Johannesburg - The Baptist Union of Southern Africa on Friday distanced itself from controversial US pastor, Steven Anderson and his Faithful Word Baptist Church, calling it an “independent, fundamentalist church”.
Anderson, who is widely known for his anti-gay sentiments on social media, is scheduled to preach in Johannesburg on 18 September when he visits the country for a “soul-winning mission”.
Mark Penrith, chairman of the Christian Citizenship Network of the Baptist Union of Southern Africa, said Anderson’s church was not a member church of the Baptist Union of Southern Africa nor was the Baptist Union of Southern Africa in any way associated with it.
In a statement, Penrith said neither the Faithful Word Baptist Church, nor Anderson, were in South Africa by invitation of any of the member churches of the Baptist Union of Southern Africa.
“Faithful Word Baptist Church is a fundamentalist Baptist church in Tempe, Arizona, in the United States pastored by Steven L. Anderson. They are an independent church, not affiliated with any denomination. They have achieved notoriety for strong protests and hate speech against homosexuals,” Penrith said.
“The Baptist Union of Southern Africa comprises of many hundreds of churches spread throughout Southern Africa. It is a voluntary organisation comprised of a number of associations which prescribe to Christian tenants of belief and Baptist distinctives.”
Anderson courted trouble after he reportedly told congregants at his church that there were now “50 less paedophiles in this world” following the June 12 massacre at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida that left 49 people dead.
The nightclub was frequented by gay patrons.
The SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has petitioned the Department of Home Affairs, requesting it to ban Anderson from entering the country.
The department on Friday said an official announcement would be made after finalising consultations with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) organisations and other stakeholders.