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Review: Verity Baptist Church

I am reluctant to unchurch other Christians from other branches of Christ’ Church; however, when they get off the path and into non-sense, I’ve been willing to call them on it. The folks at Verity Baptist seem a ripe target for such a critique. Had their pastor—Roger Jimenez—not become a news story recently, I’m sure he would have escaped my notice.

The comments below are based on material available or linked to their website. See it for yourself at Verity Baptist

After looking through their website, you have to conclude that this is not your run-of-the-mill Baptist church. Their statement of faith is partly contained on the page about What We Believe

Portions of this page are Protestant and/or Baptist but others appear contrary to the mainstream of Christendom.

After reviewing the website of Verity and their affiliates (they don’t like the word “denomination”), I am reminded of the old joke, “What do you call a room with 40 people in it that each have their own opinion? A Baptist church.”

Verity is a different breed but their website is rather poorly done so it requires some digging to figure parts of their theology.

I would love to set their beliefs side-by-side with the Apostle’s or Nicene Creed but there is so much missing on their website that it is impossible to do a thorough comparison with the entire Creed.

The Nicene Creed is the most ecumenical of creeds. Except for one clause, all branches of the Christian Church agree on this Creed. Think of the Creeds as the fence around the flock of Christ’s Church. There God’s sheep may wander anywhere within the boundaries of the Creed—some emphasizing some parts more than others—but always within these boundaries. If a person or group strays outside of the boundaries set by the Creeds then they are no longer Christian. Thus the Creeds can be used as a measure of the Orthodoxy of any group or sect.

Below are parts of Verity’s website that can be compared to the Creeds or other documents.


Jesus Christ

We believe that Jesus is God in the flesh, and that Jesus Christ was begotten by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary. 

Yes Jesus was God in the flesh but he was also man.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father.  Through him all things were made.  For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven:  by the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man.
Nicene Creed 381 A.D.

As stated on their website, Verity is not in agreement with the historic Creeds. Their bullet point is either incomplete or incorrect.


Universal Church

Verity summarily rejects one clause of the Creed when they say, “We believe in the “local church” we reject the teaching of the “universal church”.

The whole of Christianity has always held that “We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.” Nicene Creed 381 A.D.

Christ has one body, the Church. The church includes all believers in all times and all ages; past, present, and future. This is the historic understanding of the term “Universal Church.”

If Verity is not part of this body then it is outside of Christ.

This is red flag number one when examining this group.


The Bible

Verity gives not one but two bullets to the King James Bible (KJV).

We believe that the King James Bible is the Word of God. We believe God inspired and preserved it.

This is not an all inclusive list; we believe anything and everything found in the King James Version of the Bible.

While this doctrine is not unique to Verity—I encountered the same claim about the King James Bible when visiting The Church of God of Prophecy back in my high school days—such claims are nonsense. This idea in not much different from Episcopalians clinging to the 1928 Book of Common Prayer as the superior expression of worship.

Just to contrast, let me quote another Baptist group on their view of the Scriptures.

We believe that the Holy Bible as originally written was verbally and plenary inspired and the product of Spirit-controlled men, and therefore has truth without any admixture of error for its matter. We believe the Bible to be the true center of Christian union and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and opinions shall be tried.
– First Baptist Church Woodland, CA 1967

This view is more correct than that espoused by Verity.

The Bible was written in three languages, Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek.

By the time of Jesus, the books we know as the Old Testament were translated into Greek. This was known as the Septuagint. From the word for seventy because seventy scholars did the translation. Jesus frequently quoted from this version of the Bible.

The New Testament was originally written in Greek. The whole Bible was later translated into Latin. Many of the manuscripts used by the translators of the King James Bible were from Latin sources.

I prefer the King James Version but it is not always the most accurate translation.

One problem that Verity has in proclaiming the KJV as The Word of God is that they are saying that the books of the Apocrypha are the Word of God also.  You see, the original King James Bible was not just the 66 books recognized by the historic church (Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox) but also these other books. Here is a scan of the original edition (1611) of the King James Bible showing its table of contents.
Link: 1611 KJV Table of Contents

Another issue confronting Verity’s claim is that the English language was much different in 1611 as can be seen from this part of Genesis. I promise you that the version of the King James Bible that they use for worship is not the same as this screen shot of the 1611 version.

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Scan of Genesis from original King James Bible—1611

Lastly, those that claim the King James Bible over all others is THE Word of God are intellectually lazy. Remember, in their world, every other version of the Bible on the planet past, present, and future is not the Word of God; it is defective.

Verity’s sister church in Texas says,

We believe that the King James Bible is the perfect Word of God. We believe that it is inspired and preserved. We believe that all other English translations of the Bible are corrupt and are perversions of God’s Word.
Link: Steadfast Baptist Doctrine

Most ministers whether Protestant, Catholic, or Orthodox are expected to know some level of Greek and Hebrew. These guys seem to use the KJV as a crutch so they don’t have to bother learning all that other language stuff. I think this is in part, a way to get around having to deal with seminary education.

After further research I found that this was in fact the case. No minister of a church linked to Verity’s website claims to have any formal Biblical training. Apparently if you learn the Roman’s Road and say you are called, you too can be a minister.
This passage is typical:

Pastor Anderson started Faithful Word Baptist Church on December 25, 2005. He holds no college degree but has well over 140 chapters of the Bible memorized word-for-word, including approximately half of the New Testament. Today, most Baptist churches are started by Bible colleges. However, the Bible makes it clear that the church is the pillar and ground of the truth, not a school.
Link: Faithful Word Baptist



We aren’t statements

We are Non-dispensational.

Verity rejects Dispensationalism but embraces Premillennialism and believes in a mid-tribulation rapture.
Link: Prophecy Timeline

Verity’s view of the “end times” can be found via Links page of their website. They seem to be especially hostile to other pre-mills that believe the “Rapture” occurs before the beginning of the “Great Tribulation”. 

What Verity uses in place of Dispensationalism is another moot point on their website. There is no indication of what they view as the relationship of the New Testament church with the Old. This is concerning especially since they anti-Semitic (see Reading List below).

We believe in the autonomy of the local church. This means that we are independent of all denominations, conventions, and fellowships. We have Jesus Christ and the Bible as the head of our church and not some Pope, Prophet, President, or Board of directors.

Their zeal to dis the papacy and any other form of church government is so extreme as to unchurch everybody but themselves. Churches have a hierarchy of some sort because fallen men need to be held accountable; especially those in the pulpit. If we learned anything from Jim Baker, Robert Tilton, Jimmy Swaggart and others like them, accountability is important. Church hierarchy was the model of the early church.

“For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre”
Titus 1:7

This is another red flag.


We take a stand against the Charismatic and Ecumenical movement of our day .

The Pentecostals and Charismatics of our day are just splinter groups of mainstream Baptists. Their theology is much the same except for the obvious emphasis on the Holy Spirit and their belief that spiritual gifts are still in effect today; whereas most Baptists believe that the gifts like speaking in tongues ended with the apostolic age. Most of these groups are Dispensational and Pre-mill.

We reject the teaching of Calvinism and believe that God wants everyone to be saved.  

Verity earlier in their list of what they believe rejects a universal church but here appeals to universal salvation. This is the logical outcome of Arminian theology but it is not based in Scripture.

“But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:  And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.”
John 10:26-28

Only those given to the Son by the Father will be saved, not all men. This was predestined before the world was created.

“According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love” 
Ephesians 1:4

Only those God chose before they were ever born will be saved. God chooses not man. If it makes you feel better, you don’t have to call it Calvinism, just the say the Bible teaches us … and call it good.

We oppose worldliness and believe in a holy separated life.

Dear readers when you see a phrase like this, a big red flag should be waving in your mind. This is command and control language which means the church has an absolute right to decide what you do in your spare time and even what jobs you can or cannot hold. This is an opportunity for cult-like behavior which depends solely upon the whim of the pastor and how he defines “worldliness” and “separation”.

Example: When I was in the Navy, I knew a guy named Scott. We went thru training together but he and I were assigned to different bases. One day I got a letter from him explaining that he could not play organized sports because they were worldly and he was to abstain from all appearance of evil (I Thessalonians 5:22). He was unable to provide any further explanation; his church said organized sports was the appearance of evil and that was the end of the discussion as far as he was concerned. To him, it just made sense.

In groups that want to control their members, this verse in Thessalonians is frequently used as a proof text that members must follow the dictates of their shepherd.

Any group that substitutes arbitrary rules in place of the Christian Liberty of their members is a group to be avoided.

Yet another red flag.


The Black List

Buckle-up as we take a wild ride way down the rabbit hole.

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Not to be confused with the NBC TV show with James Spader, Verity Baptist and their denomination literally has a Black List of other Baptists that they have declared heretical because these folks say that non-believers need to repent.

This list includes Billy Graham, Kirk Cameron, Ray Comfort, John MacArthur, Charles Spurgeon, and many more. Link: Repentance Blacklist

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Verity’s smoking gun purporting to prove repentance is a work of man


These guys are trying to play Three Card Monty with this supposed proof text.

Walter Martin, a Baptist minister that dealt frequently with the cults used to say; “A text without a context, is a pretext…usually for error”.

Let’s take a look at the story of Jonah.

God was going to judge Nineveh if they didn’t repent. God was judging their works. A repeated theme of the Wisdom Literature in the Bible is that out of evil men proceed wickedness. God sent Jonah to Nineveh. Jonah preached and the people believed his message and as a result, the people of Nineveh repented “turned from their evil way” so God withheld the judgement that he had threatened them with.

The word “turned” in this verse means repented. Look it up in Strong’s

Jonah 3:10—taken in context—says the exact opposite of what these guys are trying to claim.

The fallacy of their argument is the assumption that men have the ability to exercise free will and choose God instead of evil.

Jonah spoke to the people of Nineveh, they listened; their response was repentance, based on their putting on sack cloth and ashes and crying mightily to God. This is the work that God saw in the verse quoted above (Jonah 3:10) and God changed his mind and spared them.

Jonah was upset with God that the people of Nineveh repented. Jonah wanted God to nuke the city ala Sodom and Gomorra. Jonah was not mad at the people for listening to his preaching and exercising their free will to repent. Instead he was angry with God for opening the ears of the people and causing them to repent. It was God’s working that brought the repentance; Jonah was just God’s chosen instrument.

This is the point of Jonah chapter 4. This chapter is an illustration of God’s Sovereignty. He is ruler and His will shall be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.

Man’s reaction when encountering God is always to fall to his knees and know he is unworthy to be in God’s presence. We are stained with sin and only by being washed in Christ’s blood can we be cleansed. If you encounter God and do not have a changed life then you are not saved.

Anybody what to say Pharaoh?

Repentance is a change in direction. We go from darkness to light, hell to heaven, bondage to freedom; or whatever metaphor you wish to use to describe it. Jesus told the harlot go and sin no more.

Repentance is a work of the Holy Spirit. Man left to his own devices can never be saved. He will never choose it. If he could then Christ died in vain.

To quote the song, “Changed hearts make changed lives and I see one in you.”
—Sweet Comfort Band 1982

Repentance is a part of genuine conversion. To divorce conversion from repentance is unscriptural. The two are inseparably linked.

For Verity to claim that you have any part in your conversion or salvation is salvation by works. This especially includes claiming that a man can choose Christ of his own free will. We all deserve hell but God choose some for himself. He is the potter, we are the clay.

Once saved, always saved?

I’m not going to go into a full throated discussion of this topic but I have to inquire about the logical contradiction in the various What We Believe statements. Five need to be viewed together instead of separately.

First Group

We believe that salvation is by grace, through faith, and not of works. This means that salvation cannot be earned by any work (church attendance, baptism, repenting of your sins, etc, etc). Salvation is putting your faith in Jesus Christ and that he died, was buried, and rose from the grave to pay for your sin. You receive salvation by simply asking the Lord Jesus Christ to save you.

We believe in the eternal security of the believer (once saved always saved). Just like there is nothing you can do to earn salvation, there is nothing you can do to lose it.

We reject the teaching of Calvinism and believe that God wants everyone to be saved.

I already talked about the fact that men cannot—in a free will sort of way—put their faith in Jesus Christ, only God can give us saving faith. We love Him because he first loved us. However, for this discussion, let’s take the three statements above at face value.

The last sentence of the first statement quoted in this section says, “You receive salvation by simply asking the Lord Jesus Christ to save you.” The second proposition quoted above says, “…once saved, always saved…” The third proposition says “that God wants everyone to be saved.”

Let’s look at how this might play-out in the life of some young person we will call “Martha”. I am making up a name for the purposes of this discussion and not trying to get anyone that might really be named Martha into trouble with Verity or their leadership.

Martha is thirteen and attends Verity when she is in town visiting with her cousin. Pastor Jimenez really impresses her with his sermon and she walks the aisle and prays the sinner’s prayer just like they have it on their website.

Dear Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and I know I deserve to go to Hell. But I believe that you died on the cross, were buried, and rose from the grave to pay for my sins. Please save me and take me to Heaven when I die. Amen.   Link: Verity Bible Way To Heaven

She is really sincere when she does it.

A few years later, Martha is nineteen and attending college at U.C. Berkeley. In order to graduate, she is required to take a women’s study elective. In her class, the teacher says that ten percent of the population is homosexual but don’t always know it. Over several months, Martha is encouraged to explore her sexuality and decides she is bisexual.

She then visits her cousin and goes again to Verity. She is interested in joining the church when she encounters these statements from the church website.

Second Group

We believe that church membership is a privilege and not a right and church members are subject to be removed from membership and not allowed to attend the services if they violate the qualifications of church membership as set forth in the Holy Scriptures and the by-laws of Verity Baptist Church.

We believe that sodomy (homosexuality) is a sin and an abomination before God which God punishes with the death penalty. No sodomite (homosexual) will be allowed to attend or join Verity Baptist Church.

Do you see the contradiction that Martha faces? On the one hand Martha is promised that she is saved “there is nothing you can do to lose it”  and “that God wants everyone to be saved” while at the same time she is told that God will punish her “with the death penalty”. This death penalty includes everlasting torment in hell.

“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. “
I Corinthians 6:9-10

But once saved, always saved, right?

In Fact Pastor Jimenez says, No matter what you do after you receive “the gift of eternal life” it can never end. Otherwise God lied, and we know that God “cannot lie”.

Anyone who believes on the Lord Jesus Christ will be saved forever. Being saved is a one time event. All you have to do is ask.
Link: Verity Bible Way To Heaven

Oh and Martha can’t repent because that is works and not faith.

• Verity says that God wants everyone to be saved but how do they wiggle out of this box?
• How can they promise both Hell and Heaven simultaneously to the same person?
• How is someone able to be saved but not able to be counted as a member of the body of Christ?

This is the ecclesiastical version of Star Trek’s Kobayashi Maru.

Given my scenario—which I think is realistic in today’s society—either once saved always saved is wrong or the condemnation of homosexuality is wrong. Since the latter is clearly taught in the Old and New Testaments then the former is clearly false.

Verity’s answer about God having to save you if you say the right incantation (sprinkled with faith) smacks more of Harry Potter or Celtic Druids than the Christian religion.

Reading list

A disturbing window into the soul of Verity can be found on their Links page under the innocuous title of After the Tribulation. This link redirects you to www.framingtheworld.com

Look at the books offered on this website. Many are by authors such as Texe Marrs.

This guy really hates the Jews. Here’s the description of his book Serpent of the Jews

“Amazingly, the Jews have proven to be exactly what Jesus prophesied. They are the People of the Serpent, unregenerated hypocrites whose religion is unparalleled in its treachery, its wickedness, and its unbounded filth. The Kabbalah and the Talmud, authored by the rabbis, are the very code of hell, the doctrines of devils.”
www.texemarrs.com

On his website, Marrs also is promoting ideas like 9/11 was an “inside job” by the Bushes, Mossad, and the CIA. This is John Birch Society craziness on steroids.

Another book featured on this website is The Holocaust Hoax Exposed by Victor Thorn.
So, akin to Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and any other figment of the imagination, the tale of six million Jews being exterminated in National Socialist death camps is nothing more than a deceptive ruse.
Amazon.com review The Holocaust Hoax Exposed

Another book featured on the website is Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion.
Per our friends at Wikipedia, this book was a forgery that was first published in 1903 and is still available in print today.

“Henry Ford funded printing of 500,000 copies that were distributed throughout the US in the 1920s. Adolf Hitler was a major proponent. It was studied, as if factual, in German classrooms after the Nazis came to power in 1933, despite having been exposed as fraudulent by The Times of London in 1921.”
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Protocols_of_the_Elders_of_Zion

Here’s another reason Verity and their fellow travelers reject Dispensationalism. In Dispensational theology, God does a special work at the end of time that causes many Jews to repent and convert to Christianity. I guess if you think Jews will usher in the end of the world and the Great Tribulation, it might not make sense that God would go out of His way to redeem them.


Conclusion
If the historic Creeds of Christianity are used as a guide that establishes the boundaries of the Christian faith, then Verity seems to have hopped the fence in search of greener pastures. At best they are like the crazy uncle that lives in the church basement and at worst they are a Cult that has departed from the faith.

 

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 06/20 at 02:08 AM
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