An Independent Baptist Hate List

love not the world

The Bible says in 1 John 2:15,16

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

Independent Baptists/Independent Fundamentalists Baptists (IFB) are taught to be anti-cultural, to hate the world. For all their talk about salvation by grace, Independent Baptists preach a works gospel. If church members don’t obey the Bible, specifically the pastor’s interpretation and application of the Bible, they are considered rebellious, out of the will of God, backslidden or WORLDLY.

bought-by-the-blood, sanctified, sold-out, filled-with-the-Holy-Ghost, King-James-Bible-carrying Independent Baptist shuns the world. Instead, he embraces an alternative-world, also known as the church family. Being a good member of the church family requires conformity to the pastor’s (I mean God’s) dictates. If the pastor hates something you better hate it. After all the Bible tells us we should love what God loves and hate what God hates. Funny how people mistake the pastor for God.

What follows is a list of things I told church members they should hate. This list evolved over time, hitting its peak in the early 1990s and it slowly shrank after that. I find this list quite embarrassing, but it is what it is.

  1. Roman Catholics
  2. Charismatics
  3. Pentecostals
  4. Arminians
  5. Calvinists
  6. Denominational Baptists
  7. MTV
  8. Television
  9. HBO
  10. Secular radio
  11. Contemporary Christian music
  12. Christian TV
  13. Pagan holidays
  14. Rock and Roll music
  15. Long hair on men
  16. Short skirts on women
  17. Pants on women
  18. Shorts on women
  19. Smoking
  20. Alcohol
  21. Hollywood
  22. Atheism
  23. Secularism
  24. Humanism
  25. Pluralism
  26. Socialism
  27. Communism
  28. Liberals
  29. Progressives
  30. Democrats
  31. Bill Clinton
  32. Liberal Christian colleges
  33. Female preachers
  34. Effeminate male preachers
  35. Effeminate men
  36. Hen-pecked men
  37. Haughty women
  38. Church members who disagree with the pastor
  39. Premarital sex
  40. Extramarital sex
  41. Christmas
  42. World Council of Churches
  43. National Association of Evangelicals
  44. Billy Graham
  45. NIV
  46. The Living Bible
  47. Dancing
  48. Card Playing

The number one hate for the Independent Baptist? Self!

The Bible says we are to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Jesus. Human beings, according to the Bible, are wicked, vile, evil, depraved sinners. We deserve having the wrath of God poured out on our heads. We deserve judgment and hell.

Jesus, the son of God, came to earth, died on the cross, and rose again from the dead, so we could have our sins forgiven and go to heaven when we die. Once God saves us, we are to spend the rest of our life groveling before a thrice-Holy God, praising him for delivering us from our wickedness.

Every week Independent Baptists go to church and listen to their pastor tell them more things they need to do, more works they need to perform, more laws to obey.  Do this, do that. If you really, really love Jesus you will______________, their preacher says.

Loud sermons. Pulpit pounding. All for dramatic effect. It’s as if God is trying to pound the preacher’s words into their head. Evidently the Holy Spirit works better if the preacher yells and is theatrical.

Is it any wonder that many of people raised in such an environment have low self-esteem? Many Independent Baptist preachers even preach AGAINST having self-esteem. Church members are taught to hate self so God can get all the glory. We wouldn’t want a human being taking credit for anything, right? Well, there’s one thing church members can take credit for. Any good that happens — God gets all the credit. If bad things happen or someone screws up, it is all on us. God ain’t taking any credit for the bad stuff.

I have spent the last ten years trying to find myself. The flesh and blood Bruce Gerencser who spend a lifetime in the Evangelical church is dead. My being, my self-worth, was swallowed up by God, the church, and the ministry. My life was defined by the call of God. Nothing else mattered.

I left the ministry and told God to take a hike. At the time of our divorce, God and I were not on speaking terms. God owes me some money, but he refuses to pay up. All I asked for was some of the treasure I had in heaven. Since I am going to hell when I die, I thought it would be nice to have the treasure now so I could get some good use out of it.

Bit by bit I am finding out who I really am. It is not always pretty, but it is authentic. Some people don’t like the new Bruce Gerencser. They want the old  Bruce back. They still cling to the hope that my apostasy is just a phase and that I will come back and be a better than ever pastor. What a testimony I could have. I could milk the  “From Preacher to Atheist to Preacher” story for all its worth.

There is no going back. The Apostle Paul taught me to run the race that is before me and that is what I am doing. The longer I run, the more distant Christianity appears.  I don’t know what lies ahead, but I DO know what lies behind and I have no desire to return to the leeks (onions) and bondage of Egypt.

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40 Comments

  1. Heather

    Just curious if you considered Pensacola Christian College too liberal back in the day.

    Reply
  2. Monty

    Yeah, I never understood why god got the glory on good stuff happening but not the blame for the bad stuff (I mean, after all, isn’t god in control of everything???).
    I remember when I ran a thrift store for the ministry I worked at. When the store did good financially that day, the asshole who did the finances or the general manager would say “Glory to God!”, but when we had a slow day they would ask “What did you do wrong?”. Never mind we didn’t advertise one bit..Never mind I worked just as hard on the slow days as the busy ones..I would get ugly glares when I would say “Isn’t God just as responsible for the slow days as the busy ones?”
    Again, is it any wonder why I feel so free after walking away?

    Reply
  3. mikespeir

    I wonder if reverse psychology would work on them. Let’s tell them we hate all those things, too. 😉

    Reply
  4. Ahab

    Here’s to your freedom, Bruce!

    That’s quite a hate list there. I think it would have been easier to list things congregants weren’t supposed to hate!

    Reply
  5. Steve

    I noticed “racism” was missing? WTF??

    (Yeah, I know, lol:)

    Reply
  6. Eileen

    I noticed Feminism was missing from your things to hate list. I’m VERY disappointed in you, Bruce! 😉

    Reply
  7. j

    scary list. I have a question ….. I recently discovered Stephen l anderson of faithful word baptist church. how do people like him allowed to exist? he prays for your president’s death???? it is sinful for a man to pee sitting down???? and on and on and on ……. why do people go to this guy’s church ??? I heard a comment today I like …. religion is all about control…..

    Reply
  8. matilddaa

    From my distant teens, I recall using lipstick and eye make up ensured you a special place in hell. Face powder was borderline, not sure about handcream or moisturiser. High heels were a definite no-no as were bright colours, denim and hair dye. Cinemas or any form of public Arts were pure evil. Any hobby – like your great photography or bird watching Bruce – was definitely suspect as was donating to any secular charity, from a disaster appeal to a puppy rescue shelter!

    Reply
  9. Dennis

    Supposedly they all claim to ‘know Jesus’ who, in John 14:6 tells them, “He is the way, the truth …”; then in John 8:32 He tells them, “know the truth and the truth will make you free”. So, if they KNOW Jesus and Jesus is the TRUTH and knowing the TRUTH makes them free, where is the freedom?

    This Jesus they all claim to know and love also tells them in Luke 4:18, that He came to “proclaim release to the captives” and “to set free those who are oppressed” and yet it seems they are more captivated and oppressed than before.

    Once again these prevaricators, who say they believe their book of fairy tales, show they have no idea what their fairy tale tells them. In fact, they turn right around and do the opposite.

    It is so-o-o-o liberating to have been set free from the chains which once bound me in the guise of freedom.

    Reply
  10. Marlena

    I can’t help but wonder what would happen if you could go back in time to talk to yourself in the past, given that you now reflect things you used to hate before you freed yourself.

    Reply
  11. Scott

    Does their hate for us go up with more of those items pertaining to us? And what does it mean if one likes more than half?

    I’m so glad that my brain found the IFB philosophy so repugnant and crazy that I never even got close to that rabbit hole. I do my best to help support those who come out of this world that makes Orwell’s “1984” world look like a theme park.

    I do my best to try think that there are parts of religion that can help, after all my parents are believers who have done a lot for their small town and are NOT IFB.

    I regularly listen to my local Christian station which rarely moves from politics that reflect that list, just to know what is still be spread out there.

    Oh and Bruce you missed one: “Obama”. My local radio station is of the firm opinion that he is the anti-Christ and Satan combined.

    Scott

    Reply
  12. Marlowe

    I think I have heard sermons against everything on the list plus more! And you’re definitely right about “self”. Near the end of my fundamentalist days my pastor preached against Facebook. Basically because it’s selfish and selfishness is bad!

    Reply
  13. Jim

    It is written that Ye cannot serve both God and mammon.

    In your post, there were many claims against God both unscriptural and bitter.

    I remember another man who claimed to be saved, and yet was apostate and bitter at God, basically a rebel resigned to hate God because of what He allowed into this man’s life. He had to die before he would stop pretending he was in charge of his own life and destiny. This is a common fake-out people use on themselves so they can label God the bad guy, and put down those who follow Him instead of embracing the world.

    If the Bible is what it says it is, and God is who He says He is, then you have much to fear or, should I say, much to hide from. If the Bible is just another fairy tale, then I have nothing to lose by being a fool for God in this life.

    Will you have to die before your excuses are laid out for all to see? Or will you repent the Bible way? Time will tell. It always does. No second chances at that point.

    Of course, there is the possibility that you were never Biblically saved (by grace, not works as you claimed), which would explain both your heart and mission in life. In which case, death will not improve your situation.

    I prayed for you.

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      *sigh*

      Reply
  14. jasonc65

    That explains why God appointed Obama. God hates the IFB movement. I wonder if it will be Trump next. He is the epitome of worldliness. Serves them right.

    Reply
    1. Brian

      So God appointed Obama? Oh dear, we are in trouble. Do you think the vote means anything or is it just Jesus way of playing with our strings?

      Reply
  15. jasonc65

    The doctrine of separation is one of the most damning lies. I am a Christian who reads Harry Potter, plays a video game, listens to a variety of music, and does all sorts of things fundies hate. Let them hate on. But I accept God’s grace and proudly use it.

    Reply
  16. Christopher Diaz

    “If church members don’t obey the Bible, specifically the pastor’s interpretation and application of the Bible, they are considered rebellious, out of the will of God, backslidden or WORLDLY.”

    So much for “priesthood of the believer.”

    Reply
  17. Ronald

    I am so sorry that you have divorced your FATHER for the commandments of men. Jesus spoke against the spiritual leaders just the same. Your problem is that God is God, your FATHER and you cannot really divorce HIM. I believe that HE is still looking for you. Your reason is a faulty one and you should go back to HIM and hear HIM out. You need to seek the truth from HIM and by reading your Bible with the help of the Holy Ghost, God will show you the way.

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      *sigh*

      Reply
      1. Zoe

        *double-sigh*

        Reply
  18. Brian

    HE LOVES YOU, BRUCE! DO NOT DIVORCE YOUR FATHER WHO YOU ARE MARRIED TO!
    Sheesh, it gets weird at church, doesn’t it…

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      Ya think? ??

      Reply
      1. Brian

        yet another twisty-twist to Bible-bangin’ Christian life…

        Reply
      2. Tony

        No eastern orthodox? Or do the IFB churches not know that they exist?

        Reply
        1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

          I left the IFB church movement in the late 1980s. We certainly would have visited an Eastern Orthodox church had there been one near where we lived. Best I can remember, there were at least two Greek Orthodox churches in Fort Wayne. We developed long lists of churches we possibly wanted to visit. No IFB churches because we already knew what they were all about — no thanks.

          Reply
          1. Tony

            I am referring to the hate list, the Eastern Orthodox churches aren’t on the IFB hate list

          2. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

            Oops, story about that. I should have paid attention to what post you commented on. Regarding the Hate List, IFB churches tend to group Orthodox churches — east and west — with the Roman Catholic Church. And some Protestant groups such as the Church of England/Episcopal Church are considered watered down Catholics.

          3. Tony

            I think the guy behind Jesus-is-savior.com also thinks Lutherans are “watered down Catholics” too

  19. Justine Valinotti

    I’m surprised that none of the liberal, secular democracies of Europe are on the list. I mean, by IFB standards, wouldn’t the French, Germans, British and Scandinavians be considered heathens, or worse?

    Reply
  20. James Carter

    I got one for you Bruce what you think of the black fundamentalist preacher and why you never hear nothing about them.

    Reply
  21. Naota

    The argument of “sigh” is the argument of a hateful little child.

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      *sigh*

      Reply
    2. Troy

      What’s he supposed to say?… “Go read some Bart Ehrman!”

      The fact is that theistic commenters are on a completely different wavelength. Sometimes no argument is warranted because nothing can penetrate the different mindset.

      Reply
  22. Brian

    Well first of all I will say that you are lying about independent fundamental Baptists, we don’t hate anyone, God tells us to hate the sin not the sinner, we are all born sinners and the only way to Heaven is to accept Jesus Christ into our hearts as our Saviour and ask him to cleanse us from all of our sins.
    I believe that the reasons that people don’t like Baptist are because generally Baptist try to stick as close to what the Bible teaches, well people don’t like that because they want to find every generally Baptist try to stick as close to what the Bible teaches, well people don’t like that because they want to find every excuse that they can to sin, they don’t want to serve God, being a Christian is very hard no one is denying that, there are so many temptations, it’s very hard.
    Anyway, it is a flat-out lie to say that Baptists hate people, if any Baptist or anyone from any denomination is hating someone, then they are going against what God teaches.
    You go on to mention a list of things that you told people to hate, well I know that you very well know that most of the things on that list our sins, drinking alcohol is wrong, taking drugs inappropriately is wrong, the Bible teaches modesty, therefore nakedness is wrong, the Bible also teaches that homosexuality and the abuse of natural affection, as well as premarital sex is wrong. I’m really not sure why you are turning away from God and his teachings it is quite sad 🙁

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      “I’m really not sure why you are turning away from God and his teachings.”

      Because there is no God.

      Reply
    2. Michael Mock

      I honestly think the concept of “hating” is often confusing in this context. Hate is an emotion, at least the way most people conceive of it. So forget about Baptist beliefs being hateful. The larger point, the important point, is that they are hurtful. Harmful. They do real, measurable damage to real people in the real world.

      And that violates the injunction to love your neighbor as yourself. It mistakes love your neighbor as yourself for make your neighbor behave as your do, which is something else altogether.

      Accidental damage is still damage. If I step on someone’s foot while trying to keep them from stumbling into a campfire, I still owe them an apology.

      Reply
    3. Brian

      Brian, a message from another Brian, You have not the faintest idea of doublespeak, do you… You claim to love and yet your words preach hatred, a worthless worm under a perfect ruler Bully, the punishment paradigm that has served us so well our prisons are busting at the seams. You live in black and white as if the human condition was not as colorful and varied as it is. This Brian rejects your utter nonsense and your foolish parroting of babble verse ideas. You are a slave and support human slavery, as the Bible teaches. It is quite sad.

      Reply
      1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

        Brian, hopefully you have read the comment rules. If not, Evangelicals are given one opportunity to say whatever it is they believe God has laid upon their hearts. With that in mind, please say whatever it is you need to say and be on your way. Preach away, brother, but only one sermon.

        Thanks,

        Bruce Almighty

        Reply
        1. GeoffT

          I’m interested in the smoking taboo. It’s a conversation I saw a while back in which a fervent evangelical (he’s also a flat earthier) defended his life long smoking habit, because there’s nothing in the bible to forbid it. Needless to say, because one can twist the bible anyway you want, others said that it absolutely is prohibited (I can’t remember which passages were invoked.)

          My guess is that as smoking is now more generally associated with those at the less fortunate end of the social scale, which is where, presumably, most evangelicals and Baptists are (I’m guessing) that many fundamentalists must have this conflict.

          Reply

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