There are many forms of iBFer preachers out there today and they should be avoided at all costs. If they are not avoided you too may become an iBFer under their influence, and that would be terrible. There are pastors, evangelists, and missionaries that would fit into this category. I want to warn you away from these guys as much as is possible.
Years ago I heard Obi Wan Kenobi say that speaking in absolutes was a sure sign of the influence of the dark side of the force…so from that point I considered the dark side of the force to be good. Yes good, I figured that if you cannot speak in absolutes you have something to hide, you are being surreptitious and false. However, I have come to learn that speaking in absolutes is only good if you are speaking the absolute truth. I believe in absolute truth, I believe it is discoverable, but I also believe that many who tout absolute truth are really only
touting their own preferences and spiritual pedigree with little to no truth at all. We can speak in absolutes where those absolutes are defined by the Bible. However there are many things in the Bible that are not defined in absolutes. In those areas the Bible gives us principles, these principles must be put into action, but the how, where and why are up for interpretation. That is why we, as Independent Fundamental Baptists, believe in individual soul liberty. My exercising of a principal may differ from your exercising of a principal; that doesn’t make you right and me wrong, unless of course, you are an iBFer.
First lets consider what a non-iFBer preacher should look like. For a complete list see I Timothy 3 that is the definitive list for a pastor period, end of story. (hey an absolute truth) It outlines the qualifications for pastors including the truth that a pastor should be a man, not a woman. Now ladies if you have a problem with that take it up with God. Also, if you have a problem with that find a head shrinker and get some counseling because if you want to be a pastor you are NUTS!!! If you are a man and want to be a pastor…you are also nuts. If you are a pastor…you have a certificate on your wall that says ordination…ordination in the original Greek means NUTS! (Hey if Schaap can make up definitions I can too!)
Speaking in practical terms what does a quality IFB pastor or preacher look like? Putting personality aside lets look at a few basic characteristics of a quality IFB preacher. Perhaps first and foremost he is a patient man. A preacher, any preacher needs to have great patience with people. People, especially church people can be extremely demanding, and you know you can. People can also be very critical for no reason and you need patience to deal with that as well. The quality IFB preacher should also be humble, not that false humility which is so rampant in our ranks but real humility. What is real humility you ask? That is a tough one to answer, but humility starts with self-examination. Looking at yourself objectively through the eyes of others and the eyes of Christ. People will fawn all over you if you are a half-way decent preacher. They will puff you up quicker than road kill in July in the middle of Texas, I know, I have seen road kill in July in the middle of Texas. (Yes you’re welcome I promise I won’t put any roadkill pictures in my blog…at least not this post) You have to ignore all that and ask yourself am I really the man, preacher, husband, friend I should be? If your answer is yes you need to work on humility. A preacher once explained to his preacher friends that he has an awesome 20 part series on humility. Awesome! NOT! A quality IFB preacher should also be caring, not just on the surface but genuinely caring, and kind too. Guys who are spit out snappy one-liners and call it preaching are generally not the caring type. When your preaching includes one-liners like look at me in my God-given eye-balls, stand behind my car and I’ll back over you, and swallow hard you’ll get it down you are not a kind man. These are the ramblings of a self-important blow hard who is trying to control you and manipulate you for their own glory. Yeah yeah I know Dr. So and So says and or said that all the time and he is a close personal friend of yours and he is/was a great man. Really? Think about it for just a minute. Would you describe that great man as kind? The Bible kinda says we are supposed to be kind, would Dr. Rough-and-tumble really be described as kind? More on that in another post…stay tuned.
Another characteristic of a quality IFB preacher is the ability to listen, really listen. iFBer preachers never listen. They pretend like they do, they act like they do, they make you think they do, but they never do. They refuse to listen to any criticism about their preaching, they refuse to listen to any ideas on ministry, and they especially refuse to listen to a differing opinion about anything they currently believe, which can change based on where they are preaching. For instance, a preacher can preach against drums on the platform in the inner-city of Detroit and preach with them on the platform in Atlanta. When you try to question him about this seeming hypocrisy, that moment becomes the beginning of the end of your friendship, that is…until you apologize.
Finally a quality IFB preacher simply practices what he preaches. He holds himself to high standards without forcing those standards on others and he listens, that doesn’t mean always agrees but really listens, exercises patience, and is kind. This is the type of preacher you should be looking for. This is the type of pastor you need, all of us need. Some of you preachers who read this blog are that man. Many of you are not even close. Understand this is not an exhaustive list, but it is a good start.
One of my favorite iBFer evangelists once said “Our churches would get a lot of help if about half of the pastor’s wives would just drop dead.” I would amend that statement to say our churches would be greatly blessed by God and their people spiritually strengthened if the iBFer pastors would resign tomorrow and go do something else.
If your pastor, evangelist or missionary is: bombastic, is prone to braggadocio, cocky, refuses to listen, doesn’t appear to care, cynical, defeatist, meddling, a glory hound, a bully, or just plain angry all the time, he might be an iBFer If his “messages” are filled with personal stories about how he is “getting it done for Jesus,” if he constantly claims handing out a tract in an airport is soulwinning, if he cusses in the pulpit, or uses words you wouldn’t let your kids say, if he is dismissive and abrasive, if he screams about taking a stand in his pulpit but never took a stand against Schaap, he might just be an iBFer. If he has his wife in check, and you know what I mean, or treats her like his personal slave, if he has a list of people he hates and regularly shares it from the pulpit, if he has ever, in jest of course…yeah right, threatened to kill some or said he was going to beat someone or bragged about doing either, he might just be an iBFer. If he is a unyeilding dictator who rules your church like Stalin, if he is always preaching about pastoral authority, if the deacons are afraid to ever stand up to him, if he constantly tells you what ought to be in your CD player, Ipod, and DVD player, he might be an iBFer. RUN, don’t walk, but RUN away from him and never, ever look back. Leave that church and find a place you can serve and worship God without all the baggage of iBFerism.