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IFB Pastor James Tester Sends Me a Message

pastor james tester

Today, I received a “wonderful” comment from Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) pastor James Tester. Tester pastors Triad Baptist Church in Greensboro, North Carolina. In 1989, Tester moved to Hammond, Indiana to attend Hyles-Anderson College. In 1996, Tester left the Jack Hyles’ IFB mecca and moved to Longview, Texas to attend Texas Baptist College — an unaccredited college started by sycophant (ass-kisser, lackey, toady, bootlicker, fawner) Bob Gray, Sr., a Hyles-Anderson alum. After graduating from college, Tester worked for Bob Gray, Sr. at Longview Baptist Temple. In 2003, he was sent out by Longview Baptist to start a new church in Greensboro. North Carolina. (Just what Greensboro needed, another Baptist church, right?) Tester’s children both attended Texas Baptist College — now called Texas Independent Bapst Seminary and Schools.

As you will see from Tester’s comment, he’s a Bob Gray, Sr. fanboy, and much like his idol, he’s comfortable with passive-aggressive behavior and name-calling. I suspect Tester runs his church much like Gray, Sr. ran (lorded over) Longview Baptist back in the day. Today, Longview Baptist is pastored by Gray, Sr’s son. The church’s name has been changed to Emmanuel Baptist Church, and most observers believe the son has moved the church away from some of his father’s extreme behavior. It’s worth noting the Gray, Sr. no longer attends his son’s church. Make of that what you will.

With that background in mind, I give you Pastor James Tester’s comment (all spelling and grammar in the original). My commentary is indented and italicized:

Lol! Check out the author, look at his photo, read his bio and simply consider the source of this article! End of story!

What’s with IFB preachers and their obsession with my looks, weight, body shape, and penis size? Okay, maybe not that last one, but damn, these guys seem to think that if you don’t fit some sort of approved “look,” whatever you say can be dismissed out of hand.

What, in my bio, suggests that no one should listen to me? If anything, my bio reveals that I have a lot of preaching and ministerial experience; that I know what I am talking about.

What Tester is doing here is classic misdirection. Instead of actually interacting with what I have written (the message), he focuses on me personally (the messenger). All that matters is whether what I write is true or is an accurate portrayal of the IFB church movement in general and “Dr.” Bob Gray, Sr. in particular.

Tester says “end of story,” but I ain’t going anywhere. I will continue to expose the IFB church movement until I die. Just today, I had an investigative reporter from a major newspaper call me to talk about IFB churches and their pastors. I am always delighted to provide background information. Who better to get it from than a man who spent years attending and pastoring IFB churches?

Everyone that knows anything about an aggressive soul winning Independent Fundamental Baptist church knows that there are always disgruntles. You almost have as many walking out the back door as you have coming in the front door. There are always those that get offended at the preaching (truth) with many becoming bitter.

There were many times in the Bible where Jesus preached and the people were cut to the heart and drew Him to the edge of the city to stone Him and He escaped out of there hands. Conviction is powerful!

Tester admits that IFB church growth is a zero sum game; that as many people go out the back door as come in the front door. In fact, IFB churches continue to decline attendance-wise. Scores of large IFB churches are shells of what they once were or have closed their doors.

Tester would have us believe that the people leaving IFB churches are disgruntled; that when they could no longer stand getting their toes stepped on, they fled to friendlier confines.

While it is true, some congregants do become disgruntled and leave for other churches, but to suggest this is always the case is laughable. Men such as Gray, Sr., Jack Hyles, and James Tester psychologically abuse church members, bombarding them three times a week with preaching meant to inflict harm. People leave because they are tired of being abused.

Tester, true to form for IFB preachers, absolves Gray, Sr., Hyles, and I suspect, himself, from any culpability or accountability for how their preaching and behavior harms others.

I was there as a member in the most successful years of LBT through the early to late 90’s. I graduated TBC (The Bible College). I worked on staff in the early 2000’s. Sadly, I have seen people come and go. I personally know why many left. I have seen what they became after they left. It was shocking and very sad to see peoples lives totally destroyed, not by Brother gray or the preaching of truth but by sin and rebellion. The result was broken homes, divorced marriages, drug addiction, alcoholism, criminally convicted of crimes etc. Don’t blame God, the church or Bro. Gray for that.

Tester asserts that those who left Longview Baptist Temple have turned to sin and rebellion against God. Why, their departure from the IFB Mecca of Texas, led to broken homes, divorce, drug addiction, alcoholism, and criminal behavior. Can’t blame God or Gray, Sr. for how people turned out after they left Longview Baptist.

Lost on Tester is the fact that Gray, Sr. and Jack Hyles and countless other IFB pastors such as Steven Anderson and Tester himself, preach a truncated, bastardized gospel; a gospel called 1-2-3 repeat after me or decisional regeneration. Simply put, salvation is procured by assenting to a set of propositional truths and praying the sinner’s prayer. Nothing else is required or demanded from sinners. Just “believe,” and go on your merry way.

This kind of gospel, of course, makes no lasting difference, thus the constant turnover. As long-time readers know, Gray, Sr. was a consummate bean counter. All that mattered to him was the number of souls saved. Based on my calculation of the number of people “saved” at Longview Baptist, every person in Longview, Texas is now saved.

The real enemy has always been Satan, sin and people like the author of this article that is trying to sow discord among the brethren.

Ah yes, the real enemies are Satan, sin, and Evangelicals-turned-atheists such as Bruce Gerencser. Again, Tester refuses to see things as they are, blaming others for the decline numerical decline of the IFB church movement.

Tester accuses me of “sowing discord among the brethren.” In other words, my writing causes turmoil among IFB preachers and congregants. And to that charge, I gladly plead guilty. Nothing would make me happier than to see the IFB church movement implode, and church members leave for churches that preach a healthier, kinder, loving faith. Who doesn’t want to put an end to the abuse, right? If every IFB church in the United States closed overnight, it would be a good day.

As for the author having many friends from the old LBT, I can only say, that birds of a feather flock to together. If they are truly “friends” then they are the same in many ways. Think about that for a second. The Bible says in Amos 3:3, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” No one that is a so-called friend to this author (who is a self proclaimed atheist) is right with God (Let that sink in). Anyone that is feeding this author with this kind of trash is like Simon in the book of Acts 8:23 when Peter said to him, “For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity.”

Yes, I have “spies” everywhere; people who share with stories about the IFB (and Evangelical) churches in their communities. One such person was the late Steve Gupton. Steve attended Texas Baptist College and the Longview Baptist Temple years ago. Others have contacted me and shared their own Bob Gray, Sr. horror stories. Don’t like people talking out of school? Treat people better. Stop verbally abusing and manipulating them.

I wonder if Tester has bothered to consider the fact that, according to his soteriology, I am still a Christian. I may be a “self-proclaimed atheist,” but according to the gospel preached by Gray, Sr., Hyles, and Tester, I am still a born-again Christian. Once saved, always saved, right? Sweet baby Jesus, Heaven will be my home someday. Tester will likely be my next door neighbor. Awesome!

I’m not surprised by this kind of junk being put out there, if this author was alive in Jesus day he would be saying the same kind of trash about Jesus. He would be criticizing the way Jesus spoke to the Pharisees when He called them a generation of vipers, saying that He is mean and not compassionate in His preaching. He would have written about that fact that He spent time with the sinners and the outcasts of the day saying that He has double standards and lives like those that He choses to be around. He would write articles slamming His doctrine saying that He was teaching and preaching against Old Testament law which is contrary to the writings of Moses. Jesus had many that falsely accused Him in His day. One of His right hand men that worked with him for years, Judas Iscariot betrayed Him. They came out of the woodwork at his mock trail and lied about Him, His teachings and His ministry.

Tester is suggesting that Jesus being persecuted in his day is the same as Bob Gray, Sr. and other IFB preachers being “persecuted” today. My, oh my, what a distorted view of one’s importance.

May this article be an encouragement to those who still believe the Word of God, go soul winning, and believe in the old time tried and proven paths of the KJB. The devil doesn’t like it when we obey Scripture, preach and live truth. That is why articles like this are written. We must be doing something right!

Tester thinks that my opposition to Gray, Sr. and the IFB church movement is proof of his and their rightness; that the only reason I write about them is that they must be doing something “right.”

I will leave it the astute readers of this blog to decide who is “right.” I can say that I have been contacted by scores of current and former IFB pastors, evangelists, missionaries, professors, and church members over the years. Their stories paint a picture of a movement that can be best described as a cult. Tester, of course, will never believe that he is a cultist. Until some sort of personal or theological crisis causes a chink in his certainty, there is no way of reaching him (and others like him). Certainty breeds arrogance, as readers can see, Tester is full of both.

Bruce Gerencser, 63, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 42 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen awesome 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. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

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7 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Julie S.

    Oh yes, such a typical IFB response, especially from the BG bunch. It’s interesting to note that old man Gray was SEETHING when Junior preached the “Spiritual PTSD” sermon in April 2019 where he apologized for the church’s past history of driving its members like slaves just to build an earthly empire instead of ministering to their souls. That outraged old man Gray to the point of nearly disowning Junior (he maligned Junior all over the internet), who then went on to change the church’s name & various outreach programs, which just further exacerbated the rage. All of that lot are just so arrogant & full of themselves – charlatans! As many folks as old man Gray has “won to Christ”, their church SHOULD be running an attendance in the tens if not hundreds of thousands by now!!!

  2. Avatar
    BJW

    Once again, I don’t see a speck of “love your neighbor as yourself” from Tester. The people I know who are kind Christians do try to cultivate love for their fellow man. Of course, so do atheist, agnostics, humanists, and others. Tester is blind to his self-worship but it is quite apparent.

  3. Avatar
    ObstacleChick

    So it was all good for Jesus to hang out with “sinners”, but any True Christian who is friends with the Apostate un Chief Bruce Gerencser is not right with God. Huh. That’s interesting…..

  4. Avatar
    Brian Vanderlip

    When the fellow above, pictured at the pulpit (is it Pastor Jester?) reveals his very round face and rather large body… (see where I’m going here?)…
    Ad hominem jabs as preface to any argument are the very bedrock of Christianity. That is why the first thing that a preacher must do is convince a hapless pew sufferer that they are dung, doo-doo, worthless and wasted flesh. After the suffering victim admits (welcomes more abuse,) the ad hominem attacks stop briefly for some soothing prayer to ask Jesus to take the wheel. Oh, relief! Finally I don’t have to drive anymore…. But wait! We’ve only just begun! Come back on Sunday for a replay. Next Sunday’s sermon: ‘You are as a worm without Christ, backslider!’
    The IFB not-so-merry-go-round, is on the way to the graveyard of history. As more and more of us let it sink into its own harm, it dwindles and falters. Tester rages further but the harm he does will finally only be to himself and the empty pews.
    But nevermind all that… Let’s get back to the ad-hominem:
    Look at the huge forest of flowers placed smack-dab in front of that overgrown blowhard at the pulpit. Imagine what HE smells like, needing so many flowers to protect the church from his odor. The dear ladies of the church never say a word, just add to the ‘bouquet’, more flowers every week! P.U.!

  5. Avatar
    dale m.

    Tester should realize that no god has to spend his entire life running and hiding from the authorities. What kind of lesson does that provide?!? Stand up and be counted. Don’t worry about being arrested and killed they tell us. He even escaped being stoned. That is not a man defending his convictions. It’s a man who, deep down, has his own personal doubts about what He was teaching. On his “death bed”, Jesus was in spiritual conflict. He didn’t die for anyone. He died thinking He wouldn’t have to. His last words …. “Father! Why doest thow forsaketh thee?!?” ….. pretty well sums it up. He was just another cult leader like so many before Him. Doesn’t Preacher Tester even glance at the bible once in a while ?!?

  6. Avatar
    Yulya Sevelova

    Pastor Tester failed the test. I was reading that F.F.F. blog before my phone went kaput, and thought about the sly tones about one of those well known people’s sons forcing a child to eat their own vomit, it was the one who did jail time. And is now in the pulpit again. Christa Brown, an ex-member of IFB, wrote a book, “This Little Light of Mine,” several years ago. She goes into detail about the sick behavior these church guys indulge in. It is NOT friggin’ “sowing discord among’ brethren”’, Tester ! Validating the survivor’s right to tell what was done to them, by people who at the very least, should know better, and have NO excuse left. It’s just chicken manure to defend the criminal acts these people did, and still do, when they think no one is looking. The fault is YOURS, Tester ! Your job is to protect those under your authority, and you never did.

  7. Avatar
    Yulya Sevelova

    Oh, and “Dr.” Tester, what about David Hyles forcing a child to eat their own vomit, this being done by a man who “may” have been involved in the killing of his current wife, Karen’s toddler son !! What’s the matter with YOU ?? Where is your common “American decency” that I grew up hearing so much about ? David Hyles hates kids, that much is plain . He’s not qualified to pastor anybody. Much less run a seminar for this “restoration,” so-called.

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