Repent Richmond Baptist Association and Supporting Churches

A plea must be issued – a call to repentance. Where are the prophets today? Where are the men and woman who speak and stand for truth? There are few to be found in Richmond, Virginia – the bastion of powerless faith. Let me say, “Repent Richmond Baptist Association, First Baptist Church of Richmond, Grace Baptist Church, Westover Baptist Church, and dozens of others for your pronounced resolution regarding the Ginter Park Baptist Church debacle.” You are heretics (holding ideas contrary to orthodoxy) and the very people of apostasy (abandoning belief).

No wonder there are so many dead, declining, and plateaued churches in the Richmond Baptist Association – many of which will cease to exist within five years. You’ve become social clubs rather than churches. You’ve embraced culture rather than the gospel. You are a people of dry bones in a valley that so desperately needs life. Shame on you pastors, church leaders, and members who actively and knowingly lead people astray. Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many – you are these false prophets (Matthew 24:11).

No longer are you uniquely aligned with the gospel, but embrace a pluralistic faith expression. Culture is now a god. The Spirit departed long ago from these congregations and this association, but its leaders are too spiritually blind and unable to discern the absence. You are congregations of a conjured faith no longer holding to the uniqueness or exclusivity of Christ as you distort the gospel.

The definitions have blurred. You are people without boundaries. You’ve chosen to pervert historic Baptist principles to placate social action and affirm positions these principles where never intended to support or justify. You’ve chosen to hold these distorted principles as superior to our sacred text – Scripture. The Bible is no longer held in high regard in your gatherings.

Perhaps another significant issue is leadership within the Baptist General Association of Virginia. The recently elected president is both a leader and a member of First Baptist Church of Richmond, Virginia – perhaps the leading church in this apostate movement. How will his influence shape the future of Virginia Baptists? Both the president and vice-president are responsible for nominating leadership positions throughout the state association’s structure. Will his nominations reflect those sympathetic with the heretical teaching of his home church?

To people of undefiled faith, if your churches and association will not repent, you need to find a church with an association that both teaches and adheres to Scripture. Find a church that believes and promotes orthodoxy, the gospel, and the exclusivity of Christ. Your influence is at stake as is faith. If these organizations will not repent, defund them financially. Every dollar you contribute through these organizations fosters heresy and you are accountable for your stewardship.

I don’t think I’ve ever spoken out so boldly about local (neighboring) churches, pastors, or an association and calling for repentance, but I can’t remain silent. My position may not be popular with many, but I’m not running for a popularity contest.

34 thoughts on “Repent Richmond Baptist Association and Supporting Churches

  1. Dana Allison

    Wow, Brad! Thanks for sharing your POV. I am interested in learning more. Will research.

  2. Deanna

    Yes! Truth is truth. The vote was so disappointing. It could have been such a turning point for so many churches. Thank you for standing up for the word and not going for the popularity vote. Scripture isn’t always a comfortable thing.


  3. James Mitchell

    Dr. Hoffman, my friend Brad, God bless you for you outright support for the gospel, regardless of it’s popularity. You are correct in your statements and I congratulate you on having the courage to assert it!

  4. Alvin Peyton

    God Bless you Brad…for your leadership, Godly stance, and boldness to speak what is right. It’s shameful how society has continued to “bend” God’s Word to try to make modern day perversions “fit!” Thanks for being you. Darlene and I are 500% behind you…and proud to have you as our Pastor and friend!! Easter Blessings…see you tomorrow!!

  5. Paul Frederick

    What an incredible stand for truth Brad! You will surely be attacked by those bound by political correctness and contempt for truth. Your statements are born from more than just a mere point of view. Rather, I believe they emanate from an incredible personal conviction and commitment to truth. Your statements may not be popular to those for whom they are intended, but I absolutely guarantee that they are to those of us who share your convictions. I stand with you completely and without reservation on this issue.

  6. Don

    Great Blog. We have to accept that fact that truth will not be popular.
    “If there is anything that links the human to the divine, it is the courage to stand by a principle when everybody else rejects it.”~ Abraham Lincoln

  7. Rett Copple

    Very bold! I am quite shocked and encouraged by your call of repentance. I wish more pastors and elders in leadership positions in Bible believing and teaching churches would take a public stand and rebuke what is going on here. The salt has indeed lost it’s saltiness in these congregations and now is indeed being trampled under foot by the culture!

    Ordaining a homosexual however is only the result of the issue, not the source. The source is that the generation before them forsook the Word as it’s sole authority and became autonomous authorities of their own personal religion. The drift into liberalism is slow and subtle. May we defend and protect the gospel for future generations!

  8. Bill Shaw

    Finally someone in Virginia Baptist leadership who takes a stand – recognizing the difference between the sin and the sinner – hating the sin but loving the sinner – not popular in this “PC” culture but being the SALT of the earth never was. Thanks Brad for being a LEADER in Christ. Grace!!

  9. Bill Anderson

    Thank you Dr. Hoffmann. Keith Green was an inspired Christian songwriter and singer in the 1970s. In one of his songs, he prayed for the “world that was asleep in the dark”, then he prayed for “the church that was asleep in the light”. It is time for the church to “wake up” and act to like the church of Jesus who after saving the woman caught in adultery told her “…to go and sin no more”. The church is responsible for recognizing sin and condemning , not ignoring it. The church needs more leaders to speak out like you have.

  10. Brad Hoffmann

    Hey Bill and Bill,
    Thanks for the comments. I think we have some churches and leaders that are “asleep in the light.” You are both right – it’s time to wake up and be the salt!

  11. Kenneth Hunt

    I stand with you, not behind you on this Brad. Thank you for speaking out and speaking up. ‘All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field. The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever’ And this is the word that was preached to you. 1 Peter 1:24-25 …God gave them over to shameful lust. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these things but also approve of those who practice them. Rom. 1:26-27, 32 NIV Stay strong for God’s word Brad. It all falls on John 1:1 s/ Kenneth Hunt – Wauchula, FL

  12. Elmer Brown

    Families are the bedrock of our society and culture. Destroy the family and our nation will inevitably crumble. As you are aware, there are powerful forces in America that are determined to “redefine” the family structure that must be stopped!

    There is a disastrous epidemic destroying America’s families that stems from ongoing cultural, legal, and legislative attacks on the family structure itself.

    Radical groups want to redefine marriage and the family – and, in far too many instances, they are succeeding! Pro-homosexual groups have been engaged in a decades-long crusade to change their depiction in the media, to advance propaganda convincing Americans that same-sex “marriage” is natural, and to popularize a belief that homosexual behavior is somehow “normal.”

    I am deeply concerned that grassroots conservatives and Christians are throwing in the towel in the ongoing battle against the pro-homosexual propaganda machine… against liberal legislators and their outrageous proposals designed to undermine natural marriage and families… and against leftist, agenda-driven judges who are increasingly ruling against natural marriage.

    I am also concerned that some conservative leaders are backing down in their defense of natural marriage and families while making overt concessions to the pro-homosexual community. Apparently, many are doing so to avoid the appearance of being “judgmental” or less than supportive of so-called “civil rights.”

    We need more people like Pastor Hoffman that will NEVER stand by silently as the Obama administration, activist judges, or radical pro-homosexual groups attack the God-ordained institution of marriage and the framework of the family!

    The battle for marriage and family is intensifying but we MUST persevere!
There can be no middle ground in this fight. We have no choice but to win the battle in support of marriage and family. Losing one of the most important cultural battles of our lifetime is simply unthinkable and will destroy the Church, top to bottom!

  13. Jen Calhoun

    “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” John Adams

    “The only thing needed for evil to prosper is for good men to do nothing.” Edmund Burke

    ” In matters of style, swim with the current. In matters of principle stand like a rock “Thomas Jefferson

    “It can not be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation of ours was founded, not by religionist, but by Christians … not on religions, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ.” –Patrick Henry.

    “It is when people forget God that tyrants forge their chains.” Patrick Henry

    “The Bible is worth all other books which have ever been printed.” Patrick Henry

    “…………Take the Bible out of our schools and there would be an explosion in crime.” Benjamin Franklin

    “It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.” George Washington

    “God grants liberty only to those who love it, and are always ready to guard and defend it.” Daniel Webster

    “Education is useless without the Bible.” Noah Webster

    “Corrupt or incompetent men will be appointed to execute the laws; the public revenues will be squandered on unworthy men; and the rights of the citizens will be violated or disregarded. Noah Webster

    “If a republican government fails to secure public prosperity and happiness, it must be because the citizens elect bad men to make and administer the laws.” Noah Webster

    “To educate a man in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society”
    ~Theodore Roosevelt

    “Pastors in particular and Christians in general were so influential in our move for independence.”
    ~ John Adams

  14. Anonymous

    Why don’t you leave the homosexuals alone?

    Just because homosexuality is unnatural, immoral, illegal, unhealthy, unBiblical, unsafe, atypical, unGodly, ànd unwise doesn’t mean it’s wrong.

  15. Anonymous

    Have you ever looked in the mirror? How quickly you seem to forget what you look like if you do. If your church isn’t a social club, I don’t know whose is. Your stance is flat out discriminatory and desperate. The homosexual issue is low hanging fruit and is baby food for your sheep. Homosexuality seems to be the only sin you care about. Why not tackle some larger (and real) injustices in the world? Your self-righteousness is appalling.

  16. Brad Hoffmann Post author

    Thanks for the comment Anonymous – not sure if there’s anything to comment here other than your opportunity to anonymously vent. My stance isn’t discriminatory – it’s a part of my worldview and framework which incorporates a sexual ethic – though others may have a different framework. This story isn’t about acceptance of homosexual behavior or even same-sex marriage, but about the ordination and affirmation of clergy behavior. I don’t agree with it. As a pastor, I have the right to speak to this topic due to the fact it involves my tribe. This isn’t about about self-righteousness, but righteousness.

  17. J.P.

    I have to agree with Anonymous. After reading the blog post I find it hard to believe this is the stance Jesus would have taken. It seems his reference point was, well, himself. If someone who was gay, or a gambler, or a prostitute, or a tax collector, or a thief, or a rebel, etc. wanted to serve in the ministry and had all of the qualifications and met all of the (mostly manmade) requirements for the position, then they should be allowed to serve. I don’t recall Jesus ever saying that gays couldn’t be ministers, but all other imperfect people can. It seems a slippery slope to identify this one issue as a disqualifying criteria when in fact all are flawed (or sinners).

    It’s too easy to say that allowing gays to serve isn’t scriptural. If it’s the case, then quote the relevant scriptures (and not just one handpicked verse). Your post is filled with non-specific, general and blanket statements and that’s just not credible. So, you lose me on this issue both on content and presentation. We want those called to serve to be allowed to do so, don’t we? I don’t see how one’s sexual orientation factors in at all. One could make the case that a prospective pastor that lives in a big house with a fine car and all the amenities of American life should also be disqualified from ministry because they seem to favor possessions over ministry, or at the very least the trappings of American materialism could cloud their judgment and ministry potential. As another example, could a person divorced and remarried serve in the ministry? I’d really like to see a well-articulated narrative on how one’s sexual orientation diminishes their ability to serve. It seems like we put up a lot of arbitrary and irrelevant criteria as qualifications for ministry.

    I’m curious to know if you rec’d a response from any of the churches you called out, particularly FBC Richmond which has long been held as a cornerstone church in the region. Calling them out in a public forum seems a strange way for a Christian and/or church to act. That approach seems to lack a scriptural basis. I don’t believe that’s how Christ would have approached the issue and of course He didn’t have any New Testament scripture to work off of.

  18. Brad Hoffmann Post author

    Thanks for the comment. I don’t disagree that God does and can utilize anybody regardless of their sin background or their current struggles. We’ve all sinned and have a particular sin bent or propensity for sin. The distinction comes in one’s grace response. For example, the woman caught in adultery (since specifically mentioned) is forgiven, but Jesus tells her to go and leave that lifestyle (behavior). This is a call to change behavior. There is a difference between same-sex attraction and homosexual behavior. One doesn’t have to act on the attraction and I know people who struggle with attraction and choose not to act upon it. No where in Scripture do we find any affirmation of homosexual behavior though we do find references that do not embrace the behavior. This local issue is about affirmation among leadership.

    There are numerous examples scattered between both Testaments where people or organizations were called out publicly for unorthodox beliefs and practices. Additionally, we are Baptists and our non-heirarchial heritage allows for this. This is a public debate and all parties have been public with their participation and positions. And yes, I have dialogued with representatives from the specific church you referenced.

    This is obviously a hot-button cultural issue as well as one within the church. I suspect there will be debate for some time.

  19. RJ Powell

    Wow. Such passion! However, brother, you have forgotten that you are not the Judge and you do not speak for the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church or for God (i.e. Don’t put words in my mouth or God’s.). God became incarnate in Jesus Christ to show that the way of life is through supreme humilty (unto death even!). Perhaps you should try following the Master’s example rather than trying to take his place. (Note: Warnings of hellfire do not count as acts of love. Don’t fool yourself.)

  20. Brad Hoffmann Post author

    Thanks for the comment RJ. Agreed, I am not the Judge. But, christians are to judge other christians – especially in matters of false doctrine. We live in accountable community – a tribe. When there is a serious breach of orthodoxy, we’re called to speak out.

  21. Anonymous

    I belong to one of the churches you called out in your post. I myself am not homosexual, but I know many people who identify as homosexual, bisexual, asexual, queer, transexual, et cetera. Guess what? They are as human as you are. I’m still young, but I have seen many marriages crumble, whether they ended in divorce or not. Most of those marriages were heterosexual marriages.

    I have witnessed many of the homosexual couples in our church over the years who have found in us a safe haven to worship God and to raise their families. They did not choose to be gay. Who would choose to be gay when people like you exist? Therefore, how can you call on them to change who they are? How dare you say that only heterosexual people can worship God and become ordained?

    Many of those gay couples have children who wouldn’t have homes, or who would be in much worse situations if they weren’t being raised by those loving people. How can your commenter, Elmer, or anyone argue that these are not “good” families? Where in the Bible does Jesus condemn anyone for loving anyone else?

    I understand you will never change your position because you are close-minded. But being Baptist is about the autonomy of the church; therefore, it is the prerogative of Ginter Park and the other churches you defamed to ordain whoever they want. Why should it affect you? Isn’t it your responsibility to treat other people with Christian love, rather than slandering them because you disagree with their theology? There must be something the RBA can do with its time and resources that is more beneficial than voting on whether or not to kick out one of its members.

  22. Brad Hoffmann Post author

    Thanks for the comment. I’d like to stay focused on the issue at hand. I’m not debating same-sex marriage, heterosexual marriage, or someone that struggles with same-sex attraction, but what I am addressing is the practice of affirming behavior. I’ve read and dialogued extensively regarding the various positions on this argument. Biblically, one is hard pressed to affirm homosexual behavior – regardless of interpretive practice. Secondly, what is love? Is love affirming someone in action or behavior you believe to be harmful or inappropriate? Is love affirming someone in any demonstrated behavior? That’s not love. Do I have a voice in what happens in RBA? Do I have a voice in how others in my tribe act out? Absolutely! What happens in RBA affects me and my member organizations. The Baptist distinctive of autonomy is not a license to whatever a church decides. There are consequences when orthodoxy is dismissed or tribal boundaries are ignored. Just as a believer exercises the priesthood of the believer, you can not dismiss the believers’ priesthood. We are accountable to one another whether organizationally or personally. It is unfortunate that the behavior of one church is ultimately responsible for the demise of significant ministry in Richmond.

  23. Geri Ungurean

    Hello Brad,

    I am a Christian freelance writer. My focus is ordinarily on heresy and apostate churches. I had dealings with Pastor Jim Somerville from Richmond’s FBC. I touch on the experience in this article. I have since found out many more things about him. He has accused me of slander, when all I am doing i exposing his heretical teachings. He told me that Allah and our God of the Bible are one and the same. He said that Muslims simply see God through the lens of the Qur’an or Muhammad, and that Christians see Him through the lens of the Bible or Jesus Christ. This was during a phone conversation – after he told me of his beliefs, I asked if I could give him many Scriptures and passages from the Qur’an which would show him that Allah and God are NOT the same. Here is the article in which I name Somerville.

    In Christ,
    Geri Ungurean

  24. Jeremy Hobbs

    This pastor is spreading heresy. We are trying to battle the world view attack of God and His Word. We have a non believing friend we have been witnessing to in love and they saw Jims sermon after the Supreme Court decision on gay marriage online and bought it “hook line and sinker”.

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