An Overview of The Steven Anderson Cult

In this article I aim to shed some light on the so-called movement surrounding the Arizona Independent Fundamental Baptist pastor Steven L Anderson.

Steven Anderson started his church in Tempe in 2005 and has since received international attention for preaching against Barak Obama, sodomy and mostly anyone that does not share his very specific interpretations of christian doctrine.

Although controversy has arised in regards to whether he himself was ever actually ordained to be a pastor (his alleged sending pastor denies it) he has made it one of the central parts of his ministry to question and object to other men’s qualifications for pastoral ministry, on usually arbitrary grounds.

This has in turn spread to his entire group of followers, who are distinguished by an informant culture within the own group and a shariah-police type of “calling out” anything that is arbitrarily branded as “false doctrine” or “damnable heresy” by Anderson.

This self-affirming behavior within the Andersonite community serves to elevate the exclusivity or doctrinal superiority of the group as well as it is used by members as a means to frighten those who dares question leadership or hold any doctrine contrary to what is approved by formal leadership, or not sanctioned by Anderson himself.

Hence, the andersonites do practice shunning per se and will instantly dissociate themselves from anyone that is viewed as hostile toward official doctrine, labled “enemies of The Lord” or “reprobate”. The development of events for a possible dissident happens in clearly distinguishable steps.

First, one is questioned and hinted at that further questioning will be punished. Secondly one is falsely accused and threatened, “You are friends with A, therefore you are probably also a heretic” and “You better repent from speaking against a man of God like that”. Thirdly one is publicly slandered and shunned, “I’ve always doubted your salvation because you like weird things on facebook”, “If you are saved you would understand what the Bible says, and since you don’t you’re probably a reprobate”.

At the end of a public slandering and shunning a designated andersonite pastor will issue the command and all movement members will shun the person. Commonly no evidence is ever brought forth against him, but hearsay and the papal bull of Anderson and his preachers will suffice as grounds for assumption of reprobacy and shunning. The andersonite in good standing will chose loyalty to the group over friends, family or home church -no biblical reason or evidence is necessary.

Apart from this, andersonism is generally recognised in churches by lack of moderation in doctrine. Instead a selected few, highly secondary, doctrines or views are given all focus. This is typical cult behavior, an obsessive focus on the minuscule that miss the greater cause or message.

For example, the Jehovah’s Witnesses will mainly want to speak about the name Jehovah, that Jesus did not die on a cross, and that Christianity is full of pagan practises. Likewise a Mormon will speak about Joseph Smith and the restoration of the true gospel. In a similar manner, the andersonite christian is constantly preoccupied with discussing the post tribulational rapture, the falasity of repentance from sin for salvation, the reprobate doctrine or who is a reprobate, and lastly the latest Anderson sermon or drama.

Within andersonism, such great emphasis is put on the concept of “hard preaching” against sin and soulwinning evangelism that foundational aspects of New Testament doctrine and the christian life are become obsolete. Specifically, “calling out” sin is emphasized, whereas being meek, loving or merciful is preached only as theory.

Thus it is not uncommon for an andersonite to do great evangelistic efforts, but with a peculiarly bad attitude toward unreceptive people. For this same reason, the andersonite cult often use a harsh border-to-curse-type language and frequently motivate their entire christian life as simply a means to gain further rewards in heaven.

This very islamic perspective on good deeds is perhaps prevalent within Independent baptist churches at large, but is certainly perfected within andersonism. In view of that phenomenon, one can understand the core issue of the andersonite cult, which is inbalance in the view of Christianity and the life of the christian, rather than corky ideas about secondary doctrine.

That is, in guise of hard preaching Anderson and his preachers (all small time copies of himself) will call people names, yell, ridicule other saved christians and arbitrarily mock anyone. In guise of love for people and the command of Christ an andersonite will preach the gospel with contentment for the unreceptive and only his own reward in mind.

Another significant point to consider for the fact that the so-called movement is a cult as commonly understood is the double standard that is held for Anderson or leadership that he himself sanctions.

Anderson has frequently “called-out” (i.e jealously railed against) other men for not having the biblical qualifications for pastoral ministry. For example not having children or not having their family in check. Yet, Anderson’s wife has been speaking ill about other women online and is frequently gossiping and railing wherever anyone dares question Anderson.

This is only of significance since Anderson has often made fun of men not ruling their own houses or being the boss over their wives.

Further, when Anderson’s own children recently were caught in a chat speaking about using church money to buy prostitutes that they would choke, kill and then rape, and talking about sexual things to underage girls from families that attend his church, Anderson has responded by attempting to sweep the matter under the rug, slander the parents of these girls and by kicking several families out of church.

Anderson has then moved on to a state of damage control and has preched the most ironic sermons on topics beneficial to his secretive cause of hiding this vile family culture of his. He has also made a point to “call out” science evangelist legend Dr. Kent Hovind for not being saved due to his choice of friends.

This is of course part of Anderson’s damage control campaign to switch focus onto someone else beside himself. Everyone that has listened to his sermons for years knows, that if the scandal that has been revealed in Anderson’s family would have happened to anyone else – he would have ripped them to pieces and railed against them for months. The same goes for his online followers. But for Anderson the mantra goes “Forgive and forget” and somehow he is still qualified to pastor his church.

Lastly, the andersonite understanding of the gospel is kin to works salvation. Andersonim is partly viewed negatively as “easy believism” or seen as over the top anti-repentence. Whatever one can say about this, there is probably few independent baptist churches or camps that so consistently judge other’s salvation based on their works.

Officially Anderson seem to teach that we cannot tell if someone is truly saved. But then very many exceptions are added. If someone does not believe a certain doctrine from the Bible it is indication that they are not of Jesus’s sheep. This means, of course highly subjectively, that anyone that turns on Anderson or that he personally does not like, is not saved for one reason or another. This of course is poor theology and a way of manipulating the “movement” to ultimately always follow and agree with Anderson himself.

An Overview of The Steven Anderson Cult

The long story of this blog and how I became an Independent Fundamental Baptist

Raised in an agnostic home with a catholic stepfather, I was peculiarly enough intrigued by christian imagery from an early age and always felt at home in the Evangelical-Lutheran (at the time) state church of Sweden. Although my visits to the church were few and far in between, almost exclusively at school endings at summer and Christmas vacation as is tradition in Sweden, I still felt at home there.

Beyond the familiar feeling, I never exactly contemplated, or knew for that matter, any christian beliefs. I did however always have a sort of natural belief in God, and remember praying as early as around five years of age.

In my late teens I promised myself to seek the truth about the existence of God after I reached the conclusion that life in a non-theistic evolutionary context is, at least, meaningless in the true sense of the word. I realized the absurdity of the magnitude of this cause, but I owed myself an honest attempt.

From there I went on to search within the realm of religion for a few years, a long story better told at another time. However, one thing led to another and in 2012 in a winter cold rural Sweden I was tought and understood biblical salvation, my sinful state and need of a savior, and so prayed for Christ to save me.

It was a tumultuous experience to navigate the landscape of contemporary christianity as a newly saved twenty-some year old student with periodic alcohol issues. This led me to the same search as I had previously been occupied with, although now solely within what I perceived to be wider christendom, to find out specifically what to believe in doctrinal matters and what church or group that were right. Was I a pentecostal? Or perhaps a catholic? After all, early Swedish history was heavily catholic, and I had catholic family.

I found independent baptist preaching online, the same way I found initial information about any religion or christian group. It was evidently biblical preaching, with distinct dogmatic sermons with a tendency to strongly call out sin and wickedness from the pulpit. It was Isaiah and Simon Peter-type of preaching. It is no secret that I became a part of and partly still am in what is considered the Steven Anderson-camp, but I would say that I listened to every bible believing sermon that I could find, a whole lot of Doctor Jack Hyles for example.

Unfortunately to this day independent baptist churches do not understand to make proper use of the internet to reach people. After all criticism, it is just a fact that Steven Anderson is the one that popularised the fundamental baptist doctrines and viewpoints internationally for the young people of today.

Either way, when I visited family in the US in the winter of 2014, I made sure to visit a fundamental baptist church. I was very well received and was introduced to a brother there that tought me how to go soulwinning. We spent a great deal of time soulwinning and fellowshipping, not seldom discussing bible doctrine or matters of christianity and fundamentalism.

Upon my arrival again in Sweden some weeks later, I found myself feeling revived in my spirit and I couldn’t help but to feel more rooted and grounded in my christianity. So far I had been somewhat of an independent fundamental baptist and sort of a halfway King James-onlyist, but now I had actually been to an independent baptist church and at least to some degree become part of their fellowship. It was the real deal.

I had previously felt a bit ridiculous to identify with such an American branch of christianity while living across the world in the darkest north. However, I now felt as if it was not only the most reasonable and bible-believing type of christianity, but also a very viable option for christians internationally to adhear to. The old monopoly of wishy-washy pentecostalism in Sweden was over in terms of being bible-believing. An autonomous baptist movement with international ties was the only way to go.

I could not refrain from being baptist if I were going to chose to take the bible seriously. It was inevitable. It was around this time that I started my blog, initially just out of a sense of wanting to take a more biblical stance in Swedish christianity than what I found elsewhere.

I thought that there was a necessity for someone to say what the bible really says, and not to sugar-coat it and compromise. Especially I wanted to do so in swedish for swedes, so that swedish christians would no longer be able to hide behind high-minded illusions that Americans are crazy and dismiss any opinion not publically accepted in Sweden. Swedish evangelicals and pentecostals alike were lame and weak, so I wanted to show that there was another way to go.

The same year I started to attend a theological seminary for college. Needless to say it was a starch contrast to the bible fundamentalist type sermons I listened to. There were interesting subjects to study, like church history and classes in rhetoric, but mainly I spent my days there trying to wrap my mind around how the teachers (Lutheran priests, doctors of theology and even some former baptist pastors) could possibly manage to combine such a liberal world view with their claimed expertise in the bible. Every stance they took was a questioning of the infallibility and literal meaning of the bible.

Although I had endless interesting discussions with priests to-be and all sorts of evangelicals, I ended up leaving a year prior to graduating to do some online courses while I worked. I had had enough of the political correctness that was in the classes and among my fellow students.

At that point I had established a good friendship with a Sri Lankan brother that had left the faith movement and joined me in many IFB doctrinal viewpoints.

Him and I had gone soulwinning a couple of times in 2014 and established a small bible study group in his house, were him or I would do some short preching followed by singing out of some Soul Stirring Songs and Hymns-hymnals I had brought i America, before we had some prayer time. On most weekdays we would sit at the seminary to study, but also find time to watch sermons and discuss biblical matters.

In 2016 I moved to the US and began attending an Independent baptist church. By then, the brother I had previously gone soulwinning with had distanced himself from me and all IFB people, seemingly since he had become open to pentecostalism and had gotten the idea that he would start a church with no qualifications for pastoring. A shame of course, but I have repeatedly noticed how emotionalist types of christianity attract people that don’t care to put in the hard work of studying.

As of now, my family and I attend our third independent baptist church. We have moved and thus switched churches, but have also freekwently felt ostracized and met with suspicion by independent baptist pastors and church staff, something quite common for anyone considered an “Andersonite”. Everyday life has gone from seminary studies and having plenty of time for the things of God, to now attempting to balance a long work week with family and church and all the things that go with that.

In retrospect, I just wish that there were more Bible-believing churches in Sweden where people could get both the milk and meat of the word, and not have to be restrained to liberal churches with messy salvation doctrine and a love for all things queer and worldly.

The so common notion in Sweden that charismatic silliness is biblical, or even spirit-filled, is disastrous for saved believers and have resulted in a Christendom as dead as a door nail.

Many are starving for bible truth and hard preaching, but their hunger remain unsatisfied and thus they never grow in sanctification, and can never reach other swedes with the gospel. I am glad I came to the U.S. where good churches still exist, but I feel bad for those saved few that are stuck there, those seven thousand that have not bowed unto Baal.

Soulwinning in Miami in 2014
The long story of this blog and how I became an Independent Fundamental Baptist

Bibeltroende baptister deporterade av Botswanas president

Pastorn för den kontroversiella baptistkyrkan Faithful Word i staden Tempe i Arizona i USA, Steven Anderson, utvisades den 20:e september från Botswana på president Ian Khamas begäran på grund av att han tidigare predikat det Bibeln lär om homofili.

Pastor Anderson hade tillsammans med ett antal kyrkomedlemmar begett sig till Botswana för att starta en kyrka och gå ut bedriva själavinnande evangelisation från dörr-till-dörr, så kallad soulwinning. Den ursprungliga tanken hade varit att de först skulle till Sydafrika för att samla kristna bröder och systrar för dörr-till-dörr evangelisation där, men efter att lobbygrupper av sodomiter hetsat myndigheterna så att pastor Anderson nekades inträde till Sydafrika såväl som att ens mellanlanda i Storbritannien tog sig sällskapet till Botswana via Eritrea.

Pastor Anderson (vänster) förs bort att deporteras.

Eftersom pastor  Andersons utsända missionär i Botswana, broder Garret Kirchway, även han deporterades har kyrkan skjutits upp tills vidare. Men segern är likaväl Kristus, för Pastor Anderson rapporterar här att över 200 människor fick höra en tydlig förklaring av evangeliet direkt ur Bibeln och tog emot Kristus som sin frälsare under den själavinnande evangelisationen som Guds folk han göra innan deportationen!

Det är historiskt anmärkningsvärt att kristna förföljs på detta sätt, av högt uppsatta politiker inte minst. Värt att notera är att ingen åberopar om yttrandefrihet eller religionsfrihet när det gäller kontroversiella åsikter. Det var dock många i såväl Sydafrika som Botswana som uttryckte medhåll med Pastor Andersons bibeltro att Gud hatar sodomi, och hans rätt att predika evangeliet.

Bibeltroende baptister deporterade av Botswanas president