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Evangelical Pastor Says I am Sick Because God is Judging Me

peanut gallery
Email From the Peanut Gallery

Another day, another email from one of God’s chosen ones informing me that they have plumbed the depths of life and determined that I am either saved, but backslidden, never saved, or once saved, and now lost. Today’s email comes from Grant Hodges, retired pastor of Grace Baptist Church (now Grace Church) in Lebanon, Indiana. Hodges pastored Grace for 30 years. According to Hodges, I am still a Christian, and because of my wayward ways I am under the judgment of God.

Here’s his email:

email from grant hodges

Text of Email:

Name: Grant Hodges


Comment: Sorry you’re sick.

I’ve known at least one other evangelical pastor who denied the faith. He really surprised me (a colleague). I’m a retired Baptist pastor and so know the challenges of the pastorate.

I also know as do you, that once a person accepts Christ, they belong to Christ. I figure you accepted Christ.

So you also know that lapsed Christians are promised a tough row to hoe in this life, although NOT in the next. 🙂 This explains your present status.

This question in your life is not one that concerns me. We will see who is right. And when I see you in heaven I will be changed, and won’t feel the slightest bit snarky about it. We will both rejoice.

God’s Best to you,
Grant Hodges

Time: July 14, 2016 at 10:45 pm
IP Address:
Sent by an unverified visitor to your site.

I always love it when people assume that I am sick because I am in some sort of backslidden state or in rebellion to God. Never mind the fact that my health problems started almost 20 years before I left the ministry and Christianity, As is often the case with Fundamentalists, Hodges spent very little time attempting to understand my story.


  1. Avatar
    Becky Wiren

    🙁 Well, I begun having symptoms of fibromyalgia when I was 23. I was a church-going, believing Christian. I’ve had my illness for 34 years, at least the outward signs. And most of those years I was a Christian. So I’m with you Bruce, this dude doesn’t have a clue.

  2. Avatar

    Wow, that’s fairly “undickish” for a Fundamentalist, so maybe he actually does care a little bit??? Hope so. But he doesn’t have a clue and apparently doesn’t want one, or worse, may not even know what one is, or what to do with one if he had one.

  3. Avatar
    Karen the rock whisperer

    Clueless in Lebanon. Sounds like a good title for a movie, doesn’t it?

    I kind of understand why Christians don’t take us nonbelievers at face value, but it still annoys the heck out of me. I can’t possibly be right, because that would open a huge can of worms for them; therefore I’m deceived. Gah.

    You know, I wouldn’t DREAM of telling a Christian, “You only believe because… [insert stuff here]”. That would be rude, and I don’t like to be rude. We’re all on this lovely round ball together, and we collectively pretty much need each other. And yet Christians don’t seem to have the same sensibility.

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    Allan G

    Bruce, perhaps a Fundy answer to your point that your illness started many years ago would be that God foreknew your faith reversal and predestined you to have health problems later. What an awesome and loving God!!

    • Avatar

      Which would directly contradict the awesome blessing of free will that god supposedly imbued mankind with … but then when has contradiction ever stopped the faithful?

  5. Avatar
    Grant Hodges

    “Don’t believe anything you hear, and only half of what you see.”, I was taught by my father. Unless its in the Bible, then you believe it explicitly. It’s easy to make general high-handed comments about the Bible and Bible believers. When one gets into the specifics and are forced by circumstance to give a contextual, non-anachronistic hearing to Scripture, it gets a little tougher. The present rioting and looting under the heading of protest is really an exercise in creative anachronism. By taking some comment of Lincoln out of context modern critics can make Lincoln and enemy of the slaves. Sober reflection demonstrates the folly of this practice whether about monuments or the Savior.

    • Avatar
      Bruce Gerencser

      You wrote: “Don’t believe anything you hear, and only half of what you see.”, I was taught by my father. Unless its in the Bible, then you believe it explicitly.”

      “Special pleading (or claiming that something is an overwhelming exception) is a logical fallacy asking for an exception to a rule to be applied to a specific case, without proper justification of why that case deserves an exemption. Usually this is because in order for an argument to work, a proponent needs to provide some way to get out of a logical inconsistency — in a lot of cases, this will be the fact that the argument contradicts past arguments or actions. Therefore, proponents introduce a “special case” or an exception to their rules. While this is acceptable in genuine special cases, it becomes a fallacy when a person doesn’t adequately justify why the case is special.”

      • Avatar
        Grant Hodges

        Special pleading as a form of propaganda is often in the eye of the beholder. I made an assertion which needs no justification to about half the people on the planet. Glad to see you are still alive. Payday someday.

        • Avatar

          Grant, the only thing you’ve convinced me of is that you’re a coward and a villain, that you actually support something so vile and evil like punishing people for following or not following some particular faith or doctrine. Let me guess, you wouldn’t even attempt to talk your “god” out of it, out of fear of being punished. That’s the extent of your morality. And if you actually think that half of the planet worships whatever paper idol you’ve carved out of some book, then you’re fooling yourself. Or simply lying.

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    Yulya Sevelova

    Grant Hodges……I have some real beefs with certain kinds of Christians, especially in America and the West. I’m well aware that imprecatory “prayer” is going on Bruce Gerencser’s behalf. Pat Horner no doubt is an enthusiastic practitioner of that sick obsession. If,as you have said, that “once saved is always saved,” then no worries right ? Do you also practice such “prayers”? Would you try to talk God out of judging someone, and if not, why not ? A lot of people have autoimmune disorders, myself included. Food in this part of the world does taste good, but it isn’t good for you. I can feel the effects when I have too much of that stuff. Inflammation has a lot to do with this class of diseases. Stressors make it worse. Don’t you know by now, that being mean to someone will drive them away from you ? Not toward you ! Why do you harp on this subject, knowing that idiots like Horner, Bullen, Withers,etc. have the opposite effect of what they claim to want. I notice that any time a famous Christian dies, there are always people from that group proclaiming that they are in hell burning right now—Billy Graham, Oral Roberts, Paul Crouch—take your pick. If you act like a normal,decent person, most would listen to the Gospels. But for some insane reason, only the crazies like,say, Steven Anderson want to step out. Remember, Mr. Gerencser was really into church life from a young age, and didn’t seem to dislike it. I think of the Texas experience, which is a common one, for too many people !! He didn’t have to move to that place with this family, and could have stayed in Ohio. Pat Horner asked him to go, and sadly he DID. I read about this account a few times, and Pat Horner was jealous of the -then Pastor Gerencser. Because he was kindly to the congregation, not dominating or abusing them, as so many ministers do. So his personality was more appealing than those other guys. Sure sounds like competition and and a whizzing-contest to me ! Nagging and being a pompous person has the opposite effects. It’s repugnant, driving people away. Plus, I have known of many pastors who’s children turned away from said faith, as soon as they outgrew being hit. Why ? The preacher’s abusive ways drove them right out of church. Getting rid of that Southern -fried theology would be a great help right there !

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