What are the reasons Independent Fundamentalist Baptists will NOT fellowship with other Churches from other denominations?
I have no idea. Perhaps IFBs think they are the world’s only Christians? I was raised Campbellite and they too did not have relations with other denominations, some times even other Campellites . They do not think they are a denomination. Just the world’s only Christians.
When I did attend a church like this, it boiled down to…
Other Christians are worshiping wrong (or doing it wrong or reading the Bible the wrong way).
When you have your own community, it’s a lot easier to control what comes in and out.
They liked being separate from the world. If you are separate, then you don’t get too many people challenging your ideas.
I would not say that they believe they are the world’s “only” Christians. In fact, a lot of the churches they “separate” from admittedly believe 99% the same things they do. I think they hold uniformity of belief so highly that to fellowship with people who disagree with them, even over the smallest of things, feels like compromise to them–and compromise leads to capitulation and purity of faith is then lost.
would that be somewhat like a cult?
No. I wouldn’t describe Fundamentalist churches as cults. I think that would be going too far. However, I would describe them as extraordinarily close-minded to both religious and cultural matters. They simply believe that their way is the right way, and if you don’t see that then you get the “left boot of fellowship” as they say.
It’s the whole “come out from among them and be ye separate” thing. The problem is that Fundamentalists have gotten a reputation (much of it deserved) for separating over everything and every controversy (whether or not the controversy is worth dividing over). Some issues, like fidelity to the Word of God, are worth separating from others over. However, a lot of what Fundamentalists separate over could be described as “secondary issues.”
For example, Fundamentalists will question Billy Graham’s salvation simply because they don’t like every little thing he does or every single person he happens to be associated with. This is 2nd degree separation. Billy Graham is pretty orthodox (even by Fundamentalist standards), but he does not completely tow their line nor does he separate himself from every group that the Fundamentalists think he should (such as Catholics and Pentecostals) so he gets the boot.
I was taught this comes from 2 Corinthians 6:17.
Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.
IOW, we are to separated from sin and sinful practices. We are not to have anything to do with apostasy or dangerous teachings.
I once heard a fundamentalist preacher say this about any association with Catholics:
“Ignoring their lost state, being tolerant of their false doctrine, and pretending they are one of us is not going to help them get saved.”
The bolded statement is an eye-opening glimpse into the dark pit of the fundamentalist soul. If one believes that he or she has experienced what no other has (being “born again”), and possesses what others other than them could not possibly have (the Holy Spirit), it creates an elitist world-view that allows only those to whom we agree with, to enter.
In my time among fundamentalists, I heard “that person is now a (insert opposition group here), so I had to ’break fellowship’ with them” This is the fundamentalist doctrine of “separation”. A superior, elitist attitude of belonging to a privileged group. Those who do not belong to the group are called “unrepentant brothers and false teachers”
The problem is, that encompasses quite a population if one takes that to its logical conclusion.
This encompasses people far beyond hated Catholics and liberals. It also includes people within their own ‘circle’ with whom they disagree. To belong to this ever shrinking circle becomes the object they strive for.
In rationalizing that Christians who don’t agree with you are all “compromisers,” they assume that is the indicator of true spirituality.
They truly believe they are superior. This theological “rigidity” is more important than all other factors. And sadly, there is a trail of broken relationships in their past that is blamed on the actions of the people they “separated” from. Tragically, these broken relationships include family members and former friends.
Jesus taught us to love one another, not to pick and choose whom we love.
I believe one of the reasons fundamental Baptists think this way has to do with living in a fantasy world of their own making. They look to a reality that never existed, and hope for a Utopia that never will exist. When struck by the fact that it does not, it destroys their illusions and they lapse into cynicism and depression. They deal with this by altering reality through ‘separation’ from whatever or whoever is not like themselves and an end-times fairy tale which allows them to press on in world that does not accept them.
“Fellowshipping” with a group who truly believe they are better than others can be a surreal experience. It leads logically to exclusion based on reasons that hardly fit into their “Biblical world-view”. Many times it is based on race, class, education, and sex.
The sad part is, the longer one “fellowships” with fundamentalists, “separation” from them becomes a relief.
You probably need to familiarize yourself with the Jack Hyles/ Hyles-Anderson College/KJV-only brand of IFB.
erroneous Biblical exegesis and control (aka not being unequally yoked)
Control is central. I’ve had JWs tell me they are NOT ALLOWED to read religious material other than JW.
Yes control…and these sects…whatever they are named…have such preachers do such to keep their membership and thus their financial livelihood.
I had one fellow finally take a look at the Catholic Catechism…and said it was ‘sickening’ what he was hearing about what Catholics supposedly believed and practiced in his church…and now he is studying what makes the Churches the true ones…waiting to find out.
But in the Catholic concept of Church, what makes Churches…and there many definitions and sub definitions of what Church is described in our catechism…a Church is recognized as such if it has bible base hierarchy…a bishop…has the Trinitarian baptism…closest to us are the Anglicans…and a certain Lutheran Church branch.
Those that do not have a bishop and the 7 sacraments are considered ecclesial communities.
The Catholic/Orthodox have the Bible and 7 sacraments…baptism, penance, confirmation, Holy Communion, matrimony, Extreme Unction – rite of healing for the dying, and Holy Orders…the priesthood. In Revelations it speaks of the Lamb with the 7 eyes…that is the Lamb of God, Jesus…before the Heavenly Father at the altar…who watches over us all the time and ministers to us in His 7 sacraments.
Thank you for your answers. I’m sorry I have not been able to respond in a timely manner.
Many great responses, it clears up many questions.