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Evangelical Pastor Questions Whether I Preached the “Real” Jesus

bruce gerencser false jesus

Repost from 2015-2016. Edited, updated, and corrected.

Regardless of what I do to ward off bloodsucking Evangelical vampires, they continue to send me emails detailing their opinions about my past and present life. The notice on the Contact page makes it clear that I am not interested in receiving such messages. I even wrote posts titled Dear Evangelical and Simple Contact Form for Evangelicals in an attempt to reduce the flow of preachy and judgmental emails. I also added a page titled WHY?, hoping that Evangelical zealots would read the posts listed on this page and as a result have no need to email questions that have already been answered. Despite doing all these things, Evangelicals STILL feel duty-bound to contact me. I suspect many of them think God is “leading” them to email me or they feel it is important to put in a good word for the Man Upstairs. Wayne from California is one such man. I think Wayne is an Evangelical pastor — based on his email address, IP address, and Google name search — but since he didn’t call himself a pastor, I won’t either.

What follows is the complete text of Wayne’s email. My response is indented and italicized. Enjoy!

Bruce, thanks for sharing your heartfelt sentiments, etc. I do want to ask you a very pertinent question however as it relates to your defection from Christianity. What “JESUS” did you preach when you were pastoring churches for over 25 years? Was it the Jesus of the Holy Scriptures? Or the Jesus of your own theology?

First, you really should have spent some time reading more than four of my posts. If you had, you would never have asked such silly questions. That said, I want you to be fully educated concerning Bruce Almighty, so I will answer your questions.

I pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years. Thousands of people heard me preach. I also held special meetings in churches affiliated with the Nazarene, Christian Union, Free Will Baptist, Assembly of God, Charismatic, Southern Baptist, Reformed Baptist, Sovereign Grace Baptist, General Association of Regular Baptist denominations/groups, along with numerous meetings held for Independent Fundamentalist Baptist churches (IFB). Not one person ever questioned the Jesus or the gospel I was preaching. Not one time, ever!  You will search high and low to find one person who would say to you, Bruce preached a false gospel. Dozens of colleagues in the ministry will tell you that my gospel preaching was Evangelical and orthodox in every way.

I ask because if you really knew JESUS as Savior and Redeemer, how is it that you can walk away from HIM? Wasn’t HE real in your life? Didn’t HE minister to you as you ministered to others? Did you believe anything that you preached? Or was it all a lie…or a show?

Yes, I really knew Jesus, and yes he was real in my life. Yes, Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, led me, spoke to me, and ministered to my spiritual needs. However, I now know that just because I had experiences such as these, they in no way “prove” the existence of God, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit.

I preached the Jesus of orthodox Christianity. I preached the Jesus found within the pages of the Christian Bible. And yes, I preached the Jesus who saved me from my sins.

If you would like, Wayne, we both can unzip our pants and have a Jesus-measuring contest. Unlike that of Donald Trump, my Jesus was pretty big. I was an expositional preacher. Preaching in this manner afforded me the opportunity to make much of Jesus each and every Lord’s Day.

Any suggestion that I preached some sort of defective or false Jesus is ludicrous. I understand WHY you think this might be so. You can’t square my story with your theology, so you must find a way to dismiss my life: I was an unsaved false teacher who preached a truncated gospel and a false Jesus. Here’s the problem. You will search in vain for even ONE person who would agree with you. Having never heard me preach, you are in no way qualified to judge the quality of my preaching.

I took my calling seriously, spending countless hours evangelizing the lost, ministering to those in need, and studying for my sermons. My faith was the essence of my life, as it was for my wife and children. Again, you will search in vain for even one person who will tell you that I was anything but who I say I was during the twenty-five years I spent in the ministry.

Were you ever really a TRUE Believer in Christ from day one? I know you said that your life had been inundated with the “Church,” but not a lot was said with what you did with JESUS! That is perhaps where your problem arised [sic]. The Bible does speaks [sic] very clearly of “APOSTATES,” those that merely “professed” faith in Christ…but they never ever “possessed” real faith in Christ? Could that have been you?

No, I was not, at that time, an apostate. Your inability to comprehend my life comes from your superficial reading of my story. No need to dig in and try to understand. You picked out of my story those things that said to you I was unsaved or an apostate and that is all you needed to know.

Again, I “possessed” Jesus every bit as much as you do.

Biblically speaking, no true believer/follower of Christ could ever walk away from HIM as believers are “SEALED” by the HOLY SPIRIT until the day of Redemption. So my friend, perhaps you were hurt and that caused you to turn away, but the JESUS of the Scriptures would ALWAYS be there for you if you really had a genuine faith in Him. I pray that the God of the Scriptures will bring you to a place of true repentance and faith, and that the hurt/wounds that have caused you bitterness in your soul, will be healed and you can really begin living for Christ!

Ah, now we get to the crux of the matter. You can’t square your once-saved-always-saved theology with my life, so it is evident to you that I was never a true Christian. What an easy way to dismiss my story. With one wave of your hand, you say, Bruce, you never were a Christian! This one thing I know: I once was saved and now I am not. I defy you to find one chink in my Evangelical armor. I checked all the boxes, Wayne, and if I wasn’t a Christian neither are you.

I spent most of my life following, serving, and living for Jesus and his Church. Quite frankly, I find inquiries such as yours to be patently offensive. I suspect you would feel the same way if I “doubted” the sincerity of your faith.

Many Evangelicals have come before you. Armed with Cracker Jack armchair psychology degrees, they determine that I am an angry, hurt, and bitter man. Here’s the problem with this line of inquiry: let’s assume I am now angry, hurt, or bitter. How is this relevant to the veracity of my past religious faith? When I was a Christian I was not angry, hurt, or bitter. And believe me, I know what anger and bitterness look like. I spent twenty-five years wading through the Evangelical sewer, coming in contact with countless angry and bitter “followers” of Jesus.  Again, I defy you to find one person who would say that I was an angry, hurt, or bitter Christian.

Now, if you are asking me if I am NOW angry or bitter? Sure, sometimes. These are normal human emotions, emotions that were buried under teachings about the fruit of the Spirit and walking in the Spirit. If I am angry about anything it is that I continue to receive emails such as yours from Evangelicals who refuse to listen and allow me to tell my own story. I know that as long as I am willing to publicly talk about my life as an Evangelical Christian and pastor that I will have to deal with people like you — people who show me little to no respect because they think they have me all figured out.

Years ago, I told my counselor that I was miffed over people not allowing me to tell my own story. I naively thought that if I explained myself, people such as yourself would understand. My counselor chuckled and told me that my mistake was thinking that Evangelicals cared one whit about what I think. He said, they don’t give a shit about what you think!

I now know my counselor was right. And here’s the good thing . . . I no longer give a shit about what Evangelicals think about my past or present life. My goal is to help Christians who have doubts about Christianity or who have recently left the faith. Over the past eight years, I have corresponded with scores of people who had doubts or questions about their faith. I am pleased that I have been able to lend a small measure of support. In some instances, I was able to help people gently unhitch their lives from Evangelicalism — a belief system that often causes untold psychological damage. I am, in many ways, still a pastor. I sincerely want to help people. The difference now, of course, is that my focus is on helping people walk the path of life with honesty and integrity. While I have been instrumental in helping numerous people — including pastors — embrace atheism, chalking up deconversions is not my goal. This blog is my pulpit and the world is my parish. Thousands of people regularly read my writing. I must be doing something right, yes? I still have a hard time accepting that people actually WANT to read what I write, but they do, and I appreciate their support.

By all means pray. It won’t do any good, but praying surely will make you feel like you are doing something anything to silence my voice and bring me to Jesus.


Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 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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You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.


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      Linda, my comments were not borne out of a “holier than thou” attitude, but I think yours was. Mines was written out of a sincere concern for a man’s soul. I don’t think that you have either the concern of the capacity to understand, so I won’t go any further.

      Have a Great Day!

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        Bruce Gerencser


        Actually, you are the one that showed zero respect for me. You deliberately chose to ignore what I wrote on the contact page. Instead, you think of yourself as some sort of super-duper Christian who is going to say (write) just the right words that will cause me to fall on my knees and repent, forsaking my atheist ways. It’s not going to happen. Your email is just the latest in a shit pile full of emails from arrogant, self-righteous Evangelicals.


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          Bruce, your insults is a very childish way of hiding your pain that has nothing to do with whether I “read your contact page”. You have anger towards God and His Son, Jesus, and His church. I admit that I’m not sure of what you’ve been through, but something happened to you that broke your spirit and caused you to defect from Christ.

          Your “contact page” is a smoke screen for something deeper, and I sincerely hope that you will endeavor to get to the bottom of that problem, and not focus on whether people believe you. Again, it is my theological position that you were never a authentic born again, redeemed child of God…..because if you were, you would still be one! Interestingly, you never challenge my theological positions. Why? because you can’t biblically refute them.

          So I ask the question of all questions again: If we were “Chosen from the foundation of the world” to be a member of Christ’s body, then how can we be “unchosen” in time? In other words, if it is already settled in eternity, how can it be undone in time? See if you can handle that question……without insults… grandchildren could easily resort to that…..but they don’t!

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            Bruce Gerencser

            Look, Wayne, I don’t give a fuck about what you think. Your ignorant psychological analysis of my life has no merit. I see a competent secular psychologist on a regular basis, so I am in good hands.

            Your Fundamentalist interpretations of the Bible carry no weight here. Feel free to engage any of my readers who might want to do so, but count me out. I have written over a million words on this website. Every burning STD-like question you might have has been answered in one or more posts. Learn how to search and then read.

            I would like to come to your church and preach several sermons about the contradictions found in the Bible and the bankruptcy of Christianity. Are you okay with that? Of course not. This blog is my church. You are a visitor here and if you are a decent man you will play by the rules. Normally, I only let Bible thumpers like you leave one or two comments. I let them vent their spleen and then cut them off. In your case, I thought you might provide some sort of entertainment or example for readers. Engage them at your own peril. Become hostile and I will ban you. You see, on this blog there is one God, and his name is Bruce.

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            John Arthur

            Hi Wayne,

            Perhaps you should read many of the articles at the Society of Evangelical Arminian website to see how it is possible to come to the conclusion that some passages in the bible probably teach Arminianism and that one might ‘fall away” from so-called “true faith”.

            Perhaps some parts of the bible teaches both Calvinism and Arminianism. Both of these contradict each other. Have you considered this, Wayne? You seem to think that you, and those who think like you, have a monopoly on the correct interpretation of the bible.

            And Wayne, where have you disappeared to? Are you going to respond to the various questions we have all posed to you?


            John Arthur

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    Michael Mock

    …Preaching “Jesus of your own theology” — check.
    …Seriously asks if Bruce spent thirty-five years preaching something he didn’t believe in — “a lie or a show” — because, um, I guess because it paid so well? ::sigh:: Check.
    …”Professed Christ without ever having True Faith(tm)” — whatever that means — check.
    …True believers never fall away — check.
    …You must have left because you were hurt and angry, since you couldn’t possibly have concluded that the message and worldview of fundamentalist/evangelical Christianity were false.

    Bruce, I believe I’ve got BINGO on my Clueless Evangelical Play Card. Did I win anything cool?

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    The irony here is this guy probably doesn’t ‘know’ the real Jesus. The real Jesus was an apocalyptic jew who lived within judaism and taught people how to keep the law in the light of the iminent Kingdom of God.

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    Bruce, thanks for your response, it is greatly appreciated. Your response did not bring any clarity, just more questions because most of what you wrote contradicts the clear teachings of Scripture. How so? you ask: First, you stated a few times: “You will be hard pressed to finds anyone that would say that I didn’t preach the real Jesus, etc”

    People are not the test for the authenticity of one’s faith, God is! People are fickle and fallen, and can’t possibly know the true condition of a person’s heart, but the GOD of the Scriptures clearly knows “those that are His”. You did not answer why and how you could walk away from the JESUS of the Scriptures. You simply averted the questions by citing “you would be hard pressed…..”

    The Bible is clear that true believers were “CHOSEN BY GOD FROM THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD” and that “HE HAS CONFORMED US INTO THE IMAGE OF HIS SON FROM THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD”. So if those things are true in eternity, then please tell me how can it be undone in time?

    If the HOLY SPIRIT indeed “SEALS US UNTO THE DAY OF REDEMPTION”, then please explain how can we be unsealed before that time?

    Your statement:

    “Yes, I really knew Jesus, and yes he was real in my life. Yes, Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, led me, spoke to me, and ministered to my spiritual needs. However, I now know that just because I had experiences such as these, they in no way “prove” the existence of God, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit.”

    If any of this was ever true, then it is STIL true because JESUS is STILL REAL and very much ALIVE! So how does a person goes from “knowing Jesus”, “having Jesus as a real figure in his life”, be “led by the Holy Spirit”, “heard Jesus speak to him”, and have this same Jesus “minister to your spiritual needs”…….but then say, “I don’t believe in Him any longer???

    That’s NOT even a coherent answer my friend. You sound very confused, and yes, as it relates to theology, I must say that your theology is sorely lacking in this regard. Again, if you were ever truly saved, you would still be today! You would still hear God’s Spirit speaking inside of your Spirit…..even if you were backslidden and decided that you wanted no more of Jesus.

    I know all too well what it feels like to back slide, but amazingly, the Holy Spirit would never let up, and HE would never let me go about my merry way. Why are you different…..if you were once saved? How did you become “unsaved?” Theologically, can you explain that? God loves you, Bruce! He really does, and whatever or whoever got in the way of your faith, God is able to mend your broken and bruised heart and spirit, and HE’s able to bring you back to a place of faith……assuming you ever had one. Yes, several of us will pray for you, and that God’s grace will reach out to you.

    Thanks Again!

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      Bruce Gerencser

      Here’s the world you live in, Wayne.

      There is a tree in a yard…

      Wayne says the tree is an apple tree.

      Bruce says, no, it is an oak tree.

      Wayne says, no it’s an apple tree.

      Bruce says, anyone who knows anything about trees knows this tree is an oak tree.

      Wayne says, I KNOW it is an apple tree.

      Bruce says, how do you know it is an apple tree?

      Wayne says, I have an ancient tree book that says this tree is an apple tree. I don’t care what you say, I believe what this book says…it’s an apple tree.

      Bruce sighs and says, Wayne, it’s an oak tree. Experts say it is an oak tree. The person who planted the tree says it is an oak tree. The property owners says it is an oak tree.

      Wayne says, no sir! I know my trees. I have read the only true tree book ever written. This tree is an apple tree and anyone who disagrees with me is wrong and is headed for the eternal wood chipper.

      Bruce shakes his head and walks away.

      This post will be my only response to you. If others want to play The No True Scotsman game or Bible Gymnastics with you they are free to do so.

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        Bruce, you can’t refute what I’ve said and that’s why you refuse to “play along”. If you ever knew JESUS, then you would know that HE is very REAL and not some figment of your imagination. I’m a little brighter than these people that affirm your thinking.

        No person that really knew JESUS……all of a sudden begin to doubt what they knew! That’s like me saying: “I was married to the Mother of my kids……..but oh! now that I’m unhappy in life, I question I was ever married to my children’s Mother”. “In fact, my children’s Mother don’t even exist”.

        Everyone would know how silly and incoherent that logic is, so I come back to the point: JESUS IS REAL, and if you ever knew HIM genuinely, then you would not now believe that HE is not REAL! Come on, Bruce, you can do better than that!

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          Thanks for disparaging my intelligence, Wayne. You don’t know me but you are sure you are “brighter” than me. I didn’t know only “bright” people could be saved and believe in Jesus.

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          “I’m a little brighter than these people that affirm your thinking.”

          You sure about that? An overweening desire to attempt to point to your thinking as the unbridled, unquestionable truth almost always indicates otherwise. That degree of hubris is, of course, so unhealthy. You won’t, but you should seek secular assistance.

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        I love (times seven) the apple / oak tree anology. Thank you for putting the issue into clear and concise words. You rock.

        As a pain rider myself, I hope your journey is easy on the corners for at least a wee bit.

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      Wayne, perhaps it might be that the Bible is a human, not a divine book. Bruce’s life story is evidence in that direction.

      You are starting with the presupposition that the Bible is a divine book. That is a presupposition most readers of this blog do not accept.

      As Bruce said, the simple reason you cannot accept the truth of his story is that it clashes with your presupposition about the Bible.

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        Peter, indeed the Bible is divine rather than human in origin…because the author Himself is the Holy Spirit! Therefore, Bruce and his friends are WRONG with all capital letters.

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          Wayne this is a matter upon which we may need to agree to disagree.

          I once used to think the Bible was a divine book, but eventually I came to the realisation that this view could not be sustained.

          Perhaps I am wrong, I can’t be absolutely certain. But if the Bible really is a divine book then God does indeed work in mysterious ways.

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      wayne, if you want to understand someone else’s perspective, you have to suspend your own viewpoint enough to try to understand (not agree with, just understand) the other person’s viewpoint. you’re unwilling or unable to do that, and therefore you come across as domineering and arrogant.

      in various reconciliation counselling techniques, (eg, marriage counselling, peace treaties, etc), as a first step, each party has to restate the other parties issues such that the other party agrees that they’ve been properly heard.

      re: “Your response did not bring any clarity, just more questions because most of what you wrote contradicts the clear teachings of Scripture.”

      re: “That’s NOT even a coherent answer my friend. You sound very confused, ….”

      wayne, it’s actually very very simple. bruce also believed the bible was the inerrant word of god for a long time, just as you still do. all those years of belief, and plenty of people nodding along, telling him he was a good preacher, agreeing with his theology, no one telling him he had the wrong jesus.

      however, over time, as he examined the bible more carefully, he realized there were some problems. the cracks in the inerrant bible got bigger and wider. until he stopped viewing the bible as inerrant, but rather as a book written by humans, with lots of human errors. many people thru history have come to the same conclusion. some become liberal christians, some deists, some agnostics and atheists. some stay in the closet about their change in theology or loss of belief.

      so the very simple key to making sense of it all is… the bible is wrong.

      independently of whether you believe the bible is inerrant or not, you should be able to understand someone’s perspective that does not believe it, altho they used to believe it.

      how would you explain a muslim that converts to christianity? before, they believed the koran was true, and they changed their mind, and now believe the bible is true instead. that’s not hard to understand at all, is it? understanding the particular reasons that that particular person has that caused them to change their mind might be different between converts tho. same with someone who converts from armenism to calvanism, or orthodox to protestant, or protestant to catholic. they had a belief, they got new data, they changed their belief to correlate with the new data.

      so, are you sincere in wanting understand bruce? (and many of the people that follow his blog, which is hundreds or perhaps thousands of people.) all you have to do, is spend a bit of time understanding some of the biblical criticism, so that you understand where bruce (and many of others) are coming from. you don’t have to agree, you just have to do a little bit of research. reading bart erhman is a good start, which goes into some of the “alleged” discrepancies or contradictions in the bible.

      you see, many/most of bruce’s readers understand where you’re coming from, because many/most are formerly religious, often fundamentalist. most are well acquainted with the bible, and also with critical analysis of the bible. we understand your perspective, we just investigated the claims of biblical inerrancy, and came to a different conclusion. but you probably have little to no understanding of what the issues are with the bible and it’s contradictions (or “apparent contradictions” depending on your beliefs.) and without even understanding what the issues are, you jump onto bruce’s blog, and start judging him. the fact is, there have been dozens if not hundreds of people just like you over the last 8+ years, that all sound and act almost exactly alike. ya’ll are actually quite predictable. bruce has just banned another one just a day or so ago, that was sounding like a broken record with his “new” arguments that we’ve heard many times before.

      95-99% chance you’re not really serious about understanding, and you won’t spend any time at all reading bart erhman. but prove me wrong — show us that you’re actually different from all the others, that you sincerely want to understand someone else’s perspective, even if you ultimate reach a different conclusion, instead of just browbeating them with your views. (hint, we already understand your views; we also understand the many issues with biblical inerrancy. many/most of us came to the conclusion to bible is not inerrant, therefore we changed out views. result: some more liberal christians, some all the way to atheism, and every thing in between. and we’re mostly not interested in being browbeat — it’s rather boring actually.)

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        Thanks for being an “Apologist” for Bruce’s belief system. However, what you write also lacks in Biblical clarity. So let’s start from what is even more significant than what Bruce believes about the Bible. Bruce stated that HE KNEW JESUS as SAVIOR AND REDEEMER, and if that is true, then how does he not believe in the person that he supposedly had a relationship with? That’s what Bruce cannot and has not answered!

        Jesus is very REAL, and as the Son of God, HE makes Himself known in the heart and mind of His followers, and my very simple point is if Bruce enjoyed a sweet communion and intimate relationship once upon a time, then he couldn’t possibly deny Christ’s existence……seeing as how he supposedly had a first hand experience with Jesus. So if you guys want to engage in a serious dialog, then let’s have some theological discussion apart from the Bible and have you guys address my premise.

        My best friend, humanly speaking, is a gentleman named Mark. We grew up together and have spent many years together in relationship and fellowship. I can’t come to a place and say, “Wow! Mark never existed!” The house that I use to visit is really not Mark’s house, it was simply my imagination because I never ever spent time in that house there on Orange street in Tampa, Florida.” See, that’s how Bruce sounds…and that’s how the rest of you sound as well. If you ever knew the God of the Bible, you could never ever walk away from HIM! I challenge you to show me one example of a true believer in the Scripture that has ever done so!

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          Michael Mock

          “Bruce stated that HE KNEW JESUS as SAVIOR AND REDEEMER, and if that is true, then how does he not believe in the person that he supposedly had a relationship with? That’s what Bruce cannot and has not answered!”

          Easy answer: it’s because a “relationship with Jesus” is not like a relationship with a person.

          You say you have a relationship with Jesus, right? I mean, He’s real to you, you know He exists, you have an experience of communicating with Him, you can see Him working in your life. Your faith isn’t just a matter of agreeing to a set of esoteric philosophical points, it’s something you live and experience.

          That’s fine. But that’s not the same thing as having a relationship with a human being. It’s not even a matter of degree. It’s a difference in kind.

          If I wanted to prove to you that Bruce exists, we could make arrangements to, say, all fly to Hawaii. I could introduce you to Bruce, and you could shake hands with him. We could all sit down and have a nice meal, and talk about sports or politics or religion or popular entertainment. You could see for yourself that Bruce speaks (and even writes) the way he does here on his blog.

          However, the kind of thing you refer to as a “relationship” with Jesus doesn’t work that way. It’s far more personal, ephemeral, and subjective. You can tell me how important it is to have a relationship with Jesus Christ, but you can’t actually introduce me to Him. All you can do is have me read about Him and/or listen to what other people have said about Him. The dude is never going to sit down and have a cup of coffee with us; or help me finish off the pitcher of margaritas; or order the lobster, eat half of it, and stick me with the check.

          Now, if we all flew out to Hawaii and I introduced you to Bruce, and we all had dinner together, and you spent a while getting to know him, and then a few years later you claimed to have concluded that he didn’t really exist and I’d just been imagining him, well… I’d have to assume that you were either a cockeyed lunatic, or that you were trying to play some kind of angle. Your question — “how does he not believe in the person that he supposedly had a relationship with?” — makes perfect sense in the context of human relationships.

          Problem is, you’re conflating human relationships with the kind of thing you call a “relationship” with Jesus — and they just aren’t the same.

          Bruce (and I don’t mean to put words in his mouth, but I’ve known Bruce a while — plus, he’ll correct me if I’m wrong) had the same kind of “relationship” with Jesus that you do now. He had no doubts that Jesus existed. He trusted Jesus as his Lord and Savior. He perceived Jesus working in his life. He experienced Jesus communicating with him through prayer and offering guidance and insight in response to his prayers.

          Then he began to see more and more inconsistencies in what he’d been taught and what he’d believed, and he found them harder and harder to resolve. Eventually, he could only reasonably conclude that his perceptions and experiences of having a “relationship” with Jesus were not what he’d thought they were. That’s how it happens. But that’s a very different thing from knowing an actual physical person and then trying to claim that they never really existed.

          TL/DR: Your question is fundamentally flawed by the false assumption that a “relationship” with Jesus is comparable to a relationship with a human being.

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            Michael, this post is MONEY. Well done. I concur.

            It’s worth mentioning that these people are claiming a “relationship” with an invisible person who only “speaks” to them inside their own heads, through the actions of other people, or events in the world. The problem is that all this non-first-person “Jesus speaking” stuff has alternate, more mundane explanations that these people don’t consider.

            When your brain is conditioned to see ordinary everyday happenings as “messages from God”, well of course you’re going to start seeing them everywhere. When your own consciousness makes a decision about what to do in a tough situation, attributing that decision to an invisible person you “prayed to” and not yourself isn’t that difficult. Realizing that these are just cognitive errors and mistakes in pattern recognition is something they can’t consider.

            And the “power of the Holy Spirit” religious expeience they claim to feel is no different from the religious experiences of other religions with different doctrinal claims.

            Want to have some fun? Try getting a Protestant fundamentalist to argue with a Mormon about why his “feeling the Holy Spirit” and the Mormon “burning in the bosom” are TOTALLY different things and not the same at all. Because the first guy has the “real thing”, dontchaknow, and the Mormon or the Sufi Muslim has obviously been fooled by the Satanic counterfeit instead.

            With such a hermetically sealed belief system, impervious to evidence and argument, how constructive is continued conversation with such a person?

            When you realize that your “personal relationship” with an invisible person is just happening in your own mind and generated by your own brain and there’s no good reason to think anything “supernatural” is happening, that’s when walking away and realizing you were mistaken becomes a real possibility.

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          Wayne, the Mark you know so well is not the same as the Mark who is Mark. How can it be for you can not share the same space, experience the same events the same way. It is all perspective.

          The Bruce I know through his blog was a Preacher just as you. He believed just as you. His genuineness is not in question.

          His journey did not stop with one book. He had questions and he followed them. Bruce may be human on the outside but I see kitty on the inside. Curiosity may have killed the cat but satisfaction brought him back.

          Now here you arrive, just minted and think you have the answers. You are so busy composing a reply, you miss our message.

          After all the dogma and inerrancy has been thrashed out there are a couple messages that shine from every faith. First, be kind to each other. Second, love is the Law. Anything you do must be through the Law. The pagans said it best – For the Good of All and May it Harm None.

          Are you sure your vision of love doesn’t cause harm Wayne?

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      Wayne says: “believers were “CHOSEN BY GOD FROM THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD” ”

      Does this mean that GOD has personally chosen me to NOT spend an eternity with someone as terminally pious as yourself?

      Yay for God!

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    John Arthur

    Hi Wayne,

    You state that the real Jesus is the “Jesus of Holy Scripture”. Many scholars believe that there are several images of Jesus in the NT and they are not all the same. The Jesus of the synoptics emphasizes the humanity of Jesus whereas the Gospel of John emphasizes the deity of Jesus as do Paul’s letters. Many biblical scholars see these as representing diverse views of Jesus. Although there is a diversity of view within the NT, some see this diversity as a diversity of complementarity whereas others see it as a diversity of contradiction.

    The 7 genuine letters of Paul were probably written somewhere between CE 50 and CE 60, some 20-30 years after Jesus’ death. The 6 forgeries were written a good deal later. The Gospels were were written somewhere between CE 60 and CE 90 by unknown authors: Mark probably between CE 64 and CE 70, Matthew and Luke in the 80’s and John in the 90’s.

    It seems as if legendary accretions grew up around Jesus, and these could easily have arisen in a superstitious world where many believed in demons and angels, that a human being could walk on water (in defiance of the laws of physics), make bread multiply, and that this guy Jesus could ascend into the sky, again against the laws of physics.

    How is it that Paul appears to know little about Jesus’ human life, judging by his scant reference to any details in his letters? I submit to you that it is impossible for anyone to know who the real Jesus is. He is certainly not the Jesus of scripture where the story of Jesus is embedded in first century myths that grew up in Palestine after Jesus’ death .

    If you claim to KNOW the real Jesus and you believe that he is the Jesus of the text, then how do you account for the many images of Jesus in church history ? And what empirical evidence are you able to provide for your view that you had the real Jesus but Bruce did not?

    And, can you supply evidence that your view of Jesus is better than all the other views of Jesus that have occurred during the history of the church? Bruce believed in his version of Jesus, based on a view of Scripture that is no different from yours. He believed in the verbal inspiration, the inerrancy and total trustworthiness of Scripture, and its supreme authority in all that it affirms. Of all the people who heard Bruce preach, not one questioned his faith in Jesus and many of those were able to observe Bruce’s life over many years and came to the conclusion that he was, indeed, a true believer.


    John Arthur

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      John, like Bruce and the others, you have been duped and are confused my friend. First, most true biblical scholars are pretty much together in their views of who Jesus is, the only persons that have sunk to liberal positions are just that: liberal scholars. The gospels and the epistles give a full picture of the person of Christ and His relationship to the Father, the Holy Spirit, and to the individual Believer.

      Most significantly, both John, Peter, and Paul predicted that in the end times, there would be apostates within the body of Christ, those persons that professed faith in Christ but who never actually possessed faith in Christ. There’s not ONE example of a true believer in Christ that was saved and then they walked away from Jesus after a time. Not one such person, and before you go there, please don’t cite Judas, as he was never a true believer, and even Jesus made the point when He declared: “HAVE I NOT CHOSEN ALL OF YOU AND ONE OF YOU IS A DEVIL?” And in the book of Psalms, Judas is called “THE SON OF PERDITION” or “SON OF RUIN”.

      None of you guys were ever truly saved if you defected from the person of Jesus Christ. I challenge anyone to debate me Biblically on that issue.

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        Doug B.

        I think Bruce has been very accommodating of your presumptuous idea that you need to tell him you are a better believer than he and that you have all the answers through some holy book.

        I’m sure you wouldn’t mind him coming into your home and telling you how wrong you are after all we all follow the Golden Rule.

        I don’t think you help your cause when you fail to read or listen to what Bruce said and only seem to want to show how holy you are – prideful behavior if you ask me.

        You should know better.

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        Debate biblically with you? So you set the parameters? What good would debating biblically with you do? We don’t accept the ‘authority’ of ‘scripture’, you don’t understand it (or you wouldn’t say Judas is referred to in the Psalms).

        Anyway, here goes. As you’ve already been told, Jesus was an itinerant Jewish preacher who announced the imminence of God’s Kingdom on Earth. He never mentioned becoming personal saviour to anyone – all that washed-in-the-blood-of-the-lamb mumbo-jumbo is a later development that had nothing to do with the Jesus we find preserved in the synoptic gospels.

        Ask yourself, Wayne, if Jesus preached the gospel when he was alive (Matthew 4.23), what good news was this? He had yet to die so it couldn’t possibly have been ‘have faith in my substitionary atonement and be saved’. Nor could it have been ‘accept me as your personal saviour and be sealed in the Spirit’, or anything like it.

        Actually the gospels tell us what his good news was (Matt 9.35): God was going to intervene in history very soon, rescuing his people from Gentile rule and setting up his Kingdom, in which he, Jesus, would rule (Matt 24:27-34; Luke 1:33; 21:25-28). Remember the sarcastic inscription on his cross, ‘King of the Jews’? This is what it referred to.
        As the gospels record, Jesus was wrong in every respect.

        Is this the Jesus you worship, Wayne? It ought to be as he’s the one revealed in the Bible. The one you’ve constructed in your head, and which Bruce and I ‘knew’ too when we thought we were in love with him, was not this man. That Jesus, the one we served, was primarily a construct of Paul’s making – his ‘Christ’ – and our own imaginations. Nonetheless, we were sincere in our beliefs, passionate about ‘him’ and our relationship with him, intense in our faith. We were just wrong, as you are wrong now.

        I’m guessing, Wayne, that you don’t believe in the Yeshua of the synoptic gospels either, just in ‘the Christ’ that came after him. When you come to the realization that this ‘Christ’ is make-believe, an imaginative recreation of the failed Jewish zealot who lived and died (and stayed dead) long ago, you’ll fall out of love with him too.

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        John Arthur

        Hi Wayne,

        (1) You are a believer in ” the eternal security of the believer”. Yet there are numerous Evangelical biblical scholars in the Arminian tradition who hold to the same view of the bible as you do,yet disagree with you profoundly. Are they not “true” biblical scholars? Have you studied their exegesis of passages that suggest that true believers can fall away from the faith? Have you tried to understand their viewpoint (you don’t have to agree with it.)?

        (2) Have you tried to read the position of non-Evangelical scholars? Have you tried to understand their views of the bible and their criticisms of the kind of views to which you come? Why not go to a theological seminary library and read non-evangelical authors, if you haven’t already done so? Alternatively, are you prepared to read through Bart Ehrman’s books? He presents devastating critiques of of the views of Evangelicals. He was once an Evangelical whose detailed study of the text of Scripture led him away from Evangelicalism.

        (3). If the bible was written by the Holy Spirit as you claim, how do you account for much of the immorality commanded and performed by God and the Israelites? God commanded the total slaughter of the Cannanites, including defenseless little children and babies and the brutal Joshua and his army wiped out several cities, putting men, women, little children and babies to th sword. Then to make sure they had done a thorough job, they burnt the cities to the ground. This is far worse than anything Hitler did in WWII.

        (4) Why did Jesus tell his disciples to love their enemies, not to hate them or kill them when the Psalmist says that God hates his enemies? If Jesus is God, as Evangelicals claim then the Psalmist appears to be wrong. If the Holy Spirit wrote the bible, then Jesus is not God because he does not tell his disciples to act in the way the psalmist describes God as doing.

        (5) If the Holy Spirit wrote the bible, the how can you reconcile the pacifist Jesus of the Sermon on the Mount with the Jihadi Jesus of the barbaric book of Revelation?

        (6) You say you know that God exists because you have experienced him and had fellow ship with him. Subjective certainty is not the same thing as objective knowledge. There are many people who claim subjective certainty about things that evidence shows is false. What about the Pentecostal/Charismatic Christian who claims he/she has a “word of knowledge” and is certain it came from God, yet is false. e.g. Someone who believes God told them that a particular person had committed adultery, yet there was not a shred of evidence to support their false notion. Similarly, you need to recognize that your inward certainty about the existence of God might also be mistaken. It should not be confused with evidence for God’s existence.

        (8) Can you provide any empirical evidence that miracles occur today or have ever occurred in the past? After all, you would not accept miracles stories in other religions or miracles alleged to be performed by other gods? You would probably treat them as myths and legends. The only reason you believe that the miracle stories of the bible are true is that you believe that human beings who wrote the bible, wrote a text that is God-breathed. This is an ASSUMPTION that colours all your beliefs, but are you willing to examine this chief assumption of yours?


        John Arthur

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        Wayne, there is now a strong academic body of opinion which suggests that the person known as Jesus Christ never actually existed. I don’t have a personal opinion on the matter as I have not studied the subject in depth, but this I know, and I mean know to a level of certainty little short of absolute; if he did actually exist he did not perform miracles, he did not come back from the dead, and he was not a relative of God (who almost certainly doesn’t exist either).

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    re: “So if you guys want to engage in a serious dialog, then let’s have some theological discussion apart from the Bible and have you guys address my premise.”

    but your theology and premise comes from the bible, independent of your alleged relationship with jesus. and we don’t accept the bible as authoritative.

    look, you came here to bruce’s blog, pretending you wanted to understand. clearly, you don’t want to understand, because we’ve explained it to you. you’re simply unwilling to acknowledge that we do not agree with your assumptions about the bible.

    so we’ve already tried to start serious dialog, and you’ve refused to participate. so i’m no longer interested in even making the attempt.

    re: ”Interestingly, you never challenge my theological positions. Why? because you can’t biblically refute them.”

    no, because we don’t agree with the bible as inerrant, so we’re not interested in refuting you positions. and clearly you’ve completely avoided answering any of the criticisms of the bible that people here have mentioned.

    in short, you are indeed just like hundreds of other fundamentalists before you — unwilling and unable to even comprehend anyone elses viewpoint, and completely oblivious to the innumerable assumptions that your world view is predicated on.

    we’ve all grown tired of listening to broken records and talking to walls. no more.

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    Wayne you say that most true biblical scholars are agreed on who Jesus is, my question to you is what is the definition of a true biblical scholar. I am no expert but my guess is that any biblical scholar who comes to conclusions you dont agree with are not true biblical scholars in your opinion, nor is any scholar who isnt a christian despite any expertise or thousands of hours studying the b-i-b-l-e. Just because someone is liberal does not give you the right to dismiss them or their expertise on a subject out of hand just because it doesnt fit your worldview. Also what about all the jewish scholars of the hebrew bible are they true biblical scholars, im sure they might have a few different things to say about the old testament prophesies than “true biblical scholars.” As for predictions about apostates that makes it real easy for anyone to dismiss another church as not the real church. Go ahead and continue living in a dream world, but me and I’m sure many other readers of this blog were happy to ride the train of doubt out of crazytown.

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    Wayne drank the Kool-aid and now he is ‘brighter’. I drank the Kool-aid but it dimmed me down finally and felt like harm being done. People are not inherently evil… and most of them are fortunate enough to know that there is little to no nourishment to be had in Kool-aid.
    Logic in Wayne’s world begins and ends with the book of stories and poetry. The rest of the library was never truly the Book and so who needs it.
    Boring cul de sac.

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    Michael Mock

    Wayne, if you’re still commenting, let me ask you a question:

    What would someone gain from claiming that God doesn’t exist? What are the advantages of taking this stance?

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      Because we all want to “be gods ourselves” and “sin all we want”! We don’t want to be “held accountable”? Haven’t you heard that one? LOL

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        Michael Mock

        Hush, you. I want to hear what Wayne thinks.

        (Of course I’ve heard those answers. None of them hold up if you assume the existence of an all-knowing, all-powerful God — and, if the Apostle Paul is to be believed, we all know that such a being exists.)

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          You’re right, of course.

          Once you take the goggles off, it’s much easier to see that the Bible and the real world don’t match. And if they don’t, then that’s more evidence you’ve got just another human-authored book on your hands.

          Convincing some people that a”magic” book isn’t “magic” is a much tougher thing to do than some expect.

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    Wayne – just go ahead and acknowledge that you are full of shit. Just like the rest of us. That, not the fear of God, is the true beginning of wisdom.

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    “I still have a hard time accepting that people actually WANT to read what I write, but they do, and I appreciate their support.” Bruce, if there is one thing I hope you will hear amidst all my inconsequential comments on your blog, it is that you are doing more good than you can possibly know. You have helped me so much, and I am sure many other people who are recovering from religion. And your blog also give us a form to help each other. So I THANK YOU.

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    Bruce, I just want to jump in and say, Thank you for being another one of my online pastors. Your writings have helped me figure out many mysteries of the fundagelical lifestyle and beliefs, and why they made me so miserable.

    Unlike the Waynes of this world, you are respectful of where people came from and where they’re going. You meets us where we are. And you keep answering our questions with intelligence and kindness while we work things out.

    Too bad the Waynes can’t see this and figure this out. They’re so focused on their “true beliefs” that they fail to see the hurting humans behind them. Nor can they listen to and respect someone’s clearly stated wishes, as you have stated in many places on your blog.

    Thanks for sharing this exchange with us.

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      Michael Mock

      I like it. How about this one?

      “Never a Christian”
      Says the believer
      He does not know yet

      Or better still…

      There once was a faithful believer
      Who said that Bruce could not deceive ‘er
      I was a Christian
      Bruce said with a grin
      But my former faith? I did leave ‘er!

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    J.D. Matthews

    Oh look. Another small time pastor wanna-be who wants to make his snaps by debating with a better-known-than-him atheist. I’m sure he’ll be writing all about this in his church bulletin or on his own blog with 2 followers (himself and his dog.)

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    A very enlightening thread. So Wayne thinks he can show biblically that the bible teaches once saved always saved. Big deal. If he can then that proves only what the bible says and not that it is reliable. I can prove that the Quran says Mohamad is God’s final messenger – so will you convert to Islam Wayne????!

    People like him can’t see things from other people’s point of view. His posts won’t persuade anyone. They only reinforce the fact that christians have their heads in the sand. Probably deep down he has really big doubts too. Having been like him myself once I pitty him.

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      I know what you mean.

      I recall when someone read the notes of a famous preacher he had penned next to one particular paragraph:
      “argument here is weak so speak loudly”.

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    Robert Madewell

    I was contacted a few years ago by an aunt who questioned my sincerity as well. She asked me if I had read the Bible (cover to cover) or had really given my life over to Jesus. She used Pascal’s Wager and God of the gaps on me, as if I had never considered those arguments. It is aggravating when you hear the same ol’ stuff over and over again. Bruce, I think you were quite patient with Wayne. If he can’t accept that sometimes believers stop believing for logical reasons, then screw him. As I always say. If you have the truth, it should stand up to logical scrutiny. Truth should not be afraid of criticism.

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    I hope that Bruce and all of his followers will come to a place of repentance and faith in the living God through His Son, Jesus Christ. The devil is a deceiver and seeks to keep people in darkness, but Christ is the light, and He shows us who God really is by being the “express image of God the Father”. I pray that all of you will come to know the lover of your souls, the Lord Jesus Christ!

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      Bruce Gerencser

      Bye, bye Wayne. This is your last comment.

      BTW, I have no followers. I have readers. People from all walks of life read my writing, including people from your Fundamentalist tribe.

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      Dear Wayne, go to Tempe, Arizona and kneel in front of Pastor Anderson’s church there. Do not eat or drink again until he repents. Do it Wayne, It’s an order. These non-believers are being misled by wolves in wolves’ clothing! Go git em Wayne.

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      Michael Mock

      And that’s it? With people actually answering your questions and asking you questions, and after — what? three full weeks? — you finally pop back in and all you have to add is a drive-by prayer?

      Bruce is pretty clearly done with you, and I can’t say I blame him. But if you haven’t at least read the responses that followed your earlier posts, you really ought to go back and do so.

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    Bruce, I’m starting to think that these fundies/evangelicals are never going to follow your advice about contact and reading certain posts. Perhaps you need to have a handy, dandy, Christian contact form that you can have them checkmark before you allow one post. And then afterward, you can print said form out and crinkle it and throw it away. And then laugh at them for their audacity, rudeness, and smugness in relating to non-religious people. 😉

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    dale m.

    WAYNE !! WHOA WAYNE !! I think you hit the nail on the head !

    I believe you are correct that BG never knew the R-E-A-L Jesus.

    So long as BG was an evangelical pastor, (according to his life story), he actually thought that Jesus was some sort of divine character. You couldn’t be more correct about BG not knowing who the R-E-A-L Jesus really was.

    But he started to ask questions. Just like the rest of us. When BG broke away from evangelicalism, he discovered the R-E-A-L Jesus. And who was the R-E-A-L Jesus ??

    A long dead Jew that pastored to the Jewish people. Later, people like you claimed Him for yourself. Put him on a pedestal and began worshipping a corpse as a god.

    So. Wayne. You have yet to discover the R-E-A-L Jesus yourself, I hear !! Have faith. You’ll break away too and discover the R-E-A-L Jesus just as BG did. If BG could do it after 50 years (discover the R-E-A-L Jesus), we all know that on your death bed (if not sooner), you will also. I think all evangelicals like yourself eventually do. And I feel great knowing that you will ! It hits everybody Wayne. Absolutely everybody !

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    Wayne: Bruce’s story doesn’t match up with what I KNOW YES KNOW to be THE TRUTH so I have to tell him that he and his readers are all WRONG YES WRONG. I don’t care what Bruce says about his own life story because I KNOW YES KNOW THE TRUTH.

    Bruce: You barely read anything about my story, how about you read it before making a judgment?

    Wayne: ( still not reading) I KNOW YES KNOW THE TRUTH and Bruce is WRONG YES WRONG!

    Bruce: you still…..never mind, f#$% off. You’ll never even try to understand…..

    ***summary of what it’s like to deal with know-it-all evangelicals.

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    Which Jesus, Bruce? Did you preach the one who hops around on a pogo stick?
    Or maybe the jumped up one in a sidecar.
    Or Jesus H Christ.
    Or the one on a crutch.
    Which one? There are SO MANY.
    Last year the landscape company where my husband used to work employed three guys named Jesus, two of them at the same time. The other guys would joke about finding Jesus. “I think I saw him pushing a wheelbarrow over that way.”

    Maybe someone should preach about the landscape Jesuses. Jesii?

    Wayne needs professional help.

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    5 1/2 years on, I wonder what happened to Wayne. His drive by prayer didn’t work as several readers are still agnostics and/or atheists since that post.

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    Davie from Glasgow

    By the way Bruce – it’s really just for the purpose of reading your writing that I keep coming back here. You are very readable!

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Bruce Gerencser