Earlier tonight, I received the following email from a drive-by reader named Brandon. Brandon read a handful of posts before emailing me. Brandon ignored my request to NOT send me emails such as his, and emailed anyway. Evidently, he lacks basic decency and respect for other people.
My response to Brandon’s missive is below.
Dear Bruce, I’m so saddened by your story. But it’s one of mankind.
Why be saddened by my story? I have been happily married to the same beautiful woman for forty-four years. We have six wonderful children and thirteen grandchildren. We own our own home, drive a 2020 Ford Edge, and own a 65-inch TV. We even have a cat. I am well-fed and own enough clothing and shoes to last me the rest of my life. My life isn’t perfect, but damn, Brandon, you gotta admit that I have it pretty good.
Now, if you were saddened by my health problems, I would understand. I am saddened too. Every day is a challenge for me. However, I suspect what saddens you is my atheism; my rejection of your peculiar God. I am quite willing to believe in your God once you provide sufficient evidence for its existence. Further, you claim that the Bible is the Word of God. You might even believe the Bible is inerrant and infallible. Again, once you provide sufficient evidence for your claims, I will believe. The same goes for the supernatural claims found in the Bible or your affinity for John Calvin’s gospel. Convince me, and I will believe.
You, of course, have provided no such evidence. Instead, you just want me to know that I am headed for Hell. You could have spent your opportunity convincing of the truthfulness of your claims. Instead, you preached AT me, condemning me to the flames of the Lake of Fire. Perhaps you think I know all I need to know, so there’s no need to share the “truth” with me. This would be strange since, according to Calvinism, God must give me eyes to see and ears to hear. Maybe this was the night God opened my eyes and ears to the glorious Calvinistic gospel. You wasted a golden opportunity to reach me.
Of course, I am being sarcastic. You have zero chance of reaching me for Jesus. Even “God” can’t save me. I am a happily unsaved, apostate, reprobate atheist. I’m confident that the only thing I will “see” after I die is nothingness. There is no afterlife, no Heaven, no Hell. Surely you knew that I was not a prospect for Heaven, yet you emailed me anyway. Why? Think about that for a bit, Brandon. Be honest. Your email is all about you being “right,” and not about leading a poor lost sinner to saving faith in Jesus Christ. Remember, God uses “means.”
You were never saved, nor was I who grew up in the church and had a similar story.
How can you possibly know if I am saved? For that matter, how can you possibly KNOW you are saved? Calvinism teaches that a person must endure/persevere until the end to be saved. Thus, no Calvinists can KNOW they are saved. For all you know, I am presently saved, God is chastising me, and will safely bring me to the end in grace. How dare you speak for God! 🙂
Surely you know it is a bad idea to judge others by our own personal experiences. I am not you. You have no idea who I am or what I have experienced in life, yet you choose to judge the sum of my life through the lens of your own life.
Let me quote you my favorite Bible verse: Answering before listening is both stupid and rude. (Proverbs 18:13)
You cannot and will not accept Jesus. He chooses you. You have no say in the matter, and you cannot reject Him. I was convinced I was saved until I realized I was not. We have no say in the matter. No matter what prayer you pray, how much you do, or how “good” you are, you cannot do a thing to make Jesus save you. I learned the hard way. I hope you learn too.
Sigh (Please see Why I Use the Word “Sigh.”) You do know that I was a Calvinist for years, right? I know the gospel you are preaching inside and out. (Please see the series Why I Became a Calvinist.) I am sure that you will find some way to “pick” at my story, hoping to prove that I never was a Christian. However, all the extant evidence suggests that I was a devoted follower of Jesus. You will search in vain for someone who knew me at the time that will say “Bruce was never a Christian.” Either I was a master deceiver, deceiving church members and colleagues in ministry, or I was, in fact, a committed Christian. That you cannot square this with your peculiar theology is not my problem. I once was saved, and now I am not.
He sends most of us to hell because He is a good and just and loving God. It is only His right, and His mercy and love that He even had Jesus die for a select few of us for His glory. It’s not about us, never has been and never fully will be. Man’s chief purpose is to glorify God in all ways, even if He does not save you, you will acknowledge Him, and you will glorify Him- either in His grace, or His justice.
There’s Calvin’s God in all its heinous glory. I hope readers will ponder Brandon’s words. It is just and loving for God to send sinners to Hell. I assume this applies to children, and infants too; and anyone who is not elect.
Think and read. May God be merciful upon you.
I have done all the reading I need to do, Brandon. Did you seriously believe your judgmental letter would enlighten me in any way? I hope you will think twice before arrogantly and self-righteously emailing strangers and telling them they are headed for Hell and na-na-na there’s nothing they can do about it. Do better, Brandon, do better.
Saved by Reason,
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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