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Tag: Calvary Baptist Church Normal

IFB Pastor Ralph Wingate, Jr. Uses Me as a Sermon Illustration

ralph wingate jr

From 1976 to 1979, I attended Midwestern Baptist College in Pontiac, Michigan, to prepare myself for the ministry. Students were required to attend chapel services every day. Over the course of the three years I spent at Midwestern, I heard many of the big-name Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) preachers preach during chapel. If you were a preacher boy like I was, you wanted to hear these mightily-used-of-God preachers. One such preacher was Ralph Wingate, Jr.

Wingate, the son of a preacher, was a graduate of Midwestern.  In 1973, Wingate went to Newington, Connecticut to plant a new church, Emmanuel Baptist Church. The church was wildly successful and this made Wingate a favorite son of Midwestern’s chancellor, Tom Malone.

In August of 1983, Wingate assumed the pastorate of Calvary Baptist Church in Normal, Illinois. Due to health problems, Wingate retired in December 2013. He pastored Calvary for 30 years. Currently, Wingate is the interim pastor of Calvary Memorial Church in Racine, Wisconsin.

Wingate, after stumbling upon my blog, used me as a warning, a cautionary tale, in one of his sermons. I learned about Wingate using me as an illustration from a reader who just so happened to be in the service that day. I have spies everywhere! 🙂

What follows is an audio clip of the part of the sermon that mentioned me.


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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Bruce Gerencser