I have no idea who C911 is but the reply to Messer's article is very appropriate. C911 claims to have been an independent Baptist for over 2 decades and a graduate of Trinity Baptist College. C911's response was promptly removed from Messer's blog, but now that Christian School Confidential seems to be getting a new wave of readers, thought you might appreciate this response.
You don't have to be Baptist to appreciate C911's comment. If you've ever been in a position where the obvious was being denied by people in authority, you'll appreciate this letter.
First, visit Tom Messer's blog, read his article, then check out C911's response. I'll admit, the whole 'is fundamentalism at a crossroads' discussion is a cure for insomnia. Messer bases everything on the idea that people are actually motivated by their stated beliefs and ideals, when, in reality, people are motivated by wants, lusts, and fetishes, and simply use philosophy and/or religion as justification for their decisions.
You know, even after I graduated from Trinity Christian Academy back in 1980, it wasn't long before I realized that all the 'controversies' in fundamentalism (KJV-Only, dress standards, Billy Graham, sex education, rules about going to malls, movies, etc) were actually cover ups for some deeper personal dramas. I just didn't know what the dramas were!
Today, I know.
Tom Messer's articles:
Is the Independent Baptist Movement at a crossroad? Part One.
Is the Independent Baptist Movement at a crossroad? Part Two.
There are some interesting comments. Interesting not for what they say, but what they don't say.
As a Christian first and then a church member and lastly a baptist; I can only pray for the leaders that are caught up in the situation that keeps us from being effective as a movement. We must desire a great movement from our Great Lord.
Hmmm, exactly what 'situation' are we talking about that keeps IFBs from being effective? Any takers?
or, how about,
I hold great fondness for my heritage, but also great sadness at what has become.
Exactly what did it become? And why?
I would love to see Independent Baptist Churches welcome church leaders like me who are ministering outside of the movement. To me, this is when the movement will cease to be divisive and start to partner with literally thousands of church leaders around the world who, like me, are more concerned with building God's kingdom than any one denomination or movement.
That's what a lot of us were saying in the 80s! What makes the IFBs the IFBs IS the fact that they are divisive. People go to IFB churches to have their prejudices confirmed. Not to be led down different paths. If people really wanted diversity, the Unitarian churches of America would be packed.
Ultimately, the best comment made is the one that was removed. You can read C911's post by visiting http://www.fundamentalforums.com/trinity-baptist-college/77907-indep-baptist-movement-at-a-crossroads.html.
If you're in a hurry, skip on down to point 'e'.
Here is the response:
You asked for comments on your topic or question "Is the Independent Baptist Movement at a Crossroad?"
a. Some of us do not see it as a "crossroads", but rather a "dead end". Maybe the points following will give some insight into some of the reasons.
b. "Independent" was originally the term used to describe that it was a movement independent of authority, control, manipulation, or leadership from a person or group outside of the local church. The authority and leadership of a local church ought to be Jesus Christ and His Word. Tom, your article shows you are looking for replacements for Lee Roberson, John Rice, Jack Hyles, Jerry Fallwell, Tom Malone, and others. Instead, every believer ought to independently seek the leadership and Lordship of Jesus Christ and His Word alone. As a pastor you should know this and practice this.
c. "Independent Fundamental Baptist" (IFB) is another tradition of men that is no where found in the Bible. Instead, fellowship with people in spite of their "label" and because of their faith in Christ, IFBs rather cling to their isolated groups while often condemning those with the slightest differences.
d. "Baptist Movement" is another tradition of men not found in the Bible. Yet many IFB are as committed and convicted about being a "baptist" as they are being a born-again believer in Jesus. How sad. These labels are further encouraged by the traditions of IFB in the use of "Dr." as in Dr Messer, Dr Willinger, Dr Shoemaker, Dr Gray, Dr Burge, Dr Hyles, and the list goes on and on. Have any of you IFBs read what the believers in the Bible called the spiritual leaders of their day? They called them by their first name (Paul, Peter, John, James, etc.) Why didn't they call them Dr Paul, Dr Peter, Dr John, etc.? Am I stepping on some toes here? After all, who would have dared called Bob Gray just plain "Bob" or Lee Roberson just "Lee"?
e. Maybe the "crossroad" you perceive, is because many believers took a different "road" when it was made public that you Tom covered up Bob Gray's pedophelia, and Bob Gray's untruthful statements in his leaving the pastorate at Trinity. The other "road" is filled with believers who believe the biblical practice of church discipline should have been excercised and the local church should have been warned that there was a wolf among them who preyed on the sheep. Ah but instead Tom and the deacons of Trinity instead bought Bob Gray a nice home, and provided him with a nice salary to live out his days in Germany. This type of coverup caused the divisions that the Apostle Paul spoke about to the Corinthians.
This is a big reason why you see the "division" from you, when you wrote "it appears that there is division among groups of people that used to be in fellowship with one another." Yes we are divided (separated) from you because of your sinful coverup, and your refusal to repent and make it right.
f. IFB has an unbiblical focus on large numbers. Tom, I noticed in your article that you reference 7,000 at a Sword Conference in 1974 and 4,000 at one of your meetings 16 or 17 years ago.
Mat 7:12 Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.
Mat 7:13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
Mat 7:14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
Mat 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
Instead, quality is preferred over quantity. Remember the Apostle Paul well said:
1Co 3:6 I have planted, Apollos watered; but GOD GAVE THE INCREASE.
There is much more I could write, but I think your question has been answered adequately enough. After more than 2 decades as an IFB and a graduate of Trinity Baptist College, I have shed those traditions of men. Now I am happily serving in a local church without the issues above that brought the IFB to what might be at best a "crossroads" but more than likely a "dead end."
I Have Decided To Follow Jesus