Thursday, July 1, 2010

Are You IFB or FBI??

I was recently in a discussion with a few people. Some IFB (Independent Fundamental Baptist) and some that were not. The discussion was turned to separation of the IFB from the world. There were comments made about the IFB being full of fakes and pretenders. Comments made that if an IFB attends a movie theater they're a hypocrite. And some other things along the line of the topic were brought out. Some that made me stop and think, "They've gotta point." Others that made me think, "Bitter with no right." And others that made me think, "I'm still right on that!" LOL

Am I upset with these people because they don't agree 100% with me? No. I love 'em. And it was an open discussion without hateful words.

But the discussion left me with many thoughts. I never did mention the discussion to Bruce, although he did find out about it all on his own, but never mentioned it to me until Wednesday night before church. His thoughts and feelings were the same as mine and, although, I felt much of what I said was blown up out of context as to my meaning, he got it. He knew what I was trying to say and he agreed with it.

Again, we never said ANYTHING about it and then Wed night in Pastor's message, guess what he bumped on a little bit? Are we IFB (Independent Fundamental Baptist) or FBI (Fundamental Baptist Investigators)? And then not only did God send my Pastor to reaffirm what I was thinking, but He used my daily devotion to confirm it also.

The biggest part of the discussion to me was whether or not someone who does something an IFB is known for not doing because of separation is a hypocrite. Not going to the movies, women not wearing pants, not smoking...these things do not make you IFB anymore than sitting in a garage makes you a car. But where do you draw the lines of separation and when is it all right to call our brothers and sisters in Christ a hypocrite?

The definition of a hypocrite is someone who pretends to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs, principles, etc. that he or she does not actually possess, esp. a person whose actions belie stated beliefs. A person who feigns some desirable or publicly approved attitude, esp. one whose private life, opinions or statements belie his or her public statements.

So, I would have to say the only way I could call someone a hypocrite in this area is if they said or taught that certain things were wrong and then went out and did it.

Another issue was brought up in this discussion and it was about you not agreeing with something your pastor preaches against and you do it anyway. Does that make you a hypocrite? No, because you never said you agreed. Does it damage your children? I think it can if you have a rebellious attitude. I'm sure that there are those that would say, "Well, I know what Pastor said is right, but I don't care, I'm gonna do it anyway." And not just on one subject, but on several. Where are they now? They're seeking out friendships with people who will accept them in their comfort zones. People they don't feel uncomfortable around because they all have that same rebellious attitude.

Others may say that a child being raised in a more liberal home has a better chance in their walk with Christ under a preacher who preaches more along the lines of their standards, than a child who is under a preacher that preaches against certain things and the parent has a rebellious attitude and does it anyway. The key words there are *rebellious attitude.* If you don't agree with your pastor, and I'm sorry, you will never agree with him on 100% of everything he says and does, don't tear him down. Not to your friends, your family, and especially your children. Have respect for the man of God and his office. If he steps out of line Biblically, it's time to move on.

Now, if he's preaching "thus saith the Lord" it doesn't matter if you agree with him or not, because it's God's words, not his, and your problem is with God. But if he's preaching his opinion on something, you may not agree with it and whatever you do, do not run him down for his opinion. Talk it over with your spouse and children and discuss it. But never put him down.

Anyway, Pastor brought out the FBI statement Wednesday night in his sermon and Bruce and I just looked at each other and laughed. Jesus said the world would hate us for his name's sake. But when it comes to the brothers and sisters we need to love and encourage one another. If we have a few brothers and sisters that hate us, well chances are, there's something wrong on their part. But if brothers and sisters can't stand us everywhere we go, that's really not a badge to be proud to wear. And it's definitely not Christ like. He was hated by the world. But He was loved by those He preached to with longsuffering and love. This doesn't mean we have to agree with a lifestyle of a brother and sister. We can still love them, still encourage them, still pray for them. But if they're living outside God's Word in open sin, you have to break fellowship with them and let them know why. To go around with a magnifying glass, lying in wait for someone to do something you don't agree with, well, that's just wrong. Never having encouraging words. Always rebuke. Eventually people just stop listening to you because that's all they ever get from you. Rebuke is important, don't get me wrong. I need my toes stepped on often! But it's not the only thing there is. We're also commanded to love and encourage one another.

The Bible says in Phil 2:12 that we are to work out our OWN salvation in fear and trembling. How can I work out my own salvation when I'm so focused on everyone else I don't see the flaws in my own Christian walk? Who am I to sit in judgement on someone else's standards and convictions? Can we inspect the fruit? Oh yeah....we're definitely fruit inspectors. If someone isn't bearing fruit and professing Christianity, there's something wrong there. But if they're bearing fruit, encourage them in their work of the Lord and live an example before them in your standards and convictions.

The Bible doesn't say not to smoke. But it's a nasty habit and doesn't set a good testimony. Not to mention your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost!
There's nothing said about women wearing pants vs skirts/dresses, but when you dress in modest skirts and dresses, people do notice the difference.

Does smoking make you a hypocrite? Or wearing pants instead of skirts and dresses? No, not unless you say it's wrong and do it anyway. These are those things you have to work out in your own salvation. And if you're praying and reading your Bible, God will show you those things in your life you need to be working on. It's not up to me to smack you down at every turn. I can speak my mind. I can take a stand. But I should do it in love. It's easy to say you speak in love, but if there is an arrogance in your stand it's like the seed that falls on stony ground and among thorns.

I am not God's FBI. But I am IFB. I am IFB because I do hold to the most important factors of the Independent Fundamental Baptist doctrine. I am not a fake IFB. I am not pretending to be IFB. I am IFB. For all things, I try to seek God's wisdom and discernment. His guidance upon every facet of my life. And in the process, praying He uses me as a positive example to others.

I prayed and asked God to show me something to set my heart where it needed to be and the next morning, this was my devotion for the day:

Matthew 7:2 "For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again."

This statement is not a haphazard guess, it is an eternal law of God. Whatever judgment you give, it is measured to you again. There is a difference between retaliation and retribution. Jesus says that the basis of life is retribution--"with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again." If you have been shrewd in finding out the defects in others, remember that will be exactly the measure given to you. Life serves back in the coin you pay. This law works from God's throne downwards. Psalm 18:25-26 "With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself merciful; with an upright man thou wilt shew thyself upright; With the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure and with the froward thou wilt shew thyself froward."

Romans 2 applies it in a still more definite way and says that the one who criticizes another is guilty of the very same thing. God looks not only at the act, He looks at the possibility. We do not believe the statements of the Bible to begin with. For instance, do we believe this statement, that the things we criticize in others we are guilty of ourselves? The reason we see hypocrisy and fraud and unreality in others is because they are all in our own hearts. The great characteristic of a saint is humility --Yes, all those things and other evils would have been manifested in me but for the grace of God, therefore I have no right to judge.

Jesus says -- "judge not, that ye be not judged"; -- if you do judge, it will be measured to you exactly as you have judged. Who of us would dare to stand before God and say --"My God, judge me as I have judged my fellow men?" We have judged our fellow men as sinners; if God should judge us like that, we would be in hell. God judges us through the marvelous Atonement of Jesus Christ."