Independent Baptist

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The Crowne Center at Pensacola Christian College, an Independent Baptist institution

Independent Baptist churches (some also called Independent Fundamentalist Baptist or IFB) are Christian congregations, generally holding to conservative (primarily fundamentalist) Baptist beliefs. The term independent refers to the doctrinal position of church autonomy and a refusal to join any affiliated Baptist denomination, convention or hierarchical structure.


Small Independent Baptist church in Port Charlotte, Florida

The modern Independent Baptist tradition began in the late 19th and early 20th centuries among local denominational Baptist congregations whose members were concerned about the advancement of modernism and liberalism into national Baptist denominations and conventions in the United States and the United Kingdom.[1]

In response to the concerns, some local Baptist churches separated en masse from their former denominations and conventions and reestablished the congregations as Independent Baptist churches. In other cases, the more conservative members of existing churches withdrew from their local congregations and set about establishing new Independent Baptist churches.[2]

Prominent 20th-century independent Baptist ministers included Jack Hyles, J. Frank Norris, John R. Rice, Lee Roberson and Lester Roloff.

Beliefs and Practices[edit]

Although Independent Baptists vary differently on certain doctrines, all IFB churches practice believer's baptism by immersion and believe in the priesthood of all believers.[3] They typically take a literal view of creation, and are congregational in polity, upholding the autonomy of the local church. Most IFB churches will only use the King James Version of the Bible.


Members of Independent Baptist churches comprised 2.5% of the United States adult population, according to a 2014 survey by the Pew Research Center.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Marsden (1980), pp. 55–62, 118–23.
  2. ^ Beale, David O. (1986). In Pursuit of Purity: American Fundamentalism Since 1850. BJU Press. ISBN 9780890843505.[page needed]
  3. ^ "Baptists: The Priesthood of The Believer or of Believers?". Baptist Distinctives. 2010–21. Retrieved 31 May 2021.CS1 maint: date format (link)
  4. ^ "Religious Composition of the U.S.". U.S. Religious Landscape Study. Pew Research Center. Retrieved 2 November 2016.


  • Timothy Gloege, Guaranteed Pure: The Moody Bible Institute, Business, and the Making of Modern Evangelicalism (2015).
  • Barry Hankins, God's Rascal: J. Frank Norris & the Beginnings of Southern Fundamentalism (1996).
  • Andrew Himes, The Sword of the Lord: The Roots of Fundamentalism in an American Family (2011).
  • George M. Marsden, Fundamentalism and American Culture: The Shaping of Twentieth Century Evangelicalism, 1870-1925 (1980).
  • Robert F. Martin, Hero of the Heartland: Billy Sunday and the Transformation of American Society, 1862–1935 (2002).
  • Daniel K. Williams, God's Own Party: The Making of the Christian Right (2010).

External links[edit]