“Broad Stroking” Deception

I recently wrote an article on the number one complaint we receive here at www.BaptistDeception.com which is that IFB churches are “Independent” of and from other IFB churches and therefore are not a denomination or group of churches.  You can read more about that here and I would recommend doing so before you proceed with this article if you haven’t already.

So it’s only fitting that I should write an article about a VERY close second most frequent complaint, that of painting a picture of the IFB using broad strokes, or for those of you who might not understand that analogy, overgeneralizing.

This is really nothing more than at attempt at misdirection, which the IFB is notorious for – great job of being consistent at least.  You see, people in the IFB, in continuity with their desire to be “independent”, want people to think that they are somehow better than everyone else.  So the natural progression is to next complain that we are overgeneralizing the IFB in our attempts to provide the truth to those who seek it.  This allows the typical IFBer to make judgments from afar, never stopping long enough to evaluate their own unique situation to see if what we write here is true.  I would venture a guess that the emotional underpinnings of this are either extreme denial or being too deeply enmeshed in their IFB church that they are unable to see it.

Whatever the reason, it’s my hope that this post will serve as an intercept of sorts so that maybe I will get fewer emails complaining that I’m making sweeping generalizations.

Before I proceed, I’d like to define the fallacy of sweeping generalizations.  Overgeneralizing is actually a logical fallacy and is a common debate tactic.  Simply put, the fallacy of sweeping generalizations is applying a general statement too broadly.  Now on the surface that might seem like what we’re doing here, but upon careful inspection we can see a couple major differences.

First, and probably biggest, is that this concept of sweeping generalizations (also known as Hasty Generalizations) is often confused with Inductive Reasoning – which is what we’re doing.

Inductive reasoning is the ability to generalize from repeated experiences or observations. The soundness of an inductive generalization can usually be determined by asking the following questions:

  1. Do we have a sufficient number of instances to draw a conclusion?
  2. Is the breadth of the conclusion drawn supported by the evidence?
  3. Are the terms of the conclusion consistent with the terms of the evidence?

Fallacies typically result if any of these questions can be answered in the negative.  In the case of this site, all three can be answered in the affirmative.  True, I do not PERSONALLY have sufficient number of instances to draw a conclusion, however, combining my personal repeated experiences with my repeated observations of other people’s repeated experiences and I’m able to vastly broaden the “sufficient number of instances”.  This is due in part to the consistent testimonies of others who have experiences that are very similar – and even the exact same – as me.  This tells me that my experiences are not isolated events.  The testimonies of others also allow us to make conclusions based on a wider evidence trail and anyone reading through the site can see that the terms of the conclusion are consistent with the terms of the evidence.  Please allow me to repeat… We are performing Inductive Reasoning here NOT Hasty Generalizations.

Second, I’m not applying a general statement to the IFB – which is required to commit the fallacy of sweeping generalizations.  I’m actually talking about some very specific beliefs, teachings, traditions, behaviors, etc. that are unique to the IFB.  This by itself negates that idea that we are making the fallacy of hasty generalizations.

The issues I present in this site are specific errors of doctrine, teaching and exegesis that are toxic to the Christian and to Christianity. I am telling people the specific things that are wrong in the IFB church which are things that most, if not all, IFB churches teach/preach. I am warning folks about the errors that are specific to that “brand” of church. Yes, there are individuals that run the different churches, but they are still teaching/preaching the SAME message – the teachings of the IFB.

I’d like to illustrate this second problem with the idea that we are making sweeping generalizations with an analogy.  Let’s pretend for a moment that this site is about McDonald’s. I give specific errors that McDonald’s makes and I caution people to be careful about the food McDonald’s serves because it is high in saturated fats and salt content and eating at McDonald’s has been shown to increase the risk of obesity and diabetes. I share my experience and educate people on how McDonald’s gets their food, processes their meat and preserves their vegetables. Did I have to experience EVERY McDonald’s in the world to know this? Of course not, that would be near impossible. Since almost every McDonald’s does business and cooks their food the same way, after all it is a franchise, what I’ve discovered about them can be easily “generalized” to almost all other McDonald’s. That doesn’t mean I’m making the fallacy of sweeping generalizations. That just means that caution is warranted since most McDonald’s perform their food preparation/service in much the same way. If those things don’t concern you then by all means feel free to eat at McDonald’s. However, to hundreds of thousands of people worldwide, those things are “deal breakers” for eating at McDonald’s. The same is true for the IFB.

Make sense?


  1. Jordan-Run, Run for your life!! Oh it is so tough.

    Our stories our similar (if you get out and talk with others you will see, all of us that have escaped the legalistic IFB churches, have similar stories) I was in my old fundy church for 16 years, we had much foolishness in our Church’s constitution, not as quite as crazy as yours, but still plenty crazy, no movies, alcohol, tobacco etc..(God cares more about the inside, if they read and believed their KJV’s they would also know this) Steve has a great article on here about the IFB’s false teaching on “tithing,” that (tithing) and the lies they tell about the KJV were the 2 main issues that led me out of that legalistic quagmire.

    Many folks are scarred for life because of this legalistic, brainwashing they receive at the hands of the IFB’s. But I am here to tell you that you can escape with your faith completely intact, and experience an even better relationship with our Lord, than you ever dreamed possible. Remember “God is a Spirit, and we that worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in truth” also “whom the Lord sets free is free indeed”

    I want to wish you well, and I pray for you now even as I type this. It’s tough to leave but I promise you there are better things for you than the life-sucking, legalistic IFB.

    Just want to leave you with this brief definition of Legalism I recently came across: “Legalism is when your convictions become my obligation.”

  2. Hello all, I am standing at the ledge of leaving my IFB church. I have been in the church for 15 years. The preacher has preached soul winning, and clean living; however what is referred to as the fanatical aspect I have never seen. I do only read the KJV not because I think it is the only word of God (even tho that was preached) but because I was raised (Southern Baptist) on the KJV and I trust it. Since I have read KJV for so long the other translations sound foreign to me.

    Two weeks ago the deacon passed out a purposed new statement of Faith and Church Covenant to be voted on this week. The document is crazy. It states things like the pastor is the only one who can interpret scripture (the old one says its the believer’s responsibility) that I only can vote to ratify church business presented by the pastor or deacon (I can not bring up business in front of the church) that I will not go to movies, use or sell alcohol or tobacco, indulge in worldly pleasures (does this include TV, motorcycles or even food?); that my tithes or gifts can be used as the pastor sees fit even if I denote they are for missions or other specific uses, if family or friends do not separate with me unto God I am to shun them only contacting them in hopes of bringing them back to God’s will.

    I don’t want to lose my church, I love my church family but I can not in good faith say I believe what is written on those documents. I have been praying and meditating on what I should do. I have asked others in the church, they all say its just like the old one. Can they really be that brainwashed. One told me, I will go to the movies and not tell anyone (officer of the church).

    I have known that sometimes certain members (righteous Godly Men) didn’t like me wearing jeans (a skirt is really not conducive for riding a motorcycle) but I don’t live in the light of man’s judgement only God’s grace. God has laid upon my heart to just vote against it (not speaking out) and if no one else in the church says anything just leave because it will be what the rest of the congregation wants.

    I guess I wrote this to tell both sides of this argument (there were) IFB churches that are not “One of those” and that there are “IFB” churches that are a cult. Study to show they self approved, cause no one can have your relationship with God unless you surrender it to them.

    1. Jordan, Read this article: http://www.wadeburleson.org/2012/01/our-problem-is-authoritarianism-and-not.html Although I think that Authoritarianism and Legalism go hand in hand and that they are equally to blame, I think it may help you in your decision making process. Scary stuff you’re facing. I say run away as fast and as far away as possible and never look back. You can always find another church family (and it would even be a healthier one). It’s much harder to undo years of abuse under a spiritual dictator then it is to find a new church family.

  3. Jackie – Ever thought that maybe the “God” the IFB’s present to folks is the problem? Maybe those folks that are leaving are more “discerning” than you. Maybe they perceive a much more “loving” God and didn’t find it in the IFB circles you travel in.

    Btw, welcome and expound some more if you would like.

    If you decide not to just understand God’s ways are above our ways. Just because an IFB pastor stands in front of a group of folks and says “whatever” about God and His ways, doesn’t make it so.

  4. I hate to make broad-stroke generalizations myself. But, by your logic, EVERY person I have EVER met who has such deep-seated disdain for IFB churches, also has a major problem with God Himself.
    I’ve lived in 9 states and 2 foreign countries, and that is what I’ve heard from others, and observed myself. Therefore it must be true.

    1. @ Jackie

      Individuals aren’t an organization with bylaws, doctrine, statement of faith, etc. so sorry, but your analogy doesn’t fit. It’s much easier to generalize based on an organized denomination with cookie cutter approaches to ministry than individuals.

      Nice try though. Next…

  5. Great article, and does make mountains of sense, but guess what? They (the fundies) will still make the same complaints.

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