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God Forgives and Forgets and So Should We, Says IFB Christian

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Today, Constance, an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) Christian, left the following comment on a 2020 post about serial adulterer David Hyles’ latest sex scandal:

Hello, what God forgives of the past, and looks to what a man is in the present. I have enjoyed Dr. Jack Hyles sermon, “Being Thirsty.” It would be great to hear today, preachers like him. I think he died. That was from the CD collection of “Fundamental Voices.”

Over the past thirteen years, I have received numerous comments and emails from IFB Christians preaching the same perverse gospel of “forgiveness” as Constance does in her comment. In their minds, salvation and subsequent cleansing from sin are transactional — a simple prayer away. After all, the Bible says in 1 John 1:9: If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. All David Hyles, Jack Hyles, Jack Schaap, and every other miscreant needs to do is “confess” their sins — “I messed up Jesus, my bad” — and really, really, really, really mean it, and Jesus, through his magic blood will forgive them of their sins and cleanse them from ALL unrighteousness. By uttering the right words, their slates are instantaneously wiped clean; their sins are remembered by God no more. And if God has forgiven and forgets, so should we.

People not immersed in the practices of the IFB church movement know that this sin-repent-forgiveness process enables depraved, perverted behavior. If all one needs to do is pray-away-the-crime, there’s no motivation to change their ways. Over the twenty-five years I spent pastoring Evangelical churches, I witnessed countless followers of Jesus come to the altar, confess their sins with wailing and gnashing of teeth, and find cleansing from sinful and, at times, criminal behavior. Come Monday or maybe Wednesday, these same people returned as a pig to the mire, committing the same or similar sins, only to find themselves at the church altar again the next Sunday. Wash-rinse-repeat.

While I didn’t lower myself to join the penitent at the mourner’s bench, I did practice 1 John 1:9 every time I preached. It was my custom to say a silent prayer to God before entering the pulpit, asking him to cleanse me from all my sin, both acts of omission and commission. I wanted to be pure, holy, and right with God before I stood in front of my congregation to preach the unsearchable riches of Jesus Christ. No matter what I had done the night before or even that morning, I knew that I had to have a clean sin slate if I expected God to use me to save souls and advance his kingdom.

According to Constance, no “sin” is unforgivable. David Hyles’ alleged crimes and sexual escapades are well known, yet Constance believes that as long as Hyles has said “my bad” he should keep on doing God’s work. Hyles doesn’t believe in restitution, nor does he think he owes anyone an apology. God has forgiven him, and that’s all that matters.

Several years ago, Hyles posted on Facebook:

Some would have us confess our sins endlessly. Instead we should confess them but once and then give thanks for His forgiveness endlessly.

I wrote at the time:

David Hyles believes if he says “my bad” to Jesus, that all is forgiven. No need to make restitution or publicly account for his vile behavior. I talked to God, Hyles thinks, and he said, Hey David, you are my son, I forgive you, end of discussion! Hyles wrongly thinks that his “sin” is between him and God. People such as myself — an atheist to boot — have no right to poke our noses into his sex life — past or present. Ironically, David Hyles supports attempts to legislate private sexual behavior between consenting adults. If Hyles supports government and religious intrusion into the sexual affairs of Americans, shouldn’t his sexual behavior be fair game — especially those acts that were criminal in nature? For Hyles, the blood of Jesus, applied in 1 John 1:9 fashion: if we confess our sins, he [God] is faithful and just to cleanse us from sin and ALL UNRIGHTEOUSNESS, is his get-out-of-jail-free card. Pray, confess, and God wipes his slate clean. A sweet deal, I’d say. One that allows people to commit horrific acts and have them erased by saying a bit of religious mumbo jumbo.

….

It should come as no surprise, then, that the Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) church movement is rife with sexual abuse problems. I know of one church where a man was caught TWICE having inappropriate sexual relationships with minor boys, yet today he is faithfully serving Jesus in an IFB church. Evidently, IFB men are free to stick their dicks wherever they want, knowing that God will forgive such sins and wipe slates clean. Never mind the fact that these predators often continue to prey on unsuspecting people, no matter how many times their records are washed clean by Jesus.

Constance is a product of Fundamentalist indoctrination, a believer in grace and forgiveness while enabling child abusers, sexual predators, and all-around bad people. She fails to understand that abusers and predators don’t stop until they are caught and made to stop. God might forgive them, but here on planet earth, we have a duty and obligation to hold child molesters, rapists, and sexual predators accountable for their crimes. Further, it is in the best interest of churches to NOT employ pastors who sleep with congregants or psychologically manipulate vulnerable church teenagers so they can have sex with them. These things seem so fucking obvious to me, yet Constance believes that if God has forgiven an errant preacher, so should she. Preach the Word, brother! Stay Thirsty!

Other posts about David Hyles

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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12 Comments

  1. Avatar
    MJ Lisbeth

    If no sin is “unforgivable,” why are some people and churches so quick to expel gays and others who don’t fit in?

    For that matter, if no sin is “unforgivable,” why is there a Hell–or even a Purgatory?

  2. Avatar
    Matilda

    I hope with all my heart that Constance reads this….OK, so the perpetrator can shoot of a quick prayer at the ceiling….and bingo…he has a clean slate. Sorry Constance,it never, never works like that for the survivor of abuse. It’s a lifetime sentence for them. It’s not as trivial as ‘healing’ from a cut finger. I quote from an official UK report on child abuse in high places which took evidence from over 1000 survivors. They reported self-harm, addictions and mental health problems decades later. One said, ‘I can be at a party, having the best time of my life, but a touch, a sound or a smell and I’m right back in the abuse and that’s not going to change till the day I die.’
    You disgust me, Constance, your attitude is despicable. The churches that spawned thes abusers should be forced, at very least to show their ‘repentance’ by paying for the victim to access the best therapies available, for many years into the future. And give cast-iron assurances it never can happen again to anyone within their churches.

  3. Avatar
    MJ Lisbeth

    Matilda—Thank you. I have survived childhood sexual abuse by a priest and have been sexually assaulted as an adult. When someone says you should “forgive “ people who do such things, they’re also telling you to forget, whether or not they say it. You don’t forget such experiences; the only thing you might forget is the person you were before the abuse, the assault, the exploitation. The perpetrator, meanwhile , gets off scot-free.

    Constance—Do you realize that you’re aiding and abetting criminals? I want to denounce you, but it occurs to me that perhaps you have never had your life as you knew it taken from you through no fault of your own. If that is the case, you are simply ignorant and I therefore cannot condemn you. Otherwise, you deserve all of the anger and opprobrium Matilda, I or anyone else can heap on you. Oh, and the wrath of a trans woman (which I am): Trust me, you don’t want that!

    • Avatar
      Matilda

      I’m so sorry to know what you went through. It’s a red rag to a bull, to me, the trivialising of abuse, as I said, something you heal from in a short time, after one short prayer. Of course fundies have to psych themselves up to believe this, or they’re admitting god doesn’t answer their prayers or heal all their diseases. And the fact they still suffer the serious after effects of abuse must mean there’s something wrong with them, some hidden sin perhaps,it can never be god’s fault.

  4. Avatar
    Yulya Sevelova

    I haven’t read the Bible in a while now, but I still remember one of Jesus’ teachings about forgiveness, he said, ….” and if he repent, forgive him .”. So in his own instructions, he gives a qualifier, that IF he repents, forgive him, right?, Constance ?? It sure sounds conditional to me, that one verse. When have ANY of those Hyles ever taken that step of not repeating deviant behavior ?! And with a court order, both deaths of those children connected with David Hyles could be reinvestigated. The is still open after all. If enough people petition the authorities it could happen. Constance, you are blind and unconcerned about the fact that it’s God’s reputation is on the line because of Schapp and the Hyles family. It is what it is. Since this Hyles has been ” restored ” as your camp claims, has he stopped being a bastard yet ? Remember the story of the tax collector who had an epiphany, and told Jesus he would make amends to those he harmed ? How come the IFB and other churches don’t take THIS principle seriously, yet they have fits over women and clothing,etc ?? You contacted Bruce, and you’re in the spotlight now. Explain your position to all us one-time church goers. Again.

  5. Avatar
    thatotherjean

    Yeah, no. Forgiveness is possible, of course. But “sorry” doesn’t cut it. Repent and make amends, first. Then we can talk.

  6. Avatar
    William

    I do have the opinion that to wake up the next day and think as though past mistakes have never happened, will not fix why they happened. The gospel teaches that your sin is under the blood, but an honest Bible student also knows that sin comes with a penalty, as per the story of King David in the Bible being caught with the sins of murder and adultery. His repentance had to come with genuine ownership.

    Jack Hyles was definitely a powerful preacher. In ways he was a genius in terms of his preaching craft. I say this for a reason, which is that it seems many charismatic people are also troubled people. I don’t say this to defend him, but because I think it is interesting in terms of those who say he was inspired by God. Is it not that his mesmerising qualities are qualities found in charismatic larger than life characters in any walk of life: leaders, TV personalities, dictators, troublemakers. I would submit that his speaking abilities could also easily be explained with a charercterised non supernatural profile.

  7. Avatar
    Dave

    Abusers get forgiveness and eternity in paradise. The abused, who reject Christianity based on behavior of these men of god, go to hell to be tortured forever. How do Christians see any justice in this? How warped does your thinking have to be to shrug off these outcomes and find peace in your religion?

  8. Avatar
    Adam Thiry

    As a Christian I do believe in forgiveness. God does forgive them. However, we don’t know if a person truly repented or just said they did so they can continue to abuse. No sexual abuser should ever be allowed in a position of authority in a church ever again IMHO. I do agree with you that people use the gullible nature of church people to prey on innocents, and the churches that cover up for them and enable them make me sick. I hate it
    The person that wrote in to you would do well to realize that some sins do disqualify you from certain positions, even if God has forgiven them.

  9. Avatar
    Yulya Sevelova

    I was is hurry before so I also have this question for Constance : what about ” by their fruits you shall know them ?? “. Jesus’ own words, remember !

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Bruce Gerencser