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Baptists/Independent Baptist vs. Southern Baptist


What's the difference between Southern & Independent Baptist? I found (accidently) scripture regarding some beliefs in Purgatory & getting salvation after death on your website. My wife's Catholic, but a Christian, I took her down the Roman's Highway. I'm a faithful member & men's Sunday school teacher at Beech Grove Baptist Church on Viar Rd. in Dyer Co, Tn. & are Southern Baptist affiliated. There is an Independent Baptist church in Dyersburg, Tn. (Holy Hills) & know some Christians that attend there. Just curious what's the difference in Independent & Southern Baptist. Thanks, Bobby Joe Hooper II, Dyer Co., Tn.

Hi Bobby,
         Most churches that identify themselves as "missionary Baptists" are Southern Baptists. In truth they are independent churches and the Southern Baptist Convention does not decree to them what they are to do or believe. There is also a great deal of diversity within Southern Baptist churches, yet they remain in the convention. As a independent church, the Convention cannot force doctrine or practice on churches in their convention.

         However, many SBC churches do conform generally to the votes and positions of the Convention. They do not have too, but willingly accept what the Convention as a whole passes.

         So, on one hand they are independent, and can follow their own desires, but on the other, most will accept what comes out of the Convention. There is a lot of pressure to confront to what the convention's position is.

         As being fundamental, SBC churches do not identify themselves as such. They are not fundamentalists, and rarely refer to themselves as such. They use the word "conservative" which is term that denotes a lesser stand on the Bible and doctrine than the true fundamentalists does. Let me also say, there are non Baptist churches that use the term "fundamentalist" who are not true Bible believing people. The news media often mistakenly calls churches such as the Pentecostals and Charismatics "fundamentalists."

         One main difference and fault of SBC churches is they do not practice biblical separation as does most IFB churches. They are very tolerant with churches that are in doctrinal error such as the Protestants, Pentecosts, etc. They will work jointly with church in doctrinal error in evangelistic endeavors, such as city wide campaigns. Billy Graham, the leading SBC evangelist, is a prime example. He will have workers and churches "counseling" those who come forward in his invitations who are doctrinally unsound. For example, if a person comes forward they are ask what is their denominational affiliation. If they say Roman Catholic they are sent to Roman Catholic workers. The Billy Graham crusades as do most SBC churches accept all denominations on a somewhat equal basis. There reasoning is that these churches at least preach the Gospel. However, a church that teaches and practices false doctrine is not preaching the Gospel, but a perversion of it.

         No true Independent Fundamental Baptist would ever work in an evanglistic campaign with churches, or individuals who are in doctrinal error. We would never work with Catholics, Protestants, Pentecostals who believe and practice false doctrine. Most SBC churches would. IFBs believe and practice (most of them) God's word "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?' (2 Corinthians 6:14)

         In the SBC doctrinal statements you will find very little difference between theirs and an IFB. They have the truth and they preach the Gospel and seek to get people saved. Their doctrinal statements are mostly sound and biblical. The main problem is they for many years have drifted away from their biblical roots and have a tendence to compromise and water down the word of God. Of course that does not apply to all SBC churches, but it does typify most of them. There are also a number of other important differences such as a great number of the SBC churches have gone to a contemporary services patterning themselves after the Charismatics and Pentecosts. This is clearly accepting worldliness. There missions program, administeredy by the Convention, does not follow the biblical example. The SBC totally runs their mission programs and the local church has no input, accept to fund it. This takes missions from the local church and puts it in the hands of a Convention that has little or no accountability to the churches who finance missons. The only voice a local SBC church has in what the Convention does is in sending delegates to the convention and voting. A local church has no power or influence to change anything in the Convention. The Convention is an enity unto itself. It is a fact that there are many liberals and neo-evangelicals in the Convention who hold key positions. I was raised in an SBC church and my parents, brothers and sister, and most of my kin are SBC. I tried unsuccessfully to point out some unbiblical practices and my pastor told me was wasting my time. I caught SBC missionaries lying about their work with I investigated. These are a few of the main reasons I left the SBC and became a IFB. By the way, many IFB churches have problems also.


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Cooper P. Abrams III


Independent Fundamental Baptist missionary and pastor, ThB, MBS, and PhD as of May 28, 2013. I began pastoring in 1981, and have taught in churches, a Bible college, and a Bible Institute. I have written numerous articles on various subjects from a biblical perspective and many are posted on my web site Bible Truth ( ). Bible Truth receives over one hundred and forty thousand visiters per month. Since 1998 I have answered Bible related questions via e-mail. My answers are straight forward and biblical. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE -----DO NOT ASK A QUESTION AND THEN NOT READ THE ANSWER! ABOUT FOUR IN TEN QUESTIONS ASKED ARE NEVER READ. I FREELY GIVE MY TIME TO GIVE HELPFUL ANSWERS. OFTEN THE ANSWER WILL REQUIRE AS MUCH AS A HOUR OR MORE TO RESEARCH AND THEN TO FORMULATE THE REPLY. IF YOU SEND A QUESTION PLEASE BE THOUGHTFUL ENOUGH TAKE THE TIME TO READ IT. MOST PEOPLE DO...BUT ALL SHOULD. THANKS


I have been a pastor since 1981 and a Independent Baptist missionary church planter since 1986. I have seen the Lord establish four Bible believing churches in Utah. My web site Bible Truth ( http:\\ ) continues to grow presently over 7,000 visiters per day. The materials on the web site are mostly written by myself and contain sermons, Bible commentaries, articles on various biblical subjects.

I am pastor of Calvary Baptist Church, Tremonoton, Utah (

- Appeared on Grizzly Adams DVD documentary "End Times: How Close Are We?" ( - Article "Are Mormons Christians" "O Timothy Magazine" Way of Life Literature (

ThB (Bachelor Degree in Theology) Piedmont Bible College, Winston-Salem, NC. MBS (Mastor of Biblical Studies) Piedmont Baptist College, Winston-Salem, NC. PhD (Bible) Bethany Divinity College and Seminary, Dothan, AL

Awards and Honors
Graduated Suma Com Laude with PhD Religion - Bible Major, Bethany Divinity College and Seminary - 2013

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