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Dr. David Tee Blames “Books” for My Deconversion

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Dr. David Tee’s Massive Library, Including Ben Berwick’s Favorite Book, Meerkat Mail 🙂

Dr. David Tee, who is neither a doctor nor a Tee, recently decided to let the readers of his blog know why the Evangelical-pastor-turned-atheist Bruce Gerencser deconverted. Tee, whose legal name is Derrick Thomas Thiessen, has blamed all sorts of things for my loss of faith, but now he has decided that “books” are my problem; that if I had only read the “right” books I would still be a Christian.

Thiessen is not alone in his assertion. One former church member told me that books were my problem; that if I would just start reading the Bible again, all would be well. I had a preacher friend, who prided himself in not reading anything except the Bible, tell me that I needed to get rid of my library and just read the King James Bible. He proudly was an ignorant man of one book. He was certain that if I would just start reading the Bible again, my faith would return.

Here’s what Thiessen had to say (all spelling, grammar, and punctuation in the original):

BG [Bruce Gerencser] often complains that we write about him more than any other topic. That is not true, of course, as we rarely write directly about him. We do write about what he has said on his website, which is totally different.

However, this article is about him directly as he is an example of what not to do. While we are writing mainly for pastors, missionaries, and church leaders, what happened to BG can also happen to the layperson in the congregation.

These words apply to you, your children, and your friends as well. Protecting your faith is essential if you want to hear those treasured words, ‘Well done thou good and faithful servant’. But BG did not protect his faith and he is no longer part of God’s family.

The way that he did that was to open his mind and heart to unbelievers. Here is was, a pastor for 25 years, knowing and preaching the truth for 4000 sermons, yet he still let evil take him down. Instead of following the Bible correctly and discerning between right and wrong words, true and false teaching, he may have slowly let false teaching destroy him.

The Bible tells us that the secular world does not have the truth and lives in a dark world. They truly have nothing to offer the believer. When we were young it was said that the church was about 10 years behind the secular world and that statement applied to a variety of issues.

What we have seen in the last 40+ years is that the church seems to be equal to the secular world in adopting sinful teaching. We are not talking about the use of technology in the sermons although that should be dispensed with, we are talking about accepting secular psychological ideas for counseling, theology, as well as life in general.

When that happens we are not shining our light unto a dark world and not only do we put ourselves as Church leaders in jeopardy, we are doing the same for our congregations. Sadly, BG led his family to destruction as well as many people he can through his website and interviews.

He came to this fallen state by doing the following:

“I decided I would go back to the Bible, study it again, and determine what it was I REALLY believed. During this time, I began reading books by authors such as Robert Wright, Elaine Pagels and Bart Ehrman, These three authors, along with several others, attacked the foundation of my Evangelical beliefs: the inerrancy and infallibility of the Bible. Their assault on this foundation brought my Evangelical house tumbling down. I desperately tried to find some semblance of the Christianity I once believed, but I came to realize that my faith was gone.”

Instead of going to God like Billy Graham did when he felt the call to ministry, BG went to unbelievers. he opened the door to his destruction by ignoring what the Bible says about evil men and accepting their words over God’s.

Evil will use a variety of people to try to take you down. It can be through books, movies, t.v. shows, sexy men and women, as well as questionable situations. having God protect you is the way you need to run the race and finish the course.

“During this time period, I read countless books written by authors from a broad spectrum of Christendom. I read books by authors such as Thomas Merton, Robert Farrar Capon, Henri Nouwen, Wendell Berry, Brian McLaren, Rob Bell, John Shelby Spong, Soren Kierkegaard, and NT Wright. These authors challenged my Evangelical understanding of Christianity and its teachings.”

There is no instruction in the Bible to challenge your faith. Jesus simply said ‘ye shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free’. Both Paul and Peter warned us about false teachers, false prophets, and that evil men go from bad to worse.

What those verses are telling us is that we do not need to challenge our faith but look for the truth. What we do is put all authors into their proper categories. Is he or she a true Christian writing the truth or are they bringing a different gospel and are false teachers, etc?

That is the question every church leader needs to ask when reading books from all types of authors. if you are in doubt about an author, find their biography and read up[ on their beliefs. That information will help you make the correct determination and how you should be viewing their words.

Non-Christian authors may provide insight into how non-believers think and believe, but that is about all they have to offer a believer in Christ. They do not offer any insights on how to live life because they oppose God who has given us his instructions on how to live life.

We follow God over man, something BG failed to do.

“I turned to the internet to find help. I came upon sites like and Debunking Christianity. I found these sites to be quite helpful as I tried to make sense of what was going on in my life. I began reading the books of authors such as John Loftus, Hector Avalos, Robert M. Price, Daniel Dennett, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, Jerry Coyne, and Richard Dawkins.”

This is another thing that should not have been done. Instead of going to Christian websites for help, he went to those who left the faith. What we do not read in his words is if he asked for evidence to support the words of those former Christians and atheists?

He does ask for evidence from Christians yet nothing seems to be asked from those people he read. He simply took their word for it and started down his slippery slope. What BG also did wrong was what Deut. 21:21 says:

“Then all the men of his city shall stone him to death; so you shall eliminate the evil from your midst, and all Israel will hear about it and fear.”

Instead of moving away from those evil people, he embraced them and their words. Disobeying God has consequences and BG has certainly paid for his disobedience. Also, like Bill Mahr who cherry-picked the believers he would highlight in his film Religiosity, BG cherry-picked the churches he would visit:

“I tried, for a time, to convince myself that I could find some sort of Christianity that would work for me. Polly and I visited numerous liberal or progressive Christian churches, but I found that these expressions of faith would not do for me. My faith was gone.”

Liberal and progressive Christianity is not Christianity and should not be given the label of being Christian. Why not go to true Christian churches and get the truth? This action sounds like what Bill Mahr did, and that was to protect his atheism, not find the truth.

BG seems to have wanted to deconvert and went to places that would help him do just that. When in doubt, you do not go to unbelievers or those who bring a different gospel. You go to true believers who have love, compassion, and wisdom and tell you the truth.


As Sodom, Gomorrah, Noah’s Flood, and the Tower of Babel are examples of what not to do, so are the life and decisions of BG and every other former Christian. Keep your eyes on Christ and you will never fail.

According to Thiessen, when I began questioning my beliefs, I should have ONLY read books by Evangelical authors. Evidently, he forgot that I had already read these books. I know what Evangelicals believe and practice, inside and out. Why would I waste my time reading books that repeated the same apologetics arguments over and over again? I know all I need to know about Evangelical Christianity.

I am still on a journey of discovery, following the path wherever it leads. I will become a Christian once again if and when I am presented with evidence to warrant me doing so. My “conversion” will take new evidence, not the same-old-shit-new-day stuff. Of course, Evangelicals don’t have new evidence. Their religion is a closed system of thought. Evangelicals pride themselves on allegedly having the same beliefs that Jesus and the apostles had 2,000 years ago. Of course, they don’t actually have the same beliefs, but they think they do. Evangelicals would know better if they bothered to read books outside of their peculiar rut, but such reading is discouraged and, at times, condemned. Thiessen is the norm in Evangelical circles, not the exception.

There’s much I could say in response to Thiessen, but I will refrain from doing so. I have no idea why he decided to use an eight-year-old post, Why I Stopped Believing, to continue his deconstruction of my life. He makes numerous false statements, including “cherry-picking” the churches Polly and I visited after we left the ministry. Here’s a list of the churches we visited. As you will see, we attended a variety of churches and sects; everything except IFB churches. No need to visit IFB churches since that was our background. Most of the churches were Evangelical theologically, though no church was off limits. We were on a journey, willing to follow the path wherever it led. Sadly, Thiessen is stuck in the religion of his childhood, holding on to his tribe’s deity. Now a senior citizen, Thiessen has no real-world experience with any other religion or system of belief but his own. He does not know what he doesn’t know.

Thiessen says I wanted to deconvert, that I was looking for a way out of Christianity. Nothing in my story remotely suggests that this claim is true. In fact, the truth is the exact opposite. I did everything possible NOT to deconvert. I wanted to keep believing. However, I value truth over “want.” I became an atheist because I had no other choice.

Thiessen is free to show what I have “missed” about Christianity, but I am confident no evidence will be forthcoming.

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
    Neil Rickert

    Maybe Tee does have a point.

    In the case of my deconversion, it was books. In fact, it was one particular book. That book has as title “The Holy Bible”. It is an effective deconversion book.

  2. Avatar
    Revival Fires

    An old analog clock that doesn’t work is exactly right twice a day.

    Many have the truth in their heads but it never transitions to their heart. And they’re not made alive by God the Holy Spirit

  3. Avatar
    Ben Berwick

    I was so angry on your behalf when David wrote his post. His excuse that his other posts are reference material is complete bullshit, as we both know, and then he uses that as a further excuse to attack you, and all without the courage or conviction to use your name.

  4. Avatar

    What Tee doesn’t understand is that books are nothing more than a tool, regardless of their claims. This applies whether we are talking about fiction, or science, or philosophy, or car mechanics. Sometimes, like with car mechanics, it’s necessary to follow the book precisely, because it’s a tool that connects us to a real life issue, namely a car. Of course, it can make mistakes, it may have references that don’t apply to the particular car we are working on, and it will invariably contain a liability disclaimer. In other words, when reading the book you have to use common sense.

    Here’s where Tee fails miserably. He believes that reading a book replaces the need for him to think. Hence if he reads something that is contrary to his worldview it’s just going, magically, to change his mind. Personally, I’ve read the bible in some way or other all of my life, though nothing like cover to cover, and nothing like all of it, and only because it happens to come up so frequently in day to day life. There are some truly inspiring passages that probably we all learn because the language is compelling, but that’s a matter of literature, and is no different to Shakespeare or Dickens. There is nothing in the bible that makes me think ‘oh wow that makes sense’, that I couldn’t otherwise have decided for myself (‘thou shalt not kill’!, really, if you need the bible to know that then you’re a sad person).

    It’s not reading that is the problem for Tee, it’s thinking. He reminds me of a saying in one of our local pubs ‘I read that drinking is bad for you, so I decided to give up reading’.

  5. Avatar
    John S.

    Yep- just find that True Christian church and that will solve everything. Of course only a “Dr. Tee” church is True Christian.
    He referenced Bruce reading other Christian authors such as Thomas Merton, who apparently doesn’t meet the Dr. Tee approved list of True Christian.. I have not only read Merton but spent time at the monastery where he was the novice master (Our Lady of Gesthemani in Kentucky). To say he was not Christian IMO is the height of arrogance. I saw not only the discipline of the monks but also experienced their kindness and serenity of life. Merton became somewhat of a hermit because he took his vows of discernment seriously, which to him meant a rigorous search for truth. This led him to explore similar contemplative traditions such as Zen Buddhism. He engaged in this search while still remaining a Catholic Trappist monk. “Doctor” Tee, please don’t try to sell me the argument that people who pray 6-7 times a day and work in between, who welcome visitors with room and food, who will only accept the payment the visitor determines appropriate, are not True Christians.
    It is people like you who have turned the ancient faith into an Amway-like scam, and has probably done more to lead people away from the religion than any book. Your claim that “there is no instruction in the Bible to challenge your faith” is false.
    “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”
    “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.“
    These may not be perfect rebuttals but they are evidence against the “Bible only” mentality that your kind seem to peddle.
    To conclude- I have seen “Religulous” many times and still enjoy it- and I became Catholic after seeing the movie after being non-Christian for many years (I grew up Pentecostal). Faith is a journey that is unique to everyone. I have no issue telling my story, at the same time hearing and respecting another’s journey.

  6. Avatar

    Tee is actually “right” in that if you never exposed yourself to those books you would have never learned what you did. If you don’t expose yourself to reality, then you will never live in reality.

    I also think often though, about how our journeys are in some manner an accident of history. Who were we exposed to, and when. My siblings, parents, and college friends all remain on some portion of the Evangelical spectrum to this day, while I’m out entirely. But I don’t think I’m smarter, or more philosophical or enlightened, it partly happened because of what I was learning and when I was learning it. (I’m going to pause to say that while I’m not smarter, or more philosophical or enlightened, I do know significantly more about the Bible and the Christian faith than my family and peers who remain in the faith because I ACTUALLY actively study it.) I wanted to believe. I had a happy Chrisitan childhood, an amazing Christian college experience, and was a leader in a church and a great Christian community. But the more I learned, the more reality pushed on the edges and I couldn’t lie to myself.

    I understand Tee because I used to be Tee, but it also means I know that view is entirely cowardly. If the Christian faith can’t stand up to evidence and alternate views, then IT ISN’T TRUE. Isn’t that the whole point, that it’s supposed to be true! There should be so much ample evidence of God and Jesus and Resurrections and Miracles that it should be evident. Yes yes, I know what Tee will say, there is all that, and we just harden our hearts, blah blah blah. But if that’s true, what is he afraid of? Why is he afraid of Ehrman and Price? What could they possibly say that could threaten him or the faith of a true believer?

    Of course the answer is it’s not true. And that is what is evident when you expose yourself to reality. And reality is what Tee must flee from screaming and holding his ears in fear.

  7. Avatar

    Early Christians didn’t even agree with each other! The earliest Christians were Jewish people who were well-versed in Jewish law. Genrile converts weren’t required to learn or follow Judaism, thanks to Paul. And don’t get me started on the various groups among Christians such as Essenes, Marcionites, Gnostic, etc, who all had different beliefs while still calling themselves Christian.

    I started leaving evangelicalism in my teens when I was basically indoctrinated 6 days a week at fundamentalist church and school. Yes, reading and studying some things later as I gained access outside the evangelical bubble hastened my departure, but the doubting, questioning, and seeing things that didn’t make sense happened prior. I am thankful for the outside exposure, though each new piece of knowledge was hard.

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