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Our Beginnings

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.