There are no doubt, many people in the IFB movement that are now questioning if the IFB is a cult, especially after 20/20 aired their story about 3 women who were molested and raped when they were teens in their IFB churches. The IFB is not the only denomination that has these crimes happening in their ranks. Regardless of whether or not they tell you they aren’t a denomination, they are. They have annual pastor’s conferences, they have specific leaders in their movement preach, they have annual marriage seminars and kids camps they all participate in. They also receive IFB missionaries as guests to present their vision for foreign missions and these IFB churches help support each other’s missionaries. If they weren’t a denomination they would reach out to other baptist churches, but they don’t. They only associate with other IFB churches.
free photo source Pix-O-Sphere
Yes, they claim to be autonomous, yet some of them won’t teach you how to vote a pastor out. If you try to go to another pastor in the IFB for help, you may find it very difficult for them to take you seriously. I tried to reach out to two well known IFB pastors and the CLA and they wouldn’t help. One refused to return my messages, the other sided with the pastor, and CLA continues to support and defend the church I contacted them about.
When we left the IFB, we didn’t want to cause an uproar so we chose to leave with a simple email to our friends that we were going in a different direction in ministry, that we know our ministry could not be supported through the IFB, because we were choosing a ministry not affiliated with them. My husband was rebuked for me sending the email and the pastor ‘told’ my husband not to talk to anyone from ‘his church’.
The pastor on 20/20 said they aren’t a network, but they are. They don’t ALL connect officially, but they don’t disconnect officially either. My mom was a member of an IFB church in her town and her pastor knew who my former pastor was. He never indicated to me that there was a concern about me going there. Until we left. Then he spoke up. He didn’t say anything incriminating, but he did say he has concerns about the one I came out of and that he won’t associate with the pastor. He said has concerns with how the church is being led.
I had been to this man’s church many times when my mom attended there. He is a soft spoken pastor, I never heard him yell from his pulpit. But as my parents slowly started missing services and walk away quietly, they started noticing a difference in how they were treated by it’s members when they saw them at the stores.
Somehow, at some point in time, something is being taught to the people in churches like these. Something that puts the people into a fear and anger towards those who leave. What are they hiding?
There is an overall teaching that is spread through the camps that indicates that the ‘devil will get you if you leave’. There are stories told about people who suffered awful tragedies after leaving. There’s a story that I have heard taught to teens at a IFB church camp. A story of a man who was a Bible College student that decided to leave the ministry. He had a wife and two sons. One day the man was on top of his roof doing some electrical work. He needed someone to run a line under the lattice covered porch. He asked his little boy to do it for him as he stayed on the roof. This story goes on to reveal that the son crawled into a den of rattlesnakes and began screaming for his life. The dad jumped down grabbed his son out of there, screamed for his wife, jumped in the truck to leave and backed over his other son. Both sons died…because he left the ministry. This story was never confirmed as true. No name was ever given. No evidence at all. To assume it happened BECAUSE he left the ministry and state that as a fact is heresy.
Then we started hearing of pastor’s sons who were killed in car accidents, motorcycle injuries that almost took their lives, pastor’s and deacon’s daughters in car accidents, one deacon’s daughter was in a skiing accident that took her life. Odd how the man’s two sons died out of the ministry and all these were happening within the ministry. They teach scare tactics to keep your kids out of the public schools yet so many pastors and deacons are arrested and convicted of raping and molesting children in the ministry. These stories have all been confirmed as true through various newspapers and public speaking by the children’s parents…the pastors and their wives.
Life and tragedies happen both inside and outside of the churches.
When it happends outside their ministry they call it God’s discipline or punishment on you for leaving.
When it happens in their churches they call it a test to strengthen your faith and permitted by God to be a blessing and help you grow. Sometimes it’s said to be a warning of what could happen if you leave.
I have sat in on numerous leadership meetings and conferences. I was a student at a local 2 year mini bible college. I listened to their teaching for 15 years. I attended the annual ladies conference in Napa, Ca for many years. I have read many of their books, training manuals, and ordered teaching tapes from various IFB preachers, evangelists, and women speakers. All of them teach the same things. I am not speaking about ONE isolated church. I am speaking about the numerous churches and their leaders from all over the country. We have traveled to other IFB churches when on vacation. We have put our kids in their Sunday School classes. Sent our kids to camps and teen conferences from various IFB churches.
If not all IFB churches teach the same things, then I sure live in a state that has a BAD infestation of false IFB pastors and the rest of the country’s IFB pastors should be raising hell over it. oh but many of the evangelists and pastors who traveled from other states have come to my state and supported all these churches, speak at their events, and camps and teen conferences. So I guess it’s not isolated to California.
Is the IFB a cult? Is it a denomination?
Just before I typed out this article one of it’s members came to my home to invite me for Easter service.
It’s been two years since we left.
This person knows why we left.
Don’t they EVER STOP???
If you’re from my former church, please don’t ask us to come back. We’re NOT going back. Besides, with all my public testimony coming out, I doubt your pastor would want me there.
The armed guards that block the exists during service is a bit creepy to me. No thanks.