ABC’s 20/20 Discusses Abuse Among the Independent Fundamental Baptist Denomination

ABC’s 20/20 exposes abuse within the Independent Fundamental Baptist Denomination.

This site experienced a surge of traffic during the time the show aired which was a confirmation to me that this is really a hot issue and a much needed topic of exploration and exposure. Tina Anderson and I have had contact in the past and I would urge all of you to head on over to her site and at least read about her experiences.

This is a fantastic opportunity to shed light on the IFB and their abusive teachings. The show does a great job of exposing what really happens. It’s not made up nor is it exaggerated. This was the type of church I was in growing up and they do a much better job of sharing what this site is trying to expose. So here is the show, or at least what’s available from

Here is the Press Release related to the show:

Wednesday, April 06, 2011
ABC Television Network
ON FRIDAY’S 20/20 (4/8)
Print This Document


Elizabeth Vargas’ Yearlong Investigation into the Independent
Fundamental Baptist Church Airs Friday, April 8

Try to imagine the pain and humiliation of a teenage girl, just 15 years old, who says she was forced to stand in front of a New Hampshire church congregation and confess her “sin” of being pregnant. She says that, not only was she forced to confess her pregnancy, but also to ask for their forgiveness – with no mention of the man she says sexually abused her. After all, she says, the pastor told her it’s better than being stoned to death, as the bible describes. That is what Tina Anderson alleged happened to her at her ultra conservative Independent Fundamental Baptist — or IFB — church. The IFB has thousands of congregations across the country, but many people had never heard of it… That was, until another woman, Jocelyn Zichterman, began a public campaign, armed with nothing but a computer and memories of her own alleged abuse, which she says church beliefs can foster. And survivors are now coming out of the woodwork to say she’s not alone. Elizabeth Vargas’ yearlong exclusive investigation into a religious sub-culture that critics claim can foster – even cover up – physical and sexual abuse airs on “20/20,” FRIDAY, APRIL 8 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET) on ABC.

Critics say the church teaches a strict interpretation of the bible, including the practice known as breaking the will of the child, with some advocating that it even be applied to infants as young as two weeks old.

“I had a decision to make that either I was going to kind of curl up in the corner and be quiet or I was going to stand up for my family and tell the truth,” says Jocelyn Zichterman.

Pastor Chuck Phelps, the former pastor at Tina Anderson’s New Hampshire church, denies Tina was disciplined by the church or that there was any attempt to cover up a crime. He declined repeated interview requests but provided a statement: “Tina was involved in an ongoing sexual relationship with Mr. Ernie Willis… Tina lied to her mother and to me about this relationship.” He also said he brought the allegations to the attention of police who failed to investigate further. Ernie Willis, Tina Anderson’s alleged attacker, has pleaded not guilty to sexual assault.

Brian Fuller, the current pastor at Tina’s former IFB church, says all IFB churches operate independently and that his church has nothing to hide. He opened his doors to “20/20” cameras, was critical of how Tina’s case was handled and denounced any abusive disciplinary practices, adding: “The Bible says that I’m supposed to love my children, I’m never supposed to ever do anything out of anger or manipulation. And that’s what our people are taught here.”

“20/20” is anchored by Elizabeth Vargas and Chris Cuomo. David Sloan is executive producer.

ABC News Media Relations:
Alyssa Ziegler Apple (212) 456-1624

Press release courtesy of:


Add a Comment
  1. Any church that has the word “fundamentalist” in their name has nothing to do with God. They are misguided and the leaders are nothing more than common criminal thugs.

  2. “The IFB is so full of religion”


  3. I was a part of the IFB church for 43 years. Something just didn’t feel right. I prayed for wisdom and guidance for over a year before our family left the church. Best thing we ever did. The IFB church is so full of religion it’s not even a functional ministry of our Lord and Savior. More time is spent controlling it’s members and trying to conform them to fit into a little box that glorifying the Lord becomes secondary. We have a huge divide now with the rest of our family that is still in it but what a wonderful day in our spiritual life when we left the IFB. Praise God.

  4. Kira,
    Well said. The top down structure found in many churches is not what if found in the Bible. The positon of pastor equates to sheep taking turns being “Lord.”

  5. @Bill
    Bill…I salute your response! It’s EXACTLY what we’re trying to get people to see…the mentality of the IFB. Good job and I’m glad you posted 🙂

  6. @Waby
    Again..sorry Waby..I originally meant to post that I agree with YOUR comment!

  7. @Kira
    I don’t know how poor waby got thrown in the mix, I got him and Tim some how confused!! This was ONLY @ Tim NOT waby…sorry! Atleast I can admit a mistake…and Tim….your precious IFB is going down whether you like it or not.They have no legs to stand on THAT’S why they won’t sue,their reputation is beyond repair!!! The sad part is that the IFB must be on a suicide mission because they’re doing it all to themselves! Hold on…20/20 has got plenty more where that came from ONLY because of victims FINALLY getting a voice and there are MANY! I’m sorry this upsets your private utopia Tim but it was bound to happen, God won’t allow man to further misrepresent Him and He WON’T tolerate abuse done in His name in any shape or form under any denomination.[and if you don’t like it Tim start your own support group.]

  8. @Waby <

    A literal interpretation is DANGEROUS…evil??? IFBS sure love to twist words around,a special gift I suppose. Something in my gut tells me that the Bible isn’t meant to be read as a 20th century legal document. If that were the case God sure looks like a liar in MANY instances.

    EXAMPLE: Proverbs is a book of poetry — figurative language. Considering JUST that,which you don’t, I’d say that the rod mentioned in Proverbs is a figurative rod, not a literal one.

    That is, when Proverbs 22:15 says “The rod and rebuke give wisdom…” it is referring to the “rod of correction,” meaning non-violent methods of correction and teaching a child. Proverbs 23:13: “…if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die.” Over 1,000 children die each year in the U.S. as a result of corporal punishment. If “beatest him with the rod” really means to beat a child with a rod, then the Bible would be lying. But the Bible is the Word of God and does not lie. Thus, the passage must be referring to a non physical correction with a figurative meaning. [gee….using common sense just might be evil.]
    Exodus 21:20 discusses a situation in which a man must be punished if he beats his male or female slave that he owns to death with a rod. One can conclude that the rod in Proverbs cannot be the same rod as is mentioned in Exodus. If it were, then the Bible would be lying…again!!!!

    [If Proverbs] were talking about a literal rod here, we would be finding a contradiction because it says he [the child] SHALL NOT die. It’s THAT simple. But I’m sure Waby you can further enlighten me.In essense when the Bible is placed into the WRONG hands, then yes Waby, in the end it’s teachings can wield evil.

  9. @Sinnersvdbygrace
    TYPICAL IFB induced paranoia without any healthy insight to discern a situation. CULTS propagate fear and mistrust of anything’ worldly’ and ofcourse that’s all the media has to do,their number one almighty agenda…. to RUIN Christianity!![sarcasm.] While I am a conservative Christian I realize Satan uses the ‘world’ for much of his agenda ,HOWEVER he favors using the church itself and false prophets. Think about it…if you were Satan wouldn’t it be more of a rush to corrupt every man of God you possibly could so Christianity could be despised because they become nothing more than a bunch of lying hypocrites?? You take down Christianity from the inside and then people have every right to hate it.
    After all it was religion that crucified Christ. When you start making ‘the world’ the scape goat for everything your focus becomes so farsighted that you can’t see what’s right in front of your face that’s wrong. Sometimes the boogie man sits right next to you in church and just isn’t lurking in those scary bushes.

  10. @Charles
    Can I get a simple AMEN!!! Oh but wait…isn’t a pink bottom better than a black soul??? It’s sickening..plain sickening.

  11. I am writing the following out of great concern first and foremost.[ I am a born again conservative Christian,however NOT an extremist,a nurse and a at home mommy.]Oh there are a lot of brainwashed IFB answers on here FULL of denial. Do you REALLY think common parishioners are going to know ALL the dirty deeds going on behind closed doors? What’s amazing to me is how more often than not these horror stories are rising QUICKLY to the surface. We are not talking about a few stories here and there we’re talking scores of them! Visit the IFB CULT survivors page on facebook to get a slight idea. The fight is not about the freedom to preach whatever you want in the church,it’s about CHILDREN having the right to a decent and proper education,decent mental health/medical care[being a nurse I’ve seen the neglect in the name of religion] and having a voice against ABUSE that doesn’t get drowned out so as to protect the image of the church.
    It’s maddening to me how far many of you go to protect the preacher. How co-dependent the preacher makes so many of you that you can’t figure out how to plan your own finances,raise your kids with out beating the hell out of them so they don’t go to hell [ so as to break their will],fall under heavy paranoia so everything becomes a sin hence leading to the heresy of ‘separation ‘further leading to sheer control by the pastor. [and his henchmen]
    In our local newspaper our local IFB pastor was sighted for defending a young man who whipped his girlfriends 5 year old [his bottom] ten times with a leather belt. [The man was charged with child endangerment due to heavy bruising.”In the young mans defense the pastor stated “everybody bruises differently,I received bruises as a young boy,we teach our parents that spanking is a biblical admonition.” Thank God someone turned that young man in because the PASTOR would not have obviously! This also happened to be a already troubled child which makes this sickening! The man who whipped this kid serves as one of the churches school bus drivers. And this is typical IFB behavior. Everything conveniently backed up by a literal interpretation of the Bible making it ok. People ARE abusing children and getting away with it because the pastor and church will protect their brother in Christ,that simple. After all it’s just sin that’s making everybody error isn’t it?
    Where does the Holy spirit in every believer fit in? Is one ever taught to trust their own discernment???When are you allowed to be a mature enough Christian, with out the almighty pastor looking over your shoulder ,to have the last say. Choosing to become ‘sheeple’ is not walking confidently with the Lord. It’s letting the church or pastor lead in places he has NO business leading. Christ has the power and ability for us to walk out INTO the world and stand strong…not cower from it.Christ did not hover over people and brow beat them with fire breathing sermons. Christ doesn’t use fear and shame to teach children or adults for that matter, and if you can honestly sit there and believe Jesus waits around with a paddle to break a child’s will you don’t have a CLUE of who He is!Any religion propagated by fear to teach is WRONG!!
    I belonged to our little IFB church here in Iowa long enough to see that FEAR dominates,it has to so as to have control over the people.No,every IFB church I’m sure isn’t the same but birds of the same feather..yes! I feel for the children because they are the ones that don’t get a voice. Did you ever stop and think that maybe YOUR doing it wrong? That maybe it’s YOU the IFB pastor or the IFB church member that is actually wrong on some pretty MAJOR things? That maybe…just maybe…your fear of anything” Liberal “is skewing some of your interpretations in the Bible? That maybe…just maybe…the Bible isn’t actually made to be a 20th centenary legal document? Please,please think these things through for the sake of your children. They are the ones who will tell their own account on these matters someday, don’t become the cause of it being a painful one.

  12. @Sinnersvdbygrace

    Yeah that’s great. Let’s ignore the abuse since your church isn’t like that. Let’s blame shift and move focus to the media so that you don’t have to take responsibility or accept association with such perversion. You’re an idiot!

    Those who ignore or excuse abuse are worse than those who abuse.

  13. I’m a born again independent fundamental baptist. I challenge 20/20 to come to my church, and I know you will not find anything like this. Maybe if you would play the whole sermon and not just clips, you may here what they are completely saying. I’m not saying if they did this, they are right, but my IFB is NOT ran this way. This is the media trying to bash Christianity in any form that they can.

  14. Eden,

    can you point me to where in the Word of God it said, referenced, or gave you or someone else implications that “Jesus wore more of a skirt”? I want to see where it sais this in the Word of God. I’m not saying its not true, I just can’t find it anywhere. This is kind of surprising to me. By the way, if I wore a skirt a lot of people would probably think I am a homosexual.

  15. Eden – Your story is compelling, and I am so sorry that you went through this mess, I too, am surprised you have still have retained your faith. Rest assured that God loves you right back, and the final punishment for these “perverts” has yet to be seen.

    Look fwd to more of your insights here.

  16. @Michelle


    This is such a serious subject, but I had to laugh at your comment about the cullotes over the ski pants. Hahahaha. I had to do that too! And I had to wear them swimming, skating, for karate… Can’t wear “that which pertaineth to a man”. Lol…actually Jesus wore more of a skirt…so I always wondered why the men didn’t have to 😉

  17. @greg

    I am so sorry to hear about your church’s respons to your sickness. When I lost my baby (out of wedlock) my mother told me that she and the ladies prayer group had prayed for something drastic to happen to me so that I would “hit rock-bottom, repent, and come back to God”.

    Your comment brought me to tears because we do love God and if these “leaders” had been truly Godly, we would probably be serving in a church right now. It is amazing that we still believe after this type of abuse. However, I personally am terrified to allow my children to go to church. For some reason, even the most loving and observant parents were always completely unaware of what went on…

  18. I was a second-generation IFB “christian”. I was holding my breath through this whole show…NEVER have I heard anyone speak out against “our” type of church. No one ever believes how I grew up. It IS a CULT. They may say they are unaffiliated, but these men attend the same conferences, support the same missionaries, and teach the same things.

    I attended an A.C.E. christian school in the basement of our church (where later I was denied my HS diploma because I wasn’t “right with God”.) During my 6 ys. there, I was sexually abused by 3 men who were all in the ministry. I know of at least 8 other kids who were also abused (out of a school of only about 40 children).

    The Pastor covered EVERYTHING up ALWAYS. After being made to repent in front of the church, the only punishment these men get is “demotion” (from being songleader to being janitor…for example). The girl is denied fellowship and ALWAYS blamed for seduction and if they don’t come forward immediately, told that they must have liked it. I personally was called “Jezebel”.

    I could go on and on and on….I’m going to this IFB website. If you come from this background PLEASE do the same!!!

  19. Where is the unity in these churches? Their independent’s is NOT what Jesus taught. “One Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God” (Ephesians 4:4-6) is what the Bible teaches, so true faith is to be united…… no matter where you go it should be the same doctrine! Christendom doesn’t offer that, so no surprise that IFB is part of Babylon the Great. I really feel bad for all who have suffered due to these wolves misleading the flock, but it will not always be this way. (Psalms 37:10,11,29)

  20. Ernie Willis was found guilty on all charges related to this case. This IFB church allowed a rapist to stay in their church while they shipped the victim across the country.

  21. I’ll bet Mr Bill was singing a different tune when the Catholic sex scandal broke!

  22. I couldn’t agree more Brian. That’s nothing more than an attempt to shift focus. People who try to blame shift the responsibillity onto ABC or the reporter are delusional. That’s like blaming a bank robbery on the Police or the investigators rather than the bank robber. How stupid.

  23. Bill :

    I think ABC has done an irresponsible job of reporting, caused great harm to many people, and owe all IFB churches an apology, not that they have the good character to do so. Why is it that all of us IFB churches have to be grouped together under a false accusation simply because some sloppy reporter didn’t do her job properly. If it were a personal lawsuit for slander, she’d lose her career and all her money. She has done great harm to people all over just for her own glory. May God richly open her eyes to her harmful ways, and give her grace to honestly repent. Shame on her.

    Bill makes me mad! Bill, shame on YOU!!! YOU are the ones to blame for this abuse and you take sides with abusers!! You are arrogant and pride and you need it questioned and convicted. I hope the Lord will open your blind eyes and humble you for YOU to repent.

  24. Ashley,
    I very much agree with your assessment of the 20/20 piece. I do not think it was an accurate portrayal of most IFB churches.
    I do think it was fitting though for them to show a clip of Jack Schaap ranting from the pulpit. This man has been a horrible example for not only the IFB, but for Christianity as a whole. I still don’t understand why IFB pastors don’t run as far from him and as fast as they possibly can.

  25. The media is supposed to represent the truth and give a fair and accurate analysis of what is going on in the stories they report. Sadly, this didn’t happen. The are many people that have abused and are abusing their power to affect the masses. Unfortunately, this happens in the news industry, which I have worked in for many years, and churches. But just like, not all media outlets are interested in telling the whole picture are slanted in the way they report, Pastors and churches use their power with the same negativity.
    The good news is, not everyone in the news business reports sensationally and with a skewed point-of-view and not every IFB church is manipulating its members. People, all people of every stripe, make wrong-decisions, but just because some of them make wrong decisions, doesn’t that EVERYONE or church is following their example.

  26. Paul – I hear you loud and clear. How traumatic to lose your vital support system during this time of uncertainity. I went through the same trauma but w/out the illness, and I know how tough that was on me, I can just imagine how difficult it must be to have the additional burden of cancer and going through this.

    How this must burden the heart of our dear Lord, how ashamed He must be of these Pharisees, and all the while they are back at the compound making up stories about how good ol brother Paul got out of the will of the Lord and got cancer.

    Know that the God of the bible is full of love and mercy and will never forsake you, He if familiar with our suffering and will walk this scary path with you.

    I wish you well dear christian friend and will pray for your physical healing and the healing of your heart, and also that you may find a group of “real” christians to fellowship with.

    In His Grace,

  27. 20 years of IFB, and I was abused throughout. As an early adult, I married a girl not in the IFB, and was all but banned from the community. when I was diagnosed with cancer, my parents, pastors all told me God gave me cancer because of my sins. I have broke away from this cult and no longer have speaking terms with my parents or siblings. Getting out of this cult will cost you the ‘friendship’ of every person you ever knew. This is why 90% of those who are raised in the IFB way, stick within the IFB bubble. You are brainwashed to believe their way is the ONLY way and those who question it have it beaten out of them until adulthood. I could sit for 10 hours and tell the most amazing stories of this cult. I have seen and lived through it all. God bless those who are able to get out of this cult and live a normal life, while at the same time keeping your faith.

  28. @Ashley

    Ashley, clearly, you have not been paying attention to all these painful stories. Your belief is not being questioned. The ability of your leaders (like Pastor Phelps, a big IFB pastor that Tina had) to not seek justce for a 15 year old is a simple application of God’s principle. These are your leaders, ask yourself a question, how can these be? If you could answer this correctly, then go ahead and quote some verses. But before then, verses after verses really does not make sense to the many victims.

  29. While these girls’ stories of sexual abuse are horrific, I would like to point out that there are SO MANY other bizarre and abusive practices almost EXCLUSIVE to independent fundamental baptists that would have exposed them for the tyrannical liars that they are.
    Again, while abominable, sexual cover-ups happen everywhere from Catholic church to the local public high schools.

  30. Fallacies of Logic: An Analysis of ABC’s “20/20” View of IFB
    By Dr. Charles L. Surrett,
    Academic Dean of Ambassador Baptist College and Pastor of Emmanuel Independent Baptist Church

    On Friday, April 8, 2011, the ABC television network broadcast, on their weekly “20/20” program, a journalistic view of Independent Fundamental Baptist churches. The conclusion they were trying to reach is that the doctrines of IFB churches lead to physical and sexual abuse, and that such churches should be considered to constitute a cult.

    As a college-level teacher of Logic, this writer noted several ways that the fundamental rules of Aristotelian logic were broken by the network and the hostess of the program, Elizabeth Vargas.

    One such rule is that “Evidence should be presented as fairly and completely as possible.” The fallacy which breaks that rule is called “special pleading,” which is intentionally presenting favorable evidence to one’s case, while at the same time purposely omitting unfavorable evidence. It is commonly practiced in courtrooms, where attorneys for one side of the argument present only that evidence which is favorable, and attempt to suppress evidence that is unfavorable. This is acceptable in the courtroom, because the whole truth should come out, if both sides do their jobs properly.

    However, when ABC’s case was presented, it was totally one-sided, with a great deal of evidence that did not favor their argument being completely ignored. This may be sensational journalism, but it is not fair to present our nation with such a slanted view of those who call themselves Independent Fundamental Baptists. It is neither fair to the IFB churches and constituents, nor fair to the general public.

    Elizabeth Vargas said there are currently “hundreds of thousands” of Americans in IFB churches. If we accept that assessment on the lower end of the scale, that should amount to a minimum of about a quarter of a million people in those churches today, and in reality there may be many more. Of that number, ABC showed two cases of young ladies who had allegedly been sexually abused by individuals who were members of IFB churches. If one were to accept that the allegations are true, and take into account that these allegations go back at least thirteen years, no doubt millions of people have gone through IFB churches in that same time frame. It would not be surprising, in any group of that size, to find some instances of abuse, due to the depraved nature of mankind. There was also reference to a website for people who consider themselves “survivors” of IFB churches and their supposed abuse. Nothing was said in the ABC report about the numbers of people whose lives have been dramatically improved as a result of the ministries of these same kinds of churches, such as broken homes repaired, alcoholics and drug addicts changed, children spared from child abuse, and workers becoming productive in society.

    In addition to the great spiritual work accomplished in these churches, the social implications could be recounted endlessly, with many testimonials presented as documentation. But ABC did not present these facts in their report, because it was not their purpose to balance the nation’s view of IFB churches. Their agenda was to present the movement in as negative a light as possible, so they purposely practiced the fallacy of “special pleading.”

    “Special pleading” was also done in the specific case of Pastor Chuck Phelps and Trinity Baptist Church in Concord, New Hampshire. A number of years after the alleged case of abuse, ABC was able to present a handful of former church members who gave their assessments of what had happened in a public church meeting thirteen years prior. ABC did not seem interested in the viewpoints of the hundreds of others who attended that same church service. ABC was content to accept without challenge the opinions of a very small minority of those who were actual eye-witnesses, and present to the nation that minority report as if it led to the appropriate conclusion.
    ABC was also guilty of “special pleading” by failing to present information they had previously been given by both Pastor Phelps and the Christian Law Association, which documented that the Concord police and a social services organization had been told of the situation, which ABC alleges Pastor Phelps tried to “cover up.” The pastor accepted his responsibility by reporting the alleged abuse to the proper authorities, who apparently did not follow through with their responsibilities in the matter. Anyone who wishes documentation of this should consult the website,, where it is clearly seen that ABC knew of this as early as July, 2010. If ABC were desirous of presenting “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth,” why did they not show Americans an interview of the mother of the teenaged girl who was at the center of the controversy?

    Yet another example of “special pleading” was seen in a few short excerpts from sermons presumed (but not documented) to be quotations from pastors of IFB churches. There appeared to be three different pastors whose words were heard, without the contexts of those words being presented. While some of those statements seemed improper, they were not substantiated by Scripture, and were evidently the subjective opinions of those individual pastors. While multitudes of sermons by IFB preachers which are designed to build families, instruct parents in child-rearing, and help young people to avoid sexual disasters could have been cited to give a fairer representation of the IFB churches, ABC chose to omit that significant information.

    A second fallacy of logic committed on the “20/20” program is termed, “argumentum ad hominem,” which attempts to disprove reasoning by discrediting the speaker. That is, appealing to a speaker’s undesirable traits is substituted for dealing with the substance of his reasoning. In ABC’s case, the attempt is to “disprove” the entire doctrinal position of thousands of IFB churches by noting undesirable characteristics of a few individuals. Thinking people can see through this kind of fallacious reporting.

    A third rule of logic that ABC violated in this report states that, “nothing is true simply because a human being said so.” The statements of those who disapproved of IFB churches was accepted without challenge, despite the fact that “hundreds of thousands” (ABC’s term) of others would be likely to give opposing views.
    A fourth rule of logic broken by ABC says that, “emotion is not an acceptable substitute for proof.” While emotion can be used to supplement proof, it cannot legitimately substitute for it. The network showed the tears of the two young ladies who opposed the IFB churches, but not the tears of those pastors, parents, and others who had given of themselves to help them. There was also an obvious attempt to play upon the emotions of viewers, to make up for the lack of complete information in these cases.

    Logic was abused in the ABC report when they used limited observation to draw firm conclusions. The selected examples of two or three objectionable portions of sermons and two cases of sexual impropriety were intended to “broad brush” all who consider themselves to be Independent Fundamental Baptists as being susceptible, either as perpetrators or as victims, to physical and sexual abuse. There was an unveiled attempt to “warn” Americans against involvement in IFB churches. In addition to being very faulty logic, this is grossly unjustifiable and misleading.

    The overall purpose of ABC’s “20/20” program on April 8, 2011 was to foist yet another fallacy of logic upon the American people. Using the “guilt by association” method, ABC seemed to indict all of the “hundreds of thousands” of IFB church members and their pastors, because they choose to identify themselves as Independent Fundamental Baptists. Perhaps ABC should be reminded of what the word “independent” means. It means that there is no organic connection between the churches they are attacking. There is not one standard doctrinal statement, nor are there universal standards of dress, music, and entertainment that apply to all IFB churches.

    Without an organic connection, no one individual, church, or group of churches has control over what others with similar doctrinal positions do or say. If all of the allegations against these specific churches were to be accepted as absolute truth (and that is by no means agreed to here), it still would not be a reflection upon other IFB churches, because there is no regulatory or disciplinary power that one IFB church has over any other. In similar fashion, it would be unfair to attack ABC news on the basis of abuses found in other news sources that are not affiliated with their network. ABC would not want to be held responsible for what is disseminated by every tabloid, blog, newspaper, magazine, radio or television station or network, and be condemned for abuses found in them. That kind of unfair treatment would certainly be analogous to what ABC has tried to do to IFB churches.

    The “guilt by association” attempt was furthered when ABC allowed IFB churches to be represented as a cult. An article in the World Book Encyclopedia, from 1985, Volume 4, p 941, gives the following explanation in their article on “cults,” under the subtitle of “Characteristics of Cults”:

    “Traditionally, the term cult referred to any form of worship or ritual observance, or even to any group of persons pursuing common goals. But publicity about cults since the middle 1900’s has given the term a more specific meaning. Today, cults tend to follow a living leader who promotes new and occult (strange and mysterious) doctrines and practices. Most leaders demand that members live apart from everyday society in groups called communes. Leaders claim that they possess exclusive religious truth, and they command absolute obedience and allegiance from members. Many cults require that members contribute all their possessions to the group.”

    Since we today are well past the middle of the 1900’s, the current concept of the term, “cult,” takes upon the latter, more negative connotation, and should be examined, to see if IFB churches qualify. There is no “living leader,” except for the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and IFB churches could hardly be blamed for following Him! Since these churches follow a Bible that is ancient, their doctrines cannot be called “new,” or “strange and mysterious.” They do not live in communes, nor do they require people to contribute all their possessions. Their “exclusive religious truth” is not of their own subjective invention, but is extended to all who will accept the Bible as authoritative. Although there are some that demand more from their members than do others, it is not even close to the truth to assert that all IFB churches “command absolute obedience.” Each individual local church should be judged upon its own merits. Therefore, since IFB churches do not have any of the characteristics of a cult, it is dishonest and unfair to label them as such.

    ABC seemed content, rather than using any clear standards for defining a cult, to allow a small group of people in a room to verbalize that they think IFB churches constitute a cult. Without any real evidence, then, the assessment of an extremely small minority is taken as an indictment against “hundreds of thousands” of people. Merely stating that some think IFB is a cult does not make it so! But then, that is another fallacy, called “begging the question.”

    Instead of being wary of what they might hear in an Independent Fundamental Baptist church, as the “20/20” article so obviously intended, thinking people should become more wary of what they hear on ABC!

    1. “Today, cults tend to follow a living leader who promotes new and occult (strange and mysterious) doctrines and practices. Most leaders demand that members live apart from everyday society in groups clled communes. Leaders claim they possess exclusive religious truth, and they command absolute obedience and allegiance from members.”

      Well John, at least we can agree on some things.

    2. It’s the media… they were reporting a story not having a philosophical debate. Thus logical fallacies are irrelevant. Besides, who DOESN’T expect the media to be biased?

      Even so, just because there were “logical fallacies” in the report doesn’t negate the truth that was presented. There was still sexual abuse that was covered up. Let’s not forget that!!!

      The article you posted seems to me to be nothing more than a piss poor attempt to distract from the presented story – more covering up. It’s like, yeah let’s point out the logical fallacies so that we can focus on that rather than the abuse and cover up that happened. What a crock. How pathetic.

  31. I find it ironic that the term IFB is used rather than the whole name, INDEPENDENT Fundamental Baptist. The key word is Independent. You cannnot judge all Independent Baptist churches by one. church because they are INDEPENDENT of each other. And it was never actually proven that in either of the two stories in the report that the church or pastors did anything wrong. There are radicals in every religion that will take things out of context and those people that physically or sexually abuse children should be put in jail. But if one is following the Bible way of disciplining your child then you have that right and duty as a parent. And yes you do have to break the will of the child. If you had a ranch full of horses and you never broke the will of the horse, they would not be beneficial to you. You would have no control over them and they would not be able to reach their potential or be what they could be if their will had been broken. So when a child’s will is not broken you have no control over them and they cannot reach their potential. When a child’s will is not broken the child runs the home instead of the parents and beyond that the father, which is unbiblical and unethical. And no I am not comparing a child to a horse. I am simply using the concept and showing that there is a lesson to be learned. Also, as an after thought…I wonder why 20/20 and Miss Elizabeth Vargas do not conduct an interview with Catholic priests and address the issue of sexual abuse to children and the hundreds of thousands of dollars spent to cover up these incidents??? Might I had that Miss Vargas is a Roman Catholic!!! CONSIDER THE SOURCE!!!

  32. It is very sad and disapointing to hear 20/20 using so many half-truths, lies, and false accusations against Independent Fundamental Baptist Churches (IFB). Here is a link to a statement released by the pastor at the time of the incedent of the accused church.

    I strongly suggest evry reader of this article read this statement in order to get a more balanced understanding of what actually happened and how it all “panned out.”

    Based on 20/20’S firm beliefs that a literal interpretation of the Bible is evil, conservative dress atire and music choices are abominable, and that ALL IFB’s are cults, it is very clear that persecution is not far off for everyone who believes in Jesus Christ as his/her personal Savior.

    The possibility of persecution is further inforced by the glorification of the cult of Islam by shows such as 20/20.

    Just one more thought to consider. IFB Christians are peaceful, harmless, and law abiding citizens. This will be clearly evident when no IFB church or individual will attempt to sue 20/20 for its slander or lies.

    1. Honestly Tim I don’t find this letter to be more balanced. I find it kind of sick that this man/pastor in his own words described Tina’s relationship with this man as a “covert dating relationship”. She was 15 when it started, and he was a 39 year old married man. He raped her. That’s not dating.

      Is what you mean by a more “balanced” view blaming the girl in this case because this man/pastor goes on to say, “Tina was involved in an on going sexual relationship with Mr. Willis and continued to contact him even after she became pregnant.” This comment is so obviously making it look like she was pursuing this guy. She was a girl, a child. I currently have 2 teen daughters. This girl became pregnant with a grown man’s baby. I can see a scared teen girl wanting to keep in touch with the father. Really that’s what this site is about abuse. Do you think it strange that this scared and abused child returned home to her and her church even when her perpetrator was still there? SHE WAS A CHILD.

      This statement is just SICK and as typical – blames the girl.


    2. Tim, That letter smacks of someone who’s trying to cover their ass. It only serves to solidify in my mind that they are guilty. What a travesty.

  33. Hi Greg
    If Acts 8:37 is left out of that passage, then you are saying that you do not have to trust Jesus Christ as your Savior to be baptized and added to the church. You can be baptized if you see water. However, Baptism is a step of obedience to God and to publicly proclaim to others your decision that you trusted Christ as your Savior. If Acts 8:37 is left out of this passage because you choose just to take it out, then you are saying you have to work your way to Heaven and not by trusting in God’s grace of salvation to get you Heaven.

    1. Hi Ashley – I appreciate your question, for someone (not saying you are) but for someone not familiar with the field of translations, something like this can give the bible student cause for alarm, when all of a sudden the verses “skip” a verse, like in this instance, but let me say I am delighted that the NIV translators didn’t use this verse, nor do several of the newer translations, I will briefly explain, but let me say that the NIV does include the verse at the bottom of the page, so technically it’s “in” the NIV.

      The long and short is that Acts 8:37 is contained in the “minority” of Greek texts. This verse is not found in the Majority Text, which is usually what the KJV follows.

      Acts 8:37 is found in only a very few Greek manuscripts, none earlier than the 6th century. The primary reason that Erasmus inserted Acts 8:37 is because he found it in the Latin Vulgate, remember that Erasmus only had 6 manuscripts he was working from, in one of those Greek manuscripts this verse was in the margin. Please remember Erasmus did not have the complete new testament in Greek, so he had to turn to the Latin Vulgate to fill in the holes.

      Acts chapter(s) 8 and 9 are both somewhat “expanded” due to Erasmus’ liberal use of the Latin Vulgate in these chapters. I won’t go into some of the other differences here, well maybe one. Erasmus himself admitted that the Vulgate compelled him to put in “it is hard for me to kick against the pricks” at Acts 9:5.

      Remember Erasumus was working from 6 late (not old) Greek manuscripts, today we have over 5,000, Erasmus did not have the entire new testament and had to use a Latin translation to fill in the holes. Today modern translators have over 5,000 manuscripts to work from, and many that are hundreds of years “older” than those that Erasmus had to work with.

      I hope that answers your question, oh btw, let me state again that the KJV is a fine translation, and Acts 8:37 is just one small problem, all translations have minor problems, and this verse is certainly “orthodox.” So by all means, if you can understand the KJV translation, keep on with it. It is God’s Word in 17th century English.

  34. I don’t think all IFB churches are like this; but the problem is is that they are dominated by their pastor. It’s just the way they’re set up – like Arv said in a conversation with Steve on this site – it’s within the pastor’s right to teach his personal convictions. So while all these churches have the desire to be preaching the Word of God; they are known for their pastor’s personal convictions. We just left an IFB church because we were used as 3 very specific bad examples in a sermon. Is the pulpit for preaching the Word of God or the word of the pastor?

    I was saved through an SBC ministry after being raised very Roman Catholic where there is an altar with priests conjuring up Jesus and resacrificing “him” on that altar multiple times a day. I get ecumenicalism and trying to avoid that is one of the things I appreciated about IFB churches; but I can’t go to one because in looking for one – I’m not looking for what the Bible teaches – I’m forced to find out the personal convictions of the pastor. So yes, everyone on here who is saying that not all IFB churches are not all the same are correct; but when such pastoral authority and reliance on his personal convictions is given – that’s what make these types of abuses and manipulations so probable. We’re a pretty conservative homeschooling family who was used as 3 specific bad examples of missing church in a sermon. What a waste of the pulpit? What a way to try to manipulate/bully people and in the name of God? – SICK

    In our county we have a typical Hyles-Anderson church. They are obvious when you see them out by their dress. I have a friend who goes there, and she said that when she started going there she wore skirts everywhere because she was afraid of running into someone; but later she took the conviction as her own. It was this lady who told me that when their youth group went on a ski trip – to be consistent about not wearing pants(no gray areas allowed) that they made the girls ACTUALLY wear culottes over their ski pants. Now that’s a testimony – Come to Jesus and look really stupid for no good reason.

    Then there’s the one we went to. We knew we couldn’t go to the one above because my girls and I wear pants – although we have always been respectful and conform to the dress standards of the church when attending church. We did know ladies who go there and see them in town wearing pans; so we THOUGHT a little more personal liberty was there. People just sneak around a bit more. After the sermon about us another teen girl in the church told our teen daughter, “You’re mom told them (the pastor and his wife) what ya’ll were doing. You don’t tell them anything.” Yes, I was stupid trying to be considerate and let them know a couple of times why we would not be at church events not knowing these would end up in a sermon. Yes, we met with them and his references were about us. He said those types of things fall under being under his pastoral accountability. Another issue he raised in “the sermon” was that of different dress standards. We have one son who wore knee length khaki shorts and polo shirts to church in the summer. He said at our post-sermon meeting with him, “Everyone knows that I don’t allow shorts – not even at the church picnic – not even boys.” WOW – HE DOESN’T ALLOW. There is so much good about IFB churches – but this kind of stuff just ruins it. It is great they see at the Bible fundamentally, but they have added so much of their personal convictions to their teaching; and then when one goes against their teaching – they say that you’re rebelling against the word of God. UUUHHHH???

    My last example for pastoral influence. A “new” IFB church started in our county 2 years ago this month. They are a church plant from @ 40 miles away. The pastor’s wife wears pants, and she told me that the church that planted them knows they have different personal convictions. She said that the church that planted them is big into southern gospel music, and that’s not their style. THE REALLY FUNNY THING TO ME is that the church that we left while being IFB does not allow southern gospel music. They used to until this pastor came 8 years ago; so again the church takes on the personal convictions of the pastor. So if someone is looking for IFB church, they’re really not looking for Bible teaching – they have to decide if they agree with the personal convictions of the pastor.

    It’s the personal convictions of the pastor that IFB churches become known for – not for the Word of God even though they have a sincere love for the Word of God. They add to it the personal convictions of the pastor and present it as the Word of God. Really I have no anger about this. I am just so sad that this type of thing happens in the name of God. I know not every IFB church has sexual abuse going on in it; but it’s the whole extreme pastoral authority thing that sets the environment for these things to happen and be controlled/hidden by the church. There’s such a focus on a pseudo-external perfection – that there is a desire to hide wrongdoing. The pastor doesn’t want to look bad by actually having sinners in his church.

    1. Hi Michelle – Dead on observations, the individual IFB church does take on the personality and convictions of the Pastor.

      Jesus cares about what is on the inside way more than he cares about what is on the outside. In their mixed-up minds and in their desperate desire to be “seperated” these pastors have arbitrarily decided what that is supposed to look like and by golly, I’m the pastor, listen to me. Hey speaking of Jesus I’m starting to notice that alot of these IFB’s don’t seem to actually preach about Jesus, I mean open up the gospels and expositorily preach what Jesus taught and preached, kinda odd. They want to preach some OT about God’s judgement or something else, but seldom Jesus.

      IFB pastors consistently twist scriptures to fit their agenda, it’s called proof-texting. One of the verses they constantly do this with, to keep folks sitting in the pews, is the old “Forsake not the assembling of yourselves together” IFB pastors have done so much damage to this verse, it is pathetic, and I have never heard one IFB pastor teach the proper meaning of this verse, and it certainly doesn’t mean be at the church every time the door’s open.

      1. Yes, the sermon in which I was used as specific bad examples was the kick off sermon for the new year on the 1st Sun. of this year. His text to promote being in “one accord”(theme for the new year) was

        Acts 2:46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,

        In our post sermon meeting it became quite obvious that he considered being in one accord whatever he said. Since the crux of his sermon was on “being there” and the specific examples of our absences, we did point out to him that even his 3 weekly meeting times were a compromise of the “daily” meetings in the verse he used. He said by us not being there we weren’t obeying Scripture. Well, neither is he – He’s not there daily like his text says.


  35. There may have been some broadbrushing going on in the 20/20 piece, but I am so thankful that some “light” was shed on this vicious monstrous bunch of IFB’s, for a few minutes last Friday night ABC shined a light, and I thank them for it.

    Bill please take a few minutes and read some of the horror stories that are on this site including my own. Are all of us that report these abuses “lying”? And then add to the fact that they are all very similar to the abuses that 20/20 outlined. Something is rotten in Denmark!

  36. Bill- Seriously??

  37. I think ABC has done an irresponsible job of reporting, caused great harm to many people, and owe all IFB churches an apology, not that they have the good character to do so. Why is it that all of us IFB churches have to be grouped together under a false accusation simply because some sloppy reporter didn’t do her job properly. If it were a personal lawsuit for slander, she’d lose her career and all her money. She has done great harm to people all over just for her own glory. May God richly open her eyes to her harmful ways, and give her grace to honestly repent. Shame on her.

  38. Thank-you Bible Believer and Stephanie for your comments.
    It seems like this argument is just building and building with new things and losing its original purpose. It seems that everyone who has commented on this post is going to keep their convictions regardless of who is going to try to persuade them otherwise. I am going to continue to stand for my beliefs but most importantly help reach this sinful world from the future destruction of hell by sharing with them the true message of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Mark 16:15 states, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”
    But, I do want to share with you my own testimony first. Even though I grew up in church since I was in first grade, I did not trust Christ as my personal Savior until I was in the tenth grade. Before then, I would try to “live the Christian life” such as read my Bible, go to church, and witness to others. However, it was all done in a sense of duty because I personally did not believe in Christ as my Savior and that he alone could forgive me of my sins. Finally, though in tenth grade, I realized only Jesus Christ could forgive me of my sin and trusting in Him alone could allow me into Heaven when I die. Ever since that day, Jesus Christ has transformed my life. Every day when I read His Word, He shows me something new I have never seen before. Also, I keep a prayer list and a journal where I write down prayer requests and write down what God has shown me in his Word. It is amazing to look back and see what God has shown me. Now, when I go to church, I don’t go out of duty, but out of my desire to learn more of Him. Also, because of my close relationship with Him, I am more evoked and excited to share with others about Him. I just want to challenge everyone who reads this to not lose out on developing a close relationship with Him because that is the greatest joy of being a Christian or even of trusting Jesus Christ as your Savior and knowing where you will spend eternity.
    p.s. Acts 8:37 is an interesting verse to read in other translations other than the KJV because it leaves out “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”

    1. Or was it added by the KJV trranslators, after all they were just sinful folks like you and me.

  39. I am a part of an Independent Fundamental Bible-Believing Baptist Church. I was grateful that the “investigation” got some things right such as, yes we have standards of dress, places we go, things we say. And many more not mentioned. That is Biblical. Be ye separate…. However, I must only thank God and give Him the Glory for the changes He has made in me since I was saved back in September 2004. I am now a missionaries wife. My husband and I are no longer on the brink of divorce, my children are home schooled and have trusted Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour. They are obedient, respectful, responsible, modest young ladies. It will be by the GRACE of God that they grow up to serve the Lord. We are not a cult nor would I ever be apart of something like that. They are wicked as the Bible calls them. Our preacher, has taught us from the Word of God how to manage our finances, rear our children, have a happy marriage and happy home as well as how to serve the Lord. I thank the Lord he has been there for us in valleys and on the mountain tops. I can’t relate to the abuse mentioned in the story run by ABC. I have never seen anything like that. I wish those girls the best and certainly pray that their offenders reap what they have sown. But as a Christian I don’t know how anyone can criticize men of God. I understand that you don’t always agree. I even believe that they mess up. They were born into sin just as everyone else. The teachings of wives being submissive to their husbands, is biblical. In fact, I am submissive to my husband. He treats me with the up most respect. He is my best friend and a loving husband and father. What was broadcast was a lot of hypocrisy. There is an order to the home. If you follow that order set by God, you have a Godly home, not a home of torment. Very Grateful that I finally heard the Gospel at 21 yrs. old after years of being in church and never knowing the truth. Believe what you may, just remember, there will be a day of judgment where every knee shall bow and tongue confess….. The TRUTH always comes out. By the way there is hypocrisy in every church…….

  40. What happened to this woman is very sad and it is something that should never happen to any human being. What happened to her is not Bible and it’s not Fundamental Baptist it was only SIN
    Romans 3:23 “for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God;”
    SIN is found in every home whether atheist, Buddhist, Mormon, Baptist, Catholicism or any other religion in the world that you can possibly name. Even in the homes that don’t have a belief, you would be able to find some horrible, sick SIN that somebody has done to themselves and to others around them. SIN has an effect on everyone around you and causes not only the person but other’s to suffer, (Think of a husband who falls in love with another woman. It’s not the woman’s fault or children that caused this to happen. It is the uncontrolled lust within that man’s heart and he took action. His action had an effect on his wife and his children and his action caused him and those around him to suffer)
    James 1:15 “Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”
    It is ignorance to say that this is the heart and teaching of the Fundamental Baptist Church. Of course you will find this kind of sick perversion within Fundamental Baptist Churches and every other church in the world. You’ll find corruption in the NFL, Politics, Corporations, Churches and individual homes. For wherever you will find people you will find sin and corruption and if people allow their lust and desires to go uncontrolled then they will bring horrible pain upon themselves and upon the lives of others. People are not perfect and once Christians realize that they should never put their faith or great expectations upon man, they will be better off, because people are sinners and sinners will fail you. As a Christian your main goal should be to be more like Christ and if you are just playing the role of a Christian of course you’re going to be a fake and act nothing like the LORD. Anybody can play Christian and there are many who do! So If people would learn to live their lives under God’s authority and purposing in their hearts to know Him more, than they will be true Christians who reflect an image of Christ in their lives. Some Christians think I want it my way, my way, my way! What about God’s way and being obedient to His Word. They want to be entertained rather than obedient and they are more like the world than like Christ. Romans 12:2 : and be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” If all Christians care about is what they want they will look more like the world. How can you be renewed if you are not hearing the preaching of God’s Word or not reading His Word DAILY! People need to be in a church that doesn’t give them a show, but that teaches and preaches the WORD of God. A Fundamental Baptist Church is a good place to start, not all, but most of them still teach and preach the Word of God. Don’t expect perfect people, but just go to church to be a disciple of Jesus and to be a blessing to others. Go to learn God’s Word and than obey it. Read God’s Word daily and obey and if you are truly a Christian who is walking with God than you will have the true fruit of the Spirit which Galatians 5:22 “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith. Once you perfect these things than you can go ahead and rant and rave about how others in the Fundament Baptist Churches aren’t acting perfect. Until then people should focus on their own personal walk with Christ and pray for those who have fallen into sin.

    1. Hi Bible Believer,

      As I read your comment I find it rather confusing. You agree that corruption exists within the IFB, but then you balk at the idea of exposing it. Why would you NOT want this type of sin and corruption exposed and stopped? Why would you be against someone speaking out about it?

      I don’t think that anyone is “expecting perfect people” nor do I think that anyone is trying to find a church that doesn’t teach the Word of God as you seem to think.

  41. Hi Leah – Your post blesses my heart more than you can know.

    You asked about the NIV, yes that is my preferred translation right now, however I have very many bibles/translations, perhaps thirty or more that I refer to occasionally. As I said, I personally think the KJV is a fine translation, and the one I grew up with, so many of the verses I have memorized are KJV. There are a few places where I actually prefer the KJV, but the newer translations are so much more clear and easier to understand and I believe vastly more accurate and closer to the “originals” I don’t want to give you a history lesson on the KJV, but Erasmus was a Catholic Priest that compiled a greek new testament, which is called the Textus Receptus, which is what the KJV translators used to translate into English, the KJV. Still with me? Ok, Erasmus had only (6) manuscripts to work from, today modern translators have over 5,000, also modern translators have much older manuscripts which they use, so they are “closer” to the actual events. Erasmus did not even have the entire new testament, so he relied on an ancient Latin translation, Jerome’s Latin Vulgate to fill in the holes that were missing. So much for the history.

    I know all about having that KJV ingrained in your brain, I was exactly the same, oh but how wonderful to be able to read God’s message to us in language we can understand, I promise you the bible will open up to you like you have never experienced when you start reading the NIV or another good translation.

    Remember the whole purpose of translation is to take a foreign language and put it into a language that you can read and understand, that is a translations purpose.

    And now abide Faith, Hope and Love, but the greatest of these is Love.

  42. Greg-
    Interesting post. I never noticed Acts 5:30…and well, 2 Cor.6:11-13, I just took as just more of the same – not understanding the KJV. I left my IFB church 13 years ago and still have not been able to give up my KJV bible. Maybe out fear? Maybe guilt? Maybe misinformation? My sister suggested baby steps with getting an NIV just as a side references while still attempting to read my KJV. But haven’t done that either. Bottom line, I would like to understand more of what I read so that my personal relationship with Christ will grow deeper. It was just so ingrained in my brain that the KJV is the only bible I should ever read and all others are an abomination unto God. I have found these debates on this site very interesting and eye opening. But how do you pick another translation? You mentioned the NIV, is that the bible you use? If so, why?

  43. Hi Ashley – Thank you for your response. For the most part I agree with you. I will put aside the elder question for now and look at the KJV question.

    First I think the KJV translation is a fine old translation and does contain God’s Word, the problem, however is that many of us can’t understand it very well, and I am one of them.

    The two verses you quoted are very good verses, but you do realize that when they were spoken they weren’t spoken or written in English? Just stop for a moment and ponder what I have just said, and you will see that trying to use those verses to support a single 17th century English translation is ludicrous. In other words those verses “do” apply to the KJV translation, they also applied to Tyndale’s translation, The Bishop’s bible, The Latin Vulgate, (those three preceeded the KJV) NIV, NASB, and on and on, do you see what I mean? It didn’t say God’s word will be lost until some Anglicans come along in 1611 and then they will give the world God’s word, sorry Chinese folks, you want to know God’s word, start studying English. I am being abit sarcastic, because it may help prove my point, I am not at all trying to be insulting, so please don’t take it that way.

    Now how about an open-book KJV test?

    1) Do you believe that those Roman guards hung a dead Jesus on the cross of Calvary? That’s what your KJV says at Acts 5:30.

    2) Please open your KJV and turn to 2 Corinthians 6:11-13. Now without checking any resources whatsoever, only your KJV translation please tell me what this verse means………Waiting………Give up? Ok, Don’t feel bad no one else does either including your pastor, alright go ahead and look it up on your computer in the NIV or another good translation, Ahhhhh….reading the precious Word of God with understanding is so sweet, isn’t it?

    Ashley I can tell you are dedicated christian and I’m sure you love the Lord. The KJV is a translation, a good translation, but a work of men as far as translations are concerned, yes the translators were great scholars, but pitiful, fallible, sinful men, just like me.

    1. Greg,

      You use tools to help you understand then take an isolated passage and allow no other use (including the surrounding verses) to make sure a person doesn’t understand and then use that to prove your point? How ridiculous. God has promised (James 1:5) to give us wisdom and understanding for His word if we will but simply ask, and you would rather get something easier for you to read, then ask God! How wrong is that?

      1. Hi Bill – Sounds like I have upset you, I didn’t mean to, but I’m not real sure what you are referring to. If you want to discuss something or ask me a question, I’ll try to respond, but as it stands right now, I’m just not sure what you are upset about.

  44. I do not who Gail Riplinger is, but here is my stand to your questions.
    1. The verbal inspiration of the Bible, equally in all parts and without error in its origin, and preserved for present authoritative use in the King James Version. I believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the verbally and plenary inspired Word of God and the product of Spirit-controlled men. The Scriptures are inerrant, infallible and God-breathed, and therefore are the final authority for faith and life. The sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments are the complete and divine revelation of God to man. The Scriptures shall be interpreted according to their normal grammatical-historical meaning. I believe the King James Bible translated from the inspired texts to be God’s Words in English and shall be the official and only translation used by the church. Proverbs 30: 5-6 states, “Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.” Psalm 12:6-7 states, “The words of the LORD are pure words; as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.”
    2. In the case of the word “elder” used in the Bible, both elder and bishop translated in the Greek mean “overseer” or leader”. When the Bible refers to an elder in the church, I believe the Bible is speaking of the leader of the church or also known as the pastor. In Titus 1:5-7, the words “elder” and “bishop” are used synonymously. Titus 1:5-7 states, “For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee: If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; but a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; Holding fast the faithful word as he that been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.”

    1. A couple of things continue to amaze me as I consider arguments on this subject. The first being the “WORD” or “WORD of GOD… Why is it every time this/these word(s) are penned in the Bible that we automatically think this is talking about the BIBLE? This just is not so.

      I’m also amazed at how crafted people are at ripping verses from their surrounding context to make the Bible say what one wants it to say.

      Example: Proverbs 30:5-6 When Agur the son of Jakeh penned this what did the “words” he was talking about mean and/or look like – to him – in his day. It certainly was not the KJV of the Bible unless he was able to transport one back through time via a time machine.
      30:5 Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.
      30:6 Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.

      When “Add thou not unto his words” was penned, (again I ask what did that mean and what did that look like to Agur?) if it meant the Bible, much has been “ADDED” since Agur’s time. So to base an argument for the KJV on this verse is just stupid.

      There are those that use Psalms 12:6-7 to say that God has preserved the pure Word of God (Bible again). And this has been preserved in the English language by way of the Authorized Version – the 1611 King James Version. Again, IMO these verses are taken out of context. Even the 1611 KJV translators inserted a marginal note to avoid misunderstanding. But we want it to say what we want it to say so to that end we continue.

      Vs. 7 – THOU SHALT PRESERVE THEM FROM THIS GENERATION FOREVER. So in 1611 we have the preserved Bible KVJ1611 – God promised it! Question – What was the name of the preserved Bible called in 1610?

  45. I am an independent Fundamental Bible believing Baptist. It makes me sad that you would associate all Baptist churches with this one church and call us a cult which we are not. Look at this acrostic.
    B-Bible is the final authority
    2 Timothy 3:16 “All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.”
    A-Autonomy of the local church- Romans 16:1,4
    We are a self-governing church and are not an universal such as the Catholic Church. Jesus Christ is the head of the Church.
    P- Priesthood of the believer. Hebrews 4:14-16
    Every person who has trusted Jesus Christ as their Savior can pray to Jesus Christ themselves and do not have to go through man to access God.
    T-Two Ordinances: Baptism and the Lord’s Supper- Matthew 28:19-20; 1Cor. 11:223-26
    Once a sinner has trusted in Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior to get him to heaven. He ought of obedience to God is baptized through immersion and to remember what Christ did on the cross to wash away our sin partakes in the Lord’s Supper
    I- Individual soul liberty Roman 12:1-2;
    We will individually give an account to God for what we did.
    S-Separation of Church and State- Mark 12:17
    T-Two Offices: Pastor and Deacon
    1 Timothy 3:2 “A bishop must be blameless, the husband of one wife.” 1 Timothy continues to give the qualifications for a pastor and a deacon.
    S- Saved, Baptized, Membership Acts 2:41-42
    There are many verses in the Bible to prove these stand and we are definitely not a cult.

    1. Hi Ashley – Do you know Gail Riplinger? She likes her acrostic algebra too. I have just two questions for you.

      1) Which bible is the final authority.

      2) Where are the elders in your list of church offices.

      1. obviously you are bitter for some reason against Fundamentalist Baptist. Elders are not seperate from Pastor/Teacher/Episcopas/Bishop same Greek Word-Same Office. and the Bible that the Baptist hold to in English the King James Bible, in Greek the Textus Receptus and Masoretic text in the Hebrew. If you knew about being a baptist and were submissive to what God had for you you would not be bashing IFB churches (even if you were of a different denomination) your hatred for them shows your heart.

        1. Yes Raymond, obviously Greg is bitter. Most people who ask legitimate questions to challenge the thinking of IFBers are obviously just bitter. I’m so glad that you were able to recognize that.

          At the risk of also being labeled bitter for asking questions… I’m wondering how you know that Greg isn’t being submissive to what God has for him? Are you God? Because that would be the only way that you could possible know that. If you ARE God please forgive my sarcasm.

        2. Hi Raymond – I read your comment and I went back to see if you were addressing your comment to me. The only way I could tell was that it appears you are attempting to answer two simple questions that I had very politely asked Ashley. So how about a question or two for you, since you are so interested and knowledgeable.

          1) Which textus receptus are you referring to, there are several? Which one did the “perfect” word of God emanate from?

          2) Are you aware that there is no Greek manuscript that reads like the KJV on this face of this planet?

          3) Did you know that Erasmus did not have the entire new testament when he was putting the textus receptus together? To which translation did he use to finish his “Greek” translation?

          Now if I were a know-it-all IFB I would probably say something haughty and prideful like “If you knew anything about translations and were submissive to what God had for you, you would not be sticking your nose into others conversations, when not invited, and demonstrating your hatred for othere christians sincerely held beliefs, as you have been indoctrinated to do through your cult-like IFB.” But that wouldn’t be very christian, would it?

      2. Greg,

        As for the questions which Bible, there really is only one IF you pay attention to the question. The question is which Bible, and that means which version, but the ultimate question is which Greek text as there are only two, the Textus Receptus (TR) or the Wescot Hort Text which is what most Bibles are translated from. Wescot and Hort were two men who pieced together scriptures from all over to create a text that never existed before and then called it the Word of God. That simply cannot be because God says in Psalm 100:5 that his truth endureth to all generations. How is that possible if the Wescot Hort Text is accurate. You must use a TR based version if you want to be hoenst with the text. There is really only one TR based translation, the King James Version.

        Now that being said, we have grounds to address your second question. The Bible uses the word for Elders in relation to Pastors and Bishops. They are all three the same office. The idea of a group of Elders is not found anywhere in the Bible.

        1. Hi Bill – If you are attempting to answer my questions to Raymond I must say your answer was woefully inadeguate. Erasumus had 6 manuscripts he worked from, today translators have over 5,000. Erasmus did not have the entire NT in these manuscripts, and had to go to Jerome’s Latin Vulgate to fill in the missing holes. Using Psalms 100:5 to support the TR is baffling to me (again, pls answer which TR) If you would like to discuss this translation issue, I am willing, but please put some “meat” to your argument so that I can understand your POV.

          You said “the idea of a group of elders is found nowhere in the bible” I found the following after a very brief look in my bible.

          Acts 20:17 From Miletus, Paul sent to Ephesus for the elders of the church.
          Phillipians 1:1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons:
          Acts 14:23 Paul and Barnabus appointed elders for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust.
          Titus 1:5 The reason I left you in Crete was that you might straighten out what was left unfinished and appoint elders in every town, as I directed you.

          I don’t approach this “multiple elder rule” idea that I am contemplating like I have all the answers. I am seriously considering it though, because of so many abuses that are occurring from the “one man rule” system that IFB’s embrace, and others too, I might add. I think this “king on earth” and my word is law that comes off of these (uneducated, many not all) IFB preachers is leading to abuses just like the abuses 20/20 reported on.

          In closing I will simply say the way church is done in the IFB system, I don’t see anywhere in the NT.

  46. As a long-time member of an IFB church (35+ years), I am appalled by the actions of these churches and their pastors. They have ruined (and, sadly, continue to ruin) the lives of people through their manipulation, arrogance and selfishness. I truly hope those who have been victimized by these people have gotten or will soon get the help they need. You might not believe me, and I can’t blame you if you don’t, but not all IFB churches are like this.

    1. Hi Ben – What you have said is true, but if you have read much on this site, you can see similar stories of abuse over and over again. I even catch myself saying things and “broadbrushing” the IFB, and certainly there are wonderful christian people and pastors that are IFB. My question, I suppose is can the IFB name, denomination, group, whatever you want to call it, can it be redeemed? I think were I a pastor of an IFB, and after carefully looking at all the evidence, I think I would seriously consider changing my name.

  47. Hi KAryn – Thank you for telling your story here, it may help a young girl being treated the way you were treated, or help a woman struggling with a background such as yours, I hope there is an avalanche of victims that feel emboldened to come out and to shed light on the wickedness of the IFB, that has for far too long been hidden from view.

    Just think if that church you grew up in would have taught you God’s love, and about His grace, for pete sakes if they would have just read the gospel and let the simple words of Jesus impact you (and them) I’m finding this to be very ironic with IFB’s, they don’t actually teach very much about Jesus, have you noticed that?

    I’m so glad you have kept your faith, and believe me there are some churches out there that do minister to hurting folks.

    Thanks for telling your story and God bless you.

  48. I was raised in an IFB church (until 1991, age 17 I ran away). I had never seen a show about the same church like mine until last Fri night. It was like for the first time…someone said exactly the way I was raised. Alot of people look @ me funny when I tell them I went to church Sun morn & night & Wed night. Went to the church school. Participated in only chuch acitivites & talked to only church people & everyone else was “of the world”. I understand the clothing rule, dating rule, music rule. I was the only girl in my grade @ school, w/ about 7 of us in my grade. I had a boyfriend &: he wasn’t even allowed to sit behind me & put his feet on the back bar of a metal folding chair, per church school rules. For awhile, the principle was allowed to paddle us. I was a “bad” girl becase I would sneak & listen to rock music…I was the bad one…& honestly…I was..I was very good in my book, but not what they thought of my. Extreme rules were horrible. I was taught stupid crap in that church. By age 13…I started having my own ideas…& they weren’t acceptable. God is too big for religion. I held so much anger in my heart when I left home @ age 17 for many many years. 37 today & I believe Christ died on the cross..alot of the principles but I still won’t walk into a church. A Bob Jones graduate dated my sis & is older brother to my highschool sweetheart. Today..he’s arrogant & judgmental (the older bro). Every religion has it’s sickos. i’m so glad that I watched 20/20 & heard others share my life.

  49. I attend an IFB church. And something like this happened before I ever went there. It isn’t really talked about, so I’ve never heard the whole story. From what I have gathered over the years the girl was 16 or 17 and having a consensual relationship with the youth pastor. Our Pastor was informed of the relationship and fired the youth pastor. Whether formal charges were ever brought I do not know. Every person who works with children in our church must have a fingerprint background check done. We take precautions when working with the children. Adults are never alone with a child. Men are not allowed to have any child of any age sit on their lap. We are discouraged from even hugging the kids we bring in on the bus. These are kids who need a hug the most. It is because of churches like this one that churches like mine have to be so careful. I have gone to several IFB churches and met many pastors. I can not imagine one of them handling a situation in this manner. Children are precious to God. The Bible says it is better for a person to have a mill stone hung around his neck and ne thrown in to the sea than have God’s punishment for those who bring harm to a child. I truly hope people realize not every church is like this one.
    It saddens me that this happened, and I am glad to know that she has not given up on God. However this can happen anywhere where imperfect people are in charge. It happened within my own family. The man who molested me, molested two other girls before he married my grandma. He did go to prison, but for a reduced time because my family didn’t want to deal with it.

  50. I watched the story in total BELIEF! I was in an abusive pentecostal church from the time I was 12 until I was 18. I suffered from the residual effects harshly through my 40’s and although I have worked through much of the abuse and humilitation through prayer and counseling I still have things to work out from this situation. It is not the religions that are at fault. I still have a deep love for God and His Church. It is the men and women, yes there are women as well, who call themselved Pastors and Ministers and severaly abuse these callings and the trust of those in the spritual care. My hurt is that there are those who died due to lifestyles of drug abuse,alcoholism and other situations and the church used them as examples of what would happen if you were to backslide. Why couldn’t they see that these were victims of such horrific spitirual abuse that it caused them to take on these lifestyles. When you feel that nothing you do is acceptable to God you begin to do anything to mask the guilt and shame. This is how the devil uses abusive churches to destroy God’s children. A lot of people ask me how we stayed in that situation. But unless you have been in a spiritually abusive situation and understand the brainwashing that goes on it is hard to relate. Thankfully I am in a loving relationship with God, but it took many years for me to come back to Him and to realize that He is a loving, caring God of redemption. I pray that these exposures continue. I welcome the opportunity to share my own story of degradation, sexual abuse and humiliation if it will help someone to realize that they are not alone and there is a God who forgives and loves us all.

  51. My husband and I watched the 20/20 special through horrified eyes. My husband (who shares in housework, is no better than me and will be the first to say I am smarter and we are equals)had tears in his eyes for these poor women who are brainwashed to believe these atrocities. Makes me sick to my stomach to see the brainwashing. Sandy Weston – I will pray for you that someday you see you are as good as any man; you can preach, teach, medicate, serve as legal counsel, be president of the United States, whatever the F you want to do because you are EQUAL. No bible says women should be beaten, humiliated, raped and treated like this. I really do pray for you and all other brainwashed crazy IFB members that someday you will see the ‘light.’

  52. I was horrified and felt very sad and helpless for the children caught up in this demonic cult. They clearly are mentilly imbalanced and are sociopaths. They express their feelings with violence towards the least able to defend themselves, babies, small children, juveliles and their wives. WHY DO THESE WOMEN MARRY THESE MEN. They are mentally abused themselves or think its normal. This has got to stop. Put these big brave god touting men in prison and see how they get along. I bet not too well. That whole cult needs to be broken up. By the way, the “Bible” according to them, was written and added to by former Bible Belt people. People whose rage is from within themselves because they have no education nor a way to make a living without preying on others. It is shamful and a disgrace to the whole of the USA.

  53. Sorry that all of these chuches are hurting ppl. I go to a IBF, and my church
    Is awesome. We have standards. I’m sorry that ppl are getting hurt but
    Not all churches are like that, just like not all priests molest kids. Don’t generalize
    All the churches based on one study. Shame on all of you for thinking that. I’m not
    Going to argue. But maam, women were not meant to preach. Just like
    Not all men are supposed to preach. If you study ur bible in Timothy
    There are rules and qualifications u must adhere. One rule states u
    Must be the husband of one wife, that eliminates all women. Sorry
    If you can’t go by the bible, I’m truly sorry. May God bless u all.

    1. I believe the term is IFB, not IBF.

    2. But I commend you for voicing your views, AND I was particularly pleased to read how you brought the Bible into play when it came to women preaching. I grew up in the Church of Christ/First Christian (the only difference is use of instrumental music) and I have always read, and been taught, that women could be Sunday School teachers, but they are not to preach to men above age 18, I think it is. Good show, top drawer!

  54. I was reared in a IFB and I can tell you a lot of stuff was going on. If a man lusted, it was the woman’s fault. If a man strayed from his wife, it was the woman’s fault for letting herself go! The man is the head of the household:AKA treat your wife and kids like crap! I was a troubled teen. I held a lot of stuff in. I felt I had no one to turn to. If you get a divorce you are unworthy, unacceptable! Trash! Women are not to hold any position of authority. Women are stupid! I saw a lot of arragance! However, today I am my own person. I make my own decisions. I go to a church where I can wear blue jeans and flip flops and be loved as I am. I served on a committee. I have been ordained to preach! I will as soon as I raise the money. Yes, I have some people that will shun me when I do. But remember the first evangelist was a female. The woman came to Jesus and said I have sinned forgive me. Jesus: You do not have just one husband but five! Go and sin no more. She had Jesus’s love in her immediately and ran to tell everyone. Come and meet a man that told me of my sins and healed me! Does God love her theology any less because her sex determination is female??? I don’t think so!

    1. I’m sorry that you had such misguided teaching growing up. That is not what we are taught at my IFB church. The girls are taught to dress modestly, but the boys are also taught that they are accountable for there actions. Women are taught to be submissive to their husbands, but the men are taught to love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself for it. We are taught that men and women are different and those differences working together are what makes a marriage strong. Parents are.taught to raise up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Children are taught to honour their parents and obey them in them in Lord. My best friend grew up as a bus kid in the church and was horribly abused by her step-father. Church members took her into their home and showed her what a real supposed to be. She is now newly a wonderful man. For a short time I lived with same family. I had never seen two people love and accepting of each other. I have since seen the same example with almost shrubs couple in my church, including my pastor and his wife.

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