I’m a part of this online community for people who used to be members of the IFB church, or Independent Fundamental Baptist Church. If you’re unfamiliar with this denomination, there are many resources out there to look them up. There’s a 20/20 special, there’s a documentary called “Born Again,” and there are plenty of articles written by church historians and former and current members that can give you a broader perspective than the one I’m about to give. This online community calls this church a “cult,” and while I viewed the church as that for a long time I no longer do. Many former members call themselves “survivors” which is not something I claim myself. However, I feel that the church damaged my outlook on Christianity and what it means to be a follower of Jesus.
God was a God of judgment, eager to send people to hell who weren’t IFB. Or if they were female and wore pants. Or if they kissed before marriage. Or if they went to the movies, listened to popular music, read certain books about magical children, if you didn’t enthusiastically support Israel, if you watched the liberal news (this was before Fox News became a thing, so basically anything that wasn’t that little news segment in the middle of Pat Robertson’s show),forgot to tithe, or didn’t spank their children. Yes, many, many things could send you to hell, feminism and environmentalism were at the top of the list, but you could avoid a life of eternal damnation if you gave your heart to Jesus and joined not just any church, the IFB church. If you thought this was a onetime occurrence, you’d be wrong. You had to continually get up, every time you had backslidden (remember, that could be because of a bad thought or embezzlement), walk up to the front near the alter, kneel, squeeze out a few tears, then contritely walk back to your seat.
- John 15:9 - 17