Just when I think I’ve heard it all, a Christian comes up with a new argument to deconstruct, discredit, and minimalize my story. Yesterday, a man who considers himself the smartest man in the room told me that none of the churches I pastored were Evangelical; that, in fact, all of them were cults, and I was a cult leader. How this real man of genius came to this stupid conclusion is beyond me, but I thought I would make an attempt to respond to his baseless assertions.
First, let me list the churches I pastored and their denominational affiliations:
- Montpelier Baptist Church — GARBC
- Emmanuel Baptist Church — IFB
- Somerset Baptist Church — IFB, Reformed Baptist
- Community Baptist Church — IFB, Sovereign Grace
- Olive Branch Christian Union Church — Christian Union
- Our Father’s House — Non-denominational
- Victory Baptist Church — Southern Baptist
I also preached revival meetings, youth rallies, and special services for varying flavors of IFB and non-denominational churches, along with churches affiliated with the GARBC, Baptist Bible Fellowship, Freewill Baptists, Southern Baptist, Assemblies of God, Pentecostal, Church of the Nazarene, and Christian Union.
Every one of these churches and sects was Evangelical in doctrine and practice — without exception. No amount of deconstruction or gaslighting will change this fact.
Every church and denomination had an official statement of doctrine. I was required to embrace and preach the doctrines found in these statements. I did so without objection. Why? Because I believed these things, at the time, to be true.
Take the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message, the official doctrinal statement of the Southern Baptist Convention, the doctrinal statement of the National Association of Evangelicals, the New Hampshire Confession of Faith, and the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith. I wholeheartedly embraced all of these documents.
Let me give Pastor Bruce Gerencser a test to determine if he really was a circumcised Evangelical:
- Do you believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative Word of God? Yes
- Do you believe that there is one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit? Yes
- Do you believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, and in His personal return in power and glory? Yes
- Do you believe that for the salvation of lost and sinful people, regeneration by the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential? Yes
- Do you believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit by whose indwelling the Christian is enabled to live a godly life? Yes
- Do you believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost; they that are saved unto the resurrection of life and they that are lost unto the resurrection of damnation? Yes
- Do you believe in the spiritual unity of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ? Yes
Taken from the official doctrinal statement of the National Association of Evangelicals.
Anyone suggesting that I was never was an Evangelical is an agenda-driven liar out to obfuscate my past.
If this man still doubts my Evangelical creds, I offer him up unassailable proof: I have Jesus & Bruce 4ever tattooed on my back — my Evangelical tramp stamp.
So there . . . 🙂
Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 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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