I want to first thank you all for this podcast it has been a blessing. Our IFB story is slightly different as we didn’t grow up in the movement, my husband and I were saved in an IFB church as young adults at my husbands second Air Force duty station in Montana (’02). I think being military and moving every few years has given us a pretty diverse view of all the different types of IFB churches and circles out there. At first we were such baby Christians that I guess we didn’t view things as legalistic, but just us not as mature in our faith. It wasn’t until my husband was called to preach and ordained that I really saw the shift. Not by his ordaining church in TX because to this day they are probably one of the most contemporary independent Baptist churches around, I mean they had drums in 2003, LOL! After my husband was ordained he did a year in Korea without me and our two kids, there he was under a preacher that was definitely more legalistic than any other we have been around, so while I’m still in TX with the kids he’s under this man and getting more drawn to that thinking all while pursuing his master’s in theology online from Liberty,(because as a military that was the best option online at the time). Once we were together again and at our new assignment that’s when I really started to see some major hypocrisy and legalism. I mean we were in Missouri and saw the whole David Love thing unfold before our eye’s, we didn’t go to New Hope but went to the same church as Teresa Stones parents, so we got the perspective of her coming to our church during the whole investigation period, it was an interesting perspective.
Once stationed in Okinawa is when I really started to drag my heals about a lot of issues I saw. In order for my husband to get behind a pulpit we had to toe the line and it was dragging on me because I didn’t feel like I was being true to myself. I know my husband felt like he was during what he was called to do, but he even started seeing some of the ridiculousness. Okinawa is where we finally pulled our kids from public school and put them in their Christian school, to which I think our oldest has never forgiven us for to this day. My husband finished his Liberty degree while there and the pastor wouldn’t present it to him from the pulpit because it was from Liberty! We dealt with a pastor change there because Monteith resigned for ‘undisclosed reasons,’ apparently depression but my husband has a feeling there is more to that, there’s always a secretary. The person voted in was super controlling and we moved shortly after he took over. We were at a church in Virginia for a short time before my husband retired, which funny enough is where Monteith is the pastor at now, but that happened after we moved to S. Georgia. S. Georgia is where our time in the IFB world derailed. My husband had retired from the military by this time and it was a civilian job that landed us in Valdosta. He had wanted to go to the mission field after retirement, but honestly I told him I didn’t want to do the dog and pony show for BIMI and that refusal from me really put a strain on our marriage. From that point on Bryon just focused on getting under a good preacher to learn from and see where the Lord led. Well the first church we attended for three years also went through a Pastor change shortly after we joined and they brought in a former evangelist that’s a Phil Kidd wanta be that needs a good parking lot beating. I have never heard racist stuff from the pulpit until this point and finally my husband said we are out of here and we left. Of course that pastor berated my husband and told him he would never preach again and “your wife wears pants” was actually the last thing he said to Bryon, LOL! The next IFB we attended honestly we picked because it was close to the house and had activities our homeschool kids could get involved with thru their Christian school. Bryon started preaching there on Wednesday nights, but that preacher was very authoritative, my way or the highway, worshipped Hyles and still talked about him regularly. When our youngest graduated and left for college we took the opportunity to leave the church. After missing just two services we received the nastiest email from that pastor and once again he berated our whole family and said my husband would never preach again. Since our youngest was at PCC by this point we actually sent her a copy of the two emails from him and had her join campus church on a statement of faith with the copy of the letters so they couldn’t go to the campus church and say anything negative towards her. So it’s been a year in a half now since we have walked away for the IFB and we are still out here wondering around feeling kind of lost. Our oldest goes to college locally and has been witness to it all and I really feel like when he graduates in May that he will never step foot in another church and only goes with us now because he knows he has to since he lives here. We are in a large SBC and tolerating it, of course they use ESV which drives my husband crazy, not that he’s a KJV only guy, but it’s his preferred version. He still wants to preach, but we have now been cut off from all ties, cultish much! I have gotten him to listen to your podcast a few times he still resistant to see the truth and of the world outside the IFB and probably feeling a little more lost than me because I was over it back in Okinawa. I am thankful that my daughter loves PCC and we are totally happy with that school rules and all because it’s not like it use to be and she knows that’s temporary. She’s also a Criminal Justice major so not there for a MRS degree and will totally be the one to get a tattoo and nose pieced the day after graduation, LOL! Thanks for reading my rambling and for your ministry, I really did leave out a lot of the crazy stories and our own personal ridiculous testimonies that it’s even amazing that God has brought us where we are today. If you have any insight on good Bible teaching churches in the Valdosta, GA area please let us know, we are at Crosspointe church currently. Thanks and God Bless Kira