From Hyles to Hitchens: My Journey Out of the IFB (Part 1)

I want to take you on a journey. A journey from my fundamentalist childhood to my free thinking adulthood.

I am going to write this in several parts. I want you to get an understanding of my background. I want you to know my mindset. I know there will be some who will think they know more about my story than I.  I want it to be on record for all to see.  You may disagree with my conclusions, but I assure you of my honesty in recounting the journey.  With that being said, let’s begin!

My mom has attended a Baptist church her entire life. She was the church pianist and rarely missed a service. My dad was a quiet man. When asked about God, heaven, or the afterlife, he would say that he didn’t think about it. He rarely attended church.  They were opposites in every regard.  It seems they learned to make it work despite their differences.

My mother took me to church three times a week. We attended her childhood church until I was about 5 years of age. Then we left that church. We spent a short time out of church.

My grandparents had moved in to a house directly across the street from a church.  It wasn’t the old brick building which drew your attention to it, but the large old school buses parked on the side!  It was not long before the church’s pastor had visited my mother and invited her to church.  She accepted the invitation.

The church was small (averaging about 50-75), but vibrant. There was a strong emphasis on youth. The church was notorious for running buses and bringing children to church. Everything seemed great.  After a short time, my mother joined the church and we started attending regularly.

This was a Jack Hyles and First Baptist Church of Hammond, IN copy-cat church. There was a strong emphasis on soul-winning.  It was a part of the Independent Fundamental Baptist (IFB) church movement.

This church would have a huge impact on my life.

**For a great look at Jack Hyles from another former IFB preacher check out Bruce Gerencser’s The Legacy of Jack Hyles