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Shelton Smith, An IFB Preacher Who Ignores His Neighbor and Tweets About It

Shelton Smith, the editor of the Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) paper, Sword of the Lord, sent out a tweet that said:

shelton smith tweet

 I responded:

bruce gerencser twitter response shelton smith

IFB preachers:

all thought Smith’s tweet was so wonderful that they made it a favorite.

I have a modern-day story for Shelton Smith and his merry band of let ’em starve, but make sure they pray the sinner’s prayer preachers. Maybe they will recognize what book the story is from:

But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?

And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Murfreesboro to Nashville and rummaged in dumpster to find a morsel of food to eat.

And by chance there came down Shelton Smith that way: and when he saw him, he sent out a tweet to his peeps, not bothering to stop, lend a hand, or buy him a meal.

And likewise another IFB pastor, when he was at the place, came and looked upon him, and said “is there not a rescue mission this man can go to?”

But a liberal Methodist, as he journeyed, came where the hungry man was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him. And went to him, bought him a meal, brought him to a Motel Six, and took care of him.

And on the next day when he departed, he took out $100.00 and gave it to the motel owner, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.

Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that had fallen on hard times?

And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise. Luke 10:29-37

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 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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    • Avatar
      Bruce Gerencser

      No, but some of my peeps are showing their love 🙂

      As I told one man, we have all likely ignored a homeless man. But, we don’t proudly tweet about it and get hive fives from our buddies. It is the crassness of the tweet that is offensive.

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    John Arthur

    Hi Bruce,

    Do these IFB preachers rely more on Paul (if they don’e work, neither shall they eat) rather than on Jesus? The quote is offensive, as you state. These guys claim to follow the compassionate Jesus, but do they actually heed the parable of the good Samaritan? I hope they do, but judging by their responses, I doubt it very much.


    John Arthur

  2. Avatar

    I’m still trying to figure out why he tweeted it. And why all the other preachers liked it so much. It’s odd. What was the point? How did this merit a tweet? If he and the brethren are so fascinated and incredulous to see or hear of a man digging in a dumpster, then they really need to broaden their human horizons. There is no shortage of shocking suffering in the world. to see a preacher so shocked by suffering just confuses me. the very last person in the world that needs to be shocked by suffering is a clergy person.

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    I wouldn’t assume this person was down on his luck or homeless (though he might have been). One of my fondest memories was my Dad bringing home ice cream from the local grocery’s dumsters. Amusing and delicious.

    • Avatar
      Becky Wiren

      I thought the same thing Troy. Yes, the man could be homeless. OR…he could be like my dad or my husband. When I was a child, my dad gave me a little doll and said he found it in a dumpster behind the store! Yes, it was a perfectly nice and I was thrilled. My husband once found me 2 pairs of leather shoes that were in perfect shape and perfectly comfortable. He got them out of the dumpster behind our townhouse.

      Even so, this minister found it contemptible, amazing, or hilarious that someone was digging through a dumpster, no matter the reason. I do NOT like this man, or any of his pastor friends who liked his tweet.

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    Although I am not IFB anymore I think Dr Shelton Smith is one of the good guys. I still do not drink alcohol based on his sermons from years ago and my life is better for it . He spends time trying to stop new liquor stores from coming into his town which is one of the number one cause of homelessness . A quadrupling of the alcohol taxes or an outright ban of that poison would go along way to helping the homeless. I try to donate to the shelter instead of giving them cash. I guess I would disagree with dr smith because I would favor having some government run shelters like a big dormitory where the homeless work as guards cooks cleaners to say for free have a place to shower and job training every penny spent would save dollars later. I digress but dr smith does help by tirelessly attacking the liquor industries where the new evangelicals promote social drinking to keep members. Atheist agnostics Christians Jews Muslims would all prosper by staying away from booze . Thanks for the article Bruce

    • Avatar
      Charles S. Oaxpatu

      Jeff. No one that makes fun of those Jesus called “the least of these” should be defined as a “good guy.” Yes, I know about the “No True Scotsman.” But we are talking about how people define other people. I grew up as one of “the least of these,” the son of a chronically ill father and a mentally ill mother, neither of which could get adequate treatment. My mother could not work because of her mental illness. My dad could work, but no one would pay him more than minimum wage because he was a Type 1 diabetic with an unusually hard to control case of it. The insurance companies told my father’s employers that they were going to up their insurance premiums if they put my dad on the shop floor to work. They did. The premiums were upped, and my dad had to work minimum wage his whole life to cover the employers’ upped insurance premiums.

      I guess booze is some sort of big deal with you—–maybe you are a recovering alcoholic? It is hard being a member of the 15 percent. Personally, rather than banning alcoholic beverages, I would like to see churches teaching their congregation members about the 15 percent factor and how to drink responsibly—-and what all the life pitfalls can be if a person does not drink responsibly.

  5. Avatar

    Don’t really believe the punishment paradigm is the best one for most of us, Jeff. Addiction is a muddy action, well, abreaction, to deep pain. Booze/drugs helps lessen the pain temporarily. The answers are perhaps in the pain suffered and not so much in the self-medication. You cannot outlaw suffering and closing liquor stores just denies focussing on the real problems. IFB preachers like to blame and shame and spread misery. How about shutting down poverty and using the church offerings to feed and clothe druggies? How about Shelton trying the Christianity of giving it up to others, giving it all up?
    Booze is just another thing, Jeff, just another thing. Excess is perhaps what you are speaking of really? The excesses of this world (like IFB preachers who preach it from within their pretty suits, their loving hatred…)

  6. Avatar

    I guess I didn’t make it clear I feel the taxes on booze should reflect the cost to society or make it illegal . The alcohol industry gets a free pass. As a free thinker I appreciate a warning against alcohol from dr smith . I think not drinking is a positive from the Muslim Faith and the IFB I just want to give them a thumbs up

    • Avatar

      I don’t agree, Jeff. Why would you focus on booze? I like to have a beer in the summer when I am working outside and I enjoy red wine in the colder parts of the year. I don’t want it to be more expensive because some folks believe that punishment works. Why don’t you go after the fucking Christian church for the damage they do, the countless lives of children whose innocence was forever lost because they had to face their Cross? You don’t sound like a very free thinker Jeff. Muslims who decry booze are control freaks who want to take away all freedom. They do not express insight: They express personal damage. They are like the man I work with who yells at his wife for being kind to the crack addict accross the road: You shouldn’t eve talk to him! You are so stupid, woman! He is just trying to rape you!
      Have a little respect for people. Why are you so hard against alcohol? What has happened to make this such a focus?

  7. Avatar

    Dr. Shelton Smith and Muslims gives sound advice to avoid alcohol. In California they recently put a warning label for cancer on all bottles My problem is with the liquor industry is the taxes booze provides do not pay for the prisons and medical bills which are caused by their products. Obviously I do not feel you are sinning by drinking and looks like you can drink in moderation but many cant and there is no pre test to find out who is likely to fall into alcohols trap. The sword of the lord and Islam is right on one issue better to stay away from it and if you do drink keep it in moderation.
    I had a friend who died from severe alcoholism and I also work with the homeless. Perhaps taxes from alcohol could pay for more shelters
    I use to listen to jack Hyles all the time in my car perhaps the negativity towards booze is one area I look back in appreciation .
    Thanks for the exchange

    • Avatar
      Michael Mock

      I’m torn, Jeff. I don’t think you’re entirely wrong, but I think you’re over-emphasizing one factor, and assuming (without sufficient data) that it’s a cause, rather than a symptom.

      Here’s a quick overview. Here’s the relevant quote (and be aware, it’s overgeneralizing, because it’s just a summary):

      “According to the most recent annual survey by the U.S. Conference of Mayors, major cities across the country report that top causes of homelessness among families were:
      (1) lack of affordable housing, (2) unemployment, (3) poverty, and (4) low wages, in that order. The same report found that the top four causes of homelessness among unaccompanied individuals were (1) lack of affordable housing, (2) unemployment, (3) poverty, (4) mental illness and the lack of needed services, and (5) substance abuse and the lack of needed services.”

      Three points that I’d like to emphasize here:
      1. Economic factors are actually the primary causes of homelessness.
      2. Substance abuse, including alcoholism, is a factor, but it’s a prominent factor in part because of the lack of needed services.
      3. Substance abuse should not be confused with “any use of particular substances”. A great many substances are harmless or even beneficial in moderation, but destructive when used improperly. You appear to be conflating any use of alcohol with full-blown alcoholism.

      That said, I am entirely in favor of more shelters and better treatment for substance abuse and mental health issues in general; if paying a few more cents on the dollar when I buy alcohol would get us there, I’d pay it gladly.

  8. Avatar

    I have come from being a Huckabee Delegate in 2008 to voting for Mr Sanders. However I still am down on casinos and booze. Sometimes alcohol does not get on the radar but sometimes a 200 a month alcohol habit which isn’t chronic can be a factor in housing although a home cooked meal versus fast food can be greater . Also most people hide addictions which could keep alcohol lower on list however this could be factored in and it honestly deserves a 5th place rating.
    My experience in the IFB was actually good overall. My pastor stayed clear of the Hyles conflict . His style was new evangelical but message was ifb it was a shock when the traveling yelling old school evangelists came to town.
    It has been 5 years since I left. I may have voter for Bernie and plan to vote for Clinton but I will never touch bourbon and cognac. All I ask is the taxes on alcohol reflect the true cost to society . How many people are in prison due to alcohol? Again if people drink responsibly keep it up but since there is no pre test for alcoholism I tell people if they ask that they are better to stay away from it for different reasons than Shelton Smith. A product can be legal and still discouraged . Smoking is a good example. Thanks for the dialog

    • Avatar

      I would like to see society take a similare stance on religion, Jeff. Take account of the harm done by organized religion and instead of cowering in the face of large delusion, tax the bastards and make them pay for those who fall into addicition to Jeezzus! Look at all you have written regarding alcohol and replace the word with IFB…. How’s that look to you?

  9. Avatar

    I would remove the parsonage deduction. However removal of charity status could invite even more involvement with political campaigns left and right. Churches would rightfully be able to endorse candidates instead of issues only
    Final point on alcohol many doctors recommend not picking up drinking if a person is not currently drinking since there is no test to see if they have the potential to become alcoholics. If someone asks me why I don’t drink I say first there is a direct link to cancer . However I do admit sometimes I want to open a bible to them. Maybe that will go away someday. I am thankful I was not in a Hyles church. Hope your night is going well

  10. Avatar
    dale M

    Okay. Now Bruce, do you really want to own them?? Tweet how you just read in the Bible about this loser that got crucified. We’ll all chirp in …. “Great TWEET”. Let’s then wait for the storm to hit and hit hard.

  11. Avatar
    dale M

    Jeff ! You’re behind the times. Trump has already cleared the way for churches to endorse candidates of their choice rather than just the issues. Of course, they’re unlikely to bite the hand that feeds them …. are they ?!?

    Also, Trump has cleared all churches from having to file an income tax return. Atheist organizations MUST FILE a return. I think this is uniquely interesting. It does point out just how weak the U.S. Constitution really is !

  12. Avatar

    That’s crass, making fun of a homeless person. I thought Christians were encouraged to help others.

    Secular recovery programs do not label someone as an alcoholic for example, they refer to someone who abuses alcohol. They frame it as making choices – cognitive behavioral therapy tools are employed to empower someone to make responsible choices. There’s no “higher power” – it’s up to you to weigh the pros and cons of using your preferred substance or activity. Banning alcohol does not erase the fact that people will still manufacture, use, and abuse alcohol, and some would argue that makes it more attractive.

  13. Avatar

    Glad you called out this asshole’s tweet. Giving help to his fellow man didn’t enter into his mind. It would have required him to get involved. Much easier to sit on his ass and type out a nasty tweet.

  14. Avatar
    Yulya Sevelova

    Well, thank you Bruce for exposing the abusive taunt tweeted by that pastor. As a person who has been homeless at time, I can state that the rents as they are today,or actually since I980. Many homeless people are seniors and women with children. Building trends haven’t kept up with a population increasing by leaps and bounds for 40 years. Certain kinds of Christians like to say that homeless issues are strictly a moral issue, not economic. Shelters don’t lead to housing,and shelters make money by charging a couple thousand per head, from the government monthly. Real estate lobbies oppose affordable housing because inflated prices mean big bucks–for them. My state, California has the most homeless, possibly NY has more. Shelters keep people homeless. It’s for warehousing people. I can’t blame homeowners for not wanting such places in their neighborhoods, but affordable housing saves money in many ways. I’m old enough to remember when there were no homeless, because there were enough dwellings in relation to renters. You had your choice of places,with many options. Not since the Great Depression has so many people had to.move back in with parents. This pastor,so-called, needs a wakeup call.

  15. Avatar
    Yulya. Sevelova

    I looked for the contact info via that Sword of the Lord, and wrote Smith. Be interesting to see what he says back. Alcohol does play a role as one of the symptoms of being homeless, but it’s not usually the cause. I’ve known functional alcoholics who had reasonable rents, and as a result, never wound up homeless.

  16. Avatar
    MJ Lisbeth

    I attended twelve-step programs for about 25 years, both as a believer and an atheist. During that time, I met homeless people who were abusing drugs and/or alcohol. Now, I admit that my experience is a small sample size, but it seems to me that more people fall into addiction as a result of homelessness than the other way around. Having to live on the streets, or in any place where one can’t shut the door, is incredibly stressful, physically and psychologically. There aren’t many other ways to alleviate the corporeal or psychic pain and, for homeless people, booze or drugs are often easier to come by than other things.

    These days, I drink in moderation but I still don’t do drugs. (Even though recreational marijuana is legal where I live, I have no inclination to try it again.)
    I’ve learned that what I thought was an addiction was actually a response to my own trauma and the emotional weight of being in the closet. I don’t try to extrapolate my experience to everyone: Some might actually need to go “cold turkey” for life, while others may need to heal in some other way.

    As for that man of God Shelton Smith: He may well have done some good in other areas. But, in the parlance of my old Evangelical church (and others), his tweet wasn’t a very good witness–for anyone, much less a man people entrust with their spiritual guidance.

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