A friend in North Carolina wrote recently to give the following observation in regard to the many independent Baptist churches he has visited over the years. The all caps are in the original.
“I don’t think 98% of Independent Baptist churches have ANY type of warning ministry in their preaching and teaching. I wouldn't be surprised if a large number of pastors have NEVER given a warning about anything or any person. I know that you know some preachers who giving warnings. But out in the rest of the Baptist world there is NO warning. Very sad. I’m talking about SIMPLE statements here, not a ministry of warning.”
Not only do most independent Baptist preachers not give warnings, they believe that warnings are largely unnecessary and probably wrong.
The prevailing attitude was exemplified by a blog published by Pastor R.B. Ouellette in June 2011 entitled “Chasing Buzzard.” Though he began by saying that it is important to chase off the buzzards of compromise and error, he spent the largest percentage of his blog characterizing a “warning ministry” as wrong-headed, dangerous, unfruitful, and “secondary.”
It is typical among fundamental Baptist churches today for godly reproof to be treated as cheap gossip, “throwing stones,” “hit pieces,” “shooting the wounded,” “touching the Lord’s anointed,” and other such things.
According to the prevailing thinking, it is OK to give private warnings, but it is wrong to “attack” a “man of God” publicly.
This is a tactic that makes it impossible to effectively correct public error.
If a preacher has a wide influence beyond the “walls” of his own church through his writings, conferences, college, music, etc., the only way to help those who are being influenced negatively is to deal with error and compromise in the public arena. This type of thing is not a Matthew 18 matter; it is a 2 Timothy 4:2; Titus 2:15; 1 Peter 4:11; and Jude 3 matter. When we are commanded in Scripture to reprove error and to earnestly contend for the faith, we are nowhere told that we can do this only in private.
Churches that treat spiritual warnings as dangerous cannot deal effectively with the leaven of error and will therefore be corrupted. This is a law.
“Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?” (1 Corinthians 5:6).
Independent Baptist churches are encountering the hurricane force winds of apostasy in the form of the emerging church and all of its elements, such as the contemporary rock & roll philosophy (“cultural liberalism”) that mocks strict holy standards of Christian living as legalism, modern textual criticism, Purpose Drivenism, self-esteemism, kingdom now replacement theology, Third Wave charismaticism, reconstructionism, ecumenical evangelism, C.S. Lewisism, Christian counseling psychobabble, Neo-orthodoxy, contemplative prayer, John Piper’s Christian hedonism, organic churchism, to name a few.
When warnings are given about something like the downgrade of music standards in certain influential churches and schools and how dangerous that is, or the error of building an Independent Baptist “friendship unity” on the basis of treating certain biblical issues as “non-essentials,” those warnings are despised and the reprover is maligned.
That is a recipe for spiritual destruction. When Israel demanded that the prophets preach only smooth things, her downfall was already sealed.
Sharing Policy: Much of our material is available for free, such as the hundreds of articles at the Way of Life web site. Other items we sell to help fund our expensive literature and foreign church planting ministries. Way of Life's content falls into two categories: sharable and non-sharable. Things that we encourage you to share include the audio sermons, O Timothy magazine, FBIS articles, and the free eVideos and free eBooks. You are welcome to make copies of these at your own expense and share them with friends and family. You may also post parts of reports and/or entire reports to websites, blogs, etc as long as you give proper credit (citation). A link to the original report is very much appreciated as the reports are frequently updated and/or expanded. Things we do not want copied and distributed are "Store" items like the Fundamental Baptist Digital Library, print editions of our books, electronic editions of the books that we sell, the videos that we sell, etc. The items have taken years to produce at enormous expense in time and money, and we use the income from sales to help fund the ministry. We trust that your Christian honesty will preserve the integrity of this policy. "For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward" (1 Timothy 5:18). Questions? email@example.com
Goal:Distributed by Way of Life Literature Inc., the Fundamental Baptist Information Service is an e-mail posting for Bible-believing Christians. Established in 1974, Way of Life Literature is a fundamental Baptist preaching and publishing ministry based in Bethel Baptist Church, London, Ontario, of which Wilbert Unger is the founding Pastor. Brother Cloud lives in South Asia where he has been a church planting missionary since 1979. Our primary goal with the FBIS is to provide material to assist preachers in the edification and protection of the churches.
Offering: We take up a quarterly offering to fund this ministry, and those who use the materials are expected to participate (Galatians 6:6) if they can. We do not solicit funds from those who do not agree with our preaching and who are not helped by these publications. We seek offerings only from those who are helped. OFFERINGS can be mailed or made online with with Visa, Mastercard, Discover, or Paypal. For information see: www.wayoflife.org/about/makeanoffering.html.
Way of Life Literature
Publisher of Bible Study Materials