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Sunnichick31

Baptist churches

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Sunnichick31

What are the differences between the various Baptist churches. I know there is IFB and Southern Baptist (I was raised as an SB, but we stopped going to church when I was pretty young, like, 8 or so, then started going again when I was around 10, then stopped again a while later because we kept moving around and Mom hated finding new churches) Anyway, the other day when I was driving I saw a sign for the association of regular baptist churches and somehting about a regular baptist press too. What's the difference between SBs, IFBs, and regular Baptists? (I had never even heard of RBs before I saw that sign!)

Edited by OnceUponATime
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holierthanyou

Sorry if I am repeating what you already know, but in a nutshell:

IFB is the most hardcore fundamentalist of the bunch. They are the 1611 KJV-only, skirt-only, you'd-better-homeschool-or-else crowd.

SB is more like what we refer to as "fundy lite".

There are a couple other 'conferences/denominations' within Baptist, the more conservative being similar to SB, and others being more liberal. Also there is one 'branch' (sorry I forget which one) which basically defines itself by playing predominantly contemporary praise and worship songs in lieu of traditional hymns.

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mpheels

I grew up splitting time between United Methodist and Free Will Baptist churches (my maternal grandparents attended different churches, so my mom attended both, and my dad didn't care). We also had a brief venture at a Missionary Baptist church when I was a kid.

The Free Will Baptist church my family attended/attends is in some ways very fundie - baptism in the river, men and women take communion in separate rooms, members wash each other's feet before communion, no gambling, no alcohol (or at least no drunkenness), no smoking (widely ignored), no dancing (also ignored). The church recently asked one of my cousins to resign as a youth group counselor because he moved in with his girlfriend before they married. I don't know how fundie/not fundie other congregations are, but it's a relatively small sect, and I'm guessing the fundie attributes are common. On the other hand, my grandfather was a deacon in that church, and he was a life long democrat (bordering on socialist) and quite proudly believed in evolution. He probably would have been happy at my grandmother's Methodist church except he was adamantly opposed to baptizing babies.

The same community also has a Primitive Baptist church that is technically still active, but doesn't have a minister and only has one living member. They are also very, very traditional.

I don't remember the Missionary Baptist church we attended being especially fundie, but my parents tended to follow their own path, and it's possible I was unaware of fundie tendencies because they didn't buy into it. We attended that particular church because my parents like the pastor. The only other church in town was Methodist, which my mom preferred, but my father refused to attend because the pastor at that time was awful.

In other news... I just heard an NPR about the Southern Baptist Convention considering a name change to Great Commission Baptists because membership is dropping, and nearly half of Americans polled react negatively to their name.

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Happy
Coconut Flan
In other news... I just heard an NPR about the Southern Baptist Convention considering a name change to Great Commission Baptists because membership is dropping, and nearly half of Americans polled react negatively to their name.

I can see them doing that. To many Baptists that one verse or two seems to trump the entire rest of the Bible.

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Kaylee

There are many different sects and conferences that call themselves Baptist, and even subgroups within those (ie there are distinct groups within IFB that are at odds with eachother, ). If there's one things Baptists will do in a heartbeat, it's split off and form another church or convention/association. The Regular Baptists are more common in the midwest, and the American Baptists (used to be called Northern Baptists) are more common in the north. The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship split from the Southern Baptists in the early 1990s, when the SBC starting experiencing a fundamentalist takeover. There are several historically black baptist groups, mostly identifying as National Baptist or some variant, but many of them are part of one of the more regional Baptist groups as well. There are also more doctrinally defined groups like the Freewill Baptists (Arminian) or the Primitive ("Hardshell") Baptists (Calvinists, often hypercalvinist). Missionary Baptists can be a part of any of these or a part of a smaller subgroup. Some Baptist churches are also part of other alliances and groups like Acts 29. There are also many Baptist churches now who don't use Baptist as part of their name, identifying as just __ Church or sometimes ___ Community Church (sometimes ___ Bible Church, but that tends to be older and more fundie-leaning).

To make it even more confusing, there are all sorts of differences in theology and practice even within some of these groups. Most Baptist conventions and associations allow churches that are Calvinist or Arminian (a big issue with the Southern Baptists right now). Some ordain women as deacons, elders, and pastors, while others won't even put women as Sunday school teachers over male teenagers. Within the groups, you can find both fundie and fundie light or even moderate churches with no real clue as to which is which.

There is also sometimes crossover because of convenience - my former church was IFB but the pastor is more Southern Baptist - his dad is a SB preacher, he went to a SB school, is sponsored by an SB church, etc. OTOH, my current church doesn't identify as Baptist, uses contemporary music and a worship band, a lot of women wear jeans on Sunday morning, etc, but most of the staff and the pastors who started out come from IFB backgrounds and still hold to Baptist beliefs even where they dropped a lot of the fundie cultural standards.

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Alecto

Speaking of Free Will Baptists - they just split and some merged with Missionary Baptists to form Landmark Baptists.

This is why I am not surprised there are over 33,000 different Christian denominations in the US alone.

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nolongerIFBx
Sorry if I am repeating what you already know, but in a nutshell:

IFB is the most hardcore fundamentalist of the bunch. They are the 1611 KJV-only, skirt-only, you'd-better-homeschool-or-else crowd.

That's true sometimes but not every time. Being independent they are not all the same. It depends what crowd they run with. For example, the above description fits more the Gothard type IFB than the type of IFB church I grew up in which was 1611 KJV-only, skirt-only, Sometimes homeschooling was allowed/tolerated and other churches it was you'd better send your kids to our school or you're challenging pastoral authority.

The IFB church I attend now is 1611 KJV-only, the pastor makes it clear that a for him and his family it will be skirts-only but he doesn't require anyone else to follow his preference. Children attend public school, Christian school, and are homeschooled.

And the IFB church that my sister attends is a newer version of the Bible (maybe NKJV) skirts/pants whatever is fine even for church, and her children will attend public school.

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dilannsmom

IFB= Independent Fundamental Baptist. The Independent is the kicker--IFB churches don't belong to a governing body. (My church does belong to the GARBC--General Association of Regular Baptist Churches but we don't send them a part of our tithe, they don't pick our pastors, etc.) I have attended an IFB church since I was a kid. I wear pants to church (as does the pastor's wife and many others), the paster preaches from the English Standard Version Bible, we sing a mix of contemporary worship songs and traditional hymns. We offer youth groups and children's church but there are parents who prefer to keep their kids in the "big" church and that is ok. We do have some frumper wearers, no headcoverers (right now but we have in the past). We have some who home school, some who Christian school, some who public school. We have some who wear short hair, some who wear pixies, some who wear make-up and some who don't. We are an eclectic mix. We are non-charismatic, but have some hand raisers and hip shakers.

Not all IFB churches use the KJV 1611, but some do. Not all IFB churches demand home schooling or dresses only, but some do. You could have two IFB churches next door to each other with extremely different services and "church" beliefs (different than "biblical" beliefs if you know what I mean...)

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Jessica

^ Yeah that. I started going to an Independent Baptist church before I moved back to California. I was the only one in a dress every time I went. All the women were in slacks and lots of makeup and looked pretty trendy (I went to a ladies' Bible study and the lady teaching it had on a white "wifebeater" shirt, jeans, and flip flops. The pastor's wife grew up in the hardcore IFB culture and said "I just couldn't live that lifestyle anymore. Too many denim skirts... WAAAY too many denim skirts!" lol!). If you saw them on the street you wouldn't think "Fundie alert!" Lots of the men were in jeans at church. The preaching was from the KJV and the hymnals were KJV-based. Several of the pew Bibles were modern versions, but were mostly KJV. All the sermons were grace-based. None of this "If you don't wear skirts and long hair you're trying to be a man and an abomination!" or "The NIV should be called the New International PER-version!" crap. I was one of the only stay-at-home moms; all the other ladies worked. No one had more than 3 kids. Several were on birth control and said at the ladies Bible study that they'd go insane if they had any more kids (!). It was definitely not what I expected from an independent Baptist church! I was expecting really rigid, angry preaching (a la Fred Phelps or Jack Schapp or Kristina's husband Josh, if you've looked at his Facebook page at all) but it was grace based and really positive.

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holierthanyou

Personally I disagree with description that call IFB churches independent of one another. I find the use of the word 'independent' in their title to be a joke. In my opinion they are just like any other small 'denomination', they are quick to trot out the 'independent' line, but I'm not buying it. I've been to a few (each for at least a year), and they are 'the same' in the same manner that 3 different churches in the Episcopalian or Pentecostal denomination are "the same". Does that mean identical? no. Small nuances (e.g. church run school versus homeschooling, skirts can show your knees or skirts must go to the floor or skirts for church but your choice at home, etc, etc) like you would find in any denomination, but most definitely not independent.

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melk

My parents belong to M_____ Missionary Baptist Church, which is a member of the SBC. Confusing!

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bananacat

IFB are just like the "non-denominational" church that people like Sarah Palin go to. They try to pretend they're not part of a group so they are accepting and welcoming of all different kinds of Christians. If anyone actually falls for it and shows up there, they will be pressured to convert to a very specific type of conservative Christianity. The I in IFB means they can get as extreme as they want and they don't have to listen to the other Baptist groups.

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Kaylee
Speaking of Free Will Baptists - they just split and some merged with Missionary Baptists to form Landmark Baptists.

This is why I am not surprised there are over 33,000 different Christian denominations in the US alone.

Which is confusing all over again, because there's a belief among some Baptists called landmarkism, and many "Landmark Baptist Church"es that use the name to identify themselves. Those "Landmark Baptists" are the ones who belief that the Baptists are the only true/valid church, which I'm pretty sure is not a common teaching in Free Will or Missionary Baptist churches.

The missionary thing is interesting too, because most IFB, SBC, etc churches also describe themselves as missionary and some even have it in their church names, like melk mentioned. The whole "missionary Baptist" distinctive came about to differentiate themselves from the primitive Baptists who are a very small group now but larger in the past, and are hyper-Calvinist to the point of not even supporting missions or witnessing/evangelism to others because they believe that God will draw the people He wants to believe in Him to do so without any "help".

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FlorenceHamilton

so...what are we saying here? How they heck are the Christian Right people going to make this a Christian country if they cannot even agree on what a proper Christian is anyway? And isn't all of that crap the reason why so many groups came to the New World? Weren't they killing each other in Europe over these very same nitpicky things?

Some religion of peace.

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Visionoyahweh
Weren't they killing each other in Europe over these very same nitpicky things?

No, the Europeans killed each other because they're godless liberals. Nobody is educated or curious enough to lean anything past that about history or their own religion.

Now you must be punished for thinking such thoughts. Go write out the KJV gospels, longhand, three times, and think about your purity.

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Kitty

Okay, I was also raised Southern Baptist. I've investigated other different types of Baptist churches, and under all of the doctrines every. single. one. has the same exact text. It's like they all copy/paste from each other.

I totally can't tell you which kind of Baptist is which. IFB often looks like Southern Baptist, or perhaps I mean just "regular" Baptist. You won't find a whole lot of other Baptists saying only the KJV-1611 is correct, or that women can only wear skirts and dresses.

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FlorenceHamilton

No, the Europeans killed each other because they're godless liberals. Nobody is educated or curious enough to lean anything past that about history or their own religion.

Now you must be punished for thinking such thoughts. Go write out the KJV gospels, longhand, three times, and think about your purity.

My purity boat sailed several decades ago. I guess that's why I have this perverted view of European history. I will pray on this.

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dilannsmom

HolierThanThou--I agree with you that all Baptists tow the same party line. We learn it in Sunday School starting at a young age:

B--Bible is the foundation

A--Autonomous church government

P--Priesthood of the believer

T--Two ordinances (baptism and communion)

I--Individual soul liberty

S--Saved baptized church membership

T--Two offices in the church (pastor and deacon...trustees are not part of the Biblical command but are often an addition)

Some believe it is "Baptists" with the extra S meaning separation of church and state.

My point was that IBF does NOT mean skirts only, KJV only, homeschool only, Gothard/ATI homeschool only, family only service, etc. So, yes, at their core Baptists may all be the same. However, the "extras" are just that. I don't like that when everybody sees IBF they think whack-a-doodle Candy Baptist. (And, believe me, I have my issues with my church [as somebody who got knocked up out of wedlock and lives in sin with not the baby daddy for the last 10 years] ...but I can say that they are on the less crazy side of what is represented here as IBF.)

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Knight of Ni

In the town where I attend college there is a church called the Primitive Progressive Baptists. The name just seems contradictory to me.

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holierthanyou
HolierThanThou--I agree with you that all Baptists tow the same party line. We learn it in Sunday School starting at a young age:

B--Bible is the foundation

A--Autonomous church government

P--Priesthood of the believer

T--Two ordinances (baptism and communion)

I--Individual soul liberty

S--Saved baptized church membership

T--Two offices in the church (pastor and deacon...trustees are not part of the Biblical command but are often an addition)

Some believe it is "Baptists" with the extra S meaning separation of church and state.

My point was that IBF does NOT mean skirts only, KJV only, homeschool only, Gothard/ATI homeschool only, family only service, etc. So, yes, at their core Baptists may all be the same. However, the "extras" are just that. I don't like that when everybody sees IBF they think whack-a-doodle Candy Baptist. (And, believe me, I have my issues with my church [as somebody who got knocked up out of wedlock and lives in sin with not the baby daddy for the last 10 years] ...but I can say that they are on the less crazy side of what is represented here as IBF.)

Most IBF churches don't view their opinions/doctrine/mandates/directives as 'extras'. The entire system is steeped in patriarchy, misogyny, abuse of power, and cult-like dedication/devotion required by its members. It is not ok. It is indeed quite crazy.

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Kaylee
In the town where I attend college there is a church called the Primitive Progressive Baptists. The name just seems contradictory to me.

Yeah, it is funny. I looked into the primitive Baptists several years ago, before returning to IFB instead. Basically, the Progressive

Primitive Baptists split off from the old-school Primitives over music - the progressives added a piano to the traditional a capella singing. These days, some of the progressives also use Sunday schools, have paid ministers/preachers, and use Bible college or preacher training schools, while the traditional Primitive Baptists still reject musical instruments, paid or trained clergy, Sunday school or age segregated classes or groups, missions boards, etc.

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