I was saved in an IFB church. I was raised in an IFB church. I was called to preach in an IFB church. Of course with maturity comes enlightenment. I began to study the Bible for myself and I realized alot of the standards and practices in the 3-4 churches we attended over the years of my child hood were not biblical. However, no one was willing to answer any of my questions when I approached church leadership. My experiences with the IFB movement were pretty much like “we just do it like this because we’ve always done it like this.” I’ve seen IFB evangelists get in the pulpit during revival meetings and blow the church out of the water because they had a woman leading singing. I’ve seen IFB pastors lose half the youth group because they dogged them over shorts and secular music.
However, I think the most bothersome thing to me was a church I attended as an adult. It was very cultish. The pastor was praised before God was. I remember a young person was saved at a Christmas play one year and the social media post said “we want to thank our pastor and the Lord for the soul saved tonight.” What in the name of God did the pastor have to do with this young person being saved? Nothing! There were 2-3 people in a church of almost 100 people who knew what the church’s budget and bills were. There was never a financial report given. If someone left our church, they were dogged from the pulpit as being out of the will of God and in sin.
Same church, I was the song leader for a while. The pastor put so much pressure on me as the song leader I couldn’t even enjoy leading the music and I LOVE singing. He would indirectly tell me that if I chose the song the selection for that service poorly then it was my fault that the service was “dead”. He even went so far as to imply that not choosing the “right” songs would not only kill the service but may make some sinner leave lost and go to hell and it would be my fault.
I decided to give up directing the music. I joined a local gospel group. We started to take appointments, the Lord was being good to us and opening doors for us. This pastor was dogmatic on being at church every single time the doors were open. He eventually got the group’s schedule, and saw we were scheduled to be with a preacher he knew. This pastor called that other preacher and because of this “cultish buddy system” that other pastor cancelled us. The pastor of the church I attended and his wife both took great delight in the fact that they had gotten us cancelled because I “needed to be there on Sunday night.”
Myself and a friend went out of town on a Wednesday night to hear, believe it or not, Dr. Phil Kidd in revival. We texted the pastor to let him know why we were out. A very dear friend of ours who went to our home church that night told us that next day that while we were hearing Dr. Kidd we were blasted by name from the pulpit during the Wednesday night service. This person that told us was a dear older man of God who we had total confidence. We asked others about it and no one would confirm what this dear man said. They all had a case of this “cultish” shut mouth.
I could go on and on. I’m talking 20 some years of things I’ve seen and experienced first hand. You guys are doing a good work. I’m a Freewill Baptist now, even though I still believe in eternal security. I love my church. And with or without labels, I’ve decided to be a Christian first and let Jesus sort everything else out at the judgment seat.
Keep up the good work guys!