WHAT IS “INDEPENDENT FUNDAMENTAL BAPTIST?”
Bible Baptist Church is an Independent Fundamental Baptist church. It may be that you have never heard of this group, or you may be familiar with them, but aren’t really sure as to just what it is.
Independent Fundamental Baptist, or IFB as we are often called, is not, strictly-speaking, a denomination. A denomination is a group of churches that all fly a single banner, follow the same statement of faith, and have a ruling body over those churches. Some examples of denominations are the Southern Baptist Convention, or the Episcopal Churches, USA. But more about that later.
First, let’s deal with the most controversial aspect of being an IFB, the “F”, Fundamental. We are fundamentalists. This term is often used with much derision, usually in association with some violent group or individual. Islamic Fundamentalists is a common term. Or Timothy McVeigh was referred to as a fundamentalist. Basically, according to the media, anything evil and organized is to be considered a ‘fundamentalist’, though I suspect they have little or no idea what the term means.
A fundamental, simply speaking, is a basic, a foundational aspect of something. For instance, if a football team is playing poorly, the coach might urge them to “get back to the fundamentals”, or the basics of football. A fundamental is a basic, a foundation, by definition, it is “a central or primary rule or principle on which something is based.” In the case of religion, it would be the basic, root beliefs that define that belief system. They are the non-negotiables. This is the only way that a Fundamental Baptist, and say, a Fundamental Muslim would be related: we hold to certain basics of our beliefs.
The fundamentals of the Christian faith that we hold to are, in a nutshell,
The Godhead: God is one God, eternally manifest in three individual persons, Jehovah/Father, Jesus/Son, and the Holy Ghost.
The literal birth, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ
The Second Coming: Jesus Christ is coming bodily to earth to rule and judge.
Salvation: It is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, and eternally secured.
The Scripture: It is entirely inerrant and sufficient for all Christian life, prepared and preserved for us by the hand of God since before the foundations of time.
I would have you notice, that there is no hint of hatred, intolerance or violence in the fundamentals of the Christian faith. But what it is, is a series of non-negotiable truths, all clearly taught in scripture, which truths identify one as a true believer in Jesus Christ and His word, while identifying those that aren’t.
Of course, the Bible is nothing if not chock full of other outstanding, clear truths and doctrines, all of which are plainly taught, and of great importance, and all of which should be adhered to by those who call themselves followers of Jesus Christ. The fundamentals above are set apart, however, to clarify, simply, to us and to others, the most basic, bottom-line truths we hold most dear.
Now, we deal with the term Independent.
By this it is simply meant, as was spoken at the beginning, that each church is independent of other churches, each a self-sufficient, self-operating local body of Jesus Christ. We operate under no larger organization or governing body, and our sole authority being Jesus Christ our Head, and His word, the Bible, (specifically the King James Bible). Each church has a pastor or pastors, also called elders, depending on the size and needs of each assembly. We are congregational, meaning that decisions are made by vote of the entire church membership, including placing of the pastor, who, though the human leader of the church, is also a servant to the church. The Pastor, by authority of the church and the Bible, is often able to make various decisions on his own, but most things are decided by the church as a whole. The pastor is neither high priest nor dictator, but a servant, having Christ as his example.
Each local body decides on its particular needs for other biblical offices within that church, like deacons, whether there will be one or more pastors, either sharing authority, or one having authority over the others.
Being independent also means that there will often be different ways of holding services, different orders of service, and occasionally, even some difference in doctrine in areas not considered ‘fundamental’. Because they are independent, no one church or pastor has authority to enter another church and direct what they will do, or how they must do it.
Ultimately, you could say that to be Independent and Fundamental is to be Baptist-the above distinctions laid out before are what one would consider historically Baptist: Independent, congregational, holding to certain fundamentals as undeniable and necessary. We have always held to the term, “Sola scriptura:, meaning, “Scripture Only”, taking the Bible as our one authority, as it is the mind of God given for mankind. We take it literally, except when the context clearly makes it analogous or symbolic, (ie, Jesus is a door, or a lamb). We are a priesthood of believers, meaning each believer has the right and authority to stand before the Lord God to bring our prayers to Him. As well, we stand between the Lord Jesus Christ and lost mankind, having the way of salvation to give freely to those who would have it. We do not save, nor forgive sins, but we can show the way of salvation to the lost.
In short, this is what an IFB is. We cannot be judged according to what another IFB does or has done because each is independent of one another. If one IFB church or pastor wrongly abuses his church or his authority, it is not an indictment against all other IFB’s-let each be judged according to their own work and ministry, but mainly by the word of God.
Pastor Michael Reed was born into the family of God in 1972, at the Pacific Beach Christian Missionary and Alliance Church in San Diego. He holds a Masters Degree in Theology, received at Salt Lake Baptist College. Pastor Reed spent 10 years getting to know the world as a part of the United States Navy, and realizing that it wasn't where he was supposed to be, he answered the call to preach in September of 1992, while attending a Pastor's and Workers conference at North Valley Baptist Church.
After leaving the Navy in June 1993, Pastor Reed slowly began to prepare for the ministry. In 1996, he began to attend the Lighthouse Baptist Institute in San Diego, CA, but had to leave after a semester, due to an inability to find a job. Following what he believed to be God's will, he went back to Reno for a short time, then spent an unexpected year in Hopewell, VA, during which time the Lord began to place his home of Reno securely upon his heart.
Returning home to Reno, Pastor Reed vowed to the Lord that if Reno was where He wanted him, he would live and die there. It was as if the Lord then said, "Good, now that you want MY will, lets go to Herlong!" Two years later, the Bible Baptist Church in Herlong offered the pastorate to Mike, and he has been the Pastor since, where he uses the gifts the Lord has given him to serve the Lord and the people of Herlong, preaching, singing, and playing the ukulele.
While in Herlong, Pastor Reed met his wife, Delia, a local girl with a small goat farm, and they were married in November of 2003. Delia is a nurse, and holds a Masters Degree in Christian ministries, and has been raising goats, sheep, chickens and rabbits on her hobby farm since 1995.
Please, when in Herlong, come and visit our church!