ANSWERS: 3
  • Whoo-wee what a question! (Coming from one who has spent most of his 50 years as a Baptist of various types) I am still Baptistic in my doctrine, so what I am about to say is not as negative as it may sound. Sometimes your greatest quality can become your greatest flaw. Baptists are generally committed to the highest degree of fidelity to Scripture for faith and practice, and intend to take it from nowhere else. Baptists hold to salvation by faith through grace, with no need for any act of any sort by anybody. And they hold to baptism by immersion as the first thing a new believer should do. And they generally hold that the churches are autonomous or self-governing, mostly congregational style, and do not hold to any hierarchy of government above the local church. Beyond this, there are some problems of Biblical understanding that take a bit of work, and a bit of patience with one another. These can involve fine points of church organization, missions/evangelism methods, the nature of God's work in salvation (Calvinism/Arminianism and such), whether to be a part of a convention (like Southern Baptists) or association, or eschatology (future things), to name a few . I'm sorry to say, Baptists have not always been able to have sufficient patience with one another as we work on these questions, deciding which position is right, and which ones even matter. The effect is, one church or group of churches determines that some position is absolutely necessary to the proper representation of God's name, and anything else is compromise, and they basically are unable to continue fellowship with those who don't see it, and they will tend to give themselves an identifying adjective. So Baptists, actually with right intent, but maybe poor implementation, are rather faction and splinter prone. For this reason, I don't know if anybody can tell you how many different types of Baptists there are, I hear of more all the time. Southern Baptists are members of churches which are members of the Southern Baptist Convention. The SBC is not truly a denomination, since it does not govern the churches; it does provide a great many services, making it very influential back into the churches, though. The term "independent" is generally meant to assert that a particular church is not part of the SBC or other convention. Some independent Baptist churches do form various associations for various purposes, much less extensive than the conventions (of which SBC is the largest). Other churches simply cooperate casually, and some are all but isolationist. So let's see...there's Southern, Northern, Primitive, Hardshell, Strict and Particular, General, Landmark, Reformed, Missionary, Independent, Freewill, Pentecostal (yes,Virginia, there are Pentecostal Baptists), sometimes combinations of these, and I'm sure many others. And I don't think I've given you much to use to figure out which I am. In fact, I'm in transition from one to another right now. Salvation does not make us perfect in this life, no matter how good our intentions. God's grace continuously covers our sins. I love all my Baptist bretheren--all God's people for that matter--and still think we're closer to the New Testament pattern than anything else I know of. I pray that one day these differences can be resolved to the greater glory of God.
  • I am an Indapendant fundamental Baptist. We gave ourselves that name because we did not want to be associated with the other churches that were calling themselves "baptist". Alot of "baptist" churches have gone away from the true teachings of the bible and have compromised their beliefs. IFB have NOT done that, they have kept the original doctrine of Christ and have changed nothing. We are not to pick and choose what we want from the bible. God says"if you love me keep my commandments" and alot of baptists do not do this. there is a Church in Winnipeg that has recently taken the name Baptist out of their name of their church because they no longer stick to the book but have let the world come in to their church. I believe with all my heart and see with my eyes that IFB have followed the true teachings of Christ and still do. This is the difference.
  • I am also an Independent Fundamental Baptist, but in my local phone book there are 16 different listing for "Baptists." It is crazy, but necessary.

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