Bad Doctrine Equals Bad Behavior
We see so many problems in our churches today, particularly in the IFB (Independent Fundamental Baptist) community. It makes one wonder, what is the root cause? If asked, someone within the IFB would give reasons such as, "The devil is working against the work of the Lord" or "just another attack from the world" or "the government is going to take away our religious freedoms".
The actual problem is much less convoluted. There is bad doctrine in our IFB churches. This is supported repeatedly by the fruit of their labors. Recalling the words of the Apostle Peter when he said in II Peter 2:3 And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not. (KJV) They gave false doctrine or "bad" doctrine to make money from the people ("... with feigned words make merchandise of you...") All the requests for money to support this person or that project. These false teachers are coveting what you have, leading the congregants like lambs to slaughter.
If one reads the entire second chapter of II Peter, we see that he doesn't give any specific doctrinal viewpoints. Peter shows us the fruits of bad doctrine. Remember Matthew 7? "Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them." (KJV)
Recently the Southern Baptist Church released an extensive list of unknown or previously unproven abusers. Do you know how many IFB pastors are on that list? We counted over a hundred well known IFB "pastors" who have abused at least one, if not countless victims. This just corroborated other allegations made and provided proof that the doctrine of the IFB (and the SBC which is similar in doctrine) yields evil fruit.
If a pastor or church believes wrongly about doctrine or the purpose of the local church, they are going to produce evil fruit. So, we get to see first-hand the fruit of bad doctrinal stances. We don't have to analyze the specifics of any doctrine. We look at the fruits of their labor and when those fruits are rotten, we get rid of them.
Let's look at an example. Most recently John Lowe II, a pastor that was respected in the community, was outed as a sexual predator. When we look at his messages, sermons, publications, and other communications, on the surface he looks like he might be teaching good doctrine. Now the truth has been revealed about him raping a 16-year-old girl he was counselling. There was a motive, not inspired by the Lord but by the Devil. He was a false teacher. He taught one thing but had another motive: destroying innocence.
Now there is another type of false doctrine going around. This is where the wolf perpetrates the suppression of questions and searching the Scriptures. It is a God given human trait to have questions and to talk amongst ourselves to find the truth of the matter or to search the Scriptures. Unfortunately, when there are questions, many times those people are labelled as apostates or even called a false teacher.
What is even more sad is that we see active information suppression. Pastors and church leaders are so quick to denounce social media as wicked yet are on every platform peddling their brand of the Gospel. They don't want something to change by a differing opinion or interpretation being introduced to the church body. The Bible says to try to the spirits and see if they are true and of God. This means when there is something not agreeable to your current worldview, you get a red flag, or just have a clarifying question: Make your voice heard. Test them. See if they are of God.
When the "man of God" says that someone who has questions or stands up to bad doctrine is a false teacher, one should immediately be on the lookout. This is a HUGE red flag. We are created in the image of God. When we have questions, it is only to broaden our understanding of the Lord's vision for us here on earth. When we spot a predator in the pulpit or a predator in the congregation who has not been church disciplined and immediately turned over to the authorities, or sweep a horrible situation under the proverbial rug, THAT IS FALSE DOCTRINE FROM A FALSE TEACHER. They are the instruments of the devil who is seeking whom he made devour.
These false teachers are in our pulpits as we have seen time and again. Jack Schaap, Lester Roloff, Jack Hyles, John R. Rice, Jack Trieber, Cameron Giovanelli, John Lowe, Ron Williams, and the list could go on for pages. We are familiar with THOUSANDS of credible allegations about pastors and people in IFB church authority abusing their power and producing evil fruits. They are in our pews and in our pulpits.
Paul tells us in Acts to "Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood." We are each given a responsibility as members of the Body of Christ (the Church) to take heed or to watch out for not only ourselves but for those around us; to prove all things and only hold on to what is good. There are wolves amongst our flocks. TAKE HEED as the Bible teaches.
These wolves go after our most vulnerable: the children.
The IFB church overall seems to be reeling from the SBC investigation reports. Many are implementing what we have been advocating for years: background checks for all employees and volunteers. This sounds wonderful and is a huge step in the right direction. On the surface it sounds good. Underneath? They are just trying to protect themselves from exposure. Do you think if something comes up on a background check that the person will be expelled from the church? Will they be advised to go to a different church that may not do proper vetting? What kind of transparency from church leadership are the congregants getting?
The bigger question we are asking is: why did it take MULTIPLE national scandals to start implementing these common sense ideas? When one studies the Biblical teachings of wolves in sheep's clothing one can only apply that definition to so many leaders of the IFB church.
Protect your children. Protect your family. PRAY! TAKE ACTION! Hold these false teachers accountable because we will see their bad behaviour. As the Bible says, "....be sure your sin will find you out."