The Expansion of the New IFB
According to current and former members of Anderson's church in Tempe41 (and please bear with me as this sounds like a soap opera), one of the first to be ordained by Steven Anderson was David Berzins, who started out at Word of Truth, but then started his first “runner” to the Atlanta, Georgia area where he started Stronghold Baptist Church. Next, Anderson ordained Donnie Romero and he sent Romero and a new “runner” to Fort Worth, Texas to start Stedfast Baptist Church of Fort Worth. Then came Jonathan Shelley whom Anderson ordained and sent out on a new “runner” to Houston, Texas where he started Pure Words Baptist Church. In the mean time, Anderson ordained Tyler Baker as a deacon and Garrett Kirchway as an evangelist, and things started to collapse. Anderson's initial plan was to send Tyler Baker out to Jacksonville, Florida to start a church there, and to send Garrett Kirchway to Botswana, Africa to start a church there. When Anderson exploded on Baker (more on that later), and fired him from his position as deacon and kicked him out of the church; He was concerned Baker would head home to Ohio, have his father ordain him, and then move to Florida to start his own church there in Jacksonville. As Anderson could not abide this, he instructed Donnie Romero to send out a “runner” to Jacksonville before Tyler Baker could start his church there. Apparently Anderson wanted to be first. Or something. Out of this grew Stedfast Baptist Church Jacksonville, with Evangelist Adam Fannin preaching and handing the everyday pastoral duties, and Donnie Romero flying in on occasion to preach a sermon or two since he was the actual “pastor” of both Stedfast churches (Forth Worth and Jacksonville).
In the meantime, Garrett Kirchway and Steven Anderson were kicked out of Botswana, Africa due to Anderson's hate filled rhetoric. Anderson himself was deported and Kirchway went into Malawi, Africa to try and start a church there. Anderson got his passport stamped and approved to enter Malawi, however, when the Malawian government realized there mistake, the refused entry to Anderson. Kirchway remained in an attempt to start a church there (Anderson already started a Faithful Word “runner” in South Africa called Morning Star Baptist Church, before he was kicked out of that country as well), but eventually the Malawi church failed. Anderson also ordained Richard Miller and sent him and a “runner” to Nashville, Tennessee where he started Soul Winner Baptist Church. The church failed after three months, and Miller and his family packed up and moved to parts unknown.
Meanwhile, Donnie Romero sent out another “runner,” this time to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma where he started Stedfast Baptist Church OKC, installing “Bro. Bo Ballard” (say that five times real fast!) to run the day to day operations, with “Pastor” Romero paying the occasional visit. He was now the “pastor” of three churches separated by thousands of miles. As all of this was going on with Anderson and his four churches, plus the six churches he initiated (or instigated, take your pick); Roger Jimenez was doing the same thing, and sending out “runners” of his own. Beginning with his Verity Baptist Church in Sacramento, California; Jimenez has spread out to Verity Baptist Church in Vancouver, Washington where he installed Aaron Thompson to mind the store, and then Verity Baptist Church in Manilla, Philippines with “Bro.” Matthew Stucky, and then Verity Baptist Church in Boise, Idaho. In the meantime, Jimenez ordained Aaron Thompson as a pastor, and Thompson changed the name of Verity Baptist Church Vancouver, Washington to Sure Foundation Baptist Church in Vancouver, Washington, and he quickly sent out his first runner to Surrey, British Columbia, Canada where he started a Sure Foundation Baptist Church there.
Then things started to collapse again, when it was discovered that Pastor Donnie Romero (he of the three Stedfast Baptist Churches) had been dallying with prostitutes, gambling, and illegal drugs down in Florida. Resigning in disgrace and being quickly shown the door by his former mentor Steven Anderson; this left three churches without a pastor (although Fannin was already in Jacksonville and Ballard in OKC). Steven Anderson stepped in and took control of the situation. One of his first actions as a self-appointed interim pastor at Stedfast was to fire Adam Fannin while disparaging him of numerous unfounded accusations, not one of which he had any supporting evidence. He then “ordained” Jonathan Shelley (whom he had already ordained as pastor of Pure Words Baptist Church in Houston, Texas) to become the new pastor over all three of the Stedfast churches. Shelley was now pastor over four churches, two in Texas, one in Oklahoma City, and one in Jacksonville, Florida. That is a total of 17 New IFB churches started in full or in part by two men – Anderson and Jimenez.
Left to themselves, these two New IFB founders could conceivably establish New IFB churches in almost every state and a dozen countries should they so choose. But at the end of the day, they did not have to. They simply brought other churches into the New IFB fold. Some already established, some just starting out, and some they would help get started. The plan, of course, is for these churches to begin sending out “runners” of their own, and thus carpet as many of the populated areas of the world as they can. To date they have gotten off to a good start in achieving that goal. In addition to the seventeen churches (including the three failed churches) started by Anderson and Jimenez, there are sixteen additional New IFB churches located in South Dakota, Tennessee, South Carolina, West Virginia, Louisiana, Illinois, Florida, Kansas, Texas, Ohio, two in Australia, and three more in the Philippines. The New IFB is literally growing like a weed.
During all the expansion of Anderson and Jimenez's churches, as well as the expansion of the New IFB movement/network; Anderson's flagship, Faithful Word Baptist Church in Tempe, Arizona, continued to grow. One of the primary factors leading to the growth of his church is, of course, his internet presence coupled with his presence in the news media which attracts like-minded devotees (who would have thought so many could share Anderson's anger and hate?), and his message to his viewers that they just might have to move and relocate to attend a good church (meaning his, of course). And move they have.
It has been reported that as much as 75% of Anderson's congregants have moved into the Tempe area for the express purpose of of attending the church of this “Malicious Moses”. Not surprisingly, or perhaps surprisingly, Anderson is ready for them. One former member who moved his entire family from another state just to attend Anderson's church said that when he arrived he had no place to stay, and no place to work. No problem. Anderson's church had them set up in an apartment building which already housed numerous families who had relocated to be with Anderson. He was handed the keys to his new apartment almost as soon as he arrived in Arizona. A church member handed them to him. Anderson and his church also found him a job, which was already employing numerous men who had relocated themselves and their families just to be with Anderson.42 There are some who would claim that such an outpouring of benevolence and affection from Anderson and his church to people who had moved from other states (some from as far away as Michigan, Alaska, Hawaii, and Florida, and some from other countries) to feed them, clothe them, house them, and find them employment is a tactic known as “love bombing.” It is a tactic employed by various cults to instill a sense of familial dependence on the cult and the cult leader, and thus ensure loyalty, often unhesitating and unquestioning loyalty.43 Much like Anderson's IFB hero Jack Hyles who once asked a junior pastor if he would drink poison if Hyles asked him to, and he replied yes.44
One former member of Anderson's Faithful Word Baptist Church said after he left, he began to reflect upon his time with Steven Anderson and Faithful Word Baptist Church, and he realized that he had, in fact, been part of a cult. He pointed out some practices that in retrospect should have been red flags. With how well they took care of the needs of his family (love bombing) when he arrived in Arizona, however, he failed to notice them.45 The practices related by this individual are as follows:
1. When Anderson removes someone from his church, it is never done quietly as the result of a one-on-one meeting between the person and Steven Anderson, with Anderson attempting to keep the person in the church. Instead it is done in front of the congregation, it is done with Anderson railing at the person from the pulpit at the top of his lungs, spewing vicious invectives and slander at the person, belittling them, humiliating them, shaming them, etc. The purpose of this over-the-top display serves a purpose that for Anderson is more important than simply kicking someone out of the church. It serves to put the others on notice, that they can expect the same shameful and humiliating experience in front of all their friends and family, if they cross Steven Anderson. Those being kicked out will also lose any and all friendships with people still in the church, as they will not be allowed to associate with them under fear of being kicked out themselves. They can lose their apartment, they can lose their job, and it just goes downhill from there. Everyone knows this, everyone understands this. This is why some people, especially those who who have loved ones still enamored with Anderson, feel trapped in the cult.
2. Disagreeing with Steven Anderson is strongly frowned upon. Publicly agreeing with someone who has been kicked out is grounds for being kicked out yourself. Anderson has an inner circle of members who monitor the other members outside of the immediate church environment. They monitor their social media activity (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, etc), they monitor their life in the apartment building where many of them live, and at the company where many of them work. Conversations, both spoken and written (such as on social media) are monitored. Anything that can be even remotely construed as contrary to Steven Anderson's teachings, or disloyal Steven Anderson himself, is reported directly to Steven Anderson. When Neo, the future wife of ordained Faithful Word evangelist Garrett Kirchway (later kicked out himself) agreed with a comment left on YouTube by a former church member, she was immediately warned by a current church member who had been monitoring the conversation. She told the future Mrs. Kirchway to watch what she was saying or it could go bad for Garrett. Coincidentally (or not) when Steven Anderson was kicking Garrett Kirchway and his family out of his church, during what has become a Faithful Word Baptist Church sacrament – the ritual excoriating chastisement given by Anderson from the pulpit, Anderson mentioned that he had been shown a comment made by Neo Kirchway on social media. It was that comment that resulted in Steven Anderson's unbiblical behavior toward Garrett Kirchway and his family.
If Anderson does not approve of a comment made by a church member, the member could be charged with “railing” and/or “backbiting,” general terms which cover a multitude of sins against Steven Anderson, and both are grounds for immediate expulsion from the church, and likely branded a “reprobate,” meaning they are not saved, they are not savable, they have been eternally rejected by God, and they should just go ahead and kill themselves. This is not an exaggeration. Anderson has repeatedly preached to his congregation that reprobates should just go ahead and kill themselves.
3. Everyone, or at least a majority of people attending Steven Anderson's church live in a constant state of fear of everyone else. Members do not truly trust other members, even though they all smile and act friendly toward each other, because they all worry who might be watching, or who might be listening, ready to take a careless word innocently misspoken straight to Steven Anderson which could result in being kicked out of Faithful Word Baptist Church. The former member who was interviewed for this article stated this was the standard mentality of people at Faithful Word Baptist Church. “Pastor Anderson has everybody on edge, feeling like, you know, the nice people are the ones you're going to watch out for.”
As will be noted elsewhere in this article series, this apparently happens at other New IFB churches as well. Former and current members of Stedfast Baptist church in Fort Worth, Texas, pastored by Jonathan Shelley, have reported this same method of controlling the congregation. One reported that people who leave the church are constantly harassed by current members, often showing up in groups near their house to make it known to those who left that they are still being watched. This often happens under the guise of “soul-winning.”46
4. Although members read their Bibles, and no doubt commit to memory passages after continued reading, there is a deliberate effort among the members of Steven Anderson's church to memorize the words that Anderson himself says. Almost as if his words carry the same weight as Scripture.
Steven Anderson has also exhibited some overtly dictatorial behavior at his church. Curiously, he does not answer to anyone in the church. He is accountable to no one. There is no church governance board, no group of elders or deacons to ensure he is handling the word of God and the congregation rightly. In fact, Anderson actually hires his deacons and evangelists as his hourly employees, rather than employing the biblical method of allowing the congregation to choose them.47
Acts 6:1-7 describes the process by which deacons are chosen and appointed. The passage reads, “6 And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration. 2 Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables. 3 Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. 4 But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word. 5 And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch: 6 Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them. 7 And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.”
It was not the bishop or elders (or pastor) who hired the deacon, but rather it is the congregation who chooses the deacons (plural. The number seven is given.). After they are chosen by the congregation, and appointed by the pastor, their job is to serve the congregation. Not serve the pastor, but serve the congregation so the pastor is free to shepherd the congregation. Steven Anderson, for all of his self-proclaimed adherence to the King James Bible, apparently is fairly subjective in his obedience to God's word.
Another example of the dictatorial control Steven Anderson wields over his congregation can be found in one of his anti-Barack Obama sermons. During the sermon he asked for someone to help him remember an insignificant part of a story he was telling. The following exchange between Steven Anderson and a church member by the name of “Trent” took place during that sermon:
Steven Anderson: “Christians don't blaspheme the word of God like that and make fun of it and so on and so forth. You know as well as I do, he doesn't believe the bible, he doesn't believe in creation. He doesn't believe that Jesus is the only way to Heaven. He does not confess these things. The church that he goes to, United Church of Christ, is a church that's filled with Sodomites and freaks and perverts. I mean, they have Sodomites as pastors. Who was it... Did somebody just tell me? Who was that? Trent. Give your testimony, Trent.”
Trent: “Well, at the corner by my house there's one of these United Methodist churches, and on their sign out front it's advertising the church and there's a little banner above it that says, "We stand on the side of love," with two men.”
Steven Anderson: “Yeah, so last time you told that story it wasn't United Methodist, it was United Church of Christ.”
Trent: “Oh, yeah, yeah.”
Steven Anderson: “Yeah, it was United Church of Christ, sorry. Get that story straight.”48
At first glance this exchange seems as trivial as the denomination of the church involved. However, this little bit of audience participation seems to be a bit contrived since he knew and mentioned the United Church of Christ (then pastored by Jeremiah Wright), and he was trying to tie it in to a local UCC church. Trent, however, apparently forgot his line and said United Methodist Church. Anderson's response is interesting. He had to correct the man who lives on the same street as the church in question. It leaves one to wonder if Trent had been coached prior to the sermon, and when he flubs his line, is not only corrected by Anderson, but rebuked by Anderson as well, who tells Trent, “Get that story straight. A bit later in the sermon Anderson seems to be trying to smooth over what was no doubt an awkward glitch in his sermon when he makes an off-handed comment that the United Methodist Church has a “similar sign.” A strange exchange that given his dictatorial manner toward his congregation, tends to support this conclusion.
False Autonomy in the New IFB Movement
In theory the New IFB movevment is made up of independent churches, hence the name, Independent Fundamental Baptist. In theory each New IFB church is completely autonomous, governing itself, with each New IFB church pastor being the sole authority for his particular church. There is no denomination, no national or international governing body. Each New IFB church answers only to Christ and to itself. This was very clearly stated by Steven Anderson in a blog post he wrote for his website, when he wrote, “It's laughable how many comments I’ve seen where people have threatened to get Pastor Jimenez fired for preaching on unpopular passages in the Bible. Independent Baptists are not part of a Baptist denomination such as the Southern Baptist Convention or the American Baptists. We are sent out by other independent Baptist churches, and each church is autonomous. The pastor is the leader of a biblical, New Testament Baptist church.”49
The independence and autonomy of the New IFB church is, however, only a theory, not a reality. In practice, the churches and pastors within the New IFB movement remain in the New IFB only as long as Steven Anderson allows them to be. Once he says you're out, you're out. For example, in summer 2017, Steven Anderson unceremoniously kicked Victor Tey and the Church in Punchbowl of NSW, Australia out of the New IFB movement. If each church is autonomous, then by what authority did Anderson expel Tey and his church? Of course, he had no authority to do so. It should be noted that although Anderson took it upon himself to expel Tey and his church from the New IFB, Victor Tey and the Church in Punchbowl were not actually part of the New IFB movement. They were kicked out of a movement they did not belong to; simply because Steven Anderson wanted to somehow make an example of them, in essence saying, this is what happens when you disagree with my doctrines (Tey held a different view of the Trinity than that of Steven Anderson).
In an interesting exchange of emails between Victor Tey and Steven Anderson, Tey actually points this out to Anderson, saying, “You misrepresent my church as 'trying to portray itself as part of your movement'. There is no evidence of this. You even admit in your video how different we have been from the very beginning since the church's inception. We are not the same name, style, etc. I have never claimed to be part of your movement, nor asked you to endorse me or the church. I am aware of our differences albeit until this current issue, and these have been secondary. I think we both acknowledge that fact, which is why we have not crossed paths like this previously.”50
Anderson's response to Victor Tey confirms he had wrongly attached Church in Punchbowl to his movement, thus demonstrating he had no authority of any kind in taking action against Victor Tey. Anderson replied to Tey writing, “I know you personally haven't tried to portray your church that way, but your members have promoted your church that way. It's obvious that you personally aren't pretending to be a part of our movement and never have. However, your church members and many others around the world seem to see it that way, so I just wanted to make that clear. As far as taking back my words, I will gladly clarify that you personally have never tried to portray your church is being likeminded with FWBC because I've personally never heard you do that. In my video, I never said that you did. I said that your church did.”51
This is typical Anderson deflection: “I never said that you did. I said that your church did.” It would appear that Steven Anderson has a difficult time accepting responsibility for his actions.
Bill MacGregor of Trinity Baptist Church in Toronto, Canada is another example of Anderson's overreach, as he kicked MacGregor and his church out of the New IFB as well. When Gleb Glebov, a pastor under Bill MacGregor formed Blessed Hope Church in Vancouver, BC, Canada; Anderson rejected Pastor Glebov's request to be affiliated with the New IFB, and then had Aaron Thompson, one of Roger Jimenez's pastors, open a new church in the same area claiming there were no actual churches there. When Pastor Glebov was contacted and asked for his thoughts on being kicked out of the New IFB movement by Steven Anderson, Pastor Glebov responded, “Blessed Hope Baptist Church has never been a part of the New IFB, and has always been an independent church. We believe and preach similar doctrines, but we don't identify with Pastor Anderson, nor condone his behaviour.”52
Such behavior on the part of Steven Anderson might cause one to wonder if perhaps Anderson simply has an insatiable need to wield control over people. Pastor Glebov's statement that his church has “always been an independent church” could be an indication that he refused to bring himself and his church under Anderson's authority; and when he refused to do so, Anderson retaliated by rejecting what amounted to a request that was never made, and ejecting a church from his movement that was never a part of his movement.
The situation with Pastor Tyler Doka, while dissimilar from the others mentioned here in that he and his church actually were part of the New IFB, is nonetheless interesting due the why behind his expulsion from the New IFB. Pastor Doka believes the earth is flat rather than spherical. That simple fact was enough to send Anderson racing to his eject button just as fast as he could, insisting he could have no fellowship with Pastor Doka. Since Steven Anderson's decision to ostracize and condemn Pastor Doka, there have been several New IFB people such as Benjamin “Ben the Baptist” Naim, who have made it a point to further criticize, ostracize, and humiliate through YouTube videos, Google hangouts, social media and more. All because Pastor Doka believes the earth is flat.
A careful search of Scripture will reveal that there is not a single explicit passage anywhere stating the earth isn't flat. Furthermore, there isn't a single passage anywhere in Scripture that condemns someone to hell because they believe the earth is flat. This is not to say that the earth is flat or not flat (I personally do not believe it is), but at the end of the day it doesn't really matter. It is not a doctrine that is essential to ones faith or salvation. To severe fellowship with a fellow Christian over something as insignificant as the shape of the earth is to be deliberately and intentionally divisive. To treat them in the manner that Pastor Doka has been treated by the New IFB exposes just how petty and small and mean they are.
When Pastor Doka was asked about the New IFB and his expulsion from the movement by Steven Anderson, Pastor Doka stated, “it is widely accepted and spoken of throughout the movement that yes Pastor Anderson was the start of it [the New IFB], and then churches began to be added to the movement. At first I believe churches were added due to their agreement in doctrine with Faithful Word and other like minded churches, however, it eventually just became if Pastor Anderson says you're in the movement, then you're in the movement. If he says you're out, then you are out.
“There is no independence in the New IFB Movement, what the leader says goes, this can be seen by any outsider by the way the movement reacts to anyone preaching something different than what they believe. They immediately deem them unsaved, and reprobate which means they believe because the New IFB rejected that person, that God himself did as well.”53
Perhaps the most obvious example of Steven Anderson's overreach in the New IFB movement is the Donnie Romero Scandal. By way of a very brief overview since this issue will be addressed elsewhere in this series:
1. On Wednesday night, January 2, 2019, Donnie Romero resigned as pastor of the three Stedfast Baptist Church locations in Ft. Worth, Texas, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and Jacksonville, Florida. Steven Anderson was on hand to field questions after Romero left the pulpit.54
2.On Thursday, January 3, 2019, Steven Anderson took to YouTube to tell everyone exactly why Donnie Romero resigned. Not that it was anyone's business other than those in his church, but apparently Anderson thought he would just tell the world.55
3. On Friday, January 4, 2019, at 12:10pm Eastern Time (11:10am Central Time – Texas time), Steven Anderson fired Adam Fannin via text message. Note the image below is a screen shot of Adam Fannin's cell phone in Jacksonville, Florida noting the date and time Fannin received Anderson's text in Florida.56
4. On Friday, January 4, 2019, a few hours after Anderson fires Adam Fannin, Jonathan Shelley uploads a video to YouTube wherein he states that he has kept Adam Fannin “in the loop” regarding the situation with Donnie Romero (Fannin denies this), and that Fannin was supportive of Shelley taking over (Fannin also denies this). Shelley goes on to claim that now Fannin is not cooperating. Shelley then begins the excoriation of Adam Fannin via YouTube, a practice that will be followed by Shelley, Anderson and other New IFB folks for months.58
5. On Friday, January 4, 2019, from 7pm until just after 10pm Central Time – eight hours after Anderson fired Adam Fannin, and several hours after Shelley's video – Anderson and the men of Stedfast Ft Worth meet to discuss the future of Stedfast, as well as who would be the new pastor.59
6. On Saturday, January 5, 2019, Steven Anderson uploads a video stating that during Friday nights meeting with the men of Stedfast Fort Worth (see #5), the men decided they wanted Jonathan Shelley to be their new pastor. Anderson then goes on to explain “I guess they had a similar meeting over in Jacksonville, Florida and from what I heard, and again I'm getting this second hand because I wasn't there.”60
Let's do a quick review. Romero resigned, Anderson shows up and within sixteen hours fires Adam Fannin in Jacksonville, then eight hours later, that night, Anderson meets with the men in Fort Worth to discuss who the new pastor will be, they decide on Shelley, and Anderson never bothered to ask Jacksonville for their input. Never asked them who they wanted to be their pastor. Okay. Moving on.
6. Anderson states in his video of the morning of Saturday, January 5, 2019, that he will address the issue of Adam Fannin, and he will do so publicly via YouTube videos because, “this is the only way that we have to communicate with the people out there in Florida.” YouTube is the only way. The only way to communicate with people in Florida. Do they not have telephones in Florida? No land lines, no cell phones, no internet connection? Mr. Anderson couldn't just do a conference call with the church? Couldn't just set up a time for the meeting, announce it and allow everyone with Stedfast to have their say? Couldn't Skype or FaceTime? Couldn't do a Google Hangout? Couldn't use Jitsi, ooVoo, or WeChat? Couldn't do a Facebook live video chat? This seems a bit much for even the most gullible of people to believe, and yet this is precisely what Anderson expects people to believe. More importantly, this is exactly what Steven Anderson expects the people of Stedfast and the New IFB to believe.61
Anderson tries to justify not using any of the dozens of available methods that would allow the inclusion of everyone from all three Stedfast churches in on the meeting by saying, “we don't have everyone's phone number, and we're dealing with other things.” His dismissive excuse is just his way of saying to the people of Jacksonville and Oklahoma City, “you don't matter, you don't count, just sit down, shut up and do what I tell you.” Plus, it probably wouldn't play very well if during the decision making process to decide on a new pastor Adam Fannin brought up the fact that he had been fired nine hours previously. By Steven Anderson. Who had no authority to do so. Anderson, however, knew full well he could get away with firing Adam Fannin, he knew full well that he had full authority in an ostensibly autonomous independent church where he was not the pastor. He knew this because he is, after all, Steven L. Anderson; and the New IFB is HIS movement.
There is another aspect of this incident as well, something that Anderson himself brought up in his video dated January 5, 2019. In that video he states that he met with the men of Stedfast Fort Worth to discuss Donnie Romero, the church moving forward, a new pastor, and so forth. This, of course, begs the question “Why weren't the men of Stedfast Fort Worth consulted in the beginning?” As several New IFB people have pointed out, Steven Anderson was there in Fort Worth because he was asked to be there. Not by the church, mind you, and not by the men of her church, the ones who would be making the decisions; but rather he was contacted by Leslye Romero, the wife of Donnie Romero. When his sins were discovered by her she did not contact the men of the church for help, she contacted Steven Anderson, the pastor of a church over one thousand miles away.62 And when she contacted Anderson, he did not explain to her that he did not have any authority over Stedfast because it was not his church and it was its own independent church, and he did not explain to her that she should be talking to the elder men in the church. No, he simply hopped the soonest flight to Fort Worth, and took over as soon as he arrived.
As one former New IFB follower said, “[Steven Anderson has] created a cult-like atmosphere, and that's why [Leslye Romero] knew who she should contact within the movement, and brought him in and all of that. It's a terrible situation, and I think he took advantage of the situation, and this was the perfect opportunity to put in the biggest yes man that he has, and that's Jonathan Shelley.”63
Steven Anderson himself seemed to corroborate this when he related his account of the events. When asked how he, as an independent and autonomous church pastor in Arizona had the authority to fire an ordained member of another church that he is not affiliated with – speaking of Adam Fannin and Stedfast Baptist Church, Anderson claimed that at the point in time, he was “acting as the pastor of Stedfast de facto for those four days...So, I was exercising authority, and so, that's what I was doing. And I was also respecting the wishes of the incoming pastor, who was pastor Shelley….and so that's the decision that I made, and Pastor Shelley was right there with me.” We see here that Anderson is corroborating the fact that Shelley was considered by Anderson to be the new pastor of Stedfast all along, even before the men of Stedfast had even been afforded the opportunity to decide who they wanted for a pastor. Anderson decided for them, choosing another “yes-man” rather than risking Stedfast choosing their own pastor who might possibly resist being under Anderson's thumb.64
When Jonathan Shelley was asked if there were other candidates for the position of pastor over the Stedfast church, if there were other men from whom the church could choose a pastor. He was uncomfortable with the question, and seemed unable to provide a clear answer. When pressed, however, he finally admitted that no, there were no other candidates. Steven Anderson gave the men of Stedfast Fort Worth only one option, and that was Jonathan Shelley. When Shelley was asked about the autonomous nature of New IFB churches, he became “confused,” claiming he did not know what the “New IFB” was, therefore, “that would be a difficult question for me to answer.” Ignoring his obvious evasiveness, the point was pressed and suddenly his memory returned and his mind cleared and he was able to state that Stedfast and Faithful Word and Pure Words Baptist churches are all independent baptist churches” and that “the pastors of those churches are the sole authority over those churches.” When he was also asked if the three Stedfast churches and the Pure Words church were all independent of one another, of, if they were all satellites of a larger church, Shelley blurted out, “No! No! Stedfast Baptist Church is still Stedfast Baptist Church. They're a completely different entity. There's no crossover!” He then paused, and apparently thought about what he had just said. After a few seconds of silence, Shelley continued quietly, “Except for the fact that I'm technically the pastor of both.”65
Jonathan Shelley's comments serve to confirm what is really already known about the New IFB. First, there is no independence, no autonomy within the movement. All New IFB churches bend the knee to Steven Anderson, capitulating to his authority over them; and second, Steven Anderson is not just the founder of the New IFB, but he is the undisputed leader of the movement.
The Actual Leader of the New IFB
Steven Anderson is the undisputed and solitary leader of Faithful Word Baptist Church, the New IFB flagship church in Tempe, Arizona which Anderson founded in 2005. The church has no elder board, no governing board, nor anything at all like it. Anderson answers to no one. He has no accountability of any kind, not even within the New IFB movement overall. This is not something one would be likely to hear Anderson preaching about in his church, nor even talking about in front of his congregation – and make no mistake, it is his congregation.
To be sure, Anderson does tell his congregation that they are the church, that they are Faithful Word Baptist Church. He even goes so far to tell them that he is not Faithful Word Baptist Church but rather the whole church, as a body, is Faithful Word Baptist Church.66
However, when he tells his congregation this, he is not being completely truthful in what he is telling them. You see, Faithful Word Baptist Church is a corporation, a non-profit, tax-exempt corporation, that is how Anderson set the church up back in 2005. Not that this is bad, because it isn't. Many churches are set up as corporations. It's no big deal. It doesn't matter. What does matter, however, is how he set the corporation up. According to the Articles of Incorporation filed by Steven L. Anderson when he established the Faithful Word Baptist Church Corporation, he made himself the President of the corporation/church. He also made himself the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the corporation/church; and, he also made himself the sole member of the Board of Directors of the corporation/church.67 With the authority he has given himself, Steven Anderson is the sole authority in Faithful Word Baptist Church, and the only person authorized to make any and all decisions regarding Faithful Word Baptist Church. This includes how much the pastor is to be paid, how the funds coming into the church (approx $120,000 per month68) will be dispersed, what charitable works (if any)
Faithful Word Baptist Church will engage in, what hymnals to use, what doctrines will be taught by himself or others, etc. Faithful Word Baptist Church cannot discipline, censure, or fire Steven Anderson without first getting his permission. Steven Anderson has sole authority and sole authorization regarding every single aspect of Faithful Word Baptist Church. In short, Steven Anderson is Faithful Word Baptist Church, regardless of what he tells his congregation. Anderson further ensures his monocratic role over Faithful Word Baptist Church by adopting an unbiblical method of church governance.
As many people are aware, there are two basic offices within the Church: elder and deacon. Often there will be a head elder, also known as a bishop or overseer, who acts as the pastor of the church. The other elders might also preach from time to time, however, their primary role is to shepherd the local flock, protecting it, nurturing it spiritually, etc. The deacon is assigned to serve the flock, to ensure its needs are being met. We see these offices in Acts 6, 1 Timothy 3, and Titus 1. Initially, it was the Apostles who appointed elders to the various churches, often several to each church. It was the elders in a local church who were responsible for governing their local church. While there is no clear biblical example of how elders were selected after the period of the Apostles, in many churches it has been the congregation who selected and elected their elders. With regard to deacons, in Acts 6 we see that it is the congregation who is responsible for selecting and appointing deacons. Steven Anderson, however, eschews the biblical model, and prefers to select his own deacons, and then hire them as his employees.
Anderson has ensured that he is accountable to absolutely no one, and as such, he is given free reign to ignore Scripture whenever it doesn't agree with him. An example of this was Anderson's expulsion of former member Kris Byrne and his family. According to Scripture the purpose of discipline is to restore an offending brother or sister to a right relationship with God and the Body of Christ; and there are steps to be taken which are set forth in Scripture. The first step is to go to your brother and tell him how he has offended. If he does not repent of his sin, then take two or three with you to speak to him and attempt to get him to repent. If after this he still doesn't repent, then the situation is to be taken before the church. This is all very clearly set forth in Matthew 18:15-17. If after all of this the individual continues to refuse chastisement and exhortation, and continues to refuse to repent, then, and only then, is he to be put out of the church according to Matthew 18:17 and 1 Corinthians 5:1-13, specifically verses 11-13, which state “But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolator, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.”
Although Scripture is very clear on this, Steven Anderson apparently feels he is above Scripture, and allowed to do whatever he wants. When he ejected Kris Byrne and his family it was not for fornication, nor covetousness, nor idolatry, nor railing, nor being a drunkard or extortioner. It was because Mr. Byrne had text conversations with two friends, without Anderson's permission. Anderson addressed the congregation while pointing at Kris Byrne, saying, “Right here, has texted people without coming to me!” A careful examination of Scripture will reveal there is no biblical command to consult with leader in the church before having a conversation with friends. For this imaginary infraction, Anderson decided to completely ignore God's standard for church discipline, and impose Steven Anderson's version instead.
As he began to work himself up into a full blown tirade, Anderson began by leveling false accusations against Mr. Byrne, accusing him of seeking out church members who had defended Anderson and rebuking them; sowing lies about Anderson; and trying to split the church. Of course, none of these accusations were true, but adhering to the truth was not apparently important to Anderson. Anderson then launched into Mr. Byrne with both barrels, calling him a “coward,” a “railer,” a “Judas Iscariot” (apparently Anderson likens himself to Jesus), and using homosexual slurs to refer to Mr. Byrne's friends. Anderson then orders Mr. Byrne and his family out of the church. “I want you to get up and get out of this church right now!….Get out of here idiot!….Pick him up and take him out if he won't leave!….Take him out, hey, get out of here!….Pick him up and get him out of here!” And remember, Anderson did all of this in front of the congregation, and in front of Kris Byrne's small children. Another church member recorded the event and posted it to YouTube for posterity, believing he was showing the world how solid his pastor is. What he ended up doing, however, was showing the world how unhinged his pastor can become.
Once the Byrne family had left the church building, Anderson then turned his attention to his congregation. The cell phone videographer continued to record Anderson's antics. Apparently it was not enough to kick the Byrne family out of the church, as Anderson then proceeded to turn the congregation against him as well. Anderson shouted lie after lie, ranting and railing that Kris Byrne had insulted everyone in the congregation, going so far as to falsely claim that Mr. Byrne specifically stated “everyone” in his alleged verbal assaults against Anderson and his church. Anderson claimed he had seen the cell phone text messages with his “own eyes” (if he actually did, he was misrepresenting them. They are available for examination to any who wish to read them), and he told the congregation Mr. Byrne had admitted to Anderson that he had done all the things Anderson had accused him of. In reality, Mr. Byrne admitted no such thing, and was never afforded the opportunity to either admit or deny any of it. Anderson then claimed Mr. Byrne had an insincere heart and was someone who wanted to “go around stabbing people in the back.” His impassioned speech to his congregation had the effect that Anderson desired, and it wasn't long before more and more members in the congregation could be heard shouting their own invectives against the Byrne family. Anderson had successfully managed to infect his congregation with his own personal hatred of Kris Byrne and his family.69
By maintaining this form of church leadership and church governance, Steven Anderson ensures a total monocratic role over his church; and as the founder of the New IFB movement, Anderson employs the same monocratic mindset over the other New IFB pastors and churches. This is seen repeatedly throughout the New IFB. Steven Anderson's immediate involvement in the Donnie Romero scandal and the subsequent firing of Adam Fannin, when Anderson technically had no authority in either of those situations, demonstrates the capitulative deference the other New IFB pastors and churches extend to Anderson.
This can be further seen when looking at the New IFB website events page. Here the various New IFB events occurring between February 21 – August 24, 2019 can be seen. Of the nineteen events listed, more than half of them are dates where Steven Anderson is preaching at a New IFB church other than his own. This is significant since the various New IFB pastors regularly preach at one anothers churches. The exclusion of their names on this events list, while emphasizing Anderson, demonstrates the importance of Steven Anderson to the New IFB.70
Nor is Anderson shy about asserting his authority over other New IFB pastors. Steven Anderson's former deacon related an incident involving New IFB pastor Manly Perry of Old Path's Baptist Church in San Antonio, Texas: “Manly [Perry] explained how Steven Anderson called him and told him that he [Perry] was wrong about what he believes about the Trinity, and he [Anderson] explained to him his new view, because there's no doubt Steven Anderson viewed things differently. But he called him and got him [Perry] to change his position over the phone in about an hour. That just shows the power [Anderson] wields over these other men. What's dangerous is these churches are growing, and what you have is you have one man that has the power over all of these other pastors, who are pastoring churches of, some of them hundreds of people. The possibilities could be serious for sure, with the power that's there.”71
One of the results of Anderson's role as the founder and undisputed leader of the New IFB movement, is that through his meddling in the affairs of the other New IFB churches, he has caused the movement to move away from its stated independent and autonomous nature. If the movement remains on course, it will potentially morph into one single church – a home church, and all other New IFB churches will be nothing more than satellites of the home church. In examining the various pastors and churches of the New IFB, these pastors are seemingly emulating Anderson, and are apparently quite comfortable with the lack of autonomy and independence. In their zeal to be more Anderson-like (as opposed to being more Christ-like) the New IFB pastors have apparently started to model themselves after Steven Anderson. Apparently, the saying is true, “as goes the Anderson, so goes the New IFB.”
Even a cursory comparison of the various New IFB churches will reveal they all have pretty much the same doctrinal statement; many of them have a personalized version of the same “Bible Way to Heaven” video on their YouTube channel; many of them have adopted Anderson's practice of setting up church in a strip mall or shopping center; and many of them have adopted Steven Anderson's look – short, short hair, and a scruffy beard. It's like having a herd of Ander-Clones running around!
When Anderson becomes upset with someone, you can be sure the rest will hate them too. When Anderson makes and posts a negative video about someone on YouTube, before long there will be numerous New IFB church video tapes flooding the internet, all railing against whomever Anderson has a beef with. When Anderson turned his sights on Adam Fannin, and began producing anti-Fannin videos, the rest of the New IFB pastors began stepping all over themselves to do likewise. The same thing happened when Anderson began making anti-Tyler Baker videos, and anti-Sam Gipp videos. Steven Anderson clone Jeff Utzler even began producing what he calls “documentaries” about these people (although they are little more than false slanderous accusations and poorly edited video). When Anderson produced a series of anti-Calvinism videos, New IFB pastor Joe Major claimed to be producing a “documentary” on the subject, and Brother Matthew Stucky was soon creating his own anti-Calvinism videos as well. It is an amazing phenomenon to witness, similar to lemmings running headlong off a cliff while playing follow the leader. Dozens of seemingly rational adults simply cast all rationale to the four winds as they go out of their way to be just like their leader, Steven Anderson.
The loyalty of his movement is important to Anderson as he moves closer to achieving his stated goal, which is to have his New IFB movement replace the traditional IFB, with Anderson apparently coming out on top as the new Jack Hyles.
The Goal of the New IFB
One would think the goal of a church would be to worship God, learn God's word, equip Christians to live their faith in God, and spread the gospel; and with regard to at least most Christian churches this would be true. But not for the New IFB, at least according to its founder, Steven Anderson. Anderson has publicly stated that the goal of the New IFB is to take over and replace the Old IFB, and the practices and statements of several New IFB pastors and members seem to support Anderson's goal.
As recently as December 1, 2019, Steven Anderson uploaded (or authorized to be uploaded) a video to his YouTube channel titled, “Used to be 'New IFB'”. In this video Anderson lays out for his congregation (and the rest of the IFB via this video) his goals for the New IFB movement that he founded in 2005. He says, “Now one of the things I've been attacked for by our Independent Fundamental Baptist brethren who are a little nervous about people like us and our friends, they said this, and I've heard this many times, 'He's trying to change what it means to be a fundamental baptist.' A lot of people have said, you know,'Pastor Steven Anderson is very dangerous, he's trying to change what it means to be a fundamental baptist.' Let me tell you something, that is exactly what I'm trying to do. You see, my goal is that someday when people hear the term fundamental baptist they're gonna think of us. They're gonna think of churches like Faith Word, Stedfast, Verity, Old Path, they're gonna think of churches like us, and we are gonna change what it means to be a fundamental baptist.
“And you know, a lot of times we're called the New IFB and we call other IFB churches – IFB stands for Independent Fundamental Baptist, we call them the Old IFB. But you what, eventually we're gonna stop calling ourselves the New IFB, because eventually the newness is gonna wear off, amen? So we can't call ourselves the New IFB forever. Eventually you know what we're gonna be called? 'Cause a lot of people are like, 'What are ya gonna call yourselves?' ya know? Ya know what we're gonna call ourselves? Independent Fundamental Baptists. Because we're gonna change what it means, yep! Your fears..oh, be very afraid! Be very afraid because we are changing what it means to be an Independent Fundamental Baptist, because while the rest of the Independent Fundamental Baptists are afraid to put their sermons out on YouTube, they're afraid to preach from the housetops, they're afraid to get arrested, they're afraid to preach hard and get in the news, and get in the face of this world and point our finger and say, thus saith the Lord. Look, they're afraid of that they're going to become irrelevant. You know that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away, and pretty soon, we're just gonna be the IFB. There's gonna be hundreds of us, that's what I believe is gonna happen. There's gonna be hundreds of churches like ours, and their churches will be forgotten.”72
According to an article on the Christian Post website, there are more than 300,000 Christian churches in America.73 Of these, more than 10,000 of them are Independent Fundamental Baptist churches.74 Clearly, Steven Anderson and his group will have their work cut out for them to reach his goal of doing away with all of the Old IFB churches and pastors. They are not, however, remaining idle in this, as they are currently actively working against the Old IFB. One method they have begun to use is to plant a New IFB church in the same vicinity as Old IFB church plants, announcing their New IFB church plant is needed in the area because there are no Bible-believing Christian churches in the area, thus painting the Old IFB church plant in that same area as not believing in the Bible and not Christian. This was the tactic used by New IFB pastor Aaron Thompson of Sure Foundations Baptist Church, when he opened a church plant in Vancouver, BC, in the same vicinity as Blessed Hope Baptist Church, an Old IFB church plant pastored by Gleb Glebov. Blessed Hope opened its doors in July/August 2018. The very next month, on September 16, 2018, Aaron Thompson announced his church would be opening a satellite New IFB church in the same area. His reason? Because people there asked him to please start a church there because there was no Independent Fundamental Baptist church for them to attend.75 Except that there was. Is Thompson lying? We don't know, nor should we speculate. However, there is no reason Thompson could not have looked at the area, and upon discovering Blessed Hope Baptist Church, recommended that (Old) IFB church to those seeking an IFB church. But he did not. In keeping with Steven Anderson's goals, Thompson decided to start a New IFB church in the same city.
Other methods include intimidation and harassment. Old IFB preacher Sam Gipp seems to be a favorite target of the New IFB pastors and members. In fact, Steven Anderson seems to be obsessed with Gipp for some unknown reason, although Anderson claims it is Dr. Gipp who is obsessed with him.76 However, a simple look through the various YouTube videos for both men soon shows that Dr. Gipp has made a total of two videos regarding Steven Anderson, as contrasted with the 32 videos Anderson has uploaded to his YouTube channel, that directly attack Dr. Gipp.
Anderson and the New IFB go much farther than simply posting YouTube videos in their harassment and intimidation of Dr. Gipp. For some time Dr. Gipp has claimed that Steven Anderson was having at least one individual telephone the various churches Dr. Gipp was scheduled to speak at, and make disparaging and slanderous comments about Dr. Gipp to the pastors of those churches, in an attempt to convince those pastors to cancel Dr. Gipp's speaking engagements.77 As noted elsewhere, Steven Anderson has posted some thirty-plus anti-Sam Gipp videos to his personal YouTube channel – videos that disparage and slander Dr. Gipp. Is it too much to think that Anderson would stoop so low as to have his employees actually call around and personally slander and disparage Gipp to other pastors?
We no longer need to ponder this question. A former employee of Steven Anderson, a deacon of his church, in fact, has come forward and admitted that he did make those telephone calls, that he did make slanderous and disparaging comments about Dr. Gipp to those host pastors, and that he did these things under the direction of Steven Anderson who ordered him to make those calls.78 The question we must now ask ourselves, is are these the actions of a Christ-like man of God?
Dr. Gipp has also noted that New IFB people will attend an Old IFB church service, and then disrupt that service by handing out Steven Anderson DVDs and fliers to attend a New IFB church, all in an attempt to draw people away from the Old IFB churches. Dr. Gipp has revealed that other Old IFB pastors have experienced this as well.79 When Dr. Gipp witnessed a young man enter his church and begin to disrupt the service by handing out Steven Anderson material, he soon fell victim to New IFB intimidation tactics, when eight cars pulled up on the edge of his lawn, and sixteen men unloaded from those vehicles and descended on Dr. Gipp's home.
Now, bear in mind that Dr. Gipp lives with his wife, both are in their 70's. Their home sits on a parcel of land owned by his church, which also sits on that same parcel of land, several yards away from the Gipp home. There are no other homes on that block. None. Since Dr. Gipp was not at home at the time, and Mrs. Gipp was alone, the church caretaker became concerned to see eight strange vehicles and sixteen strangers all descending on the Gipp home. So he decided to investigate. When he approached the Gipp home, the men had crowded onto Dr. Gipp's front porch. One was knocking on the front door, while another stood poised with a video camera at the ready. When the caretaker called out and asked them what they wanted, they all came over and surrounded the caretaker, cutting off any avenue of escape. The caretaker stood his ground, and eventually the men left, but not before leaving fliers on the front porch of Dr. Gipp's home. Fliers that identified them as belonging to Verity Baptist Church in Boise, Idaho. Roger Jimenez, the close friend of Steven Anderson, is the pastor of Verity church in Boise.80
According to New IFB pastor Patrick Boyle, the Old IFB feels threatened by the New IFB because of the New IFB's theological positions as well. In an interview with another New IFB celebrity YouTuber, Benjamin “Ben the Baptist” Naim, Boyle claims the Old IFB becomes so upset by the New IFB eschatalogical teachings because they are “under conviction” by God, because they will not compromise on these doctrines and admit they are wrong and the New IFB holds the proper and biblically correct position. Boyle goes on to say the Old IFB is unable to refute New IFB doctrine, and so they feel insecure and under conviction from God, they are unable to deal with this and so feel threatened by the New IFB.83
This sort of over confident braggadocio is mirrored by Steven Anderson who claims the New IFB is the “only game in town”,84 and it seems to be very common among the New IFB pastors and their congregants, and results in all sorts of attacks by the New IFB against the Old IFB.
When one peruses Steven Anderson's personal YouTube channel, as well as the YouTube channels and blogs of other New IFB folks, one soon discovers a plethora of anti-Old IFB videos, with Anderson and others slandering and disparaging the Old IFB and Old IFB pastors and churches. These are all tactics employed by Anderson and his New IFB in their attempt to harass and intimidate the Old IFB out of existence, this leaving a void that Anderson intends to fill, apparently becoming the new Jack Hyles. As he has stated, he does enjoy the power he wields over people and his ability to influence (read manipulate) them.85
At this point, the reader has to ask him or herself, is the New IFB really behaving like biblical Christians? Of course, the only way to tell is to compare this behavior to Scripture. What does God say regarding the treatment of Christians – in this case the Old IFB, by other Christians – in this case the New IFB?
“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:32)
“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” (John 13:34-35)
“This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.” (John 15:12)
“Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits. Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” (Romans 12:9-18) [emphasis added].
And to these could be added innumerable other passages such as 1 Timothy 5:1-2; 1 Peter 2:17; Philippians 2:3; 1 Corinthians 13:4-13; Hebrews 10:24; Galatians 5:14; Luke 6:35-36; Ephesians 4:2; 1 Corinthians 16:14; 1 Peter 3:8; 1 John 3:11; Ephesians 4:29; 1 Thessalonians 5:11; and the list could easily go on and on.
God has made it very, very clear that Christians are to love one another. Not simply have warm and fuzzy feelings about each other, but to love one another in the same way that God has love us! That means we are to forgive our Christian brethren for any and all sins they commit against us, just as God has forgiven Christians for their innumerable sins which they committed against God. It also means that Christians are to sacrifice for one another. That does not mean Christians are to run down and offer up a slaughtered cow for their brother or sister's sake. But rather, just as Christ gave up His life for each and every Christian, each and every Christian should be ready and willing to give up their life for their brethren – as well as ready and willing to give up anything they have in their possession for their brethren if doing so would relieve their suffering and need.
Take another look at Romans 12:9-18. A close look. Our love for our Christian brethren is to be “without dissimulation.” It is to be sincere and genuine. We are to be “kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love.” We are to be of such a mind that whatever we do for (not to, but for) our brethren is done willingly and joyfully, with all gladness. We are to distribute to the “necessity of the saints.” If our Christian brother or sister has need of anything, and it is within our ability and means to provide it, we should not only do so, but do so willingly and joyfully, without grumbling or complaining; and we are to “be of the same mind one toward another” doing all we can to “live peaceably with all men.”
Now compare these traits to what you have just read of Steven Anderson and the New IFB. He wants to eliminate all Old IFB churches and pastors, and replace them with his New IFB churches and pastors. He wants them gone and forgotten. Does this demonstrate a biblical love for Christian brethren that is “without dissimulation”? Ordering a deacon to call around and attempt to disrupt and disparage a fellow Christian pastor. Does this demonstrate being “kindly affectioned to one another with brotherly love”? Disrupting the services of Old IFB churches; harassing Old IFB pastors by sending car loads of New IFB people to intimidate them at their home, or making prank telephone calls to them, or uploading video after video after video to social media disparaging Old IFB pastors, does this demonstrate loving Christian brethren in the same way that Christ loved us?
Do we see any redeeming, biblical, grace-filled, Christ-like behavior or attitude in Steven Anderson and the New IFB in his/their behavior toward the Old IFB; or do we see the exact opposite? In comparing the actions and words of the New IFB with truths of Scripture, do we see biblical Christianity, or do we see signs of a pseudo-Christian cult? Now, don't answer this question just yet, as it will be asked several times during the course of this series, and you may find yourself changing your mind from one view to another. So wait until you read the entire article series, and have all the evidence necessary to give an informed answer to this question. You may be surprised by your answer!
Links for Series Articles Posted Thus Far:
Steven Anderson and the New IFB Movement -- Update #1