Many Evangelical pastors preach a gospel of mental assent to a set of theological propositions — believe THIS and thou shalt be saved and go to Heaven when you die. Don’t believe THIS and thou shalt go to Hell when you die. Repentance is changing one’s beliefs, which may or may not result in changed conduct. Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) pastor and editor of the Sword of the Lord Curtis Hutson told me in the mid-1980s (after I exposed Hutson’s distortion of John R. Rice’s view on repentance) that Biblical repentance was a “change of mind.” He explained repentance like this: a person was against Jesus and now he’s for him. This change of mind is all that is necessary to become a Christian; and once a person is a Christian, he can never, ever lose his salvation.
The meteoric growth of the IFB church movement in the 1960s-1980s was largely driven by people praying the sinner’s prayer and asking Jesus into their hearts. While new Christians were expected to live according to the Bible’s teachings (as interpreted by their pastors), this was not a requirement for salvation. Hutson told me that I was preaching “works salvation.” Expecting or demanding people to obey the Bible and its teachings was, in his mind, a false gospel.
According to the many IFB preachers, Christians can and do “sin,” but this in no way affects their standing with God. Christians may be backslidden, out of fellowship with God, or living carnal/worldly lives, but they are eternally and forever saved no matter what they say or do. These sinning Christians might be punished by God for their disobedience (I say “might” since is evident, at least to me, that sinning Christians are rarely, if ever, punished/chastised by God) or lose rewards in Heaven after they die (receiving a log cabin next door to Donald Trump instead of a mansion next door to the Apostle Paul), but their eternal destiny is never at risk.
Key to this soteriological system is the belief that any sin committed by a Christian can be forgiven and expunged simply by praying, confessing your sins, and asking Jesus to forgive you. And I mean ANY! No sin is beyond the grace and forgiveness of Jesus. (If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9) And once forgiven, the slate is wiped clean and the sin is remembered no more. If God forgave a person’s sin, then their fellow Christians should do the same. Forgive, forget, and move on. And most of all pretend the “sin” never happened.
“Dr.” David Tee (David Thiessen) is a good example of how this corrupt, bankrupt “gospel” leads to the defense of all sorts of abhorrent (often criminal) behavior. While Tee claims he is not IFB, his soteriology is indistinguishable from that preached by Jack Hyles, Bob Gray, Sr, David Hyles, Jack Schaap, Tom Malone, Bob Gray of Jacksonville, Curtis Hutson, Steven Anderson, evangelist Dennis Corle, Jack Treiber, Paul Chappel, John Wilkerson, and countess other IFB preachers. It is the gospel taught at colleges such as Hyles-Anderson College, Midwestern Baptist College, Pensacola Christian College, Crown College of the Bible, Tennessee Temple (now defunct), Massillon Baptist College, and other IFB institutions. Aspiring preachers are taught that their number one goal is to wins souls to Christ; to entice people into saying the sinner’s prayer. While newly minted Christians are encouraged to get baptized, join a Bible-believing church, read the Bible, pray, and follow the teachings of the Bible, none of these things is required for one to be a Christian. To suggest otherwise is to be accused of preaching “works salvation.” Thus IFB churches often have hundreds and thousands of reported conversions, yet their church attendances grow nominally. Years ago, I added up all the salvation decisions reported by Bob Gray, Sr, and the Longview Baptist Temple. According to their reported numbers, everyone in Longview, Texas is a born-again Christian twice over. First Baptist Church in Hammond, Indiana saw hundreds of thousands of salvation decisions under the ministries of the late Jack Hyles, convicted felon Jack Schaap, and John Wilkerson. Yet, First Baptist is a shell of the church it once was. I saw this same methodology used while a student at Midwestern Baptist College in Pontiac, Michigan, and a member of nearby megachurch, Emmanuel Baptist Church, pastored by Tom Malone. Today, Emmanuel is shuttered and Midwestern is on life support (and may even be closed).
“Dr.” David Tee has never met a Christian sinner he couldn’t defend. In the past, Tee has defended the actions of serial sex abusers Ravi Zacharias and Bill Cosby. Today, Tee took his defenses of Christian rapists and sexual predators one step further by defending ALL Christians who commit such heinous crimes, including Jack Hyles, David Hyles, and Jack Schaap.
Tee stated (my response is indented and italicized):
[No one is perfect]That is a fact that the unbeliever takes delight in repeating to the believer. Over the years we have come across many websites run and owned by unbelievers that take pride in ‘exposing’ the sins of Christians.
One such site is BG’s as the owner there delights in his series that publishes stories about the failings of those who say they believe and follow God. What makes it so tiring and frustrating to read those websites is the lack of forgiveness on the part of those unbelievers.
Tee is, of course, talking about the Black Collar Crime Series — a series detailing criminal behavior by Evangelical preachers and other church leaders. I do not take “delight” in publishing such stories. I do so because these stories are frequently unreported or covered up. I do so because Christians like Tee want these stories buried in the deepest sea never to be remembered again. Tee is the keeper of rug under which the crimes of so-called men of God are swept: rape, murder, sexual assault, robbery, sexual harassment, spousal abuse, all are welcome under “Dr.” Dave’s rug of many sins.
Keep in mind that Tee’s post is in response to my article detailing the immoral behavior and crimes of Jack Hyles, David Hyles, and Jack Schaap; men who committed all sorts of sexual crimes and harmed countless people.
The Christian life is very hard to live even in its basic forms. There is so much temptation to deal with that staying pure and holy is very difficult. But what doesn’t help is having a bunch of unrepentant sinners keep throwing our sins in our faces and acting like they have done some great deed in exposing the sins of Christians.
Tee is fond of saying that it’s hard to “live” the Christian life. This statement portrays a faulty understanding of the Bible. According to the Bible, Christians have no power in and of themselves to “live” the Christian life. When sinners are saved, God, the Holy Spirit, comes inside them to live. The Spirit is their teacher and guide, giving them all they need for life and godliness. Further, Christians have the Bible, the inspired, inerrant, and infallible Word of God. Not only that, Christians have the church, the fellowship of the saints. Yet, according to Tee, having the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the Bible, and the church aren’t enough to keep Christians from sinning in thought, word, and deed.
I find it interesting that Tee thinks I am not a Christian — an unrepentant sinner. I prayed the sinner’s prayer and faithfully followed and served Jesus most of my life. If salvation can’t be lost, then why does Tee say I am not a Christian? If it is a momentary prayer and acceptance of propositional facts that gains one forgiveness of sins and life eternal, why does Tee refuse to accept me (and many of the readers of this blog) as his brother in Christ? I have never committed any of the crimes Tee defends, yet because I no longer “believe” I am not a Christian, undeserving of a place in Heaven after I die.
We do not need these people to do that as the Christian world has its own people who do the very same thing. What are they gaining by exposing these failings?
Most likely, they are trying to find justification for their decision to reject Christ as their savior. or they want to feel better about themselves so they point out the fact that Christians are not better than they are.
Victims deserve to have their stories heard. Thanks to the David Tees of the world, victims are often marginalized and dismissed out of hand. I have yet to see Tee defend and support a victim of sexual abuse. Instead, he defends predators and abusers. And even when he grudgingly admits these criminals “might” have committed crimes, he thinks their crimes should go unreported or covered up.
Further, Tee thinks the reason I publicize criminal behavior by Evangelical preachers is that I want to justify my unbelief. Again, instead of accepting my story at face value, Tee, as he is fond of doing, smears my character and impugns my motives.
The unbeliever misses two key details in their rush to expose the sins of believers and try to knock them down to size. One of these is the fact that Christians never claim to be better than the unbeliever.
The biggest difference between the two people groups is that the believer admits they are sinners and in need of help to live life as they should or as Christ wants. They do not brag that they are better, they just have a tougher, lifestyle to follow.
Christians don’t brag that they are “better” than unbelievers? Jesus, what world is Tee living in? Evangelical Christianity, in particular, breeds certainty, arrogance, and self-righteousness. Evangelical preachers tell sinners that if they get saved they will receive a new life in Christ, all things become new — new thoughts, words, and deeds. Yet, according to Tee, Christians aren’t any better than unsaved people. Dare I ask, then, why anyone would want (or need) to be a Christian.?
Also, those websites [such as this one] documenting these failings are not helping to solve this problem. The believer is already aware of the reasons why other Christians fail. Whether those reasons are accepted by the unbelieving world does not matter.
They do not hold the standard to living the Christian life nor do they design the criteria. What they accept or do not accept is immaterial. The Christian has to live the Christian life according to God’s rules and grace.
Most of the “unbelievers” I know live exemplary moral and ethical lives. Tee believes there is an objective standard — the Bible — by which Christians are to live, yet he makes no attempt to live by these “rules.” Would Jesus defend rapists and child abusers? Would Jesus tell lies about people? Would Jesus misrepresent the beliefs of others? Yet, Tee does all of these things, saying that living the Christian life is “hard.” No, really it’s not. I am an atheist. I generally don’t lie, nor do I knowingly misrepresent the beliefs of others. And I most certainly don’t defend (and forgive and forget) the behavior of sexual predators and child molesters.
The Christian did not become a Christian to follow the secular world and Jesus did not call his followers to follow the unbeliever. he called them to follow him.
Then, please do so, David. Follow in the steps of Jesus, keeping his commands. Practice his teachings in the Sermon on the Mount. Show the world that the Holy Spirit lives inside of you by demonstrating the fruit of the Spirit. So far, your behavior on this site (and yours) shows you are no Christian at all. If you had been a member of one of the churches I pastored, you would have been excommunicated. And for the record, I stopped preaching the bankrupt IFB gospel in the late 1980s. I came to believe that true repentance required turning from sin and committing one’s life to Christ. No repentance, no salvation.
This is important as Jesus faced the same issues as every believer does. his world was filled with homosexuals, etc., false teachers, people who quit on their faith, a host of unbelievers, and more.
Yet, the failings of those around him, including his disciples, did not stop Jesus from setting the right example. Since we are to be like Christ, we cannot let the same groups of people keep us from setting the right example.
Yes, that is tough to do especially when people in your own church are living very sinful lives. But it must be done. The bible says to make our own calling and election sure and the way to do that is by following Jesus not those who fail.
Then, instead of knocking the failures down and exposing them to public ridicule, we seek to restore them to the right way to live. Jesus gave us the bible so we would know how to do that.
Ah yes, Christian rapists, sexual predators, and child molesters should be restored. They should be shown the “right” way to live. Instead of purging these people from the church, Tee thinks they just need to repent and be “restored.” Pray tell, how do you “restore” a rapist, child molester, or a man who beats his wife? Imagine a “restored” child abuser teaching your son’s Sunday school class or working in the nursery. Imagine a preacher who was kicked out of his church for sleeping with numerous female church members being hired to be the pastor of your church. All is forgiven, right? David Hyles was repeatedly forgiven. Church after church embraced him as their pastor or church leader, all the while he was taking advantage of vulnerable congregants. Jack Schaap was sentenced to 12 years in prison for having sexual relations with a church teen he was counseling. And when Schapp gets out of prison, Tee will be waiting for him with open arms. Welcome home, Brother. What’s your sermon on this Sunday?
We know that we sin all the time and are in no position to stand in judgment of anyone. The unbeliever thinks there is no such thing as sin and evil but they are mistaken. That thought provides them with the excuse they need to list the sins of Christians who have made mistakes.
The unbeliever is in no position to judge anyone, even a sinful Christian. They have rejected the only salvation they have available and are worse sinners than they claim Christians are.
Listen carefully to what Tee is saying: rape, sexual assault, child abuse, spousal abuse are “mistakes.” Not crimes, “mistakes.”
I challenge Tee to a metaphorical dick measuring contest. Let’s compare lives, David. I would love to hear what evidence you have for your claim that atheists, agnostics, and unbelievers are worse “sinners” than Christians; that unbelief leads to “sin.” In fact, Tee can prove his claim by starting a series on his blog titled the Atheist Crime Series, detailing all the crimes committed by atheists and other unbelievers. Sure, it happens, but Christians are no “better” people than non-Christians. In fact, didn’t Tee admit this very point earlier? Now he suggests Christians ARE morally and ethically better than the unwashed, uncircumcised Philistines of the World. Which is it?
While they may get a little fun at poking their finger at Christians who slip up, that fun is temporary and not fulfilling. it also won’t put any healing salve on their minds as they are still unbelievers faced with going to hell.
That must be torment to them as they cannot escape the message of the gospel no matter how hard they make fun of the believer or point out the latter’s sins.
David, repeat after me, there is no Hell, there is no Hell, there is no Hell. Atheists and agnostics don’t fear mythical beings or places. Just because you say something doesn’t make it true.
[sermon on how hard the Christian life is deleted]
Help those believers who fail, do not follow their example, and lead them back to the right way to live. Do not publish their mistakes so the world hears about them. Instead, show the world the right example so that they have no excuse to publish those sins Christians commit.
Tee thinks crimes [mistakes] committed by Evangelical clergy should be covered up. Their crimes shouldn’t be reported in newspapers or publicized on blogs such as this one. I have yet to read a post by Tee showing support for victims of sexual assault or child abuse. Instead, he defends and supports predators and abusers. Forgive them, God does. And then restore them. To the “world” he says, “move on, there’s nothing to see here.”
Sorry, David, as long as I have breath, I intend to keep exposing predator preachers, men of God who use their authority and positions of power to abuse, assault, and take advantage of children and vulnerable church members.
This post will undoubtedly elicit a flurry of responses from Tee. No matter what I say or do, Tee will continue to defend the dregs of Evangelical Christianity, leaving me to wonder why he does so? As a Christian, I was a defender of weak, vulnerable, powerless people. I would never have defended men such as Jack Hyles, David Hyles, or Jack Schaap. I took a vocal stand against the Hyles mafia. Why is Tee unwilling to defend and protect the “least of these”? What, David, would Jesus do if he were alive today? Would he say to you, “good job covering up crimes committed by notable Evangelical preachers?” I doubt it. I suspect, according to Matthew 25, Jesus would cast you into everlasting darkness. Come to the light, David. Stand with vulnerable men, women, and children. They deserve your support, not your condemnation.
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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