Dr. David Tee, whose real name is Derrick Thomas Thiessen, is a Christian Missionary & Alliance trained preacher. As Evangelical preachers are wont to do, Tee has cobbled together his own peculiar version of Christianity and what it means to be a True Christian®. I have read enough of Tee’s posts to know that he can, at times, promote heretical beliefs — heretical when measured by core Evangelical beliefs about salvation by grace. There are times when it seems he is preaching salvation by works — a soteriology that can certainly be justified with the Bible (as all soteriologies can).
In a post titled Can Christianity Help With Politics? Tee posits that “There are many benefits to having true Christians run governments.” Tee goes on to give his definition of a True Christian®:
By true Christians, we mean those that correctly follow Christ.
According to Tee, a True Christian® is someone who “correctly” follows Christ. What does it mean to “correctly” follow Jesus? What does Tee mean when he uses the word “correctly?” I assume he thinks a person must believe and do certain things to be a True Christian. I know he believes transgender people can’t be True Christians®, but Evangelical preachers who rape and sexually molest children are just True Christians® who need to humbly say “my bad, Jesus.”
Tee has made it clear that he is absolutely certain he is right in doctrine and deed. No one can correct him, especially unwashed, uncircumcised Philistines such as Bruce Gerencser. The moment I deconverted, I magically lost everything I know about the Bible, theology, and Christianity. Evidently, Gawd gives a Men in Black mind wipe to Christians the moment they deconvert. Of course, this is absurd.
There’s no such thing as True Christianity®. According to Pew Research, there are about 2.4 billion Christians in the world; 279 million in the United States. I suspect these numbers are grossly inflated, but we can conclude from them there are a lot of Christians in the world and in the United States. I live in rural northwest Ohio — the land of God, Trump, and Guns. God said humans can’t hide from him. Even in the depths of Hell, he is there. I feel the same way about Christianity. While American Christianity is in decline, there are few places I can go to escape Jesus and his merry band of followers. They are like a rash you can’t get rid of. (I am primarily speaking of Evangelicals and conservative Catholics. When I go out to dinner with the pastor of the local United Church of Christ, my rash magically goes away.)
Put one hundred Christians in a room and ask them to define core Christian beliefs and you will get a plethora of answers. You will find disagreement on salvation, sin, baptism, communion, creation, and other beliefs. Yet hardcore Fundamentalists such as Tee are certain that their beliefs and practices are straight from the mouth of God; that their interpretations of the Bible are absolutely right; that their beliefs are the standard by which all (alleged) Christians are measured.
These disagreements and internecine wars over what constitutes a True Christian® are a sure sign that Christianity is a human invention, or whatever Christianity might have been has been so obscured and adulterated by 2,000 years of organized Christianity that its essence has been lost.
Jesus told his followers that there were two great commandments: love God with all your heart, soul, and might, and love your neighbor as yourself. Pray tell, where can such a Christianity be found? Where can we find a preacher or church that takes seriously Jesus’ words in the Sermon on the Mount or his words in Matthew 25? From 1995-2002, I pastored Our Father’s House in West Unity, Ohio. I remember telling the congregation that Christianity (and the world) would be better served if we focused our energy on living out the teachings of Jesus found in the Sermon on the Mount; that we had become distracted from the essence of faith.
As Evangelicals and conservative Catholics wage unholy war against anyone and everyone who is different from them, I wonder if they stop to consider that maybe, just maybe, in their attempt to “Christianize” the world they have lost all sense of what it means to truly be a follower of Jesus (or a decent human being)?
As I have said countless times in my writing, certainty breeds arrogance. When Evangelicals are certain that their versions of God and Jesus are the right ones, and their interpretations of the Bible are infallible, there’s no way to reach them. But, Bruce, you were a Fundamentalist, and now you are not! Certainly, that is true, but it wasn’t until I entertained the possibility that I could be wrong that my mind was open to the possibility of change. Until then, I was certain I was right. Change is hard, and unless we humble ourselves before our own ignorance, we will never know how much we don’t know.
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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