Independent Fundamental Churches of America
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (October 2008)|
The Independent Fundamental Churches of America was founded in Cicero, Illinois in 1930. The name was officially changed to IFCA International in 1996. It is an association of nearly 1000 independent Protestant churches located largely in the United States and up to three times that number of associated churches in 26 countries outside the U.S. It also has over 1100 individual members: pastors, missionaries, professors, church planters, chaplains, and other vocational Christian workers. In the U.S there are 5 member colleges/Bible Colleges, 11 home mission agencies, and 12 church planting agencies. It also has 8 foreign mission agencies ministering outside the U.S.
Organised in June 1930 as a successor to the American Conference of Undenominational Churches, it sees its roots in the rejection of theological modernism and the reaffirmation of the traditional, fundamental doctrines that it believes to underlie Biblical Christianity: Biblical inerrancy, the Virgin Birth of Christ, the substitutionary atonement of Christ, the literal resurrection of Christ, the Second Coming of Christ, the eternal joy of those who are redeemed by the blood of Christ through the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit, and the eternal judgment of those who are unredeemed. It also holds to the Pretribulational Rapture of the Church and the Premillennial Return of Christ to establish His 1000 year reign on earth before the eternal state.
The shift to the use of initials rather than its original name reflects a rejection of much of what is currently described by the label fundamentalist  and a rejection of any nationalist focus rather than a softening of its message. Nonetheless, it is doctrinally quite conservative, strongly rejecting ecumenism and what it construes as liberalism within Christianity.
The IFCA International purpose statement is: "Enhancing the strength of the Church by equipping for, and encouraging toward, ministry partnerships to accomplish Great Commission objectives." Its organizational ambition is to become healthy churches who work together.
There are five IFCA International core values: Biblical Doctrine (contemporary importance of the historic Fundamentals) + Biblical Leadership (Christ-like integrity, humility, zeal, and sacrifice) + Biblical Outreach (evangelism at home and abroad) + Biblical Partnerships (accomplishing more together than separately) + Biblical Excellence (doing the best possible for God's glory).
IFCA International establishes an organizational structure to coordinate and encourage joint participation in ministry activities. IFCA International provides this while guaranteeing the autonomy of congregational government. The Constitution and By-Laws of IFCA International provide for a voluntary membership for churches, organizations and individuals. Membership is reaffirmed annually. Member churches may not join any denomination and continue to be member churches.
The association is administered by a paid Executive Director and Home Office staff in Grandville, Michigan. This staff is overseen by 12 unpaid, elected Board of Directors (who serve four-year terms) led by the President of the Board who serves a four-year term. IFCA International holds an annual convention to decide on the issues before it. This convention rotates around the U.S. and has met in places such as Chicago, Detroit, Seattle, Los Angeles, York PA, Schroon Lake NY, Grand Rapids, Tacoma, Colorado Springs, St. Petersburg, Baltimore, Louisville, Tulsa, Eugene, and Springfield IL.
Past Executive Directors have included Dr. William McCarrell, Dr. Nye J. Langmade, Dr. Ernest Pickering, Rev. Glen Lehman, Rev. Bryan Jones, Rev. Harold Freeman, and Dr. Richard I. Gregory. The current Executive Director is Dr. Les Lofquist, a 1976 graduate of Grand Rapids (MI) School of Bible & Music, a 1979 graduate of Grace College (Winona Lake, IN) with a Bachelor of Arts degree, a 1982 graduate of Grace Theological Seminary (Winona Lake, IN) with a Master of Divinity degree, and a 2005 Doctor of Divinity degree from Calvary Bible College & Theological Seminary (Kansas City, MO). The current President of the IFCA International Board of Directors is Rev. Earl Brubaker.
Notable members have included
- J. Oliver Buswell (President of Wheaton College)
- M. R. DeHaan (Calvary Undenominational Church, Grand Rapids + Radio Bible Class)
- William McCarrell (Cicero Bible Church + Moody Bible Institute)
- William Pettingill (Editorial Committee, Scofield Study Bible)
- Louis Talbot (President of BIOLA)
- Charles L. Feinberg (Academic Dean of Talbot Theological Seminary)
- Lance Latham (Founder of AWANA Children's ministry + New Tribes Mission)
- John Walvoord (President of Dallas Theological Seminary)
- J. Vernon McGee (Church of the Open Door, Los Angeles + BIOLA + Radio ministry)
- Merrill Unger (Dallas Theological Seminary)
- Charles Caldwell Ryrie (Dallas Theological Seminary)
- John F. MacArthur (Grace Community Church, Los Angeles + The Master's College & Seminary + Radio ministry)
Citations and Footnotes
- Gregory & Gregory (2005), p. 172
- Gregory, Richard I. and Richard W. Gregory (2005). On the Level: Discovering the Levels of Biblical Relationships Among Believers. Grandville, Michigan: IFCA Press. ISBN 0-9766838-0-6