Donnie Romero, an adherent of the New Independent Fundamentalist Baptist Movement and controversial founder of Stedfast Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas, resigned due to sex with prostitutes, gambling and marijuana use.
“I just want to let you guys know that I’m stepping down as the pastor of Stedfast Baptist Church,” Romero revealed to his church as his voice quivered in a video posted by the church on YouTube on Jan. 2.
“I haven’t been ruling my house well. I’ve been a terrible husband and father. I’m the one at fault in this situation. My wife and my kids they are not to blame. I love Stedfast Baptist Church, love my family. This is the best decision for my family and this church to make,” he said as a baby cooed in the background and his congregation listened in silence.
“I’m very sorry for the hurt this may cause people, the discouragement. I’m so sorry. I love you guys. I wish I didn’t have to get to this point,” Romero added before walking off the stage.
Pastor Steven L. Anderson of Faithful Word Baptist Church in Tempe, Arizona, who ordained Romero before he went off to start his church and helped walk the congregation through Romero’s resignation, said the preacher had “disqualified” himself from being a pastor because of his sins.
While he did not immediately reveal what Romero’s sins were in the Jan. 2 video and discouraged the congregation from asking about details, he later revealed the sins in a follow-up video posted to YouTube.
“When you’re in a public position of trust like being a pastor and you commit major sins then it just isn’t right to sweep it under the rug. And so these things have to be confronted head-on. Having integrity is important,” he said. “Basically the major sin involved was being with prostitutes. And then there were also marijuana and gambling also discovered.”
Romero gained national attention for praising the murder of 49 people at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, in 2016. He also became a lightning rod for criticism by LGBT advocates such as the Southern Poverty Law Center.
In a video he posted after the attack at the Pulse night club, he said: “These 50 sodomites were all perverts and pedophiles and they are the scum of the earth and the earth is a little better place now.”
“There is nothing authentically Christian about hate. Stedfast Baptist Church is not a church; it is a hate group. Nothing they say or do would be recognizable by Jesus, the Prince of Peace. End of story,” he wrote.
Romero’s church, which was founded in 2014, describes itself as "old-fashioned, has traditional music, and is King James Bible only!"
The church adds, "The new evangelical movement in America has been a complete disaster. The worldly, rock and roll, contemporary-style churches are not getting the job done when it comes to preaching the Gospel to every creature, teaching Bible doctrine, and preaching hard against sin. We do not pattern our church after these trendy social clubs. Stedfast Baptist Church stands for the old paths and zero compromise preaching.”
It is part of the New Independent Baptist Movement, which is not a denomination. Churches associated with it are independent "and each Pastor submits himself to the word of God and the Lord Jesus Christ ... Each Pastor may see things somewhat differently than the other Pastors, resulting in differing beliefs on various minor issues,” the movement explains on its website.
They all agree, however, on doctrinal tenets such as hard preaching, anti-dispensationalism and anti-worldliness, which includes opposition to lifestyles such as fornication, adultery and homosexuality.
In a 2016 sermon in which he preached against sin, Romero revealed that his family was so against being influenced by the world, they did not even own a television.
Pastor Jonathan Shelley was ordained on Jan. 6 to replace Romero.