Hey guys. I stumbled upon your podcast while searching for a new one to listen to while running and have made it through every episode over the past couple of weeks! Sure appreciate your ministry here and thought I’d share my own story because it’ll likely be unique.
I didn’t not grow up in the IFB, nor have I ever been a member or pastor of and IFB church but I too, and a “recovering fundamentalist”.
I was raised by wonderfully Godly parents and grew up in a unashamedly theologically and liberal denomination. My parents were very conservative but loved the people of the church too much to leave it after it starting its drift. I was saved and called to preach while attending this church. I preached my first sermon from the pulpit there! I am grateful for it, still dearly love my friends there and have even been invited back there to preach on occasion, so no ill will from my end!
That said, when I started to really dig into the scriptures, I found that the very liberal positions that I would have to take in order to minister in the denomination were just deal breakers and my wife and I made the heartbreaking decision to make an exodus from the church.
We were without direction, as this was all I’d ever known. We researched every denomination to try and find a home and eventually settled in at a Southern Baptist church. In time, I went on staff there. You may already know this but there are churches within the SBC that may actually be more IBF than IBF churches! The church fit that mold, for sure. It was as conservative as could be but also militant, which appealed to me. I was given books and sermons from the heroes of the IBF movement and I’d never heard “preaching” like that and the raucous response the congregations responded with. Again, I grew up in a denomination with an “anything goes” ethos so I found the “old standards” to be a breath of fresh air. The problem was, those “standards” became more than personal preferences for me. They became gospel truth and I viewed anyone who didn’t hold to them to be apostate. As ashamed as I am to say so, I chastised my own parents and put legalistic burdens on the shoulder of my wife and kids (I even threw my wife’s CD’s away because they weren’t “old time” enough).
I thoroughly enjoyed the hearty amens when I preached against other men, various churches and the “contemporary crowd” (rarely mentioning scripture, btw) and I pridefully basked in hearing how bright my future as a leading voice in old time preaching was.
Firmly positioned for my “next step” on the ministry ladder, I came home from a church meeting to find my wife and young daughter gone. She rightfully had had enough of my legalism and harsh attitude. She left me.
By the grace of God, my eyes were opened. I spent that night praying and searching the scriptures. My heart was changed. I repented of my sin, asked for their forgiveness and today, nearly 20 years later, we’re still leading an SBC church but from a place of grace rather than guilt and from a heart of truth AND love.
Anyway, just thought I’d share that your podcast speaks to those outside of the IBF, too. Keep up the great work!