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Steven Anderson’s “New” IFB Movement Erupts Into a Food Fight Over Donnie Romero

steven anderson

I recently wrote a post detailing the resignation of Donnie Romero from Stedfast Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas. Romero’s wife had called Steven Anderson, pastor of Faithful Word Baptist Church in Tempe, Arizona to come to Fort Worth and help deal with her husband and his sinful behavior. According to Anderson, his wife accused him of cavorting with prostitutes, smoking weed, and gambling. Romero admitted his sins and duly resigned from the church, telling them that he and his wife planned to stay on as members.

Anderson and Romero are part of a group they call the “New” IFB (Independent Fundamentalist Baptist). Founded and controlled by Anderson, the ‘New” IFB church movement believes that the “old” IFB church movement has moved away from its core beliefs and practices. While this is true is some instances, there is very little difference between the churches of these groups. Both groups are cultic; both are Evangelical in doctrine; both are conservative politically; both practice personal separation (from the world) and many of the churches practice secondary separation (refusing to fellowship with churches/pastors who have connections with compromising churches/pastors/colleges); both are evangelistic; both believe the Bible is inerrant (and many use only the King James Bible); both believe they alone are True Christians®. One thing is for certain, Steven Anderson is the de facto pope of the “New” IFB church movement.

Anderson quickly made his way to Stedfast Baptist and just as quickly appointed a new pastor by the name of Jonathan Shelley. Shelley currently pastors Pure Words Baptist Church in Houston, Texas — a “New” IFB church. Shelly’s bio page states:

Pure Words Baptist Church is an independent fundamental King James only baptist church pastored by Jonathan Shelley. Jonathan married his wife, ****, in 2009 and they have three children, ****, ****, and ****.

Jonathan was raised in a Christian home and saved at age five and baptized at age 14. He grew up in large non-denominational churches and had a zeal of God but not according to knowledge. Before his first son was born, Jonathan began to diligently study the Bible and realized he needed to make some changes. He soon became King James only and eventually started to attend an independent fundamental baptist (KJV Only) church in his area. Jonathan was rebaptized in 2015 at Arden Road Baptist Church. In 2016, Jonathan moved to Faithful Word Baptist Church to train to be a pastor. During this transition Jonathan has been blessed to have had the opportunity to preach over 150 sermons, lead soulwinning marathons, go on mission trips to Jamaica and Mexico, and memorize dozens of chapters of the Bible.

Jonathan’s vision is to reach the entire Houston area with the gospel, train soulwinners, develop and send out evangelists and pastors, and reach foreign countries with the gospel.

Anderson will argue that Shelley was appointed by the church, not him, but it’s clear that Anderson wanted his man to be pastor, and he persuaded the men of the church to ordain Shelley and make him their pastor. I say the men of the church, because the women of the church had no say in the matter. Anderson held a three-hour meeting with the men of Stedfast Baptist, a meeting women and children were not permitted to attend.

The choice of Shelly as pastor has caused a bit of controversy among “New” IFB churches. Unbeknownest to me until yesterday was the fact that Donnie Romero was also the pastor of a mission church in Jacksonville, Florida called Stedfast Baptist Church of Jacksonville, and of Stedfast Baptist Church of Oklahoma City. According to Anderson, most of Romero’s “sinful” behavior took place in while he was visiting the church in Jacksonville. Anderson also alleges that money is missing from one or more of the churches.

adam fannin
Adam Fannin

Into this junior-high lunch room food fight comes a man by the name of Adam Fannin. Fannin leads the congregation in Jacksonville, and according to Anderson is best buddies with Donnie Romero. Anderson subtly implies in one video that Fannin may have involved himself in Romero’s sinful behaviors. What’s hilarious about this mess is that the various parties have taken to calling each other out with YouTube videos. 

Video Link

These videos clearly show that the “New” IFB church movement is no different from the old one. Bickering children, they are. The good news is that the women won’t be blamed for what’s happening. Oh wait, the latest rumor is that Romero’s wife is culpable in his “sinful” behavior. True IFB behavior: let a preacher get caught in sexual sin and there will always be someone who will blame his spouse or the person he had sex with. According to many of the YouTube comments, Romero is a true hero, a man of character for admitting his “sins.” Gag me with a spoon, will ya? There is nothing noble about Romero’s post-scandal behavior. He got caught. End of story.

Anderson preached at Stedfast Baptist Church today, solidifying his position as pope of the “New” IFB. In his sermon he called the church in Jacksonville trash; trash that needed to be taken out. What a man of God, right? 

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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  1. Avatar

    What is a “soulwinning marathon”? Is that a long stint of harassing people who may or may not believe in the “right” kind of Jesus?

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      Because I wrote to my MP in the Uk to get Stevie banned from this country (we succeeded), I followed his ‘soul-winning marathon’ in Africa. He blogged news like, ‘Went into school, 43 saved, door-knocking, another 20 souls saved and then 5 more in the restaurant we ate in…’ It reminded me of a trainspotter, or a birdwatcher filling a notebook with sightings that day and excitedly reporting how many when they get home. Like scalps or notches on the belt.There was no human interaction, not a word that the ‘soulwinners’ had actually engaged with real people. Aggressive fundy evangelists offering tracts, DVDs etc never seem to notice folk take them out of politeness…it’s kind of a human thing to do, they deludedly believe it will always lead to conversions, the words are soooo powerful!

  2. Avatar

    I wonder whether any of these New IFB preacher dudes are smart? Like, if I could go back to 6th grade, would these be the guys in the room who do this when the teacher calls on them to read out loud a passage from a book:

    “The c-o-o-w—no duck—jumphed ober duh mo-o-o-o-m.”

    Been there. Seen that.

    Why do I ask? The people who did the IQ assessment of the Nazi war criminals at the end of World War II determined that the person with the lowest IQ was the powerful, virulent, and “preacher-like” propagandist Julius Streicher:

    Others may have done the planning and organizing to kill all those Jewish folks, but this guy is the big mouth on the front end that made it all happen on the back end.

    Note what happened at his hanging. Karma is a bitch ain’t it?

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      Charles, IQ is not a primary issue. Early severe damage in life might be a key ingredient. There are many clever believers. In my believing days, I admired the minds of many preacher-teacher-writers. To state that IQ or the lack of it is the answer to ‘faith’ is not at all worthwhile as I see it.
      It is like saying, Don’t be stupdid, you twit…. smarten up!

  3. Avatar

    So today I see that a video has been pulled down from the ongoing shenanigans of Pope Steven. This is IFB doctrine at work, lock out the unbelievers, the non-club members. Hide from the evil world that is after us. Close ranks and fall behind the biggest bully-for-Jesus. Pope Steven is raging mad and somebody’s gonna pay! Thank-you sweet Jesu for your sacrifice and for giving us Steven Anderson.

  4. Avatar
    Bill Whitaker

    Mr. Fanin needs to have his teeth straightened with a pair of pliers. Perhaps then he will be able to think and speak clearly with sound thoughts and ideas.

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    Kimberly McKnight

    As an Independent, Fundamental Baptist since 2001, i can assure you that we “older” IFB Christians do NOT believe we are going to be the “only ones” going to heaven or living on this earth when Jesus comes and establishes New Jerusalem. Anyone who accepts Christ as their Saviour will be raptured up with Jesus in the air. Not just IFB’s…

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    Jesus said only a few would be saved, so don’t expect those big apostate fake christianity you’ve mentioned are going to be saved because they have believed a worksbased salvation that cannot save anyone.

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        Because he says so Bruce.

        It’s interesting how those who claim only a few will achieve salvation always include themselves amongst the saved. What if God specifically rejects anybody who believes they’ll be saved? What if only atheists go to heaven?

    • Avatar

      Rex, this “Jesus” fellow is largely a mythologically-enhanced historical nobody unknown to contemporaneous writers in the Levant and in Rome, with the earliest reports coming in some decades after the alleged events and no credible eyewitness reports. What he allegedly said is irrelevant.

      What is relevant is that there is absolutely no peer-reviewed scientific evidence that human consciousness can survive death of the body, no evidence for souls, and no evidence for heaven, hell, Valhalla, Styx, or any other post-mortality place of repose. Salvation is almost certainly a myth. No one, including you, is or can be saved.

      Embrace the one life you will ever have, while you still have it, rather than pinning your hopes on religious promises doomed to fail.

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