Breaking News: IFB Preacher Bob Gray, Sr. Admits to Driving Church Members

bob gray driving sheep

IFB sheepdog Bob Gray, Sr. driving church members (sheep) to give, give, give and win souls, win souls, win souls.

It is not often that an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist preacher of the stature of Dr. not-a-real-Dr. Bob Gray, Sr., exposes for all to see the way he really does the work of the ministry. While I appreciate Gray’s “honesty,” something tells me that he won’t appreciate this blog post.

There was a day when the job description for Evangelical pastors included things such as preaching, teaching, visiting the sick and the elderly, marrying the young and burying the old. These days, Evangelicals pastors, especially those who pastor megachurches, inspire and encourage church members. Every Sunday, church members file into the sanctuary hoping to get their weekly fix of Jesus. Pastors, knowing they must rev up congregants to keep them happy and tithing, resort to all sorts of tricks to make sure felt needs are met and every person leaves the sanctuary all jacked up on Mountain Dew, I mean Jesus.  This type of ministry has turned church members into spectators.

Down in Longview, Texas, things are different at the Longview Baptist Temple — a sin-hating, devil-fighting, King-James-Only Independent Fundamentalist Baptist church. The Gray clan — Bob Gray, Sr., and Bob Gray II — have little interest in inspiring, motivating or encouraging church members. Death is certain, hell is real, and Jesus is coming soon, preach the Grays, and they have no time to coddle church members. According to Gray, Sr.’s recent blog post, God-called preachers should drive their church members to do what they want them to do. Gray wrote:

The more I think about the subject of driving people the more I realize how we badly have missed the boat regarding this. In every other area of life we taut [sic] and praise the people who are driven and do drive others for a cause.

We celebrate a coach who drives his team to victory, but criticize the pastor who drives his church to reach their city for Christ. We praise the teacher who drives her students to study harder to get good grades, yet slander the pastor who drives his people to fulfill the great commission as they are commanded to do. We rejoice over the parent who drives their child to practice their musical instruments so that they can become accomplished musicians, but we demonize the pastor who drives his people to give more to God.

Let me ask you a question. Is winning the lost less important than winning the national championship? Tell me why Nick Saban can drive his Alabama football team to win and we love it, but we criticize the preacher for driving his people.

It seems that Gray, now 70 years old, has failed to learn that rarely does driving people result in long-term success. When people feel they are constantly being pushed to do, do, do, and do some more, they will, over time, tire of it and seek rest and relaxation somewhere beyond the incessant pushing of their drug-dealer pastor. I wonder if Gray, Sr. has ever thought about the thousands of church members he has driven right off a cliff? Tens of thousands of people have been won to Jesus through the soul-winning efforts of sheepdog Gray and Longview Baptist Temple (LBT) sheep. Shouldn’t the auditorium of LBT be teeming with members by now? Surely, 30 plus years of driving congregants to give, give, give and win souls, win souls, win souls, should result in overflow attendance on Sunday; yet attendance at LBT is a smidgen of what it once was. Longview Baptist Temple used to regularly publish its attendance numbers, bus rider numbers, and number of souls saved. Today? These numbers are no longer shared with the public. If continually driving church members is the way to do the work of the ministry, why does attendance at LBT continue to decline?

Where did preachers such as Bob Gray, Sr. get the notion that church members must be driven to accomplish great things for God? For many years, Jack Hyles — pastor of First Baptist Church, Hammond, Indiana — held an annual Pastor’s School. Thousands of Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) preachers and church members flocked to Hammond to sit at the feet of Hyles. First Baptist — at the time, the largest church in the world — was the crown jewel of the IFB church movement. Numerous preachers — Bob Gray, Sr. included — took to heart Hyles’ preaching and returned home to drive their churches to give, give, give, and win souls, win souls, win souls. The result? In the 1970s and early 1980s most of the Top One Hundred churches in attendance were IFB churches. Today? Only a handful of IFB churches are on the list. None is anywhere near the top of the list, having been displaced by friendlier, generic Evangelical churches.

The blame for the decline of the IFB church movement rests at the feet of Jack Hyles and those who followed in his steps. Hyles taught these so-called men of God to verbally, emotionally, and mentally abuse church members. As one aged IFB preacher said years ago, We hit our people over the head with the sin stick so often that they duck when we begin to preach. For years, Sunday after Sunday, IFB church members filed into churches such as Longview Baptist to hear preachers tell them that they were never doing enough. Souls for Jesus is our battle cry. Souls for Jesus is our battle cry. We never will give in while souls are lost in sin. Souls for Jesus is our battle cry, sang the Midwestern Baptist College student body when I attended there in the 1970s. Today, the school has a handful of students, and the church which students were required to attend — Emmanuel Baptist Church — is no longer in existence; a church, by the way, that once exceeded 5,000 in attendance.

Thousands of souls were saved through the work of Midwestern college students. Required (driven) to evangelize, students fanned out across the Pontiac and Detroit area, knocking on doors and offering the one-two-three- repeat-after-me IFB gospel to those who dared to answer their knock. Freshmen students, filled with zeal and unaware as to how the soul-winning game was played, were those most likely to devote themselves to saving the lost. By the end of their first year, students who had been repeatedly berated at church, college chapel, and Saturday bus meetings over their poor souls-saved numbers, learned how to lie about their soul-winning conquests. Students were required to report each week how much time they spent evangelizing the lost and how many people were saved. Midwestern even held soul winning contests. Won souls were carefully tabulated and the best soul-winners had their names affixed to a chart.

Many IFB churches have moved on from their hyper-soul-winning days. As members began to burn out, attendance numbers declined. These IFB preachers — considered compromisers by men such as Gray — say they are now focused on quality and not quantity. Other IFB preachers, refusing to admit that they have burned through several generations of church members, continue to drive their churches — demanding more and more from fewer people. The numbers are against them, and in time churches built on the Hyles model of sheep-driving will collapse, and the remaining sheep will scatter, finding pastors and churches who treat them like people instead of a commodity. Whatever my feelings are concerning religion, I consider that those who choose to believe should be treated with respect. After all, they are the ones doing the work and paying the freight. Without them, preachers would be forced to sell vacuum cleaners and hamburgers to make ends meet.

Note

Gray, Sr. recently took to his blog to whine about people saying he drives church members. Gray wrote:

Recently it has been brought to my attention that someone who once worked side-by-side with me in my ministry has criticized me to several men for having “driven” my people rather than leading them. Now, normally I would actually consider that to be a compliment. However, it was obvious that it was not said as a compliment but as a criticism.

It is interesting that someone who would claim to be a friend would say what my enemies also have said about me. This is not something new. Nor is it something that concerns me other than for the fact that it came from a source I would have trusted. Plus it confuses people as to what good leadership is.

People who are told they are “hurting” after being so-called “driven” never knew it until they were told so. We are basically lazy by nature and anyone who will feed that will have to be critical of prior leaders who were driven because of a cause. It is an insult to those who gave their lives to a cause to say they were “driven” without a choice in the matter.

….

So, I say to those who accuse me of driving my people, you are right, I did drive my people. I drove them to do what’s right. I drove them to obey the Great Commission. I drove them to sacrifice for the cause of Christ. I drove them to put the Kingdom of God above themselves. I drove them to be the Christians they should be.

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18 Comments

  1. Steve

    Gray doesn’t post their numbers anymore?? WTFF???

    Reply
  2. Brian

    The numbers thing might simply be gawd’s plan to separate the wheat from the chaff, you know? All those thousands upon millions of believers included some luke-warm believers and not the fire of truth faithful! They had to go and create a smaller, pure strain that is ready to get down the real business of bringing in the wheat!

    Reply
    1. M.Dalton

      It’s absolutely disgusting to read a colum such as this, as I was searching preaching sermons of Dr. Bob Gray Sr this site came up in the search list and I clicked on the link to search through sermons and this article came up. It is apparent that the person writing the article has left their former love just as the bible says and there came a time in their life where they were pushed/driven/bullied, (whatever it is they want to call it) to do right or to do what GOD has commanded them to do which is exactly what the purpose of the IFB Church. Why should they publish numbers? Is it so that people like this could sit in judgment of the numbers? It’s obvious that if there’s a rise or decline in numbers this person would find something to say negative about it either way. Instead of sitting in condemnation of someone who is or has devoted their life to obeying the word of God and teaching/preaching to lost people dying and going to hell why doesn’t this writer take the time to drive people to the truth which is the Bible which is the Word of God, so that they themselves could see with their own eyes what this Pastor is doing is simply what God as commanded us all to do and that is to spread the word of God. If it hurts someone to be called out on their sin, does that mean we aren’t supposed to call it out and confront people with it? Or are you just accept it as being a part of who they are? If it offends someone to be driven to do what is expected of them than we most certainly must allow our own children at home to do whatever they want to instead of what is expected of them. That’s what a Pastor of a church does he leads (his people) congregation to do what’s right what’s their reasonable duty, just as parents with their children do. There is no wrong in what Dr. Bob Gray is or has done, to be “driven “(Definition of driven. 1 : having a compulsive or urgent quality a driven sense of obligation. 2 : propelled or motivated by something —used in combination results-driven.) By someone is not a negative thing but actually positive, I want to be propelled or motivated by someone to do right! As this article written clearly shows that not everyone is going to “DRIVE” people to do what the bible clearly teaches us to do. There will are many people here on earth who will have anyone to believe that what, the Word of God says is our reasonable duty is actually too much to ask of people. Obviously according to this article if your church pastor isn’t coddling you and telling you that your sin is ok or handling your fragile ego like they would a baby then they don’t love and care for you. I will be the first and maybe only one to say if MY CHILD is doing something wrong I will call them out and I will tell them it’s wrong and I will show them what is right with love and compassion and sometimes even broken hearted over their wrong/sin, just as the pastor of this church that is being spoken so condescending about is or has been trying to do, along with any other IFB church pastor or church memember who truly believes the Word of God.

      Reply
      1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

        Uh, the writer of this article is an former Evangelical pastor who is now an atheist. I am very aware of Gray’s tactics and methodology. Several readers of this blog are former LBT members/TBC attendees.

        I am sorry that you feel being treated like shit is “normal.” Hard preaching is psychological abuse that causes great harm and manipulates people into thinking that being yelled at, dressed down, and verbally abused is normal — all part of God speaking t people. In what other realm do we consider such behavior normal?

        Reply
        1. M.Dalton

          To be honest, I personally don’t feel that being preached to about my sin or any other sin is a comparison to being treat badly or like crap in your words. I do however see it just as a teacher/student or parent/child situation. That hopefully means teaching them right from wrong and when they do wrong let them also know that there are consequences to their actions. That’s simply the same thing this Pastor has done for his church, I wouldn’t count myself a very good parent if I neglected to teach my child & he also wouldn’t be a very good Pastor if he did the same. The screaming and yelling from the pulpit of the church doesn’t discount his love for the people, just as when I am correcting my child there are times I need to be stern and need to be passionate about certain things, but also in the end you still show your love and compassion and empathy for them as a parent. A Pastor of a church is no different, they step down from that pulpit and are no different than you or I. But it would be neglecting their duties and their God given position of authority overseeing the church if they didn’t teach and preach the Word of God. I’m not trying to start an argument with anyone, as I would rather have an intelligent conversation with anyone. I do believe everyone is entitled to their opinions and in my opinion being taught truth has never been abusive yo me.

          Reply
      2. Zoe

        It’s too bad you read the column M. Dalton. I wonder why the wonderful Holy Spirit who resides in you didn’t direct you away from this column?

        Reply
        1. M.Dalton

          Zoe, Why would the Holy Spirt lead me away from this article? I have a mind of my own I control myself & what I think, see, feel or any other sense that most people have. I’m not sure if you’re misinformed or just not aware but they Holy Spirt doesn’t control me or anyone else.

          Reply
  3. Brian

    Just another fleeting thought: What happens in patriarchal Christianity is now spilling over into politics with The Donald hooking into the misery of Americans and giving them a Satan to hate, all Muslims and Mexicans to begin with… If you watch the special on Trump done by 5th estate

    it clearly shows Trump inciting violence in his speech, wanting to punch people in the face and throw them out…. Trump represents the same patriarchal bullyism that dominates the Independent Baptist movement. He encourages fear and fantasizes about crushing his enemies in the exactly the same fashion as preachers speaking for God at the pulpit. All this is happening out in the open now in the secular world but it is showing the extremes that relate to faith-based politics. Given their way, the holy rollers will destroy any semblance of human freedom that remains. Donald Trump is attractive to the extremists in religious circles and outside them too. Be very afraid, USA. (Canadians now joke among themselves that we will need a wall between Canada and the States of Trump becomes president! It started as street theatre, this presidential bid but now it is a very painful revelation about the state of the USA.)

    Reply
  4. Ted

    I would agree with this post

    Reply
  5. Jeremy

    God bless Bob Gray Sr. Sometimes people need to be herded in the right direction. Any shepherd knows this!

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      People need leaders not abusive, controlling, authoritarian herders.

      Reply
      1. M.Dalton

        But where in all of the context of the article does anything prove that he is abusive or controlling? All I can see is him preaching and teaching the Word of God to a congregation that chooses to attend his church, as everyone knows we all have free will, if someone is unable to handle the bible and it’s teachings and get offended by it then it’s probably just not a very good idea for them to attend church. Beyond that point why would anyone go to such EXTREME lengths as to devote a whole website or any amount of their time or energy into talking negatively about people who are out there doing something that you say you don’t believe in anyway? If you don’t believe it & they aren’t harming you in anyway whatsoever than why does it even matter to you?

        Reply
        1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

          You wrongly think I don’t know anything about Bob Gray. I do. He is an arrogant, bullheaded, narcissistic megalomaniac. I am friends with several people who attended his church and college. That Gray staunchly defends Jack Hyles and supports serial sexual abuser David Hyles speaks volumes about the man. I spent a number of years in the IFB church movement. My wife’s father is an IFB pastor. She has numerous IFB preachers, preacher’s wives, and missionaries in her extended family. I am well versed in all things IFB. The reason I am so despised in IFB circles is that I dare to publicly share the secrets of the movement. How dare I write about what goes on behind closed doors. As I have stated many times, I know where the bodies are buried. Because I do, your attempts to make Bob Gray, Sr, into some sort of nice, kind, polite, sweet, honest, thoughtful preacher falls on deaf ears. If I were to put together an IFB Asshole Hall of Fame, Gray and his demigod Hyles would be at the top of the list.

          You speak of free will. How about church teens? Do they have free will? Are they free to get away from a man constantly haranguing them over their dress, music, hair, etc, ad nauseam? Much of what is preached in IFB churches isn’t found in the Bible. Personal opinions are given Biblical cover through proof texting. And since the pastor is the “man of God” congregants are expected to shut up, obey, and eat bullshit sandwiches Sunday after Sunday.

          https://brucegerencser.net/series/do-evangelical-beliefs-cause-psychological-damage/

          The reason I write about these things is because Evangelicalism, especially its more virulent Fundamentalists strains, is psychologically harmful and causes people to be intellectually stunted. Scores of people have been materially harmed by IFB churches, preachers, evangelists, and colleges. I want to do all I can to make sure that Evangelicalism and the IFB church movement dies a swift death. I realize that most people are not going to become atheists, and that’s fine. However, people need to know that there are kinder, gentler expressions of Christianity they can be a part of. No need bow at the feet of the Bob Grays and Jack Hyles’ of the world.

          Reply
          1. M.Dalton

            I agree that if someone feels that their church pastor is abusing them than it would be best to find themselves another church to attend, a church where nothing preached from the pulpit will offend them and any “so called sin” won’t be mentioned or called out so they are careful not to hurt someone’s feelings to where they feel like they are being emotionally abused. As far as teenagers attending church, from what I have personally experienced there aren’t any teenagers that ride buses to get to church that are forced to be there. From my own personal experience what I have seen is children getting on buses to get away from a home environment that is sometimes isn’t the best type of situation and many just enjoy the reprieve of that. Being a parent myself I do know that making a teenager or forcing them to do just about anything is next to impossible so if the parent isn’t attending church with the teenager I do find it highly unlikely that they are being forced to do anything that they don’t want to do. On the other hand if you are a child/teen of a parent that attends the church then basically that comes down to parenting whether you make your child attend or not, which is no different than any other “rules” a parent imposes on their child. The age of 18 children of these parents that attends IFB churches are able to make their own decisions to what they choose to do or not to do with themselves for the rest of their lives. I for one don’t despise you, simply because your opinion is different than mine doesn’t make me feel one way or the other about you, to me you’re still a human being as am I and would never try to disrespect your opinion but make statements and ask questions to simply understand why you seem to feel the way you do. I know that everyone has a back story and their feelings are valid no matter what they are, because it’s what you feel. What I am saying is I don’t completely understand why you feel such anger & hatred towards people that you yourself haven’t personally met but have only been told second hand stories from others who validly have their own opinions of those people because they was at some point sitting in their congregation. But as I said that is from “their experience” not your own. As far as anyone supporting David Hyles where is that shown or written that it’s actually true? Is it because he came to a church and was recognized for being there? That doesn’t show his support for anything that the man has been accused of, if someone comes to my home to visit with someone that lives there besides myself I don’t ignore that they are there I acknowledge their presence and greet them and keep on about my business, so saying that by simply acknowledging someone’s presence is supporting them or being ok with someone’s conduct or behavior is the same as you previously said “Personal opinions are given Biblical cover through proof texting” except it wouldn’t be through biblical cover it would be through atheism cover, because that would be your own opinion as where mine would be that the man was simply being acknowledged as being present in the congregation, would it not?

          2. Concerned individual

            I’m so sorry you feel this way. I’m sorry for anything anyone did to make you feel like you do because you are obviously bitter. Trust me I’ve thought the same thing sir. I am actually a member of the Longview Baptist Temple right now and I encourage you to come and see how much it has changed. God is real and He loves you.

          3. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

            Facts make me feel the way I do. Lots of facts. Lots of interaction with former LBT members.

  6. Jason Gibbons

    Thank God for the old school men of God who aren’t scared of coward bloggers and drive/inspire people to the truth and drive people to do what’s right! Bob Gray Sr and his wife are both fighting cancer and yet they are still doing all they can to see as many, never dying souls, spend eternity in heaven! Mad respect for this man of God and shame on those who try to hurt them! Just my 2 cents

    Reply
    1. Brian

      Jason is right and leaves out much Biblical truth to soften the blow on you bitter atheistic bloggers. He does not outright mention that people are evil and need to be abused to wake up to their evil. Bob Gray Sr. and his wife will continue to attack the Devil and harm people as much as God leads them and they are proud to serve! Old school men give a kid a good lickin’ when they need it and they do the same for sinners! Can’t you see the the Devil roaming around???
      Listen Gerencser, in the old days when a man was a man, we Christians would have listened to your vile bile spewing and then taken you out behind the church for some good old lessons from God almighty. Jesus, the Prince of Peace, has an army behind him and we intend to root out liberal deviants and those who refuse to love God and honor the Constitution as interpreted by God-fearing souls! You will be driven, Gerencser, driven to salvation like the rusted old jalopy you are and you will be made new again in Christ Jesus. You are just an old wreck who NEEDS to be driven. Can’t you get simple English!
      The only thing I question, dear Jason of God’s Army, is the phrase you use that goes: “Mad respect for this man of God etc.” I believe that the use of “mad” is incorrect here, isn’t it? Or do you mean to encourage us to go crazy nuts in support of the doctor no matter what?

      Reply

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