Most independent Baptists are probably also fundamentalists, so the typical acronym is IFB, independent fundamental Baptist. I reject being called an IFB, since I don't think I'm a fundamentalist, but I think there are those who don't mind that label, and will even still put it on their sign or in their advertisements. I don't think there is a need to add the "F," because if you're independent Baptist, most people will think you're a fundamentalist anyway, even if, like me, you don't wish to be known as one.
Among those who might claim to be independent Baptist, you've got the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches (GARBC), who are a part of an organized association that says each member retains independency. Most of the other independent Baptists don't think the GARBC is independent. I've never thought of GARBC churches as being independent. They joined an association and those two terms -- independent and association -- contradict each other in my mind. You can't be both, so I will leave the GARBC out of the discussion.
Baptist Bible Fellowship (BBF) churches also consider themselves to be independent, but I would direct you to the previous paragraph. Many others in addition to me consider these "Fellowship" churches not to be independent. Similar to the BBF, but different, is the ABA, the American Baptist Association that is ditto on thinking they're independent churches, and yet not being truly independent.
In my mind, there are two general types of independent Baptist churches: the revivalist and Bob Jones. Almost all independent Baptist churches are either revivalist or Bob Jones. I know that there is overlap or blurred edges sometimes between the two groups. Some churches are both revivalist and Bob Jones. Maybe those could make up a whole other third category, but still you can slot into the two general categories as to what primarily characterizes those independent Baptist churches.
The Bob Jones wing of independent Baptists probably wants to be known as historic fundamentalists, instead of the Bob Jones wing. This group has several splinters mainly associated with colleges and seminaries. For instance, you have the actual Bob Jones University graduates and then you have those who graduated from what I call orbiting schools, like Maranatha, Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary, the former Calvary Baptist in Lansdale, International Baptist College, Clearwater Christian College, Virginia Beach Theological Seminary, and Central Baptist Theological Seminary. Parallel to the aforementioned institutions is the Fundamental Baptist Fellowship (FBF), which declares itself to be only a fellowship of pastors and not churches.
Among the revivalist independent Baptists, there are several divisions too. You have what many call the "Hyles churches." That is still a very large group. There is the "Sword of the Lord" crowd. Today you have those strongly affiliated with Clarence Sexton, Crown College, and the Baptist Friends network. You've got those now most closely tied to Paul Chappell and West Coast Baptist College. You have some most characterized by their association with Pensacola Christian College. Baptist College of Ministry and Falls Baptist Church has its own group, as are those churches most closely united to Fairhaven Baptist Church and College. You have some that are very unique, like the Ruckmanites, who identify with the teachings of Peter Ruckman.
Some FBF men are also revivalists. The type of folks who represent an overlap or the edges of the revivalists and the Bob Jones folks are those like the graduates of Ambassador Baptist College. They are revivalists who operate within the orbit of the Bob Jones crowd. There may be others, whom I haven't met and don't know about, who are a bit of hybrid of the two above groups, and yet still call themselves independent Baptists. Someone who isn't an unaffiliated, but I don't see him as either of the above categories is Lance Ketchum and his Midwest Independent Baptist Pastors' Fellowship. Those pastors might send their young people to independent Baptist fundamentalist colleges, either revivalist or Bob Jones, but not endorse the college.
What stands out as qualifying unaffiliated Baptists most from independent ones is the lack of the former in involvement with mission boards. The most denominational aspect of the independent Baptists is their cooperation within the boards. Unaffiliated Baptists don't use mission boards.
More to Come