I’m not sure how unique my story is, but I was saved in a staunchly KJVO church in upstate SC that also belonged to the SBC. The Pastor, who is unfortunately no longer in the ministry, had all of the characteristics of an IFB pastor yet could not stand IFB churches. The very thought of using any other translation of Scripture other than the KJV disgusted him. When I was a teenager, he scolded me once from the pulpit for wearing shorts to Wednesday Night Bible Study. He would also browbeat the teenage boys that didn’t have tucked-in collared shirts on Sunday Mornings. I did not realize at the time how toxic this kind of legalistic leadership was.
However, I am grateful for how God still works even in those settings. In that church, I heard the clear Gospel message from the Associate Pastor which God used to change my heart of stone into a heart of flesh. It was there where God called me to preach His Word. It was there where I was pointed to one of the most excellent small Bible Colleges in the Carolinas–Fruitland Baptist Bible College. There are many people at that church whom I still love and keep in contact with regularly.
At Fruitland Baptist Bible College, I was providentially introduced to Reformed Theology (which I staunchly rejected at the time but have since repented), Textual Criticism, Expository Preaching, and a plethora of other life-changing experiences. God’s providence through the Pastors and Professors I met at Fruitland was what led to my departure from that culture.
Over the years, He has graciously allowed me to serve in various ministry settings in SBC Churches in Youth, Children’s, and Pastoral Ministries. Furthermore, I have fallen in love with modern English Translations, especially the ESV which I use in my preaching every week. I am currently serving as Pastor of Watkins Chapel Baptist Church in Middlesex, NC, where I hope to spend the rest of my ministry.
I am curious about how many SBC churches have the hosts heard of that display the characteristics of an IFB church? Have the hosts of RFP seen many cases of this?
Would you recommend Fruitland Baptist Bible College?