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The Independent Fundamental Baptists are a conservative movement that began in the late 19th to early 20th century, at a time when many Baptist denominations were moving away from the ideals of biblical inerrancy and other conservative beliefs.

In response, several local congregations left the larger Baptist denominations to become independent churches. Given their emphasis on the fundamentals of Baptist faith, they became known as fundamentalists. Many of the churches in this classification will refer to themselves as independent, fundamental, Bible-believing, or KJV-only, as the majority of them believe that the King James Version of the Bible is the best translation.

Many of the Fundamental Baptist churches claim to trace their origins to the New Testament Church, pointing to a succession of groups that have carried the Baptist tradition, such as the Messalians, Montanists, Novationists, Donatists, Paulicians, Waldenses, Albigenses, Lyonists, Arnoldites, Anabaptists, and Mennonites.

Fundamental Baptists believe in strict separation from the world, and most will not fellowship with churches outside of the movement.

Fundamental Baptists hold to a literal interpretation of the Bible, understanding Scripture on the basis of a historical-grammatical context, but when a literal interpretation makes sense, then that is the understanding they will take from it.

Most Independent Fundamental Baptist congregations are conservative in their dress. Women will wear dresses that come below the knees, and men wear collared shirts.

Traditional hymns are used during the worship service, and they reject the use of drums or guitars.

Independent Fundamental Baptist churches believe that the New Testament is the authority in matters of faith and practice. They do not look to creeds, confessions, or church councils for doctrine.

The church is made up of saved, baptized believers. Members must first exhibit a trust and faith in Jesus, and be baptized by immersion. Infant baptism and sprinkling are rejected. Some Independent Baptist churches will not accept baptisms from any other church, requiring those who were baptized in another church to be rebaptized in order to transfer membership.

Independent Fundamental Baptists believe that no one has authority over the church except Jesus, rejecting all governmental authority over the church.

Local churches are autonomous, and not subject to civil authorities or denominational conventions. Each church is self-governing.

Fundamental Baptist churches believe that each individual believer has the ability to interact with God without mediation. Neither a priest nor a pastor is required in order to connect with God.

Many Independent Baptist churches adhere to a church government method of congregationalism, in which each member has one vote on all matters relating to the church. Even where the pastor is the leader of the church, decisions are made by a vote of the congregation.

While some of the Independent Fundamental Baptist churches are wholly independent, others have organized into fellowships and associations, such as Foundations Baptist Fellowship International, IFCA International, Independent Baptist Fellowship International, Nationwide Independent Baptist Fellowship, Southwide Baptist Fellowship, Southwide Independent Baptist Fellowship, and the World Baptist Fellowship.

Beginning in the 1990s, the Southwide Baptist Fellowship has been loosening its requirements on dress and behavior, as well as its insistance on the use of the King James Version of the Bible, although most of its congregations remain KJV-only.

Independent Baptist churches that fall within the parameters outlined above are appropriate for this category, and may include fellowships and associations not mentioned here. However, websites representing local congregations should be listed in the appropriate Local & Global category unless they include substantive information about the beliefs and practices of the church body.



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