The first post in what is a series of undetermined length laid out some of the setting for this analysis. Who are we talking about when we say, "independent Baptists"? I did somewhat differentiate myself from independent Baptists by calling myself unaffiliated, but based on the most conservative definition, I'm still an independent Baptist. I call myself one, because unaffiliated doesn't mean anything to most people. With that being said, I think among the independent Baptists we find New Testament Christianity.
I wouldn't be a part of anything but an independent Baptist church. The three words, independent and Baptist and church, represent crucial concepts for obedience to God's Word. The true church is independent and, rightly understood, Baptist. Since the church represents God in this age, then we are talking about what is most important on earth.
Even if independent Baptist churches are not in good shape overall, it still is the only place to be, if you want to be obedient to God. True churches were and are independent. They are autonomous, self-governing, and independent of a hierarchy, secular or religious. Therefore, as well, they can obey biblical purity by keeping separated from false doctrine and practice.
By Baptist, I mean historic Baptist and characterized by New Testament distinctives, chiefly the Bible as sole rule. I believe that only with Baptist churches is there divine authority. The true church traces its history through the Baptists, so if you are not Baptist, your trajectory does not point to Jerusalem, but Rome. The trend towards leaving out "Baptist" in a church name is a horrible one.
My honest basic assessment of independent Baptist churches is that for a multitude of various reasons there are very few that I would even recommend. They are all that I would recommend, but even among them, there are few that I could. You should look for an independent Baptist church, you should be in one, but most of them aren't very good. Things are worse than ever, and when I say worse, I mean two or three times or more worse right now than at any time in my lifetime. This also explains why things are so bad in the United States.
Is there any good news? Even the good news is bad, because the good news is that things could be even worse. We should all be happy that things aren't worse and they could easily be. If I'm wrong in my assessment, I don't think it is in judging how bad things are, but that they're really worse than what I'm even saying.
The seeds for the major problems among independent Baptists go back a ways. I'm going to talk about what I think they are and how we got into the trouble we're in.
More to Come