Faithful Word Baptist Church
Faithful Word Baptist Church is a fundamentalist Independent Baptist church in Tempe, Arizona, that was founded by Steven Anderson. The church describes itself as "an old-fashioned, independent, fundamental, King James Bible-only, soul-winning Baptist church." Members of the church meet in an office space that is located inside a strip mall. Anderson established the church in December 2005 and remains its pastor.
|Faithful Word Baptist Church|
|Scripture||King James Bible|
|Associations||New Independent Fundamentalist Baptist|
|Headquarters||Tempe, Arizona, U.S.|
|Origin||December 25, 2005 |
Tempe, Arizona, U.S.
In August 2009, the church received national attention when Anderson stated in a sermon that he was praying for the death of then-president Barack Obama. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) listed Faithful Word Baptist Church as an anti-gay hate group, citing its pastor's "extremely radical stance" that homosexuals should be judged and executed according to the Law of Moses. Since then, as the church has grown, it has received media attention for its documentary titled Marching to Zion, which the Anti-Defamation League labeled antisemitic; media attention has also focused on the pastor being refused entry to South Africa, Botswana, Jamaica, Canada, the United Kingdom, the European Union, the Republic of Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand .
Faithful Word Baptist Church believes that the King James Bible is the inspired and inerrant Word of God. It is Trinitarian and rejects modalism. The church also believes in the post-tribulation rapture, salvation by grace through faith, and eternal torment in hell for the unsaved. Among the church's beliefs is the view that life begins at conception, the view that homosexuality is a sin and an abomination which God punishes with the death penalty, and opposition to worldliness, formalism, modernism, and liberalism.
In contrast to other KJV-only independent fundamental Baptist churches, Faithful Word Baptist Church teaches supersessionism. Although the church rejects traditional Calvinism, it teaches a doctrine of "reprobation" (named after Romans 1:28), which states that people who reject the gospel of Jesus Christ too many times are "given over" by God to a reprobate mind, after which time they can never be saved.
Anderson established the church on Christmas Day, 2005. The church's website states, "Faithful Word Baptist Church is a totally independent Baptist church, and Pastor Anderson was sent out by a totally independent Baptist church to start it the old-fashioned way by knocking on doors and winning souls to Christ." About a year and a half later the church was moved to a strip mall that was also used by Anderson's fire alarm installation business. When he was questioned about the relationship between his for-profit business and his not-for-profit church in 2009, Anderson responded angrily. By 2015, the congregation numbered around 300 members.
National attention over Anderson's sermon on President ObamaEdit
The church received national attention in the United States in August 2009, when Anderson reportedly gave a sermon—entitled Why I Hate Barack Obama—in which he said he prayed for the death of the president.
Anderson did not solicit the killing of Obama but he did suggest that the country would "benefit" from his death. Anderson also told the local television station KNXV-TV that he would like it if Obama were to die of natural causes because he does not "want him to be a martyr" and he also believes that "we don't need another holiday." Anderson told columnist Michelangelo Signorile that he "would not judge or condemn" anyone who killed the president.
Anderson's invective against Obama is partially based on his opposition to Obama's support for abortion rights. Anderson was then the recipient of death threats while a group, People Against Clergy Who Preach Hate, organized a "love rally" which was attended by approximately one hundred people outside the church.
The day after Anderson delivered his Why I Hate Barack Obama sermon, a church member, Chris Broughton, carried an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle and a pistol to the Phoenix Convention Center, where President Obama was speaking. Broughton explained that he was not motivated by the sermon although he agreed with it. The New Mexico Independent reported that Broughton's appearance at the rally was part of a publicity stunt that was organized by conservative radio talk show host Ernest Hancock, who also came to the rally armed, and engaged in a staged interview with Broughton which was later broadcast on YouTube. Anderson told ABC News affiliate KNXV-TV in Phoenix that the Secret Service contacted him after this event.
Anti-gay comments and hate group designationEdit
The SPLC has listed the church as an anti-gay hate group, noting that in his anti-LGBT rhetoric, Anderson described gays as "sodomites who recruit through rape" and "recruit through molestation." In explaining the hate group designation, the SPLC noted Anderson's position that homosexuals should be killed, citing a sermon in which he said, "The biggest hypocrite in the world is the person who believes in the death penalty for murderers but not in the death penalty for homosexuals." A few days after the listing, Anderson stated, "I do hate homosexuals and if hating homosexuals makes our church a hate group then that's what we are." In late 2014 Anderson told his congregation that an AIDS-free Christmas would be possible "Because if you executed the homos like God recommends, you wouldn’t have all this AIDS running rampant." Anderson has also been vocal in expressing his hatred for transgender people, stating during a sermon titled 6 Types of Prayer that he hopes that Caitlyn Jenner's heart explodes.
In a sermon, Anderson said that in the November 2015 Paris attacks the victims brought the attack upon themselves by being devil worshipers for attending a concert by the Eagles of Death Metal band, and he also said that France was a sinful nation. In a video which he posted on YouTube following the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting, Anderson said it was good that there were "50 less pedophiles in this world," but he also said that it was bad that there were survivors. He also said that there would be a backlash against gun rights and religious fundamentalism, both Christian and Islamic. He also said that the killings should not have been carried out by a vigilante, instead, he believes that they should have been carried out "through the proper channels by a righteous government."
In March 2015, Anderson produced a documentary titled Marching to Zion, in which he argued that the anticipated Jewish messiah is the Antichrist, the Star of David is, in fact, the Star of Remphan, and the Talmud is blasphemous. In May 2015, Anderson promoted Holocaust denial by posting a YouTube video titled The Holocaust Hoax Exposed.
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- Lengell, Sean. "Family Research Council labeled a 'hate group'". The Washington Times. Retrieved September 9, 2012.
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- "US pastor says gay people should be executed". The Independent. December 4, 2014. Retrieved December 25, 2019.
Because if you executed the homos like God recommends, you wouldn’t have all this AIDS running rampant.”
- "Small church makes big news with 'America, love it or leave it' sign". Baptist News Global. July 19, 2019. Retrieved December 25, 2019.
- Salandra, Adam. "Pastor Prays Caitlyn Jenner's Heart Explodes In Her Chest". NewNowNext. Retrieved June 13, 2015.
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- Lemons, Stephen (June 13, 2016). "Tempe Pastor Steven Anderson Praises Orlando Massacre for Leaving '50 Less Pedophiles in This World' (Video)". Phoenix New Times.
- Woods, Mark (June 13, 2016). "Orlando shootings: There's only one answer to people who peddle hate". Christian Today.
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- "Anti-Semitic Pastor Steve Anderson Promotes Holocaust Denial". Anti-Defamation League. June 1, 2015.