Dead Pastors’ Society?


Here’s a strange tidbit for a late Friday afternoon. Had a free moment, so I decided to visit the website for the Independent Baptist Friends International, wondering if they had posted any audio from the conference this week. I didn’t find any audio (yet), but I was amazed to see the growth in the site since a few weeks ago. What particularly caught my attention was that you can register to be one of the friends.

My initial discovery of this was frankly disappointing because I saw several colleges listed that were troubling—some hardcore KJVO schools and some which would reject that position. My first thought was, “Why do these guys to that?” Then I saw a section that listed the churches in their directory. That’s when it got interesting in a strange way.

Two surprises jumped out—one being the name of a pastor and church that I am sure isn’t a fan of this endeavor and the other being the name of a church and pastor (who is a friend) followed by the words “does not defend the KJV.” This piqued my curiosity even more, so I decided to check what churches in Michigan had “registered” with the IBFI. What I suspected was quickly confirmed—someone dumped a database on to the site. What makes me think this?

First, there were several churches listed along with previous (not current) pastors, some of whom are no longer alive! One particular church still had a man listed as pastor who died quite a while ago and that church is on its second pastor after him. This was clearly an old and outdated list.

Second, there were a number of churches (and I only looked through the list up to the letter I) that would never have willingly associated with this group—one was a Reformed Baptist Church in our city. I saw at least three that use the NIV for their pulpit Bible and my guess is they aren’t interested in the IBFI.

Third, I found our church! Now, that’s a sight that must be causing some real concern among many of the IBFI folks. Rest assured, folks, we are not planning on joining up. I understood the parameters set out up front and I know we don’t fit the qualifications.

The value of this database dump is highly questionable. If it is intended to help people find churches that fit the profile of the IBFI, then it has some serious flaws. If it is intended to give the impression that the IBFI is off to a roaring start, then they might want to clean it up significantly. At least eliminate the names of men who have gone on to their reward. On second thought, the folks from Hammond seem to talk to the dead quite regularly, so maybe Jack Schaap can check with them to see if they want to be listed or not. :)

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