This is a question we have been asked many times. Though I’d have to admit my wife is usually the one who is asked. Maybe she is more approachable than I am, or perhaps those who inquire think she would be more couth in the delivery of her answer. For those of you who don’t really know us, you may ask what would cause a person to ask such a blunt question? Well, it is typically because of the way we dress, and hopefully is sometimes provoked by the way we and our children carry ourselves. We have a few convictions and try to dress and act in a way that would glorify God. On one of the occasions that come to mind, I remember someone asking me “what are you” and prefaced his question by stating that he knew I was not a pentecostal because of the facial hair I was sporting at that time. Being asked this question does not bother me and doesn’t seem to bother my wife. It sometimes will open the door to an opportunity to share our faith. Then there are other times when the Holy Spirit reveals in our hearts that, due to the motives of the inquisitor, only a short answer is deserved.
The short answer to this question is: “We are Christians”. We are not Christians because of the way we dress or what we do or do not do, but we are Christians because of what Christ did for us. The next question that those fishing for information will ask is: “What church do you go to”. If I am really wanting to drag out giving the answer in a way that would make a politician proud, the conversation will go like this: Me -” Bethany”. Asker -” What kind of church is it”. Me – “Baptist”. Then there will normally be a short pause of silence, with which I will follow up with “Independent Baptist”. That is where the conversation will usually change depending on if the person is a layman or preacher. I have found that many people we run into have never heard of an “Independent Baptist”. Many of those who have, try to associate us with the negative problems that have come in some of the big-name Independent Baptist Churches. The ones that have been brought to their hypocritical knees by some scandal or associate us with those who have built puffed up kingdoms of pride under the name of “Independent Baptist”. Those associations are particularly puzzling to me because my mind cannot comprehend how you can associate or group together something that is independent with something else without taking away its independence.
Those who are truly interested and not just looking to label or find out what “camp” you are in will ask what is the difference between us and any other baptist. Well, I can’t speak for any other baptist or independent baptist for that matter, but I can speak for myself. At the bottom of this page, I have posted a link to the statement of faith of our home church, which will list in painstaking detail the truths which we hold dear. These are not tenants that we believe because someone told us we should, but truths that we have learned under the teaching and preaching of sound doctrine. They are truths that we have studied deeply and which the Holy Spirit has confirmed in our hearts.
Before you follow the link to our sending church’s Statement of Faith, let me ask myself that same question: What are we? My answer will have to be: “We are sinners just like every other natural man and woman who has lived before us”. We deserve no more than anyone else to be used of God, but we know that “Our hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness”. I thank God for the blessings he has bestowed on our family. Please pray with us and for us that God will protect the faith of our children and allow us to serve Him in some capacity that will lift Him up. (John 12:32) Oh….and by the way, next time we see you if you feel led to ask “What are you?”. Go ahead and ask! we don’t mind and would love the opportunity to explain again.