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Letter to the Editor: My Response to IFB Pastor Patrick Holt

bible baptist church grover hill ohio

Recently, Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) preacher Patrick Holt, who pastors Bible Baptist Church in Grover Hill, Ohio, wrote a letter to the Defiance Crescent News decrying the decline and depravity he sees everywhere he looks. He blames these things on “liberals,” saying if we just allowed school teachers to lead children in (Christian) prayers and (Protestant Christian) Bible readings and taught them the Ten Commandments (which Holt doesn’t keep), the United States will magically return to the glory days of the 1950s. Never mind the fact that most Americans are Christians, so if he wants to place blame, I suggest he look in the mirror.

Here’s what Holt had to say:

Liberals got what they wanted

It is definitely a tragedy with the recent and past mass shootings at our public schools. Debate continues on about guns being the problem.

I graduated in 1967. Guys driving their pickup trucks to school may possibly have had a gun rack with a shotgun or a rifle in the back glass. Semi-automatic guns had been invented by that time. But there were no mass shootings in our public schools.

During the 12 years of my schooling, the day would start as a student read a Bible verse and then followed by another student reading a prayer over the PA system. Then Mr. Dunlap would make the announcements. But along that time there was the liberal left party which said it didn’t want the Bible, prayer and the Ten Commandments in our public schools. And they got their wish.

Shortly after that they said they didn’t want those terrible three in our society. And they have been fairly successful at that. So what they were asking for was a godless school system and a godless society.

Now you have the right to choose what you want or don’t want, but you cannot choose what the outcome will be. You can choose to drink and to drive, but then you shouldn’t complain about the results of your choice.

The liberal, leftist party said, “We don’t want that commandment that says, ‘Thou shalt not kill’ taught to our children in school.” Toss it out. You got your request and the results.

Remember when you point your finger and say, “guns are the problem,” you have three fingers pointing back at you. Those three fingers are: no Bible, no prayer and no Ten Commandments. You got your wish and the results.

You see, if we are godless, then we are lawless. Own up to who is at fault. The problem is not what is in a person’s hand, but what is in their heart.

Patrick Holt

Grover Hill

Here’s my response, which I submitted to the newspaper today.

Dear Editor,

Patrick Holt is an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist preacher. Stuck in the 1950s, Holt thinks America would be great again if we just returned to the homophobic, racist, misogynistic 50s; a return to the days when Evangelical Christianity ruled the roost. Holt looks at our culture and sees decline, decay, and godlessness. He blames these failures on the removal of Bible reading, prayer, and the Ten Commandments from public schools. If only our progeny were led in daily prayer and Bible reading by their teachers and taught the Ten Commandments, our culture would magically return to the glory days of the 1950s.

That ship has sailed, never to return. The 1950s were hardly what Holt intimates them to be. Racism. Homophobia. Misogyny. Patriarchalism. McCarthyism. Criminalization of birth control and abortion. Shall I go on? Those of us who value social progress, equality, and equal protection under the law have a very different view of the world. We intend to push back when Evangelicals try to drag us back to the “good old days.” Evangelical Christianity is dying on the vine. Younger Americans are abandoning organized religion in record numbers. The number of atheists, agnostics, and nones continues to grow, now equaling Evangelicals as a voting bloc.

Holt would have us believe that the only thing keeping him from being a thief and murderer is Jesus. Is that not the conclusion we must come to when he says “Godlessness leads to lawlessness?” I don’t know about Holt, but I murder all the people I want to. I burglarize as many of my neighbors as I want to. I just don’t want to. The unwashed, uncircumcised Philistines of the world have moral and ethical values — no God needed.

This Saturday, Defiance will have its first Pride Walk. I have no doubt that Holt will see this event as yet another sign of decay and depravity, a sign of the soon return of the dead Jesus. I plan to be at the Pride Walk. I am sixty-five years old, by all accounts a curmudgeon. Yet, I know that a better tomorrow requires justice and equality for all. I have thirteen grandchildren. I want a better future for them. I understand Holt’s beliefs. I once was an IFB preacher, an Evangelical pastor for twenty-five years. I also know that it is possible to break free from the narrow, bigoted, anti-human beliefs of Evangelical Christianity.

Bruce Gerencser
Ney, Ohio

Previous articles about Patrick Holt

IFB Pastor Patrick Holt Thinks I Hate Christians, God, and the Bible

2009-2019: Local Responses to My Letters to the Editor of the Defiance Crescent-News (search for Patrick Holt or Grover Hill)

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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  1. Avatar
    Bruce Gerencser

    Thank you for recognizing that I’m preaching the truth, Revival Fires 🔥. 😂😂😂

    😂😂😂You’re 🤣🤣🤣not🤣🤣🤣 going🤣🤣🤣 to 🤣🤣🤣win. 🤣🤣🤣I, 🤣🤣🤣the🤣🤣🤣 God 🤣🤣🤣of 🤣🤣🤣this 🤣🤣🤣site, 🤣🤣🤣control🤣🤣🤣 the 🤣🤣🤣edit 🤣🤣🤣and 🤣🤣🤣delete 🤣🤣🤣button. 🤣🤣🤣

    🤣🤣🤣 smilies in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost 🤣🤣🤣

  2. Avatar

    It gives me hope that you’re doing this. I’m a survivor of the movement and am extremely grateful for what you are doing here. You have my thanks.

    Can confirm: very 50s mentality. I struggle even today. But this? A former IFB pastor? Fight the good fight. They won’t like it. I can hear “just one soul” in my head, but flipping the script, that’s a whole new thing.

  3. Avatar
    Bruce Gerencser


    Jesus is dead, buddy boy. I’ve lost nothing, and gained everything worth having. What do you have besides a horrible testimony and an empty bed?

    As far as “hindering the Word of God.” How many souls have you personally won to Jesus over the past fifteen years? I’m betting none. You are such a violent, nasty, hateful man, I can’t imagine anyone (including your family) wanting anything to do with you and your brand of Christian Fundamentalism. Thus, I’m certain I’ve won a lot more people away from Evangelicalism, mightily hindering the weak, pathetic, powerless Word of God. Explain that, buddy boy 👦. 🤣🤣🤣🤣

    Bruce Almighty — 1
    Revival Fires Dead Jesus — 0

  4. Avatar

    The Christians who constantly yearn for the good old days when everyone was (supposedly) “morally upright” forget to heed the warning given in their own scriptures.

    “Say not thou, What is the cause that the former days were better than these? for thou dost not enquire wisely concerning this.”

    Ecclesiastes 7:12

  5. Avatar
    Karen the rock whisperer

    Gosh, all that lawlessness that must be going on in Western Europe, where lots of people are only cultural Christians! All the shootings they must have! Blood running in the streets! Hospitals overwhelmed! Places like Japan, where there are very few Christians, must be even worse!

    Except that isn’t true. The folks in those places might not have Jesus, but they have stable societies with strict gun laws, and far fewer gun-related deaths than the US.

    But silly me, that’s DATA. FACTS. REALITY. All those things get in the way of a good sermon-rant.

  6. Avatar

    Mr Holt, here in the UK where very few of us are x-tian, we’ve had mandatory daily acts of worship and RE teaching in all schools since 1945. I know cos I was sure god had called me to enter the teaching profession so I could proselytise. Which I did for decades, injecting my own form of fundyism into RE lessons, taking assemblies etc. Heck, at one state (i.e. public) school, a group of mums met monthly to pray for us x-tian teachers. And know what? I can’t think I’ve ever heard of one person getting saved, or being stopped from shooting someone, cos 30yrs before, they remember those cutsie OT bible stories about Noah or other genocides or that god killed himself cos of our sins in the NT! I have run into a few who remember me…..and said nice things, one recalled me clearly cos I always wore Birkenstocks which were unusual back then and she was fascinated….she made paper sandals at home to try to be like me! But conversions? A desire to lead a moral (ha ha), x-tian life when they grew up? Nope, none!

  7. Avatar
    Brian Vanderlip

    The problem with Kool-Aid is you just can’t beat it! It tastes great and Revival Fires just can’t wait!

  8. Avatar

    Revival Fires 🔥 using the “no true Scotsman” fallacy again.

    As Karen said, the correlational data show that lower religiosity can be found in nations with lower numbers of mass shootings. It’s really appalling to see the US ranked among so many less wealthy nations with mass gun shootings (in studies controlling for war). Although someone like RF would just say that all of those nations don’t follow the correct flavor of Jesus and will say that the godless nations where people aren’t shooting each other are somehow some sort of deception by Satan or some bullsh!t….

  9. Avatar

    This reminds me of a recent conversation with my father, an elderly retired IFB preacher. We were watching a rerun of the Lawrence Welk Show. While I was enjoying the extremely bad taste of the whole thing, my dad commented that that was the “real” America. HA! There’s no convincing him that what he wants to think is real is complete make believe. That seems pretty typical of the IFB in general (not to mention Republicans and Trumpers).

  10. Avatar
    MJ Lisbeth

    Recently, I read a report stating that in the United States, there are nearly four guns for every three people. Mind you, those are the registered guns.

    That is by far, the highest ratio in the world. The next country on the list, Yemen, has half of our rate. And they are at war. Countries like France, Denmark, the UK, Czechia and Japan have far lower rates of gun proliferation–and when more than one person dies in a gun-related incident, it is front and center in the news.

    About prayer and Bible-reading: We had them in the Catholic school I attended from the mid-1960s until the early 1970s Every morning, the principal (a nun) or a priest from the Church would read us a verse–usually from the Gospels–and lead us in prayer. In a way, the Bible reading seems, in retrospect, even more like an attempt at influence because we, as Catholics, were discouraged from reading the Bible for ourselves and therefore had no context for what was being read to us.

    Most of us went on to be productive and upright (all right, in my case, some might debate that) citizens. A few ended up in prison or dead from their “unholy” lives. (I have to wonder how many of them fell into perdition as a result of the priest that abused me, or another priest who’s been accused of doing the same to other kids.) I could say the same, however, about the kids who graduated from the local public school, which had no daily prayer or Bible readings.

    What we had, however, were relatively stable homes. Most of us, anyway. At least, most of us lived in homes where at least one person earned enough to support us, if not in style, then at least in ways that ensured that our needs were met. And we lived in a state that has long had some of the strictest gun laws, is known for its social services and legalized abortion several years before Roe v Wade. Those things did more to ensure our safety and well-being than any prayer or Bible verse could have.

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Bruce Gerencser