Hipster Calvinists Vs Fundie Arminian in Religious Phoenix Feud

Anderson (left), White (right)

Steven Anderson, the highly controversial pastor from Tempe – a suburb of Phoenix – is in a heated back-and-forth with Jeff Durbin, a self-styled “hipster pastor” who is best known for booze, tattoos, and Calvinism. Anderson is best known for being tased by the border guards, some pretty insane sermon rants, and being banned from at least four countries due to “hate speech.”

Anderson pastors Faithful Word Baptist Church, an Independent Fundamental Baptist (IFB) church and Jeff Durbin pastors Apologia Church, which is a (non-Confessional) Calvinist church, in Chandler, Arizona – another suburb of Phoenix. Apologia recently added James White as “scholar in residence,” who left his longtime, more subdued (and Confessional), Phoenix Reformed Baptist Church, for the opportunity. The three men have been going back-and-forth in social media over the last few days.

Although the men have been feuding for quite some time (it usually seems started by Anderson, but carried out longer at the insistence of James White), it has reached a fever pitch most recently. The last skirmish began because of a sermon that appears to have been delivered on the Sunday evening of December 23.

In this video, at approximately the 24-minute mark, Anderson claims that Durbin is a homosexual because he has a thumb-ring (he had the congregation google the meaning of a thumb ring during the service), and because Durbin made crass jokes about sodomy.

Then, Anderson claimed that Durbin told his military drill instructor that he was gay (26-minute mark). This led to Durbin’s military discharge. Anderson claims he personally confronted Durbin about this, and Durbin did not deny it. Anderson also claims he has the discharge papers for Durbin that state as much.

James White responded on his Facebook page:

Anderson was “preaching” (I struggle to use that sacred term for the harangues he belches out in front of his captive audience) a slander-filled attack upon Pastor Jeff Durbin all based upon his desperate attempt (and he is not alone in this) to make accusations of homosexuality against Jeff and even myself. Why? Well, it’s not that these folks have a scintilla of interest in truth. Between Jeff and I we have logged 56 years of marriage (to the same women I might add), numerous children and so far at least five grandchildren. No, they don’t care about truth or honor or honesty or integrity or any of those things Christians concern themselves about. Remember it is all about power and control over others. 

Another video of Anderson preaching last night (Wednesday, December 26).

Beginning at the 39 minute mark, Anderson begins to speak with more invectives about tattoos. Durbin has tattoos, and James White, who started with a smaller tattoo a few years ago, now sports an entire sleeve. Anderson claims in the video that tattoos were brought to Western culture by sailors who visited pagan “cannibal islands” (there’s a degree of truth to this claim, probably beginning with Captain Cook’s voyage to the Pacific islands and Polynesian people).

Then, it turned from tattoos to Calvinism.

It’s so funny how these Calvinists love all these verses about being chosen…but you guys forgot the part about being chosen to be holy. He didn’t choose you to get a tattoo. He didn’t choose you to drink beer. He didn’t choose you to drink shots of tequilla. He didn’t choose you to be a drug addict. He didn’t choose you to be a derelict. He didn’t choose you to [crossdress]. He chose you to be holy and blameless.

He continued:

No Calvinist can preach the Gospel, because the Gospel is that Christ died for us according to the Scriptures…You can’t even say that if you’re a Calvinist because most people you talk to he didn’t die for.

And again:

I couldn’t endure one service at that Apologia tattoo parlor, beer house, brothel, whatever the hell they have going on down there.

As a special note, Anderson references the Booze and Tattoo debacle of 2017 and was under the impression that a “beer flight” was an air flight in which someone would drink while in transit (this is at the 46:30 mark).

And finally:

I just wish I could press a button and get these Calvinists to stop drinking and tattooing themselves and mutilating their bodies. What button do I have to push to get their women out of pants and dress like women in skirts and dresses. It’s amazing how they’re predestined to look like tramps. It’s amazing how they’re predestined to look like white trash. It’s amazing how they’re predestined to be drunk or to be pierced and tattooed to high Heaven…where’s your repentance you drunken, tattooed, cannibal-looking freak?

In response, White posted on his Facebook account:

Slander (βλασφημία) is one of the sins Christians are commanded to “put away” along with anger, wrath, malice, and abusive speech (Col. 3:8). But slander is the daily milieu of some men who actually claim to be Christians. Steven Anderson, the lead abuser of the poor souls trapped in the Faithful Word Baptist Church of Tempe, Arizona, is a man who is displaying, for all the world to see (purposefully, on his part), the path one takes as you desperately try to build your little kingdom and hold onto the power you have built up over other people. Given the fundamental denials of gospel truths inherent in his beliefs (cultic KJVOism, a rabid denial of the centrality of repentance, a rejection of the Lordship of Christ in salvation, a detestation of the biblical doctrines of grace, combined with the “who cares about history?” attitude that marks so much of IFBism) there does not seem to be any stopping point on the path directly to perdition. But he does not seem to care about how many souls are destroyed or damaged in his wake. It’s all about Steven Anderson and his little kingdom.

Anderson pointed out that White – in his opinion – was playing hard and loose with the Greek, twisting a passage about speaking against God.

To which White retorted in a different Facebook post…”Compare [Wycliffe’s example] with this piece of NIFB “scholarship” (New Independent Fundamentalist Baptist) from the great Right Reverend Steven “I Can Slander Anybody” Anderson, chief abuser of the poor sheep of the Faithful Word Baptist Church in Tempe, Arizona. Someone reposted my article from yesterday about slander. Now, for those of us in the real world, where you engage in exegesis, study of the original language texts, etc., we know that the Greek term βλασφημία can have as its object men, ideas, or spiritual beings (even the devil is the object of the term in Jude 9)

White continued his Facebook diatribe by impugning Anderson’s small church and claiming that Anderson is upset that so many people are leaving Independent Fundamentalist Churches because of his and Durbin’s preaching.

Pray for the souls who are trapped in the abusive system that is represented by Anderson and the FWBC (and many others like it). The reason they are going after Jeff and I is simple: they know how many people have left their churches after listening to our videos, watching our debates, and seeing how imbalanced and shallow the preaching and teaching of this “New IFB Movement” really is. They are filled with fear and they cover that fear by lashing out in the style of Anderson, Fannin, etc. Many are simply not aware that there is anything outside of the small, stifling little world of IFB/KJVOism. They have been lied to and need to know the truth.

Note: Anderson’s Faithful Word Baptist Church is larger than both Apologia Church and Phoenix Reformed Baptist Church combined.

[Editor’s Note: Pulpit & Pen has reached out to Durbin for clarification regarding his military discharge, and he has not responded at the time of publication. Pulpit & Pen has also reached out to Steven Anderson for clarification on this point, and he sent the discharge papers for Durbin that show an 18-day military service; the reason for the discharge is not specified on this particular form.

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