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Our History: Founding Documents

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Our Beginnings

The IBFNA is an independent, fundamental, missionary, Bible honoring, Christ exalting, separatist fellowship of Baptists.

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Articles of Faith

A. SCRIPTURES 
B. THE TRIUNE GOD 
C. SALVATION 
. . . 

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Constitution

NAME: This shall be a fellowship of fundamental, separatist Baptists. It shall be known as Independent Baptist Fellowship of North America.

Our beginnings

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The IBFNA is an independent, fundamental, missionary, Bible honoring, Christ exalting, separatist fellowship of Baptists. If you know what those words connote, then they identify the things for which we stand. We are unashamedly surrendered to the purpose of raising up a witness to the reliability of God’s Word, to the saving power of the Person of Jesus Christ, and to the necessity of obedience to Him as our Lord and Savior into Whose image He is ultimately conforming us. We did not become this when we formed the Independent Baptist Fellowship of North America. That’s what we were from the beginning and that’s the reason it was formed. 

Many of us, though not all, were at one time in fellowship with and supportive of the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches. For many years, the Association was an aggressive, separatist organization that stood firmly for the Faith and was led by stalwart fundamentalists, such as, Dr. Robert Ketcham, Dr. Paul Jackson, and many others. Things began to change in the latter half of the 1980’s when it became evident the leadership at the time was losing the courage to stand.

It was after the GARBC Conference at Niagara Falls, NY, in 1990 that the IBFNA came into existence. A principal resource regarding the reasons for this can be found in the book, What Happened to the GARBC at Niagara Falls? by L. Duane Brown, Ralph G. Colas, Richard A. Harris, and Jack Keep. It can be obtained through the IBFNA office. There are also copies available of the Regular Baptist Review, which preceeded the IBFNA. It was at the Niagara Conference where it became evident that the effort to revive adherence to the original purpose clause of the Association was fruitless. After the thwarting of every motion and the rejection of a constitutional amendment, many persons came to the conclusion that there was no purpose in continuing where the seeds of compromise were already being sown.

An organizational meeting to form the IBFNA was held in Oshkosh, WI in October of 1990. Work was begun there on a constitution and a doctrinal statement and temporary officers were elected. The first Annual Conference met in Philadelphia, PA in June of 1991. The work was concluded there on the Constitution and Articles of Faith.

Formal steps were then taken to constitute themselves and officers were chosen. Since that time, we have continued to have annual meetings each year. We also hold additional regional meetings throughout the year in different parts of the country. We publish an annual Directory and a periodical entitled, The Review. Today our Fellowship includes men and women from a cross-section of backgrounds but each of them firmly determined to stand firmly for the Faith, “once delivered to the saints.”

We believe the greatest danger to the purity of the Faith comes not from the apostates, themselves but from men who, though they are themselves Bible Believers, are tolerant of others in positions of trust and authority who do not so believe. This is why one aspect of the IBFNA purpose statement reads, “to emphasize the biblical teaching on separation from unbelievers in religious work (primary separation) and separation from believers who ignore or disobey the Bible’s teaching of primary separation (secondary separation)….” The IBFNA Article of Faith, F., states, in part, that we believe in “Ecclesiastical Separation, whereby we preach against apostasy, and withdraw from brethren who enter into memberships, affiliations and fellowships (including evangelistic crusades, youth movements, mission agencies, and schools) which seek to unite separatist fundamentalists with those who deny Biblical doctrines, including those who do not obey the Biblical teaching on separation.” The constitution and articles of faith are available on this website. These principles of separation are addressed in Ernest Pickering, Biblical Separation: The Struggle for a Pure Church (Schaumburg, IL: Regular Baptist Press, 1979), p. 217-236.

Articles of Faith

A. SCRIPTURES

Statement on the King James Version

Recognizing that different convictions exist among us regarding Bible texts and versions, we believe we should balance soul liberty with Christian charity in these matters, and therefore, agree not to magnify these differences at our meetings in order to remain united as a fellowship. We believe we should leave such discussion and decision to the privacy of individual conscience and the sovereign determination of each local church. Though some of us may use certain versions in the study, we prefer the King James Version in our conference preaching. We trust our speakers will honor this preference. As our Baptist forefathers, we continue to believe that the King James Version is the Word of God in English.

Statement on Inspiration and Inerrancy

TWe believe in the plenary, verbal, inspiration by God of the entire Bible as originally written. We believe in the authority and sufficiency of the Holy Bible, consisting of the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments (Genesis through Revelation). We believe the Holy Bible is a completed revelation, and that its divine inspiration has never been, nor will it ever be, duplicated. We believe, therefore, in the Bible's infallibility and unlimited inerrancy in all areas, including creation, science, geography, chronology, history, and in all other matters of which it speaks. The books known as the Apocrypha, however, are not the inspired Word of God in any sense whatever. As the Bible uses it, the term "inspiration" (or quality of being God-breathed) refers to the original writings, not to the writers; the writers are spoken of as being "holy men of God" who were "moved" (or "carried" or "borne" along) by the Holy Spirit in such a definite way that their writings were supernaturally, plenarily, and verbally inspired, free from any error, infallible, and inerrant, as no other writings have ever been or ever will be. We believe the Bible to be the true center of Christian unity and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and opinions shall be tried.

Statement on Bible Preservation

We believe God has promised in both the Old and New Testament to preserve His Words as given to us in the original Hebrew/Aramaic and Greek texts. By His providential care, we believe God has kept His Word pure down through the ages as He promised, and we reaffirm our belief in what our Baptist forefathers wrote in their London Baptist Confession of 1677 and 1689. It states in part: The Old Testament in Hebrew, (which was the native language of the people of God of old), and the New Testament Greek (which at the time of the writing of it was generally known to the nations) being immediately inspired by God, and by His singular care and providence kept pure in all ages, are therefore authentic. Recognizing that different convictions exist among us regarding the method and product of Bible preservation, we all believe that God has indeed kept His promise and h preserved His Word in the original language texts. We believe we should balance soul liberty with Christian charity as to the method and product of Bible preservation, and therefore, agree to respect different views. We believe we should leave such discussion and decision to the privacy of individual conscience and the sovereign determination of each local church. (Psalm 12:6-7, 78:1-8, 119:89, 111, 152, 160; Ecclesiastes 3:14; Isaiah 8:20, 30:8, 40:6-8; Matthew 4:4, 5:17-18, 24:35, 28:20; John 10:35, 17:17; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Colossians 1:17; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 1 Peter 1:23-25; 2 Peter 1:19-21; 2 John 1:2; Revelation 20: 12)

B. THE TRIUNE GOD

We believe in the Deity, unity, equality and eternality of the Triune God: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit; that these three persons are one God, having precisely the same nature, attributes and perfections; that they are worthy of precisely the same homage, confidence and obedience; that this Triune God is the One and only living and true God; that He is everlasting, immutable, of infinite power, wisdom, holiness, justice, goodness and truth; and that He is the Maker and Preserver of all things, both visible and invisible; subsisting in Three persons, of one substance (essence), power and eternity. 
God the Son: The Lord Jesus Christ 
His Virgin Birth: We believe that, as provided and proposed by God and as pre-announced in the prophecies of the Scriptures, the eternal Son of God came into this world that He might manifest God to men, fulfill prophecy and become the Redeemer- substitute; that He was begotten of the Holy Spirit in a miraculous matter, born of Mary, a virgin, as no other man was ever born or can be born of woman; that He received a human body and a sinless human nature; and that He is both the eternal Son of God and God the Son-perfect God and perfect Man. 
His Person: We believe in the essential, absolute, eternal Deity and the real and proper, but perfect and sinless, humanity of our Lord Jesus Christi that Christ is the eternal Son of God, and God the Son, the Second Person of the Trinity, being co-equal, co-eternal, and of the same essence as God the Father; that He united in one person undiminished Deity and perfect, sinless humanity. 
His Bodily Resurrection: We believe that, our Lord Jesus Christ rose from the dead on the third day in the same body, though glorified, and that His resurrection body is the pattern of that body which ultimately will be given to all believers. 
His Bodily Ascension: We believe that in departing from the Earth in His resurrection body, Christ ascended into Heaven; as our great High Priest, and will come again in like manner. 
His High Priestly Work: We believe that, in Heaven, He now sits at the right hand of God the Father as our Great High Priest, interceding for His own; that He became Head over all things to the Church which is His Body; and that, in this ministry He cease not to intercede and advocate for the saved. (Genesis 1:1,3:15; Genesis 15:6 cf. with Romans 4:3; Exodus 20:2-3; Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:18-25, 28:18-19; Mark 12:29, 16:19; Luke 1:35, 24:51;John 1:3,14,18; 20:17; Acts 1:9-10,5:34; Romans 4:5-8; I Corinthians 8:6; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Philippians 3:20; Colossians 1: 15-16; 1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 1: 1- 3, 2:17, 4:15, 5:9-10, 7:25, 11: 7; 12:2; 1 John 2:1, 5:7-8; Revelation 1:4-6; 4:11) 
God the Holy Spirit 
His Person and Presence: We believe that the Holy Spirit, sent by the Father and the Son, is of one substance (essence), majesty, and glory, with the Father and the Son, very and eternal God; that the Holy Spirit is a Divine Person, equal with God the Father and God the Son and of the same nature; that He was active in creation; that the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the blessed Trinity, though omnipresent from all eternity, took up His abode in the world in a special sense on the day of Pentecost according to the divine promise; that He dwells in every believer; that, as the Indwelling One, He is the source of all power and all acceptable worship and service; that He never takes His departure from the Church, nor from the feeblest of the saints; that He is ever present to testify of Christ, seeking to occupy believers with Him and not with themselves nor with their experiences; that His abode in the world in this special sense will cease when Christ comes to receive His own at the completion of the Church in the Rapture. 
His Ministries: We believe that, in this age, certain well-defined ministries are committed to the Holy Spirit, and that it is the duty of every Christian to understand them and to be adjusted to them in his own life and experience; that He restrains evil in the world to the measure of the divine will in that He convicts the world respecting sin, righteousness, and judgment; that He regenerates all believers; that He indwells and anoints all who are saved; that He seals believers unto the day of redemption; that Christ baptized in the Spirit into one body all who are saved; that He intercedes for the believers and that He fills for power, leading, bearing witness, teaching and service those among the saved who are subject to His will. (Matthew 26:26-29, 28:19-20; Acts 2:41-42, 8:36-37, 15:13-18; 1 Corinthians 11:23-27, 12:12-13; Ephesians 1:22-23, 3:1-6; 4:11, 5:23; Colossians 1:18; Revelation 19:7-8, 22:17) 
His Temporary Gifts: The charismatic gifts, such as tongues, healing, and prophecy are not for our day. (Genesis 1: 1-3; Matthew 28:20; Mark 1:8, Luke 24:49; John 1:33, 3:6, 14:16-17; 16:7-11,14; Acts 1:8, 4:8,31, 5:32, 11:16; Romans 8:9,14-16, 23, 26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:19, 12:4-13, 13:8-13; Ephesians 1:13-14, 2:22, 4:30, 5:18; 2 Thessalonians 2: 7; 1 John 2:20-27)

C. SALVATION

We believe that the salvation of sinners is divinely initiated and wholly of grace through the mediatory office of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, Who, by the appointment of the Father, voluntarily took upon Himself our nature, yet without sin, and honored the divine law by His personal obedience, thus qualifying Himself to be our Savior; that by the shedding of His blood in His death He fully satisfied the just demand of a holy and righteous God regarding sin; that His sacrifice consisted not in setting us an example by His death as a martyr, but was a voluntary substitution of Himself in the sinner's place, the Just dying for the unjust, Christ the Lord bearing our sins in His own body on the tree; that having risen from the dead He is now enthroned in Heaven, and uniting in His wonderful person the tenderest sympathies with divine perfection, He is in every way qualified to be a suitable, a compassionate and an all-sufficient Savior. He is in every way qualified to be and is a suitable, a compassionate, and an all-sufficient Savior. (Acts 15:11, 16:30-31; Romans 3:24-25; John 3:16; Philippians 2: 7-8; Hebrews 2:14-18; Isaiah 53:4-7; 1 John 4:10; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:24) 
Appropriation We believe that salvation is wholly a work of God, performed from beginning to end by Him and that unsaved man cannot do anything to save himself, or make himself more acceptable to God in order to merit God's saving him. God therefore commands man to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as the means of appropriating salvation. Repentance is a change of mind toward God prompted by the Holy Spirit and is an integral part of saving faith. (Ecclesiastes 3:14; Ephesians 2:8-9; John 3: 15-16, 18; Acts 15:11, 16:30-31; Romans 3:24-25; I Corinthians 15:1-4; 1 John 5:13) 
Grace and the New Birth We believe that in order to be saved, sinners must be born again; that the new birth is a new creation in Christ Jesus; that it is instantaneous and not a process; that in the new birth the one dead in trespasses and in sins is made a partaker of the divine nature and receives eternal life, the free gift of God; that the new creation is brought about solely by God by the power of the Holy Spirit through faith in the truth of the Gospel. (John 3:3,8, 5:1; Acts 16:30-31; Romans 6:23; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4; 2 Corinthians 5: 17; Ephesians 2:1-9; Colossians 2:13; 2 Peter 1:4; 1 John 5:1-13) 
Justification We believe that justification is that judicial act of God whereby He declares the believer righteous upon the basis of the imputed righteousness of Christ; that it is bestowed, not in consideration of any work of righteousness which we have done, but solely through faith in the Redeemer's shed blood. (Romans 3:24, 4:5, 5:1,9; Galatians 2:16; Philippians 3:9)
The Security of the Believers We believe that all who are truly born again are kept by God the Father for Jesus Christ. This security of the believer is dependent on the work of Christ alone and not the work of the believer. (Philippians 1:6; John 10:28-29; Romans 8:35-39; Jude 1) Add attachment

A. SCRIPTURES

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On the other hand, we denounce with righteous indignation and dislike men who are so beguiled and demoralized by the charms of pleasure of the moment, so blinded by desire, that they cannot foresee the pain and trouble that are bound to ensue; and equal blame belongs to those who fail in their duty through weakness of will, which is the same as saying through shrinking from toil and pain.But Dorothy they did not harm at all. She stood, with Toto in her arms, watching the sad fate of her comrades and thinking it would soon be her turn. The leader of the Winged Monkeys flew up to her, his long, hairy arms stretched out and his ugly face grinning terribly

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IBFNA Constitution

I. NAME: This shall be a fellowship of fundamental, separatist Baptists. It shall be known as Independent Baptist Fellowship of North America. 

Section 1: Action to dissolve the Independent Baptist Fellowship of North America shall be not considered until written notice regarding such action shall be distributed to its active members no less than 30 days before the business meeting. 
Section 2: Passage of such a motion shall require two-thirds majority vote of active members present at the business meeting. 
Section 3: Upon passage of the motion, the Executive Committee shall take action within one year to liquidate all real property and distribute all monies in accord with the following stipulation: 
No member or former member shall personally profit from the disposal of all assets. 
Recipients of all assets shall be recognized as legal, tax exempt non-profit organizations. 
The Executive Committee shall make every effort to dispense all assets to benefit the ministry of the Gospel, consistent with the historic principles and practices of the independent Baptist Fellowship of North America. 
The Executive Committee shall make full written disclosure of the disbursement of all the Fellowship’s assets available to all who were active members at the time of dissolution. PURPOSE: Recognizing the need for a national fellowship fundamentalist, separatist Baptists, we have organized for the following purposes: To establish a nationwide fundamentalist, separatist association of Baptists to provide fellowship, counsel, a uniform standard of biblical faith and practice, and a vehicle for cooperation in promoting the evangelistic, church-planting and educational goals of the fellowship; and further To emphasize the biblical teaching on separation from unbelievers in religious work (primary separation) and separation from believers who ignore or disobey the Bible’s teaching of primary separation (secondary separation); and To raise a standard for personal separation from worldliness and worldly practices reflecting the truth that believers are new creatures in Christ; and To provide information on current issues facing fundamental Baptists and others; and To produce literature for churches and pastors who desire such materials. OFFICERS Moderator To be nominated in writing from the membership and elected for a two-year term. An elected moderator may succeed himself for one term, then will not be eligible for reelection for two years. Duties Moderate all conference and business meetings of the Fellowship Be an ex officio member of all committee Be spokesman for the Fellowship Secretary/Clerk To be nominated in writing from the membership and elected for a two-year term An elected secretary/clerk may succeed himself for one term, then will not be eligible for reelection for two years. Duties Keep minutes of the business meetings Send out several and early notices of conferences and nominations Serve as vice-monitor when needed Treasurer To be nominated in writing from the membership and elected for a two-year term. An elected treasurer may succeed himself for one term, then will not be eligible for reelection for two years. Duties Receive and distribute any fellowship funds Keep accurate financial records Managing Editor Shall be nominated by the Executive Committee and elected by membership at the Annual Meeting. The managing editor may succeed himself. Duty - Edit the official organ and other publications with the officers acting as an editorial committee All elected officers shall be the official Executive Committee of the Fellowship. Standards All nominees for officers in IBFNA shall meet the qualifications for officers named in the Articles of Faith. No officer of the Fellowship shall commit the Fellowship on any matter except under the instructions of the Fellowship or Executive Committee or as he possess evidence of the Fellowship’s position. MEMBERSHIP A pastor or church member shall be eligible for membership if: He agrees without reservation with the constitution and articles of faith, and He is a member in good standing of an independent, fundamental, separatist, Baptist church. Members are expected to pay the annual fee and to attend the annual meeting as enabled by the Lord. Voting eligibility will be given to those who have paid the current membership fee. Membership will be withdrawn automatically when a member remains inactive by either failing to pay their annual fee, or attend the annual meeting for five years. Membership may be withdrawn by this Fellowship from any member by majority vote of this Fellowship after due process, according to Robert’s Rules of Order (Chapter 20). A member may withdraw his membership in writing at any time for reasons sufficient to himself. AGENCIES Approval of mission boards , social agencies, and schools shall be left to the local church. The fellowship may, at its discretion, collect information useful to local churches to evaluate parachurch organizations. CONFERENCE The Fellowship shall sponsor an annual conference. The conference program shall include expository Bible preaching and address current issues of concern to the churches. The moderator shall appoint a program committee, which shall recommend the next year’s program and location, to be approved by the membership. Only such members who have signed affirmation of membership and paid the annual fee prior to the first business session of each annual conference shall be privileged to vote or participate in discussions at that annual conference. AMENDMENTS Proposed changes to the Articles of Faith shall be presented in writing for consideration at the next annual conference. Changes to the Articles of Faith shall be adopted upon 2/3’s majority approval of the assembled members. Amendments to the constitution may be done in the same way, or be presented by the Executive Committee to the voting membership in a mailing 90 days prior to the annual conference (such as The Review or a Chairman’s Letter, including the normal mailing method of postal mail or e-mail) and be adopted by a 2/3’s majority approval of assembled members at the annual conference, or be presented in writing at the annual conference with a mail ballot mailed to all the voting membership allowing 90 day response and adopted by a 2/3’s majority approval of voting members. Revised June 18, 2014

1. January 2015

To take a trivial example, which of us ever undertakes laborious physical exercise, except to obtain some advantage from it? But who has any right to find fault with a man who chooses to enjoy a pleasure that has no annoying consequences, or one who avoids a pain that produces no resultant pleasure?


2. January 2016

On the other hand, we denounce with righteous indignation and dislike men who are so beguiled and demoralized by the charms of pleasure of the moment, so blinded by desire, that they cannot foresee the pain and trouble that are bound to ensue; and equal blame belongs to those who fail in their duty through weakness of will, which is the same as saying through shrinking from toil and pain.


3. January 2017

To take a trivial example, which of us ever undertakes laborious physical exercise, except to obtain some advantage from it? But who has any right to find fault with a man who chooses to enjoy a pleasure that has no annoying consequences, or one who avoids a pain that produces no resultant pleasure?

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Revised June 18, 2014