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An Independent Fundamentalist Baptist Hate List

love not the world

Repost from 2015. Edited, updated, and corrected.

The Bible says in 1 John 2:15,16

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

Independent Fundamentalist Baptists (IFB) are taught to be anti-cultural — to hate the world. For all their talk about salvation by grace, IFB preachers preach a works gospel. If church members don’t obey the Bible – specifically the pastor’s interpretation and application of the Bible – they are considered rebellious, out of the will of God, backslidden or WORLDLY.

bought-by-the-blood, sanctified, sold-out, filled-with-the-Holy-Ghost, King-James-Bible-carrying Independent Baptist shuns the world. Instead, he embraces an alternative world, also known as the church family. Being a good member of the church family requires conformity to the pastor’s (I mean God’s) dictates. If the pastor hates something, you better hate it. After all, the Bible tells Christians that they should love what God loves and hate what God hates. Funny how people mistake the pastor for God.

What follows is a list of things I told church members they should hate. This list evolved over time, hitting its peak in the early 1990s and it slowly shrank after that. I find this list quite embarrassing, but it is what it is.

  1. Roman Catholics
  2. Charismatics
  3. Pentecostals
  4. Arminians
  5. Calvinists
  6. Denominational Baptists
  7. MTV
  8. Television
  9. HBO
  10. Secular radio
  11. Contemporary Christian music
  12. Christian TV
  13. Pagan holidays
  14. Rock and Roll music
  15. Country Music
  16. Long hair on men
  17. Short skirts on women
  18. Pants on women
  19. Shorts on women
  20. Smoking
  21. Alcohol
  22. Hollywood
  23. Atheism
  24. Secularism
  25. Humanism
  26. Pluralism
  27. Socialism
  28. Communism
  29. Liberals
  30. Progressives
  31. Democrats
  32. Bill Clinton
  33. Liberal Christian colleges
  34. Female preachers
  35. Effeminate male preachers
  36. Effeminate men
  37. Hen-pecked men
  38. Haughty women
  39. Psychiatry
  40. Church members who disagree with the pastor
  41. Premarital sex
  42. Extramarital sex
  43. Abortion
  44. Christmas
  45. Halloween
  46. Easter Bunny
  47. World Council of Churches
  48. National Association of Evangelicals
  49. Billy Graham
  50. NIV, NASB, NKJV, RSV, ESV, NLT
  51. The Living Bible
  52. Dancing
  53. Card Playing

The number one hate for the Independent Baptist? Self!

The Bible says IFB believers are to deny themselves, take up their crosses, and follow Jesus. Human beings, according to the Bible, are wicked, vile, evil, depraved sinners. We deserve having the wrath of God poured out on our heads. We deserve judgment and Hell.

Jesus, the eternal, sinless son of God, came to earth, died on the cross, and rose again from the dead three days later, so we could have our sins forgiven and go to Heaven when we die. Once God saves us, we are to spend the rest of our life groveling before a thrice-Holy God, praising him for delivering us from our wickedness and the world.

Every week, IFB believers go to their churches and listen to their pastors and teachers tell them more things they need to do, more works they need to perform, more laws they need to obey. Do this, do that. If you really, really love Jesus you will______________, their preacher says.

Loud sermons. Pulpit pounding. All for dramatic effect. It’s as if God is trying to pound the preacher’s words into their heads. Evidently the Holy Spirit works better if the preacher yells and is theatrical.

Is it any wonder that people raised in such an environment have low self-esteem? Many IFB preachers even preach AGAINST having self-esteem. Church members are taught to hate self so God can get all the glory. We wouldn’t want humans taking credit for anything, right? Well, there’s one thing church members can take credit for. Any good that happens — God gets all the credit. If bad things happen or someone screws up, it is all on IFB church members. God ain’t taking any credit for the bad shit.

I have spent the last twelve years trying to find myself. The flesh and blood Bruce Gerencser who spent a lifetime in the Evangelical church is dead. My being, my self-worth, was swallowed up by God, the church, and the ministry. My life was defined by the call of God. Nothing else mattered.

I left the ministry and told God to take a hike. At the time of our divorce, God and I were not on speaking terms. God owes me some money, but he refuses to pay up. All I asked for was some of the treasure I had in laid up in Heaven. Since I am going to Hell when I die, I thought it would be nice to have the treasure now so I could get some good use out of it.

Bit by bit I am finding out who I really am. It is not always pretty, but it is honest and authentic. Some people don’t like the new Bruce Gerencser. They want the old Bruce back. They still cling to the hope that my apostasy is just a phase, and that I will come back and be a better than ever pastor. What a testimony I could have, right? I could milk the “From Preacher to Atheist to Preacher” story for all its worth.

There is no going back. The Apostle Paul taught me to run the race that is before me, and that is what I am doing. The longer I run, the more distant Christianity appears behind me. I don’t know what lies ahead, but I DO know what lies behind, and I have no desire to return to the leeks (onions) and bondage of Egypt.

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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55 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Monty

    Yeah, I never understood why god got the glory on good stuff happening but not the blame for the bad stuff (I mean, after all, isn’t god in control of everything???).
    I remember when I ran a thrift store for the ministry I worked at. When the store did good financially that day, the asshole who did the finances or the general manager would say “Glory to God!”, but when we had a slow day they would ask “What did you do wrong?”. Never mind we didn’t advertise one bit..Never mind I worked just as hard on the slow days as the busy ones..I would get ugly glares when I would say “Isn’t God just as responsible for the slow days as the busy ones?”
    Again, is it any wonder why I feel so free after walking away?

  2. Avatar
    Ahab

    Here’s to your freedom, Bruce!

    That’s quite a hate list there. I think it would have been easier to list things congregants weren’t supposed to hate!

  3. Avatar
    j

    scary list. I have a question ….. I recently discovered Stephen l anderson of faithful word baptist church. how do people like him allowed to exist? he prays for your president’s death???? it is sinful for a man to pee sitting down???? and on and on and on ……. why do people go to this guy’s church ??? I heard a comment today I like …. religion is all about control…..

    • Avatar
      thatotherjean

      So far as I remember, his “church” is mostly his own family. He’s loud, but his actual influence is pretty small. Also, he’s banned from entering a whole bunch (33?) of countries, for his hate-spreading. Even Evangelicals aren’t generally that crazy.

  4. Avatar
    matilddaa

    From my distant teens, I recall using lipstick and eye make up ensured you a special place in hell. Face powder was borderline, not sure about handcream or moisturiser. High heels were a definite no-no as were bright colours, denim and hair dye. Cinemas or any form of public Arts were pure evil. Any hobby – like your great photography or bird watching Bruce – was definitely suspect as was donating to any secular charity, from a disaster appeal to a puppy rescue shelter!

  5. Avatar
    Dennis

    Supposedly they all claim to ‘know Jesus’ who, in John 14:6 tells them, “He is the way, the truth …”; then in John 8:32 He tells them, “know the truth and the truth will make you free”. So, if they KNOW Jesus and Jesus is the TRUTH and knowing the TRUTH makes them free, where is the freedom?

    This Jesus they all claim to know and love also tells them in Luke 4:18, that He came to “proclaim release to the captives” and “to set free those who are oppressed” and yet it seems they are more captivated and oppressed than before.

    Once again these prevaricators, who say they believe their book of fairy tales, show they have no idea what their fairy tale tells them. In fact, they turn right around and do the opposite.

    It is so-o-o-o liberating to have been set free from the chains which once bound me in the guise of freedom.

  6. Avatar
    Marlena

    I can’t help but wonder what would happen if you could go back in time to talk to yourself in the past, given that you now reflect things you used to hate before you freed yourself.

  7. Avatar
    Scott

    Does their hate for us go up with more of those items pertaining to us? And what does it mean if one likes more than half?

    I’m so glad that my brain found the IFB philosophy so repugnant and crazy that I never even got close to that rabbit hole. I do my best to help support those who come out of this world that makes Orwell’s “1984” world look like a theme park.

    I do my best to try think that there are parts of religion that can help, after all my parents are believers who have done a lot for their small town and are NOT IFB.

    I regularly listen to my local Christian station which rarely moves from politics that reflect that list, just to know what is still be spread out there.

    Oh and Bruce you missed one: “Obama”. My local radio station is of the firm opinion that he is the anti-Christ and Satan combined.

    Scott

  8. Avatar
    Marlowe

    I think I have heard sermons against everything on the list plus more! And you’re definitely right about “self”. Near the end of my fundamentalist days my pastor preached against Facebook. Basically because it’s selfish and selfishness is bad!

  9. Avatar
    Jim

    It is written that Ye cannot serve both God and mammon.

    In your post, there were many claims against God both unscriptural and bitter.

    I remember another man who claimed to be saved, and yet was apostate and bitter at God, basically a rebel resigned to hate God because of what He allowed into this man’s life. He had to die before he would stop pretending he was in charge of his own life and destiny. This is a common fake-out people use on themselves so they can label God the bad guy, and put down those who follow Him instead of embracing the world.

    If the Bible is what it says it is, and God is who He says He is, then you have much to fear or, should I say, much to hide from. If the Bible is just another fairy tale, then I have nothing to lose by being a fool for God in this life.

    Will you have to die before your excuses are laid out for all to see? Or will you repent the Bible way? Time will tell. It always does. No second chances at that point.

    Of course, there is the possibility that you were never Biblically saved (by grace, not works as you claimed), which would explain both your heart and mission in life. In which case, death will not improve your situation.

    I prayed for you.

  10. Avatar
    jasonc65

    That explains why God appointed Obama. God hates the IFB movement. I wonder if it will be Trump next. He is the epitome of worldliness. Serves them right.

    • Avatar
      Brian

      So God appointed Obama? Oh dear, we are in trouble. Do you think the vote means anything or is it just Jesus way of playing with our strings?

  11. Avatar
    jasonc65

    The doctrine of separation is one of the most damning lies. I am a Christian who reads Harry Potter, plays a video game, listens to a variety of music, and does all sorts of things fundies hate. Let them hate on. But I accept God’s grace and proudly use it.

    • Avatar
      thatotherjean

      I’m not Christian, but I don’t get it, either. If “God so loved the world . . .” why do fundamentalist Christians think they have to hate it? Such beliefs remind me of that wonderful line in “Auntie Mame”–“Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death!”

      • Avatar
        Bruce Gerencser

        Back in my IFB preacher days, I would have quoted you I John 2:15-17

        15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

        16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

        17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

        • Avatar
          thatotherjean

          Depends, I guess–if every word of the Bible is inspired and inerrant–on who you’re going to believe. God, or John? Because if you try to believe both, you’re either going to have to perform major mental gymnastics to find those parts of “the world” that God loved and separate them from what John said you must not love, or your head is going to explode.

        • Avatar
          Sage

          To which I would probably roll my eyes and “yeah…just a fancy way to rationalize your hatred for the very people your Jesus died to save. You might want to check that sheep and goats story.”

  12. Avatar
    Christopher Diaz

    “If church members don’t obey the Bible, specifically the pastor’s interpretation and application of the Bible, they are considered rebellious, out of the will of God, backslidden or WORLDLY.”

    So much for “priesthood of the believer.”

  13. Avatar
    Ronald

    I am so sorry that you have divorced your FATHER for the commandments of men. Jesus spoke against the spiritual leaders just the same. Your problem is that God is God, your FATHER and you cannot really divorce HIM. I believe that HE is still looking for you. Your reason is a faulty one and you should go back to HIM and hear HIM out. You need to seek the truth from HIM and by reading your Bible with the help of the Holy Ghost, God will show you the way.

        • Avatar
          Bruce Gerencser

          I left the IFB church movement in the late 1980s. We certainly would have visited an Eastern Orthodox church had there been one near where we lived. Best I can remember, there were at least two Greek Orthodox churches in Fort Wayne. We developed long lists of churches we possibly wanted to visit. No IFB churches because we already knew what they were all about — no thanks.

          • Avatar
            Bruce Gerencser

            Oops, story about that. I should have paid attention to what post you commented on. Regarding the Hate List, IFB churches tend to group Orthodox churches — east and west — with the Roman Catholic Church. And some Protestant groups such as the Church of England/Episcopal Church are considered watered down Catholics.

          • Avatar
            Tony

            I think the guy behind Jesus-is-savior.com also thinks Lutherans are “watered down Catholics” too

  14. Avatar
    Justine Valinotti

    I’m surprised that none of the liberal, secular democracies of Europe are on the list. I mean, by IFB standards, wouldn’t the French, Germans, British and Scandinavians be considered heathens, or worse?

  15. Avatar
    James Carter

    I got one for you Bruce what you think of the black fundamentalist preacher and why you never hear nothing about them.

    • Avatar
      Troy

      What’s he supposed to say?… “Go read some Bart Ehrman!”

      The fact is that theistic commenters are on a completely different wavelength. Sometimes no argument is warranted because nothing can penetrate the different mindset.

    • Avatar
      thatotherjean

      Have you not considered that it might be the response of a man who has heard it all before, many, many times, thought it over carefully, and rejected it? And yet, here it is again, over and over and over. . .

  16. Avatar
    Brian

    Well first of all I will say that you are lying about independent fundamental Baptists, we don’t hate anyone, God tells us to hate the sin not the sinner, we are all born sinners and the only way to Heaven is to accept Jesus Christ into our hearts as our Saviour and ask him to cleanse us from all of our sins.
    I believe that the reasons that people don’t like Baptist are because generally Baptist try to stick as close to what the Bible teaches, well people don’t like that because they want to find every generally Baptist try to stick as close to what the Bible teaches, well people don’t like that because they want to find every excuse that they can to sin, they don’t want to serve God, being a Christian is very hard no one is denying that, there are so many temptations, it’s very hard.
    Anyway, it is a flat-out lie to say that Baptists hate people, if any Baptist or anyone from any denomination is hating someone, then they are going against what God teaches.
    You go on to mention a list of things that you told people to hate, well I know that you very well know that most of the things on that list our sins, drinking alcohol is wrong, taking drugs inappropriately is wrong, the Bible teaches modesty, therefore nakedness is wrong, the Bible also teaches that homosexuality and the abuse of natural affection, as well as premarital sex is wrong. I’m really not sure why you are turning away from God and his teachings it is quite sad 🙁

    • Avatar
      Michael Mock

      I honestly think the concept of “hating” is often confusing in this context. Hate is an emotion, at least the way most people conceive of it. So forget about Baptist beliefs being hateful. The larger point, the important point, is that they are hurtful. Harmful. They do real, measurable damage to real people in the real world.

      And that violates the injunction to love your neighbor as yourself. It mistakes love your neighbor as yourself for make your neighbor behave as your do, which is something else altogether.

      Accidental damage is still damage. If I step on someone’s foot while trying to keep them from stumbling into a campfire, I still owe them an apology.

    • Avatar
      Brian

      Brian, a message from another Brian, You have not the faintest idea of doublespeak, do you… You claim to love and yet your words preach hatred, a worthless worm under a perfect ruler Bully, the punishment paradigm that has served us so well our prisons are busting at the seams. You live in black and white as if the human condition was not as colorful and varied as it is. This Brian rejects your utter nonsense and your foolish parroting of babble verse ideas. You are a slave and support human slavery, as the Bible teaches. It is quite sad.

      • Avatar
        Bruce Gerencser

        Brian, hopefully you have read the comment rules. If not, Evangelicals are given one opportunity to say whatever it is they believe God has laid upon their hearts. With that in mind, please say whatever it is you need to say and be on your way. Preach away, brother, but only one sermon.

        Thanks,

        Bruce Almighty

        • Avatar
          GeoffT

          I’m interested in the smoking taboo. It’s a conversation I saw a while back in which a fervent evangelical (he’s also a flat earthier) defended his life long smoking habit, because there’s nothing in the bible to forbid it. Needless to say, because one can twist the bible anyway you want, others said that it absolutely is prohibited (I can’t remember which passages were invoked.)

          My guess is that as smoking is now more generally associated with those at the less fortunate end of the social scale, which is where, presumably, most evangelicals and Baptists are (I’m guessing) that many fundamentalists must have this conflict.

  17. Avatar
    ObstacleChick

    I have been out of evangelicalism a long time, but in recent years if looks like they are joining forces with the Catholics. They’re even celebrating Lent. And they supported Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett without batting an eyelash. I guess when your numbers are diminishing you have to reevaluate who your supposed enemies are…..

    • Avatar
      Diane

      I’ve been told the evangelicals view Catholics as Pagan worshipers. You know, praying to all those saints instead of the one and only Jesus. They’ll turn on each other eventually.

  18. Avatar
    apostatedaughter

    That evangelicals have to weigh in to defend their belief/dogma really says it all, doesn’t it? No concern at all for all the little indoctrinated children who lie in bed at night worrying about the grandparents, aunts, uncles they love burning in hell for eternity as they plead with god to save them. When I think that my only granddaughter will never be weighted down with feeling she is so deeply flawed that she caused someone to die I realize how horrific and disturbing the system we were raised in truly was. I could not imagine saddling her with a thought so heinous. It took decades to get out, but life, simply life, is deeply and wonderfully satisfying without that list. (And we were Pentecostals, with our own long list.) I now say I left it all for a higher moral ethic than my faith ever provided.

  19. Avatar
    Yulya Sevelova

    With regards to what Jim said in 2015, a lot of Christians are bewildered at, and bitter towards God or Jesus or both. However, they dare not admit their disappointment, or they’ll be censured, shunned,etc. There’s quite a lot of silent desperation out there. People go to Christian bookstores or go online reading Christian blogs to get the answers to their questions or problems solved, only to find no solution. So, one either becomes resigned or walks off. If one can use facts to finally disprove the Bible to the point that it loses it’s hold on you, at least the above pressures are removed. Absolute facts. Then ” poof ” the thrill is gone, along with the dread. Absolute facts that shoot down everything, prophecy included, like those prophetic verses. Conundrum solved.

  20. Avatar
    Yulya Sevelova

    With regards to what Jim said in 2015, a lot of Christians are bewildered at, and bitter towards God or Jesus or both. However, they dare not admit their disappointment, or they’ll be censured, shunned,etc. There’s quite a lot of silent desperation out there. People go to Christian bookstores or go online reading Christian blogs to get the answers to their questions or problems solved, only to find no solution. So, one either becomes resigned or walks off. If one can use facts to finally disprove the Bible to the point that it loses it’s hold on you, at least the above pressures are removed. Absolute facts. Then ” poof ” the thrill is gone, along with the dread. Absolute facts that shoot down everything, prophecy included, like those prophetic verses. Conundrum solved.

  21. Avatar
    Brian Vanderlip

    Ha! Gerencser gives up at only 53 items! Sounds like a dang-blasted socialist liberal fake Christian. The true Christian, I mean the really bona-fide, JESUS RULES Christian never finishes the hate list because the list does not end! Satan rules this world. Do you think that God stops tempting you? Oops! I meant to say the Devil! Sure you are saved and sure you pray and read the Bible and give it your all but the Devil is more powerful than anything you can muster and so you pray some more and Jesus lifts you out of the filthy, ugly, stupid pit of your human existence right into amazing (g)race! You like chocolate? Git it on that hate list NOW you purring pussy!
    You enjoy symphony? Bach? Burn those recordings, you fool! Humankind is so easily led astray by any and everything. When you think of it, even getting married was a sign of human weakness, wasn’t it… You should have given up your attachments, your touchy-feel-y needs, your worry about lunch and dinner! It’s all evil and fallen and under the hand of Satan.
    Don’t be misled by Satanic list writers who stop adding to the list and make excuses! The world is evil. People are filth. Jesus was murdered by you, every day. Virtually every fallen thought that comes into your head is another nail through Jesus!
    Know the true love of loves! Hate yourself for the Father and hate others for Jesus’ sake. Hate the world. Hate food and drink and conversation and hate your own children too, compared to how you love the Father. The Hate List is God’s endless love for you, the ultimate reminder of how much he is required. Even thinking for a moment how much you love God, how it makes you weep with feeling, well, sorry, you vain and ignorant idiot! The Devil owns you again!
    (Shucks, this is deranged fun but I claim PK status, special privilege!)

  22. Avatar
    Sage

    Since IFB followers hate Catholicism, then how do they justify using a bible, compiled by the Catholic Church at the direction of the Pope, for their textbook and call it inspired by god? I was under the impression that these books were endorsed by the catholic powerbase to control those pesky heretics, and not created by god through some mysterious, inspired process..but of course I am no theologian, so maybe it’s to hard for me to understand? But no, I do understand…

    I also wonder how they justify believing in the trinity which is also a catholic created, pope directed initiative to eliminate other views on the divinity of Jesus. Without the Catholic Church belief tied into IFB theology, there would be no IFB. Shouldn’t they be thanking the Catholic Church for creating the whole basis for their belief system?

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