June 15, 2009

Fundamentalism/FBFI: “Actually It’s All Quite Exciting!”

Dear Guest of IDOTG:

89th Annual Fellowship of the FBFI is being held this week, June 16-18. The host church is Bethel Baptist Church in Schaumburg, IL. Dr. Bradley M. Smith (FBFI Chairman of the Board) is our host pastor.

It is no secret that over the past 4+ weeks there has been a buzz of controversy in the IFB community around the FBFI. Some men targeted the FBFI and its leadership for criticism of its handling of the controversy. Some have been content with how FBFI leadership has responded. Others have been neutral allowing the FBFI leadership to act in good conscience as God leads.

I have observed, interacted in the open discussions and have spoken to several men who do not participate in the on line community. In off-line discussions there is one opinion that has been reiterated several times.

Attempts to pull the FBF are being made by outsiders who have little or no love or personal investment in the FBF – and would love nothing more than to see the whole thing unravel.
I have my copy of the 2008-2209 FBFI Directory. I looked in vain for the names of certain men who have been among the most harsh critics of the FBFI in recent weeks. Most of these voices are coming from a variety of blogs owners, moderators and contributors who have no personal stake in the FBFI. These men have either never been members of or have quit the FBFI.

The way I see it, the FBFI is not going to unravel. On Tuesday the FBFI Board of Directors will be meeting. The current controversy will undoubtedly be on the agenda. Each of the men will be able to look one another in the eye as they share their heart and vision for Fundamentalism and the FBFI in particular. The Board members will have an opportunity to pull themselves together in that meeting.

IMO, the FBFI is evolving in the Lord’s will, to edify and encourage men toward greater service to Him and for His glory. For years the FBFI has been lead by men of integrity. I trust there are men in the FBFI membership who have confidence in the spirituality of the FBFI board members to “
do the right thing.”

With the board meeting just hours away, may I suggest that every member of the FBFI take a few moments to pray for God’s blessing and wisdom to be called for, present and fallen upon in that meeting.

Referencing the events of recent weeks and this years Annual Fellowship, one pastor said to me, “
Actually it’s all quite exciting!”

These are
exciting days! Let’s stay occupied till’ He comes, (Luke 19:13).

Yours in His service,



  1. Lou,

    You said:

    Attempts to pull the FBF are being made by outsiders who have little or no love or personal investment in the FBF – and would love nothing more than to see the whole thing unravel.

    This is IMO, but maybe certain people of the historical Fundamentalist stripe are tired of being controlled by a "fellowship" that doesn't speak FOR Fundamentalism, and in some cases, has been a detriment.

  2. Brandon:

    I appreciate your concerns.

    I am not aware of any control the FBF is exerting on “certain people” who should be enjoying enjoy soul liberty and the autonomy of a local church.

    Furthermore, fellowships do not control anyone. Men who submit themselves to God will be under the control and influence of the Holy Spirit. If a man joins a fellowship he should expect to be in agreement with certain key beliefs and resolutions of that fellowship. If he can’t in good conscience sign an agreement, then he should not join or remove himself from that fellowship; wouldn’t you agree?

    Of course if you and those “certain people” are unhappy with the FBFI (or any) fellowship, they are welcome to quit the FBFI if you/they are currently in the membership.

    The FBFI and its membership is more than capable to take care of its own affairs without assistance from the bleachers.

    Yours faithfully,


    PS: Did you pray for the men in the FBF Board meeting that just concluded?

  3. Lou,
    I appreciate your candor.

    To answer your postscript, I did pray for the men today - I certainly would not want to have that kind of responsibility, and even though I am not (and for the record, would not) a part of the FBFI. I also realize that I will spend eternity with these men, and it is my responsibility (and even a directive from Scripture) to pray for them.

    Now, to your point. : )

    I do believe that in a perfect, non-sin-stained world, fellowships would not control anyone. We could be like Adam and Eve, in perfect communion with God. But, unfortunately, we are fallen creatures in need of a Savior. Even after that, we still need to grow closer to Christ in our daily lives.

    My concern (shared with a pastor friend of mine recently) is that organizations like the FBF can unintentionally dictate policy and preaching in FBF-affiliated churches.

    Again, I personally know many people in the FBF, I love and respect many men in the FBF. No one has spoken to me from the FBF to tell me this. As an outsider, I know that my opinion is just that... my opionion.

    I also want you to know Lou, that I am praying for you as well, and who knows? Maybe we can live next door to each other in glory. : )

  4. Brandon:

    Very kind reply, I appreciate it. Happy to know that the FBF Board and I have been in your prayers. Is there something specific that I might lift to the Lord on your behalf? Send me an e-mail if you like.

    Fellowships could attempt to dictate policy, but as long as we honor the Baptist distinctives of soul liberty and autonomy of the local church they’ll not be long in business once Baptists quit in droves if they try to dictate as if they are a denominational hierarchy.

    I believe the FBF has a pretty clear statement on this in their by-laws or elsewhere. I think I recall reading something about it.

    Here is my take on fellowships- Once they go national they eventually become political. Lord willing the FBF has not gone there.

    Thanks again for the follow-up.


  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  6. Dear Sam:

    I thought over whether or not to post your submission to this thread. Obviously, I decided that I could not include it here.

    This is a comment thread. Your submission was an article worth of commentary, which was IMO a personal statement. I feel it would be better published from your own blog.

    Yours in Him,


  7. Lou,
    of course it was personal, it's a comment. No invective, no slander, just positing arguments based on logic and well-witnessed public remarks.

    It's your blog, your rules, but the removal of the comment might be perceived by some as inhering of aspects of the political pressure which I referenced. Mach nicht mein herr...
    Go with God...
    Sam Hendrickson

  8. Sam:

    There was no slander in either of your previous comments. Your first was an article (length) of your personal opinion that is IMO better posted from your blog. Let me know if you do.

    I administer my blog as I see fit. I don’t care what someone perceives or if he/she questions my methods of administration.

    FWIW, politically speaking, most Christian blog administration is a benevolent dictatorship.

    Thank you and kind regards,