Posted by: baptistthinker | April 12, 2011

20/20 And The IFB Culture

Last Friday, ABC’s 20/20 did a special on IFB’dom, and the culture surrounding it. It barely scratched the surface, and did do a little bit of broadbrushing. But as a former IFB, who has seen many different camps of IFB’dom, it seemed to be fairly accurate reporting for people without any experience in IFB’dom. If you want to check out the special, click here.

The predictable spin has already been put out by many IFB’s. Cries of “my church isn’t like that”, or “IFB isn’t a denomination, we can’t all be held accountable for that church’s actions”, or “these girls are lying! lying!”. The first two are fairly easy to deal with. Yes, every IFB church is autonomous. No, they are not “Independent”. The IFB culture has many “camps” or ‘networks’ that IFB churches tend to run in, and there’s a lot of “group-think” in these circles. These churches tend to think alike, they do the same things, they go to the same conferences, have one another preach at special events, etc. It’s much like the SBC, except on a weirder scale. It’s hard to demonstrate how these networks work, and how they interlace. Many IFB churches will network based on college(Hyles-Anderson, Fairhaven, West Coast Baptist, Pensacola), others network based on Fundamentalist Publications(Sword of the Lord, Revival Fires), some network based on personalities(Jack Hyles, Bob Gray(TX), Peter Ruckman, Gail Riplinger), and most will network based on more than one of those. And within those circles, there tends to be a lot of similar thinking based on those schools/personalities/publications. For example, those within the Ruckman camp are more likely to have a favorable outlook on divorced pastors in the pulpit, while those in the Hyles-Anderson network are highly likely to believe that the pastor is the ultimate authority in a Christian’s life. So no, there really is no way to claim complete independence for the IFB movement.
Now, on several Fundamental Baptist websites, Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, there has been a lot of defense of Chuck Phelps, the pastor who forced a fifteen year old rape victim(Statutory rape is still rape, Chuck, even if she was “willing”, which she disputes). Some people say that this girl “seduced” the man who raped her, there is a claim that even her own mother thinks she is a liar(note: her mother married a convicted kid toucher, Tina’s Stepfather). Some IFB’s have even claimed that since the Bible doesn’t give a minimum age for marriage, there is no sin in having sexual relations with a 14, 15, 16 year old child. In fact, one man who has said this, who is an “administrator/editor” of a large Fundamental Baptist forum/website, had some startling statements to make.

We don’t separate from brothers because of their beliefs about things that Scripture does not reveal. The Bible does not reveal an age at which absolutely no one is capable of consent to sexual relationship. It doesn’t even reveal information from which we can infer such an age.
We could make some kind of wisdom case if some pastor was claiming that 3 yr olds can consent. But it’s not all obvious that a 3 yr old and a 15 year old are in the same category.
Either way, we have no biblical case for what is, in reality, a consensus among social scientists.
So, if we believe in Christian liberty in any sense, we have to grant that believers must comply fully with the law in these matters but are free to form their own beliefs about what is sin or is not sin, or who is capable of sinning in what ways under what circumstances.

Really Aaron Blumer? Really? We “could make a wisdom case”? So really, you have no problem with pedophilic relations? It is absolutely disturbing that anyone would make these comments.

While not every IFB church covers up abuse, most of them aren’t willing to separate from churches/pastors that do/have covered up abuse. In fact, in all the years I’ve been an IFB, or have associated with IFB’s, I’ve never known an IFB church to handle a claim of sexual misconduct/sexual molestation/abuse in a legal, Biblical manner. Not one. But I can name several off the top of my head, that have covered up abuse, that have ignored immorality, and that don’t ever try to make things right.
Here’s a couple of links to some good blog posts on the 20/20 show.
Bob Bixby
Stuff Fundies Like

And here, is Jack Schaap’s odd and disturbing response to the 20/20 special that featured a few clips of him preaching.



  1. Chuck Phelps and Brian Fuller are Bob Jones University grads. Matt Olsen is currently president of Northland International University which associates with BJU. Any church who associates with these colleges is part in parcel to the abuse and cover up.

  2. The posting by Aaron Blumer is more than disturbing. It appears that this is his church and that he might be the pastor of it or at least one of the leadership. There is no way I would ever allow a child to set foot in a church led by someone with this level of twisted thinking. It is not a safe environment. When I looked at the site while writing this, the only sermons posted (5) under “Preaching and Teaching” were all by him.

  3. Inadvertently omitted the church website:

  4. Jack Schaap–“If that’s arrogance then so be it!” The ultimate in arrogance–so be it. Arrogance and pride is a sin, sin, SIN!! Take heed to your own Bible, Jack Schapp: “Pro 6:16 These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:
    Pro 6:17 A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, . . . ” “Pro 8:13 The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate. ” “Pro 16:18 Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. ” “Pro 21:24 Proud and haughty scorner is his name, who dealeth in proud wrath. ” “Isa 10:33 Behold, the Lord, the LORD of hosts, shall lop the bough with terror: and the high ones of stature shall be hewn down, and the haughty shall be humbled. ” Jack Schapp, if you don’t like this, then you best take it up with God, ’cause He said it!!

  5. […] 20/20 And The IFB Culture by Baptist Thinker […]

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