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Daniel Kriss

Daniel is pastor at Mount Cathedral Community Baptist Church in Taggerty, Victoria. Daniel has studied theology and has been involved in itinerant preaching since 1999. In 2006, Daniel founded SWAT Camp which helps develop young leaders for Christian ministry. Daniel and his wife Jessica live in Melbourne. You can contact Daniel at daniel@teaminfocus.com.au.

26 Comments

  1. avatar

    Jeremy Crooks

    Thanks Daniel,

    Many of us have trod the same path you have described. It is liberating when we start following Jesus rather than a system. Blessings to you as you grow in freedom in Christ.

    Reply
  2. avatar

    Aaron Budiman

    Fundamentalists and independent baptists would have been rebuked if they had been one of the 7 churches Jesus spoke to in Rev 2 & 3. But neither would most of us. God save us from ourselves and perfect us with both truth and love so that we can throw this bathwater out well, but keep the baby…

    Reply
  3. avatar

    Deborah Kemper

    Daniel, I think this more a “rant” than a blog. What is the purpose – to tell everyone to steer clear of IB churches? There are a lot of sweeping generalisations here “some within the movement” “significant population”

    Very harsh is the “In most cases, a dictatorial position is held by the Pastor and Leadership …” In some maybe, but “in most!!!!” I’ve obviously been moving in different circles!

    This seems more like a letter to ‘lash out’ at those who have hurt you – rather than a balanced commentary.

    Reply
  4. avatar

    PJ

    I try as best I can to respect the right of independent, autonomous local churches to determine their own standards on all of the matters described in this post. While I might disagree with the standards other churches hold, I hardly think its my right to publicly criticise them.

    According to Romans 14 I’m to avoid ‘judging’ and ‘despising’ those who’s standards are different to mine in matters of conscience. This post seems to be awfully close to despising those “who eat not”.

    Reply
  5. avatar

    Daniel Kriss

    Hi Deborah, Thanks for your comments. The purpose of this Blog (or rant as you call it) is to encourage all of us to not follow a set of non-biblical rules but to follow the Word. I am suprised to hear you say that you have not seen these things especially since we have operated in similar circles. At no point did I make a sweeping statement that ALL IB churches are like this. This blog has nothing to do with anybody who has or has not hurt me, its primary purpose is to expose the lie which many believe and that is that because an individual operates outside the movement does not mean he is any less saved. Sorry if these comments offend you. Blessings. Daniel

    Reply
  6. avatar

    Deborah Kemper

    Hi Daniel

    I didn’t say I hadn’t seen these things – I was questioning your use of the words “In Most…..” I think this is a definate generalisation. Also, if the purpose was just to encourage the following of the Word not just a set of rules – then why just single out the IB churches? Having said that I agree that the bible is our reference, not man’s ideas and rules etc. Man’s ideas change constantly and if we rely on them we are certain to be let down. I also agree, that peoples salvation is not indicated by which church they go to – I know of many good christians from a variety of churches.

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  7. avatar

    Kez

    I think your last point is especially relevant. Even the most conservative IB churches often find it difficult to really fellowship with each other because there are always some slight differences in practice or faith somewhere along the line. In fact from a lot of what ive personally seen, separation seems to be enforced more and more over practices rather than faith.

    My question is, if we cant even fellowship with others who differ on faith and practices, how are we ever supposed to win the lost or nurture the baby Christians? I’ve seen some IBs so focused on not mixing with another Christian who varies just slightly on a practice like music or dress that they will not even come near an unsaved person except to try and force the gospel down their throats and then retreat again as quickly as possible. Even Jesus *SAT* and *ATE* with sinners. it wasn’t an “in there and get out” operation.

    I have a young friend who I recently helped to share Christ with who got saved. Barely a week later, she came to me in total discouragement after a member of more “liberal” IB church lit into her on how if she really wanted to please God and get help, she’d get rid of all her music, take out the extra piercings and pretty much change everything about her all at once. This member was not willing to help her or nurture her new faith as a baby Christian until she mimicked their faith and practices to the T. She was so bewildered and discouraged, it took several weeks and several long talks before she began to recover her zeal and enthusiasm to continue to learn about God and the gospel. We can’t force godly change in young Christians so if the premise we live by is that we can’t associate with them until they are changed, shouldn’t we just as well give up while we’re ahead and before we hurt them too…?

    Reply
  8. avatar

    Daniel Kriss

    Deb, the reason I have particularly ‘targeted’ the IB movement is because I am an IB, and because it is all that I know well enough to make comment on. Also our movement is, and has been in danger of destroying ourselves with these ‘non-biblical’ ideas for sometime. So many people are turning away from the movement because they realise that a set of rules is what they must follow to be ‘one of us’ instead of clear Bible-based principles. For example, a lady may leave an IB church because someone has told her she is not allowed to wear slacks to prayer meeting. That lady is now hurt and feels that Christianity is nothing more than a set of rules and regulations! God spare us from this kind of formality and orthodoxy!

    Reply
    1. avatar

      Jeremy Crooks

      What is the IB movement anyway? They only moving it is doing is contracting? I believe the sooner we stop viewing ourselves as part of a ‘movement’ (whatever flavor that may be) and start seeing ourselves as the body of Christ, then the healthier we will be.

  9. avatar

    Mark

    Hey Daniel, nice blurb! Given that you (presumably) havent moved in Pentecostal,anglican, catholic, Lutheran circles, but have been predominantly in IB circles all your life AND if you have found that what you have said to be the truth (one would HOPE so!) then your point is relevant.
    I, too have had similar dealings with the I B movement. The first 20 or so year of my life were spent in IB churches. I could rant and rave for hours about their various “foibles” but it would do no good. I am sad to see that there has been hurt caused in your life from these things, Daniel. I pray that as God gives you grace to forgive that you would be in prayer for their release from their heavy yokes and that they would trade them in for lighter ones that Jesus has for them. May God continue to help you as you move on in your spiritual walk, mate.

    Reply
  10. avatar

    Penny

    Daniel I respect your blog a lot and to have the courage to write it. All I have known is IB churches. 34 years of either IB by name or association. I have been set free and can say now I follow Jesus not the letter of the IB law.
    As for te often quoted “rebuke” in rev 2&3. Those things were not written to shove the churches nose in the problem. We need to read to the end. It says “to him who overcomes” the whole point is that we are overcomes! We have been given the right to sit with Jesus on the throne. Jesus lived so that we don’t have to live. He died so that we don’t have to die.
    I challenge you churches….what is the fruit of rubbing your people’s noses in their sin? Do you lack faith that God will actually speak to those in sin? Who of you is without sin to cast the first stone? And which one of you am has been given the ministry and spiritual gift of Judgement? We are known as we love one another. Who needs the devil when you have condemnation coming from the pews and pulpits?

    Reply
  11. avatar

    Matt Leys

    Let me preface my contribution by saying that I’ve spent my entire life in a single church – not IB by name, but independent and generally similar in position and identification. I’ve also had some experience with similar churches both locally and overseas.

    There is definitely truth to the ten points that Daniel has identified, and I believe that you would see these borne out to a greater or lesser extent in the majority of IFB churches.

    The thing that I think is important to point out is that, for the majority of the list, it is not difficult to identify a sound Biblical principle that underlies it. However there can be poor exposition or exercise of this principle which can cause leadership and churches to become legalistic and insular.

    From my observation there are two key factors in a church finding itself in this position:

    1) authoritarian “black & white” (sometimes unloving) leadership that have favourite hobbyhorses and resort to cliches without really addressing the issues

    2) ignorant / simplistic people (in both leadership & the pew) who find it much more convenient to pronounce blanket rules based on a principle (see some of the 10 points above) rather than understand the issues and practice Biblical discretion

    Some on this forum have been quick to judge, but I believe that there are many in IB circles that are serving God passionately, often the best they know how, although in some cases a measure of maturity, love and discretion would reap more fruit.

    My thoughts anyway …

    Reply
  12. avatar

    Matt Leys

    Please indulge me a second comment, as I’d be interested in other’s feedback on something that has been bouncing around in my mind recently following some sermons I’ve heard and conservations I’ve had with others …

    A number of the “rules” highlighted by Daniel would be partly supported by appealing to the need for Biblical separation, something I’d argue that just about all Christians endeavour to practice although there is often argument about where the line is.

    Something that I have pondered recently is whether, in practice, there is a distinction between individual and corporate (church) separation. I can’t say that I’ve ever heard someone clearly address this concept, although I feel that the arguments are somewhat compelling …

    A few examples …

    I may have a Pentecostal colleague in the office who enjoy enthusiastically telling me of his weekend “experiences” and asks about how my services went. I, as a loving believer, who accepts that my colleague likely is saved by Christ, but holds a clearly different position on some doctrines, could enjoy fellowship with him over the Gospel and God’s love for us while we are sitting around the lunch table.

    However, I believe that the church I attend is perfectly within its Scriptural bounds to choose to not fellowship with his congregation due to some significant doctrinal differences.

    The same could easily be demonstrated when it comes to music. Often hymn books contain music published by many different musical contributors. I may choose to purchase a particular book and jam away (righteously) at home, however the church may decide, based on the principle of separation, that it will not purchase this book for use in its services, since there are a number of contributions from artists that as a corporate body they do not wish to endorse.

    It’s not that churches have a higher standard to maintain – I think it’s more that they do not have the same opportunity for discretion in a case by case situation (as individuals do) and need to maintain some level of consistent “expected” standard. Naturally, this should always be done in a loving, and reasonable way, not simply because it’s been that way for 50 years and Pastor X says it’s right.

    I’d be interested in other’s thoughts …

    Reply
    1. avatar

      Jeremy Crooks

      I don’t think the issue is whether an individual or collective group choose to have a certain standard. The issue is when that standard becomes a measure of one’s godliness – particularly someone else’s godliness. Taking a Biblical principle and equating it with a manmade standard is what the Pharisees did. The problem with the Pharisees was not that they personally chose not to pick some grain on the Sabbath, but that they condemned others for not having the exact same application as they did.

  13. avatar

    Matt

    Daniel, thanks for your post. Having grown up in an area where many IB churches manifested the same character traits as you’ve described and having been to IB churches in several different countries, I would agree with you. Personally, and this is just my view so don’t blow up, I think that you come awfully close to tarring all IB churches with the same brush. I’ll share a couple of stories. I just came back from a trip to QLD where I was in an IB church for a couple of weeks. The people there used the KJV and all wore ties to church. Now, I wore my best shorts (cause it was hot) and a nice collared shirt to church. But yet I felt as if I was stared down for wearing that. Nothing was ever said to me verbally about it, yet I could feel that there were the thoughts going through their heads, “Who is this person to come in only shorts and a collared shirt?” Then, I also heard a story about an evangelist from a college in the States (which shall remain unnamed to respect Romans 14) who got a new convert and then, he said, “I was so happy when I was able to take him out and get him his first tie.”

    I go to a Seventh-Day Adventist university. It certainly wasn’t my first, second, third, fourth, fifth or fiftieth choice, but God in His sovereignty and direction led me to this place. I firmly believe that there are SDAs there that are saved, and from what I’ve gathered, they do, more or less, preach the same gospel that we do. Sure, many preachers leave out the concept of judgement, but amongst the more conservative SDA elements, I believe that the true gospel is preached. I would never fellowship with them on a regular basis in a church, but I think that it’s not right to write them off completely. If you want a good study in legalistic thinking, just study some of the things the SDAs believe.

    I could go on, but I shall stop there.

    Reply
  14. avatar

    Sarah C

    I am not a Baptist. However, my church is Independent and Fundamental and many, though not all, of the points discussed would apply to us as well. I was taught and believe that we ought to take a stand on important issues – it is dishonest not to and as Christians we must be discerning.

    Doctrines are good and are there for our benefit, including that of biblical separation. Isn’t it wise, for example, to be thoughtful about which churches and speakers we recommend and attend? Especially when interacting with new believers and seekers.

    However, I have been taught and believe that when do take a stand we should do so with humility. After all godly theologians throughout the centuries have held differing views – many of the doctrines we have today are with us because of controversy. Also we are human and you never know – we might be wrong :-)

    Reply
  15. avatar

    Penny

    I have been in IB churches for almost all of my 40 years. I have done 5 years of Bible college (almost 2 in Victoria’s own IB one) and I am not convinced that we are called to be separatists. The Apostle Paul actuall tells us that we are not to separate denominationally. In fact, if there IS difference we should either be silent and allow the H.S. to do His job, or if we feel it is something that we MUST speak up on, then it must be done with exegetical preciseness and love. I see no scriptural apology for the segregationalism that is so abundant today. I am willing to listen to and study this out, but I just don’t see it. The Apostle John says, “in this the world will know that you are my disciples, in that he have love one for another”. How can we show love for each other, if we decide to show such intolerance for each other? We need to be willing to listen and learn from each other. I have learnt HEAPS from my not Baptist friends! I do not agree with all their doctrines, AND THAT’S OK! I am a big enough boy that, if we disagree on something, we study it through together. If I am convinced that my personal doctrinal dissertation is due to be reviewed, I review it. If he feels the same, he does the same. If there is room for both of us to continue to hold to what we already believe, then we do. It’s called maturity, peeps! Time for this “denomination” to grow up a bit, I reckon. Love all my IB cousins to bits. I pray one day for their release for their heavy heavy yokes. Jesus yoke is light. I’m Lovin it! Thanks Lord ! <3

    Reply
  16. avatar

    Mark

    Sorry, wasnt Penny, it was Mark. ;D

    Reply
  17. avatar

    Jeremy

    If you want to learn truth about many IFB in a humourous way, then I recommend you visit. http://www.stufffundieslike.com

    Reply
  18. avatar

    Benjamin Molesworth

    Good article. I can see how it has some very personal perspectives, but I also think that some of the people who have a problem with parts of this article are also bringing their own bias’ in.

    I left an IB church, after the pastor got up in the pulpit and stated, that many of these things are the rules of their church, and if you didn’t like it, find another church. I personally went to the Pastor after that, and told him that I thought that it was wrong to preach rules, and ignore the Bible. The response was, something like “you are telling me that we are too strict, and last month someone else left because we weren’t strict enough, What am I supposed to do?” To which I responded, “Obey the Bible, do what the Bible says!”

    Funny thing was, I had a problem with the rules before that point, but refused to leave, because I didn’t want to over react on small issues. Who cares if they only want to sing hymns. Who cares if they want you to dress nice. But when I realised that the ‘rules’ took precedence over God’s Word, I had to raise the issue, and subsequently leave, because it wasn’t going to change. It was a shame too, because they were so good at doing church, that it was difficult to find other places so well established in well organised ministries.

    The problem with following rules is, that the rules become more important than the Bible itself. This happened with the Jewish scribes. This happened in the Catholic church with their dogma. In the months before I left that church, the Sunday School teacher taught something that went against the ‘rules’ of the church, and was hounded, which shortly after caused the Pastor to get up and state the church ‘rules’.

    So, although I can see your personal bias coming through here Daniel, I agree with your sentiment, because the Bible is more important than ‘rules’, and should always be given the highest priority.

    I have been surprised over the years, about beliefs that I have had to shed, because it turned out, that it fundamentally disagreed with the Bible.

    Reply
  19. avatar

    Elizabeth

    BAHAHA, great work.

    Reply
  20. avatar

    Neal

    IFB are changing. I have seen some troubling trends that this author addresses. If any church TELLS (or implies) you how to dress (specifically), leave, and never come back. This is not bibilical its a cult. MOST IBF’s are very similar, been to about 10 in 6 or 7 states, so how they are independent I don’t know. If you are told to only fellowship (talk) with other IFB’s, leave that’s a cult too. A Church should NEVER attempt to control you either. The Holy Spirit and Bible does that just fine. Finally, I feel that IFB’s are having tremendous diffuculty allowing Christians to be Christians.

    Reply
  21. avatar

    Christopher

    Daniel, these things you mentioned that are the “10 unwritten commandments” of the CIB are like the walls that keep error out and the wolves from coming in.It keeps the church from being carnal and worldly. Paul warned us in Acts 20:29-30 KJV – For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.” I guess your solution Daniel is to get rid of these things, RIGHT!!! So let’s see, we should start using counterfeit bibles, carnal worldly music. Start fellowshipping with false teachers and preachers. Let the ladies come to church in swimsuits if they want. Don’t warn your people about wolves. Can you imagine what this type of church this would be like? I am sooooo glad you are not my pastor. Hummm, I smell a wolf.

    Reply
    1. avatar

      Jeremy Crooks

      Christopher

      You are not advancing your position by exaggerating hypotheticals that Daniel is not even advocating.

  22. avatar

    Jason Harris

    Wow Christopher… just wow…

    The reader sort of expects the “CIB” to deny that any such ridiculous unwritten rules exist, but to affirm them openly… wow…

    Christopher, do not insinuate that Daniel is a false teacher (“I smell a wolf”) unless you’ve got the courage to stand up and give the evidence for your extremely serious allegations. First, you’d need to use your full, real name. Cowards level allegations anonymously. Second, you’d need to demonstrate that Daniel teaches a false gospel. Third, you’d need to demonstrate that he does so from a solidified and erroneous theology, not merely a careless mistake or a moment of confusion flowing from a still developing theology.

    If you can do so, and can provide another witness on the matter, I’ll be happy to look into it. If Daniel is a false teacher, I’m willing to denounce him publicly on InFocus if necessary for the protection of Christ’s sheep. But every experience I’ve had with Daniel has shown him to be a man of courage, integrity, and passion for God. His theology is sound. His character blameless. His faith tried.

    Put up or shut up.

    Reply

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