Menu Close

1998: The Theological Beliefs of Evangelical Pastor Bruce Gerencser

bruce polly gerencser our fathers house west unity
Polly and Bruce Gerencser, Our Father’s House, West Unity, Ohio Circa 2000

Excerpt from Our Father’s House website, circa 1998. Edited slightly for spelling, grammar, and adding links

Often I am asked “what does your church believe about__________?”  This is not an easy question to answer because our church is a body made up of individuals, and even in a smaller church like Our Father’s House, there are “differing” views on what the Bible says about some things. We do not set any particular creed or statement of faith as a requirement for membership in the church. Rather, if a person has repented of their sins, and by faith trusted Christ for salvation, AND has a desire to be taught the Word of God, we encourage them to become a part of our assembly. We accept the Apostle’s Creed as a summary statement of belief. Please see our church constitution for further information.

So, when asked “what does your church believe about__________?” it is better for me to say what “I” believe and to share the viewpoint that “I” teach from.

I am an expositional preacher. The primary Bible version I use is the KJV [I later moved to the ESV]. Some church members use the NKJV.  Usually, I preach on random passages of Scripture, and at times will preach through books of the Bible. I believe the Bible is the inerrant, infallible Word of God. It does not just contain the words of God, it IS the Words of God, every jot and every tittle.

I am an Evangelical. I willingly embrace all those who claim the name of Christ and walk in His truth. I believe the denominational fragmentation that is seen today is a dishonor to the God of Heaven. The world will know we are Christians by the love we have for one another. One of my desires is to promote love and unity among God’s people. Lest someone think I am an ecumenist, I oppose the Evangelicals and Catholics Together statement. While I readily grant that there are many Roman Catholics who are Christians (and I embrace them as such), the official doctrine of the Roman Church is salvation (justification) by works.  In the name of Christ, I embrace God’s people wherever they may be found, but I strongly oppose the false gospel of works taught in many churches. A sinner is saved (justified) apart from the works of the law. (or any other work like baptism, joining the church, being confirmed) Sinners are not saved by works but UNTO good works. (Ephesians 2:8-10)

I am a Non-Cessationist. I believe that spiritual gifts are for today and that they are in operation today. While I would not call myself a charismatic, I do find a common bond with men such as John Piper and Martyn Lloyd Jones and ministries such as People of Destiny [now Sovereign Grace Churches]. I do not believe that many of the so-called charismatic gifts exercised in many Charismatic/Pentecostal churches are of God. Such churches preach a gospel according to the Holy Spirit, not a gospel that finds as its foundation Jesus Christ. Any gospel that requires a person to speak in tongues, evidence the fullness of the Spirit, etc. is a false gospel. I also stand opposed to the modern prosperity gospel preached by men such as Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth Copeland, Frederick Price, et al. The modern charismatic movement is an admixture of truth and error and is best described as a mixture of the Corinthian and Laodicean churches. I also stand opposed to most of the Charismatic teaching regarding demons, territorial spirits, and demon/spirit possession. There is a real Devil who can and does possess his children (John 8:44) and our battle is with him, but much of the spiritual warfare teaching is according to the philosophies of men and not of God.

I believe in the validity of the law of God. God’s law is pure, holy, and true, and man is enjoined by God to obey. I emphasize that the believer is to progress in sanctification and holiness. Saved people LIVE like saved people. I find much in common with the good men and women. of the Chalcedon Foundation. They are a small voice in a large wilderness declaring the validity of the law of God.

I am a Calvinist. I believe in the Sovereignty of God and that salvation is of the Lord. No man can save himself. I do not believe man has an innate ability to believe. Unless the Father, by the power of His Spirit, draws a man to salvation, that man will never be saved. I believe in the perseverance (preservation) of the saints. God keeps His own until the day of salvation. I consider the doctrine of eternal security preached in many Churches to be a perversion of the truth because it denies a connection between the saviorship and lordship of Christ in a man’s life. There is a direct connection between a man who is saved and how he lives. The same God who saves a man has also ordained that that same man would live a life of good works. No holiness, no heaven! While I consider myself a Calvinist, I stand against hyper Calvinism and its denial of the free offer of the gospel. I also reject double predestination as a doctrine rooted in the philosophies of men and not the Word of God. As a minister of the gospel, my desire is not to convert Arminians to Calvinists, nor is it to promote a system. I preach Christ. Calvinism is the best description of how and why God saves a sinner. I, without hesitation, affirm the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith as an accurate statement of that which I most surely believe.

I am posttribulational, and amillennial. I believe the church will go through the tribulation, and that there yet awaits a day when Jesus Christ will come again and judge the world.

I believe in the Lordship of Christ. We do not make Him Lord, HE IS LORD. Because He is Lord, we are called on to live holy, separated lives. The standard for such living is the Word of God. I reject all man-made standards of living, for God has given us everything we need pertaining to life and godliness. Legalistic standards of touch not, taste not are rejected as the philosophies of men.

My favorite theologians and authors are JC Ryle, Wayne Grudem, Donald Bloesch, Charles Spurgeon, Thomas Watson, Gardiner Spring, John MacArthur, and most anything written during the Puritan era. Truly a minister is known by the books he reads.  My favorite bookstore is the Cumberland Valley Bible and Book Service. They are an excellent source of sound doctrinal books and, of course, they carry a large supply of Puritan books

So there you have it . . .this is not all I believe . . . but I have given you enough so that you can decide what kind of preacher you think I am. After you decide, if you are still interested, please do stop and visit. We will be delighted to have you as our guest. If you have a question please email me and I will promptly reply.

Pastor Bruce Gerencser

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.

Connect with me on social media:

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

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.


  1. Avatar
    Benny S

    Bruce: “I do not believe that many of the so-called charismatic gifts exercised in many Charismatic/Pentecostal churches are of God.”

    Hey there Bruce. Years ago, I shared a story over at Captain Cassidy’s blog that I thought I’d repeat here, if you don’t mind.

    I grew up Methodist. Left the Methodist church as a paranoid high school junior / senior who was becoming quite aware that he was somehow also attracted to other fellow dudes in high school. Wandered the desert for about seven years before a born-again guy I had the hots for invited me to his church. Eventually, I relented (because he was such a dreamboat). He went to the local Assembly of God church, and in a matter of weeks, I was repenting of my homosexual desires during the church’s weekly altar call. Thus began my own sincerely believed “born again” years.

    I was a faithful attender of this Assembly of God church for about five years (Sunday mornings, Sunday evenings and Wednesday nights too). During that time, I didn’t quite understand the whole “tongues” gift thing. Of course the church congregation supported the concept, but those outside it’s walls that were part of other local denominations strongly frowned upon it. I kept praying for the gift of tongues for myself, and others in the church would promise that “someday” I’ll receive the gift. I was even encouraged to keep trying to “just do it” in my private prayers, but all that would come out of my mouth was a gurgling something that sounded the same as when I was ill and would proceed to vomit.

    There was one stalwart female member of our Assembly of God church who seemed to be a regular “tongue talker”. If anyone could be relied upon to speak in tongues on a regular basis, it was her. It got to the point where I’d hear her speak in tongues on a Sunday morning, that I was eventually able to mimic the phonetic sounds she spoke (Something like: “I gotta shun-dai i gotta sund-ee-ai” repeatedly for about 30-45 seconds while everyone else in the congregation quietly praised the Lord), and when the expected, awaited translation never happened, we moved on. This was Signal #1 that something wasn’t quite right. (Side note: I’ve heard Dave Warnock mention he can still speak in tongues, even though he has now de-converted. Interesting how the Holy Spirit still works….)

    Signal #2 that something wasn’t quite right about tongues happened when on the VERY RARE occasion that someone would translate her message in tongues — after we waited, and waited, and waited on the Lord FOREVER — the “translator” would preface the translation by saying “I believe the Lord is saying….”

    Me: “Huh? I BELIEVE the Lord is saying….?!?!? Shouldn’t you KNOW what the Lord is saying?!?!?”

    Eventually I left the Assembly of God church. But, since I still wanted my Christianity to embrace the charismatic / pentecostal view of things, I moved on to the local Foursquare church. That is, until Signal #3….

    Signal #3 was when someone would speak in tongues at the Foursquare church, and then the translator would translate in English… however… it was fucking King James English, like: “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, cometh unto me my children and seeketh after my heart in thy humblest form and (blah blah blah).” Me: “Why would God talk like that near the end of the 20th century???”

    After that, I was done with the charismatic / pentecostal movement. I did sort of a fundamentalist 180 shift and I moved on to the local Conservative Baptist church for about a year, before I was done with that shit too.

    It would take another 10-15 years of spiritual / cognitive dissonance before I finally let it all go.

  2. Avatar
    Neil Rickert

    As long as we are discussing tongues:

    Back in my Christian days, I suspected that the talking in tongues was fake. On my reading of scriptures, a genuine talking in tongues should be talking French or German or Chinese — a real language, not gibberish. And if it is a private language just between you and your God, then you ought to be doing as suggested in Matt 6:6 — doing it in private in your closet. Otherwise it is all a performance intended to impress others.

  3. Avatar
    John Arthur

    Back in my Bapticostal days (Charismatic Baptist), when someone occasionally spoke in tongues, it seemed to me to be gobbledegook. Glosalalia was supposed to be speaking in languages. “Other” languages were languages that the speaker hadn’t learnt. Yet the so-called tongues that I heard seemed to be repeating the same syllables. Yet the so-called interpretation interpreted these repeated tongues syllables differently.

    The theologian, Miroslav Volf claimed that he spoke in tongues, but considers it a purely human phenomenon. The problem is that most tongues speakers think that they are speaking words fom God.

  4. Avatar

    Anyone reading this who didn’t grow up in a certain type of Christianity would have no idea what half of this stuff means. Maybe less than half. It really sounds like the message was designed to attract a certain type of Christian.

  5. Avatar
    MJ Lisbeth

    Bruce—I am trying to imagine how you feel now when you look at it. Obstacle is right—I understand much of the terminology only because of my background.

    Benny, Neil and John—In the Evangelical Church to which I belonged, the folks who prayed in tongues were a sub-group: a cult within a cult, if you will. I got involved with them because of a cute young woman: I thought that if I hung around long enough and “let the Holy Spirit in,” I would be able to “pray in tongues,” which would show how much I’d let the sanitized specter in—and impress that girl, which would prove that I was really a straight cisgender guy and really put me in God’s good graces.

    I know that sounds funny—and it is to me, now that I live as a woman and an atheist. But some serious things happened. I am trying to write about one incident in particular because, in retrospect, it is illustrative of how much damage such movements can do to vulnerable people. It’s taking time because, for one thing, it happened decades ago. For another, I am looking for language that will make sense to people who never experienced “speaking in tongues “ (!) or even Evangelical, Fundamentalist or Pentecostalist churches. In a way, it’s more difficult than even talking or writing about sexual abuse by a priest has been because when I started to mention the abuse, decades after I experienced it, language and therefore public awareness was available to me that didn’t exist at the time I was abused.

Want to Respond to Bruce? Fire Away! If You Are a First Time Commenter, Please Read the Comment Policy Located at the Top of the Page.

Bruce Gerencser