Over the weekend, Frank L. Givens, Jr., allegedly the senior pastor of Orting Christian Church in Orting, Washington, left a comment on the post, I Know That Demons are Real, alleging that I am a victim of sorcery; that taking Ambien has opened me up to Satanic influence. (I say allegedly because I found no Internet/social media presence for a Frank Givens, Jr., and Orting Christian Church does not have a website.)
What follows is my public response to Pastor Givens, Jr’s comment.
Bruce, the picture that heads this article is the exact same demon that I saw in the second grade in 1972!!!!
Givens believes that at the age of six or seven, he saw the EXACT demon used in the graphic at the top of the post, I Know That Demons are Real. Amazing, right? And I am sure Givens really, really, really believes he saw a demon then, and, I suspect, plenty of demons after that. Once you see a demon or an angel or Jesus or Lucifier, you tend to keep on seeing otherworldly, mythical beings. It was said of 1950s anti-communist crusader Joseph McCarthy that he saw reds under every bed. The supporters of our insurrectionist-in-chief, Donald Jesus Trump, tend to see ANTIFA everywhere they look. In the vein of Frank Perretti, Givens sees things the unwashed, uncircumcised Philistines of the world cannot see.
What evidence does Givens have for his claims? None. Claiming something is true without evidence proves nothing. Last night, Polly and I listened to a debate between atheist Matt Dillahunty and Evangelical apologist Jonathan McClatchie. Matt tried repeatedly, without success, to get the uber-educated McClatchie to understand the difference between a claim and evidence. McClatchie wrongly asserted that claims are evidence. Givens wants the readers of this blog to believe he saw a demon in second grade because he says so. We skeptics say to Givens, “pictures, please.”
Remember the devil attacks and strikes your most vulnerable points to bring confusion, pain, and frustration. My brother your vulnerable spot and opening is the love that you have for your wife.
Givens thinks that I believe Satan and demons are real. I don’t. I have seen no satisfactory evidence for the existence of Lucifer and her henchmen. I can say the same about God and angels. Sorry, but I refuse to believe something just because a preacher says it is true. If Satan and demons are real, how about they stop by my house so we can sit down and talk. I would love to hear what Satan says about his self-righteous brother Jesus.
Givens thinks I am “vulnerable,” and the reason I am is because of the love I have for my wife of forty-two years. Polly has tempted me to so a lot of things over the years, but a demon she is not. Of course, Givens doesn’t know me or my angelic wife — having read a total of one post on this site — but he’s certain that that his addled opinions are indeed true. Maybe he’s the one on drugs.
If you were a pastor as stated in this article I do not know what made you step away but remember the biggest trick that the devil ever pulled off is to convince people that he doesn’t really exist.
“If you were a pastor,” Given says. Yes, Virginia, I really was a pastor. I pastored Evangelical church in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan for twenty-five years. I was raised in an Evangelical home, attended an Evangelical Bible college, married an Evangelical pastor’s daughter, and spent most of my adult life faithfully and devotedly loving, serving, and following Jesus.
Whether Satan exists never entered the equation when it came to why I left the ministry and later left Christianity. I can’t remember one time when I pondered the existence of the Devil. I doubted and later denied the existence of God. Thus, it stands to reason, no God, no Satan.
Givens seems unable to understand when atheists and agnostics say they don’t believe in the existence of the Christian God or the Christian Devil. I refer Givens to what I wrote about evidence. Just because the Bible says there’s a Devil doesn’t mean she exists. Sorry, I just don’t buy it, and neither do my atheist brothers and sisters. To Givens I say, “put up, or shut up.”
I refer Givens and others like him to the WHY? page. There you will find everything you need to know about the Evangelical-pastor-turned-atheist Bruce Gerencser. I am an open book — well with a few pages redacted, anyway.
For it is written, Strike the shepherd and you scatter the sheep. You my brother became a victim of sorcery. Ambien is A Product of Phamekia. You know this!!! I wonder what condition your former flock are in that counted on your protection and covering because clearly you were struck and never made it back.
I have not been a “shepherd” since 2003 — almost eighteen years ago. I suspect that Givens has been influenced by Charismatic theology. He thinks that my presence in the churches I pastored provided some sort of spiritual “cover” for congregants. Shit, I could hardly cover myself let alone anyone else. As a pastor, I preached the gospel, taught the Word of God, and ministered to the church and the community. That’s it. As a Evangelical, I believed all Christians were responsible for their relationship with God. I was not some sort of spiritual guru that congregants needed to keep them safe from Satanic attack. Oh, I met plenty of demons in church, but they were flesh and blood and walked on two legs. Some of the nastiest people I have ever met sat in the pews of the churches I pastored.
Givens tries to connect my Ambien use with what the Bible allegedly says about sorcery and drug use. In the New Testament, the word sorcery is translated from the Greek word pharmakeia. Get it? Sorcery and pharmaceuticals are connected.
“The Bible has a lot to say about drug abuse because the word for “sorcerer” in the Bible has a lot to do with drug addiction. If you look at the Greek, the word itself is derived from the word we get our modern word “pharmacy” from.
In the book of Revelation the world is deceived by sorcery. In our world today, seemingly innocent drug habits such as abusing oxycodone and adderall twist the mind in the worst way: acceptance of things that are contrary to the Word of God.
Like on alcohol, you become indifferent to the sin around you, tolerate it in your own life and give into it just as easily. I don’t think it’s absurd to say that an indifferent attitude towards sin is cultivated under the numbing effects of adderall and oxycodone, two chemicals I abused.
I am ashamed to say I know this because as a functional drug addict, while I was defending my drug addiction to myself, I at the same time accepted nearly everything the Bible says is wrong. I am not ashamed to say that the Lord did not let me go to Hell (“all sorcerers have their part in the lake of fire”) and that the Lord saved me from that.
When you begin to see sorcery as having more in common with drug addiction than what we commonly associate it with, it changes your perspective. But there is hope. If you’re an addict, quit (repent).
Don’t be found a sorcerer when you stand before Jesus.”
I suspect this is what Givens believes; that is, unless he has a headache, high blood pressure, diabetes, or needs surgery. Then all that sorcery can be life-saving.
I just prayed for you and will continue to pray for God’s covering to be over you and your family.
Givens’ prayers are much like demon sightings — works of fiction. Givens can provide no satisfactory evidence for the existence of God, the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, so to whom, exactly, is he praying? My money is on the ceiling God.
Evangelical zealots love to tell me that they are praying for me, even though I ask them to keep such nonsense to themselves. Why do they continue to tell me that they are storming the throne room of Heaven on my behalf? Here’s what I think. These zealots know they can’t provide the necessary evidence to prove their claims –over twelve years, and I am still waiting — so they do the only thing they can do, pray.
Will Givens continue to bug his mythical God about the atheist Bruce Gerencser. Of course not. He will utter a prayer of two, maybe put me on the church prayer list for a while, but in time, he will move on to more receptive marks. You see, I know the game, and I suspect Givens knows that. If he didn’t when he commented, he sure as hell does now. I am not a good prospect for conversion. That ship has sailed. That horse has left the barn, never to return. Hundreds and hundreds of Evangelicals have tried to evangelize me since 2018, without success. It’s clear, at least to me, that my holy trinity: Skepticism, Reason, and Common Sense, is superior in every way to the mythical deity of the Protestant Christian Bible. And to my God I say, all praise to your name!
Bruce Gerencser, 64, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 43 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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