This is a true contemporary story of how the Bible can be twisted by man to comply with his own sinful agenda. Repeated down through the ages, outliers of good Biblical Christian theology can and have reinterpreted Scripture to support destructive human behavior. Examples include the Crusades, slavery, and a host of other atrocities, all in the name of God and the heretical application of His Word. Like Wack-A-Mole, as Christians reject past abuse of our doctrine, there surface new sub-groups of marginalized “Christians” whose views are abhorrent, inflammatory, and destructive to a Biblical Christian worldview. One example calls themselves the New Independent Fundamental Baptist Movement or New IFB.
The New IFB was formed in 2017 by Steven Anderson, in response to what he saw as a growing liberalism among other independent Baptist churches in America. In 2019, the New IFB split after it was revealed that one of its founding church pastors had hired prostitutes. Currently, the New IFB is a loose confederation of approximately 30 churches, 22 of which are located in 16 US states. Anderson continues to play a strong role in the administration and theology of the group from his church, Faithful Word Baptist, located in Tempe, AZ. Another controversial New IFB church, Stedfast Baptist Church, located in Watauga, TX is staffed by pastor Jonathan Shelley.
Core Beliefs of the New IFB
The pastors of the New Independent Fundamental Baptist Movement have differing theologies on many issues, however, the following represent their agreed-upon core beliefs.
- Salvation by faith alone.
- Once saved always saved.
- KJV-only Scripture
- The reality of the Trinity
- A Biblical mandate for Evangelism of the lost.
- The Bible as the inerrant Word of God.
Reviewing the Doctrinal Statement for Faithful Word Baptist and its handouts for evangelism, they may seem extreme for many outside of the church, but are in line with the theology of most Independent Bible-believing fellowships, perhaps with the exception of KJV-only and their overly aggressive calling out of specific behaviors.
To some degree, it is not what they oppose which is controversial. It is the way they express their opposition that is so onerous.
What the New IFB Rejects
The movement opposes the following:
- Liberalism in all its forms, which includes woke culture, ESG and CRT.
Of course, many Biblical Christian denominations and independent churches are opposed to much of what liberalism stands for as well as abortions and homosexual behavior. What is sadly unique about the New Independent Fundamental Baptist Movement is the veracity and rhetoric they employ in their opposition.
What Have New IFB Pastors Been Quoted as Saying
“Pastors call for [the] government to execute abortion doctors.” – ADL
- Pastor Jimenez – “these Planned Parenthood abortion doctors deserve to be taken out by a righteous government and put to death”
- Pastor Graber – “abortion doctors today… every single one of them should be retroactively punished and put to death for their wicked, horrible sins”
- Bro Matthews – “abortionists… ought to be put to death”
- Pastor Mejia – “God’s word says that the people who own these abortion clinics should be put to death,”
- Pastor Thompson – “if you put your child to death, it should be the death penalty.”
- Deacon Ressi – “there’s only one way to atone for the shedding of innocent blood, and that’s through the death penalty.”
- “An Oklahoma Baptist preacher [is] angry the U.S. government isn’t “executing” LGBTQ people and angry hate crime laws are, he claims, prohibiting “violent attitudes toward the f****ts and sodomites,” is also suggesting he is acting like Jesus Christ by name calling.”
- Brother Alvarez – “If they would actually commit executions on the pedophile, executions on the f****ts, on the sodomites. If they had executed, executed, you know, and adulterers are committing adultery with another man’s wife then, then, we wouldn’t have to call them out.”
- Pastor Awes – ““What does God say is the answer, is the solution, for the homosexual in 2022, here in the New Testament, here in the Book of Romans?” Awes asked, as reported by OnlySky’s Hemant Mehta. “That they are worthy of death! These people should be put to death!”
The Jews of Today are imposters, thereby promoting antisemitism – ADL Key Points
- “They often claim that Jews today worship Satan and that the Star of David represents the Devil.”
- “New IFB pastors also promote antisemitic tropes about Jewish power and control over sectors like finance, news media and entertainment.”
- “New IFB pastors have also promoted Holocaust denial. In 2015, Pastor Steven Anderson presented a number of false claims in a video specifically addressing the so-called “Holocaust hoax.”
- “Anderson also asserted that Holocaust survivors who recall Jews being burned in crematoria are “paid liars” and that Jews lied about the Holocaust to justify creating the State of Israel.
- ”Pastor Thompson – “I don’t believe that [six million Jews died] for one second. If you believe in the whole Holocaust thing, whatever, but you know I’ve studied it and I just don’t think the math adds up.
- ”Pastor Fannin – “There is a group that claims to be Jewish today. They’re of the Devil. They’re literally of Satan. They are doing the Devil’s work.”
- Pastor Jimenez – “Synagogue of Satan, of course, that’s a reference to the antichrist religion of Judaism and the Jews today.”
What do the Scriptures Say
- Abortion – In my view, God, through the Bible makes clear that abortion is not His ideal, as life begins at conception (Jer. 1:5, Psa. 139:13). However, we live in a sin-cursed world where dogmatic statements such as this are divisive and do not promote evangelism, the primary goal of Christians (Mat. 29:19-20). As a person, much less a pastor or elder promoting more killing (of those involved in abortion), this thinking is far out of bounds from the love and grace God offers all mankind (1 Cor. 13). It is indefensible.
- Homosexuality – I believe the Bible rejects these physical relationships (1 Cor. 6:9, 1 Tim. 1:10). However, I also believe in the clarity of Romans 3:23 when God says that, “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”. No one is without the stain of daily sins (Mark 7:20-23) and the need for forgiveness (Rom. 7:24, 10:9).
- Antisemitism – The Jews are God’s firstborn, His chosen people (Deut. 14:2). The ancestry and original supporters of Christ were Jews (Rom. 9:3-5). The Bible goes so far as to clearly say our very salvation comes from the Jews (John 4:22). Scripture warns us that we need to be careful picking whom we oppose, in that we might be fighting against God (Acts 5:38-39). Finally, the Lord is by no means finished with Israel (Rom. 11:26) as the End-Times play themselves out.
Don’t Miss the Point on Sin and Forgiveness
The point with homosexuality, abortion, and numerous other sins is that we all, every one of us, sin constantly (Mark 7:20-23). And yet, based on our individualized understandings of Scripture, we continually ask for forgiveness and the strength to resist. In the end, those who confess Christ as Lord and Savior, acknowledging that He has risen from the dead (Rom. 10:9) and that salvation comes from grace alone, through faith in Christ alone (Eph. 2:8-9), will find forgiveness of their sins (those sins they understand, acknowledge and repent of, and those actions and behaviors the Lord has chosen to not yet convict them of). What follows for all is eternity in Heaven.
Further, hate speech only promotes more hate speech. Violence promotes violence. We need to show the love and grace of our Savior to a lost and dying world (Luke 10:27).
The Threat from Groups Like the New IFB
Biblical Christians are being challenged on many fronts. Some believe, as has always been the case, that our theology is indefensible and should be rejected, outright. Others see Christian Pro-Life and other efforts at establishing moral standards as trying to take over control of the country (Christofascist Dominionist Theocracy). Further, most polls see the influence of Christians in general waning as evidenced by reduced church attendance, weakening of core theology, and general liberalism and deconstructionism.
When groups like the New IFB are linked to the general population of Christians, they are used as a battering ram against those weak in their theology who are unwilling to defend their Biblical worldview and prefer to hide their faith while they back away from its foundational principles, documented in Scripture. Many desire to be inclusive within the general population, which, as it drifts further and further from traditional morality, becomes more difficult for Christians to maintain a Biblical worldview while complying with a cultural moving target.
Biblical Christian Response to the Vitriol Surrounding Groups Like New IFB
So, what are we to do when confronted with those who wish to call us homophobes, or women-haters, antisemites, or just plain stupid for a belief in the supernatural? My response is no different than you already know….
Recognize reality – We clearly know that in the End-Times Christians are going to be increasingly persecuted, hearts will grow cold, and itching ears will want to attach themselves to false doctrine. To be surprised or caught off guard is to forget how the disciples all died, facing the reality that the name of Jesus both draws some to the cross and others to anger.
Draw close to God – The outcome of increasing persecution provides a watershed point of deciding if you are for Jesus and God’s Word, or against it (Matt. 12:30). Just as each of us has to make that decision for eternity, more and more we will be forced to confess or reject the truth with our mouth (Rom. 10:9). The only way to have the strength and conviction to stay the course is to rely on God’s strength and power, through fellowship with other believers (i.e. the Church), reading Scripture (His love letter) and prayer (direct communication).
Continue forward, through the tape – As humans, we see our lives in a linear timeline, from birth to death, then resurrection for eternity. God, I believe, sees us very differently. He sees our whole life spread out before Him. He sees perfectly both the good and the bad. As Scripture says, we are in a race, as a runner, trying to do His will. From our perspective, there is a beginning and an end and each of us is somewhere on that line of life. Every day we can choose to move toward God or to move away from Him and toward mankind. Standing still is really not an option. As the world becomes more difficult, actively direct your path toward God and how He would have you respond. Stay on that narrow path (Mat. 7:13-14) until you have reached the end, confident in receiving the prize of eternal life (1 Cor. 9:24-27).