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You Must Be Born Again to Believe the Bible

Several years ago, in response to one of my letters to the editor of the Defiance Crescent-News, local resident Nancy Dietrick sent me a postcard:

post card from nancy dietrick

Instead of writing me a letter as several local Christians have, Dietrick decided to send me a postcard. I have no doubt local post office workers enjoyed her message to the village atheist.

What confused me was the notion that once I was “born again” I would understand the Bible. Isn’t that backwards? I thought one had to embrace the gospel message in the Bible in order to be born again? Doesn’t this require me to at least read some part of the Bible? I am so confused.

Not really.

Dietrick seems to forget that I was once “born again”. She seems to forget that I was a Christian for 50 years and a pastor for 25 of those years. I am quite certain that I know the Bible as well as anyone in Northwest Ohio. I have read the Bible countless times. Add to this the Bible reading I did as I prepared my sermons, it is safe to say that Bible comprehension is not my problem. In fact, the Bible is one of the main reasons I am now an atheist.

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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  1. Avatar

    I was “born again” three times. Seriously. A lot of good that did me. The bible still made no sense to me – I understood it, but that didn’t mean it “made sense”. If anything, the more I understood it, the less sense it made. 🙂

  2. Avatar

    Bruce, you need assurance of your salvation.
    Ha ha! I heard that for years in the IFB church and was always confused by it. Was the person not “saved” the first time? Is this even in the bible? Who made the person even doubt they were “saved”?
    Sooooo glad I left that mess behind!!

  3. Avatar

    Who do Christian proselytizers forget that so many of their targets are former Christians? Why do they seem to think that they’re the first ones sharing the message? Ugh.

  4. Avatar
    Stephanie Hammond

    I was always told that in order to believe the gospel message the holy spirit had to “work in your heart.” That still requires something outside of yourself so isn’t God still picking and choosing? Then at the same time I was told you could ignore the holy spirit, so what does that say?

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    I can’t imagine how irritating it must get for you, Bruce. I have only had a couple people tell me I need to have “spiritual eyes” to understand.

    (and recently a very polite and concerned threat of eternal hellfire).


  6. Avatar

    This is so annoying. I try to remind myself that people who preach to me think they are being helpful and thoughtful (though they are not). Sometimes this even helps. And I live in New England, not an area known for having a lot of highly religious people.

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