morning I woke up, jumped out of bed, dad came in and asked if I was alright, I said “yeah, just a dream”. He was headed to work at 4:30 am. About 30 mins later woke up from another one, tears pouring out of my eyes….I go watch SpongeBob to push it off, deep down, I couldn’t get away from this what seemed like a call to come and take rest. I was getting hot, feverish, crying my eyes out. I went to my mom. Came into the bedroom, she wasn’t there….I freaked. I ran to my younger sisters room and was screaming “IT’S ALL TRUE! CHRIST HAS RETURNED AND WE’RE GOING TO HELL!!! (I still joke about that I was pleased to see her there lol). Well, next I heard the most comforting voice “Andrew” and it was mom (she was in the bathroom….tell me God isn’t sovereign). She took me and talked with me and I told her everything. That morning, at 5:45, I begged God to save me, begged Jesus to save me and that feverish feeling immediately vanished and the peace that filled me, I could never explain.
Part 2: IFB Exit
We went to a small church and left there, joined Gospel Light Baptist Church in 2008, and that where’s questions and brute answers began. A lot of questions towards their standard and why they believed what they did.
Q: Why do you believe ____. A: Have you fully read your Bible all the way through? don’t ask until you’ve read it all the way through.
Ankle socks on men cause women to have sexual tension. (if ya’ll have an answer on that, would love to know lol)
The reason girls need skirts to cover their knees is because knees make guys think of a woman’s breasts ( I actually asked “So what if ya’ll haven’t shaved your legs? What does that say about you?” I was kicked out of that outting and was proud of it)
I was told by a youth pastor “You need to work at the camp” I had taken a job in landscaping and was wanting to do that ( I was excited about giving to the church financially) he said “I just hate seeing kids sell God out for minimum wage”. I was hurt…then got mad…smart mouth came to play…. “Isn’t minimum wage that’s tithed on and offering given on pay your ungodly salary?” Was banned from visiting the camp that year.
Change is bad because its compromise, God doesn’t change so we won’t (bad theology)
College and Career years, you were looked down on because “your generation is not gonna screw up this church!”
Pastor told me to my face, “You won’t amount to nothing”
We hosted Sword of the Lord conferences. I helped with the kids, I came in jeans, was told I was going to hell by some of the parents that brought their kids down there. Next night wore shorts, told them it was getting warm down here (yeah, bad habits of pouring gas on their fire)
Well, I had enough, I left, went to the IFB church across town. During this transition my mom passed away. A close friend of mine a couple years before introduced me to John MacArthurs sermons and I was going through a confusing transition. The biggest blessing was my mom passing in regards to my walk with the Lord. Trying to run from an omnipresent being is a stupid idea, let me tell you. Was hanging around some people who were trying to pull me away. Went to my friend the introduced me to JMac, and he said I want you to listen to this other guy now, Paul Washer. (what a great friend). Like a light switch, Scripture clicked, I started understanding more… and understanding that Scripture was abused in the IFB that I was in, and that they abusing the church. I went into overtime, reading, listening to sermons, reading theological literature, etc. Asking questions was a no-no. When asking any sort of question (my favorite on why certain Scripture is never taught and why “you say this about the Scripture, but it means this in its context” ) ended in very harsh “ENOUGH”. They also had “Philly the Kidd” for a revival… though he yelled quite a lot and didn’t care for that.
After a lot of prayer and struggle, this past year when COVID started I took it as an opportunity to sit and think. I hadn’t been in a service since August 19 because I thought it was best to study at home alone than sit through that legalistic, heretical horse hockey (H3). During that time a friend of mine sent me your podcast, she was leaving IFB world too and her dad was a pastor. I’ve had a rough time leaving in fear of the repercussion that would be involved. You gents have been such an encouragement showing me that I’m not alone in this fight for correct teaching of Scripture and what it truly means to be a Christian.
A friend of mine invited me to his church back in March and COVID put that off. So I watched a lot of their livestreams and love the exposition from Scripture. Just last week I went and visited and it was a breath of fresh air. Scripture was taught, no personal stories or KJVonlism, and they’re so friendly (lets be honest IFB churches have camps the associate with, and they have clicks in their churches that they only have certain people they associate with, especially in the big churches I was in).
JC, Nate, Brian: Thank you three both. I look forward to listening to ya’ll on my route every Wednesday. We still need to discuss this thing about more than 1 podcast a week. Maybe ya’ll should stream some of your sermons. LOL! Love you guys and praying for you.
Sincerely and in Christ, Andrew