Today I received the following in an email from David Cloud:
We have recently discovered that listings from our Church Directory were placed verbatim on the Baptist Friends International list as churches that have “registered” to support their program. This is a very deceptive practice that should cast doubt on the methods employed by this group.
An announcement of the IB Friends International church directory was during their recent conference. Pastor Bobby Mitchell of Brunswick, Maine, said that during one of the broadcasts that he heard “it was stated that ‘thousands’ had ‘registered’ their churches and ministries at the IBFI website.”
When he examined the website he found that his church was listed without his knowledge, and that no one in the church had “registered” it with the IB Friends. He said,
“I also noticed several other churches that were ‘registered’ that had not been ‘registered’ by anyone associated with those churches. The more I read the stranger it became as I looked at listings of churches that no longer exist, the names of pastors who are now in heaven, and the names of pastors who have moved to a different church.”
Pastor Mitchell says that when he spoke with a staff member at Crown College about having their church removed from the directory “he apologetically stated that, in fact, they had built the majority of the directory from other existing church directories that were created and owned by other groups.”
This is duplicity, and a loud public apology should be made in regard to the directory.
I emailed Bro. Cloud the following:
I’m mystified by this email, because the following statement is on the church directory page. http://baptistfriends.org/united-states/all/
“This directory is designed to serve only as a listing of Independent Baptist churches and ministry resources. It is not an endorsement of any particular ministry, nor is it a fellowship or organization to which any local church belongs.”
This statement leads me to believe that they’re specifically creating a directory of independent Baptist churches, not a list of churches in the IBFriends.
Please help me understand what’s going on, as these statements conflict.
After sending the email, I noticed this on the “about us” page:
Q: Is this a new fellowship?
A: No, this is not a new fellowship. The term fellowship should be a verb and not a noun, meaning fellowship is what we do, not what we are. This meeting is designed to acquaint Independent Baptist people with the vast work of Independent Baptist churches world-wide. It is a meeting of friends and is intended to encourage world evangelism through local churches.
Q: Is this something churches join?
A: No, local churches should not join anything. The loyalty of the local church must always remain solely to the Lord Jesus Christ. He and He alone is the only head of the local assembly. This meeting provides a time for Independent Baptist people to get better acquainted and increase their burden and enlarge their vision for world evangelism. Specific needs from around the world are brought to the attention of everyone attending.
Q: Why are churches listed?
A: Churches are listed world-wide to provide inquiring people with the specific information about local Independent Baptist churches in their part of the world and to determine where other churches need to be started.
Q: What is known about churches and ministries listed in this directory?
A: The only thing that is known is the fact they exist. Whether or not one would choose to be a part of this church or use one of these ministries is entirely up to the individual. This directory is not a endorsement of churches and ministries listed.
In the end, the issue with the registration of churches on the IB Friends site is an issue of ambiguity that does need to be clarified. It is obvious to the one who looks that there was a directory made. It is also obvious that there is a registration process by which others can be added to the directory. It is not explicitly stated that those on the directory from the beginning did not register, but it is obvious. There is no deception or duplicity here. IB Friends simply needs to clarify the nature of the directory and registration process.
I think it is time for folks to stop digging at the specks of dust they see and work on getting the planks out of their eyes. It is the attitude of folks such as Cloud that gives Fundamentalism a bad name, and it is he who should issue the apology to Clarence Sexton and the IB Friends web administrators.
Stay tuned. I shall update this up receipt of a response from Bro. Cloud.
Here is David Cloud’s reply:
Hi. Did you read the article? I explained.