Thank you guys so much for what you do! You really are doing God’s work here on RFP.
I just found the podcast about a month ago and I have been listening to every episode I can get my hands on. Your show was exactly what I needed. I was born in IFB, a “PK” from birth, if you will. I questioned my salvation often as a child and never really got a clear gospel presentation, though “salvation” and “sin” were often spoken of. There was always a lot of fire and brimstone preaching in our church, but never a clear explanation that trusting Christ was the only thing needed for salvation. I thought the rapture was going to happen any day and cried myself to sleep more than once because I thought Jesus would come before I ever got the chance to get married or have a family or home of my own. Finally at a youth event at another church I heard a girl give her testimony of salvation, explaining how she was trusting the prayer she prayed and words she said instead of truly trusting Christ, and acknowledging NOTHING she could do could save her and the light finally clicked for me and I trusted Christ as Savior.
Many facets of IFB just didn’t make sense to me from that moment forward — things I never really questioned before that, and I often asked my parents and teachers of these things (why do we believe this or that, music or dress standards, why we focus so much on specific topics and never on other things Jesus talked about far oftener, like the 2 greatest commandments). Pretty sure I annoyed the crap out of them with all my need to know. Even with all my questioning I was often told these were things I just didn’t need to know, or that I just “needed to obey even if you don’t understand”. So I bought it hook line and sinker and “fully surrendered” to do my best. Most goals were unattainable and I was left feeling hopeless and tired but I kept trying to please God and gain his favor, always feeling like my best was never good enough.
I married young and had kids young, and started reading books suggested by church leadership on marriage and child training, from gems like Michael and Debbie Pearl, IBLP, BJU, and “The Home” by John R. Rice. To say they left me frustrated and disillusioned would be an understatement. Several years later after suffering pregnancy loss and postpartum depression that was extremely severe, I seriously contemplated taking my own life and was questioning the very existence of the God I knew was there; I was on the verge of giving up for good. My amazing husband has tried to be understanding the whole time, though he isn’t perfect, but I know he was frustrated and saw the answers I received from those in IFB trying to “help” was doing anything but that. I thank God my husband wasn’t raised in this from birth or I feel our struggle would have been much harder for us both.
Something in me (I know it was the Holy Spirit now) told me to put the books down, stop worrying about what everyone else was saying and READ THE WORD. I dug in, begging God to show me his existence and love for me which I knew was there but never ever felt. After a full year of reading nothing but the Bible, I knew that this way of life was wrong. It was all law and no grace. It was all standards and no gospel. It was all work and no rest and all bondage and no freedom in Christ. I desperately wanted freedom. I desperately craved the gospel. It is only in the last few years that I finally trusted my husband enough to share all my feelings and thoughts with him (thank you, IFB women’s literature that places ridiculous standards and ideas in women’s brains is all I can say; I am still overcoming these ingrained thought processes). I thank God every day that he has been supportive and even encouraging our exit. We have not yet left. I know if we do it will mean loss of family, friends and many things that we hold dear.
though we are still physically in, I’m mentally out and I believe my husband is too. I can’t imagine my kids growing up in this any longer. Please pray for us to have God’s wisdom and to have peace as we plan our exit, and that we can execute this reasonably quickly.
I find such hope and encouragement knowing that others have gone before us and are now living in the grace and true freedom of the gospel. Your podcast is a true blessing.
Feel free to share on the podcast if you’d like to, but keep my name anonymous as we haven’t fully exited yet. I appreciate your work so very much and am so thankful for the gospel focus you bring to this topic.