Beyond Lines in the Sand - Thoughts on Joining the IFCA

I’ve just submitted my testimony, doctrinal statement, and personal philosophy of ministry overview to the leadership of the IFCA International, formerly the independent Fundamental Churches of America (IFCA).The IFCA allows you to join as either a ministry or as an individual. While the congregation I pastor will remain independent of official group membership for now, I am joining as an individual minister of the gospel.

I’m excited about my new membership in an association of leaders and ministries that is hardly new. The IFCA has a fantastic heritage. Several friends, family members and ministries I have great respect for are, or have been, associated with the IFCA. Not too long ago our friends at Clearwater Christian College near Tampa joined the IFCA. This is a decision I’ve been working through for several years and I wanted to share a few thoughts on the move in hopes that it can help others who are working through similar types of decisions.

I want to say that first of all, in a sense, I view joining a group like the IFCA as not being a direct response to any Scriptural imperatives for leaders or ministries. Rather, it is similar to the reasons for having Sunday School. Sunday School is nowhere commanded in the New Testament, yet teaching and leading God’s children in grace and truth is certainly an imperative found within the Scriptures. In a similar way, leaders and congregations certainly coordinated ministry and worked together throughout the early NT church. So the question is not really “should we cooperate?” but rather “with whom should we cooperate?”

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Secondary Separation: Should Christian Brethren Ever Separate? (Part 2)

Read Part 1.

Is there such thing as “secondary separation?”

There is a remarkable consensus that the phrase “secondary separation” is unbiblical. Moritz maintains the grounds of any separation are principles based upon the holiness of God (72). McCune likewise repudiates the concept of “degrees” of separation (147). Charles Woodbridge was particularly offended by the term; he called any distinction of degrees of separation a “deadly menace.” To him, separation extended to any relationship in which disobedience to God is involved (10).

The Bible knows nothing whatever about “degrees” of separation from evil! The Christian is to remove himself as far as it is humanly possible from all forms of evil, whether they be peripheral, pivotal or relatively ancillary. To hate evil means to hate it in all its forms—its ancestry, its immediate presence and its progeny! (11)

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Fundamentally Proud

Fundamentalism is a worthy cause. From its inception, it has endeavored to take a strong and clear stand on traditional Christianity. Beale defines a true fundamentalist as “one who desires to reach out in love and compassion to people, believes and defends the whole Bible as the absolute, inerrant, and authoritative Word of God, and stands committed to the doctrine and practice of holiness” (Beale 3). Fundamentalists take a literal approach to the Word of God. They are careful not to read any personal bias or opinion into the Bible. Recognizing that the heart is deceitful above all things, they understand the danger of allowing the feelings and knowledge of man to wield authority over the Scriptures. God’s truth weakened by man’s control ceases to be God’s truth.

It is for this reason the fundamentalist resists the liberal mindset so militantly. Liberal Christian thought seeks to marry theology to the corrupt humanistic thinking of the day. Colossians 2:8 strictly warns of the danger of being “spoiled through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” Oil and water do not mix. The liberal theological attempt to mix the life-giving water of the Word with the slippery oil of the world has robbed mankind of the pure doctrine of the Scriptures that are able to save men’s souls. It has always been, and must continue to be, the mission of the fundamentalist to expose such error and guide men back to the authoritative Word of God.

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