The majority of Bible Baptist Churches are members of the Baptist Bible Fellowship International (BBFI), which is “a fellowship of pastors, and by extension, a network of preachers, churches, missionaries, and educational institutions worldwide, affiliated for the purpose of church planting and sharing the truth of the Word of God” (from the BBFI website). In short, Bible Baptists emphasize the fact that they believe the Bible, thus the choice of the word Bible in the official name.
The Baptist Bible Fellowship International operates a missionary support and service center and a national church planting office for the enlisting, supporting, and training of church planters. Schools affiliated with the BBFI are Baptist Bible College (Springfield, Missouri) and Boston Baptist College (Boston, Massachusetts). The official magazine of the Bible Baptist Fellowship is the Baptist Bible Tribune.
The BBFI is a fellowship of churches, not a denomination. Essentially, the Baptist Bible Fellowship International is a voluntary association of Baptist churches with common doctrine. These churches support the BBFI, which supports church planting, missions, and education. This sort of arrangement is common among Baptist churches, which are not hierarchical. Voluntary affiliation with Baptist organizations fulfills many of the roles that denominational headquarters would fulfill in denominational churches. For instance, it would be difficult for a single Baptist church to operate a Bible college. However, hundreds of churches supporting the BBFI enable the BBFI to operate two colleges. The same is true of church planting and mission projects.
Such a fellowship is also useful to help people identify a church of similar faith and practice to their own. A member of a Bible Baptist church who is traveling or moving to a new city can locate another Bible Baptist church in that area, knowing that it will be very similar. Churches that choose to voluntarily associate with and support the BBFI may often have “Bible Baptist” in their name, to help identify them as such, but this is not universally true, nor does a church with “Bible Baptist” in its name necessarily belong to the BBFI.
The Baptist Bible Fellowship statement of faith is biblical, evangelical, and fundamentalist. The BBFI places a heavy emphasis on soul-winning and door-to-door visitation. Bible Baptists are often viewed as taking a strident position on certain teachings considered legitimate points of debate within most evangelical churches. Three examples of this are belief in a literal six-day creation, KJV-Onlyism, and the practice of tithing. The BBFI requires tithes to be given only to the local church. Depending on the pastor, a BBFI church may also embrace the aberrant “Baptist bride” theology or Landmarkism.
When a person is looking for a church to attend or join, the church’s affiliation with a fellowship or denomination may be a good place to start. However, the health of each individual church must be evaluated. There may be sound churches that are members of theologically unsound groups and vice versa. As with any church, a believer looking to join a Bible Baptist church should carefully, prayerfully investigate the church’s ministry and teachings.