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Tag: Fruit of the Spirit

Challenging Bible Bullies

angry preacher

Evangelical zealots love to bully people with the Bible, especially on social media. They present themselves as experts; people who know exactly what God meant when men, moved by the Holy Ghost, wrote the Bible. Often, they speak beyond their expertise, thinking that their unbelieving targets don’t know much about Bible and its teachings. Certainty breeds arrogance, and boy, oh boy, do these arrogant followers of Jesus think/know they are 100% right. They are every bit as infallible as God, or so they appear anyway.

The other day, I attempted to interact with a local Evangelical man who was bullying an LGBTQ friend of mine on Facebook. As a college-educated preacher with twenty-five years in the ministry, I will sometime engage these bullies, knowing I likely know a hell of a lot more about the Bible than they do. This was certainly the case for this man.

This Bible bully was determined to belittle and disparage my friend. He attempted to use the Bible to prove who is and isn’t a Christian; who will go to Heaven or Hell after they die. My friend professes to be a Christian. He attends a liberal, LGBTQ-affirming church. Because my friend is gay, the Bible bully stated in no uncertain terms that he was headed for Hell unless he became heterosexual (and had sex only as approved by God in the Bible). I thought, “let’s have some fun.


Have you ever lusted?

(I have yet to meet a man who hasn’t “lusted” at one time or another.)


Jesus said that if a man looks at a woman with lust, he has committed adultery.

This means you are an adulterer.

The Apostle Paul said that no adulterer will inherit the Kingdom of God.

You are going to Hell when you die.


Have you ever told a lie?


The Bible says in Revelation 21:8 that all liars shall have their part in the lake of fire, which is the second death.

You are going to Hell when you die.

You can use this approach with any number of human behaviors. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11:

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

You may notice that this approach sounds a lot like Ray Comfort’s evangelism schtick. It does, but in reverse. Instead of convincing someone that he is a sinner, I use the same approach to convince Christians that they are headed for Hell when they die.


The Bible bully in question was a hateful, bigoted, judgmental, mean-spirited man. So I decided to call his behavior to account with Bible verses.

Are you filled with the Holy Spirit?

According to the Bible, a person filled with the Spirit exudes love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance.

Does this describe you? No? Then you are not a Christian.

Good Works

Jesus said his followers are to treat their enemies thusly:

But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloak forbid not to take thy coat also. Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again. (Luke 6:27-38).

Does this describe you? If not, you are not a Christian.

Jesus said his followers should feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, care for the sick, visit criminals in jail, and take in the homeless.

Have you done these things?


Then you will go to Hell when you die.

Jesus said: Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment

The aforementioned Bible bully suddenly stopped commenting after I posted my comment. Did he feel guilty? I doubt it. It is more likely that he had no answer to my challenge. I used the Bible against him, hoping to shut him up. Mission accomplished.

Another commenter said that none of these verses mattered; that all one need to do to be a Christian is believe in Jesus. He provided no challenge to my comment, he just ignored it.

One Bible bully ignored a similar comment by me on another post, saying that he was not going to do Bible gymnastics with me. In other words, he had no answer to my comment.

My goal is twofold: to show Bible bullies that they are hypocrites, in danger of hellfire themselves, and that their behavior and good works reveal that they don’t really follow the teachings of the Bible.

Have you used a similar approach with Bible bullies? Please share your experiences in the comment section.

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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I ‘Heart’ You, Says God

i heart you god

As Polly and I were traveling to Lake Erie and the Marblehead Lighthouse, we came upon the billboard pictured above. For Christians, the message is perfectly clear: Jesus or the Christian God loves them. However, for the unbeliever or the skeptic, the message is not so clear.

First, which God? Christians presuppose that their God is the one, true, and living God. All other gods are false deities. Since I don’t start my rational inquiry with the notion that the Christian God left this message for me or anyone else traveling by, I ask again, which God? This is the same argument I use when Christians try to argue that the wonders of the natural world testify to the existence of God. Fine, I say, so WHICH God? It is not evident from creation that the Christian God or any other God created everything. To come to the conclusion that the Christian God created everything as we now see it requires accepting as true what is written in Genesis 1-3, a belief that runs contrary to everything science tells us about the universe.

Second, the I ‘HEART” U message is not at all clear. Most people assume that the message means I love you. However, according to the Urban Dictionary, this phrase has several different meanings:

  • Words uttered by a person not ready to say I love you
  • Words not as serious as I love you
  • I have feelings for you
  • I love you

This undefined God, does he really love me, or does he just have feelings for me? Perhaps he is not ready to make a commitment to me. There is nothing in the message that would lead me to conclude that this God loves or has feelings for me. This is how I view the Bible, just ink on paper. There is nothing in the Bible that would lead me to conclude that the Christian God loves me.

You see, love is not measured by words on a printed billboard or page. Just because an undefined God’s name is attached to a nonspecific phrase like I ‘HEART’ U doesn’t mean that any specific God loves me. Polly and I will celebrate forty-five years of marriage next week. We’ve written a lot of letters to each other over the years, yet both of us would agree that love is shown, not in what a person says or writes on paper, but by what he or she does. In other words, when it comes it love, don’t tell me, show me.

We have an ancient book, the Bible, that tells us the Jewish/Christian God at one time, in the person of Jesus, walked among us, yet no one has drawn a picture or snapped a photograph of this God. All we have to go on are ancient writings by unknown authors. If knowing this I ‘HEART’ U God is so important, don’t you think he would make an appearance now and then and let us know that he is alive and kicking? Jesus could settle things right now for everyone by coming back to earth and working a few miracles. Allow the press to report the miracles, allow photographers to shoot the Son of Man doing his miracle show, and perhaps let National Geographic do a feature spread on the mighty works of the Lord. Better yet, Jesus could make an appearance on America’s Got Talent and give a miraculous performance — say raising someone from the dead or regrowing an amputated leg. Billions would fall on their knees and worship Jesus if this happened.

Instead, Jesus spends all his time building rooms in the heavenly Trump Hotel for his chosen ones. According to the Bible, when Jesus ascended back to Heaven, he left a spirit form of himself behind, the Holy Spirit/Ghost. Supposedly, this Spirit/Ghost lives inside every Christian, teaching them everything that pertains to life and godliness. Of course, there is no evidence given for this claim other than what is printed on the pages of the Bible.

If I believe what is written in the Bible about the nature and good works of the followers of Jesus, I can safely conclude that no one is a Christian. If the new life of the born-again Christian is supposed to be radically different from the life of the non-Christian, where can I find these radically different Christians? If the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance, where are the Christians who evidence such fruit?

The proof of any religion is the product it produces. An apple tree might look nice with all its green foliage, but unless it blossoms and produces fruit it has no value. So it is with Christianity, especially here in the United States. It looks nice with all its ornate, expensive buildings and well-dressed clergy, but a Christianity that takes seriously the teachings of Jesus is nowhere to be found. Why is this? 2,000 years removed from Jesus, Christianity has been reduced to a generic, nondescript, cheesy slogan on a billboard. Is this all Christianity has to offer the world after twenty-one centuries?

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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This is How Dr. David Tee Sees Himself

david thiessen
David Thiessen is the tall man in the back

Recently, Dr. David Tee, whose real name is Derrick Thomas Thiessen, took the Protestia site to task for their hateful, un-Christian behavior. Protestia, the one-time love child of disgraced Fundamentalist Baptist preacher J.D. Hall, is currently operated by David Morrill, Paul Brown, Brad Schoolfield, and Seth Dunn. Protestia is known for three things: their anti-abortion, forced birth views, their obsession with consenting LGBTQ people’s sex lives, and ferreting out perceived heresy within Evangelicalism and Christendom at large. In other words, Thiessen’s kind of “Christians.”

In a post titled An Answer to Op-Ed Article, Thiessen wrote:

We have no problem with that, if they actually did do some honest refuting and challenging doctrinal errors. What our one line under our quote above was referring to was HOW they were going about this ministry. It had nothing to do with their ministry or purpose.

We think they misunderstood what we wrote and instead of asking for clarification, they go and jump to conclusions and make assumptions about what we said. Of course, right now it is very difficult to get a hold of us due to some unfortunate actions by certain people.

So here is the clarification. Our words were referring to the name calling, the insults, and other derogatory terms used by Protestia in their identification, challenges, and refuting of those people they have found to be false teachers.

We find their terminology and its use to be very unbiblical and unChristian. In the different ministries that Protestia participates in, they are not excluded from any biblical rules of conduct towards believers or unbelievers.

We will not bring anyone back to the church or to the faith by insulting them. On occasion, we have done the very same type of ministry throughout the years. Yet, we refer to people as Mr., Mrs., Miss, Dr., and so on except for those gender identity-confused people who are referred to by their birth pronouns.

We do not hurl names, insults, or even write them as that sets a bad example for our readers and disobeys the biblical instruction ‘ soft answer turneth away wrath’. We do not care how nasty those people we identify get as we are to return good for evil.


There are a lot of false teachers running about saying things that are not biblical and just plain wrong. If you are going to challenge them, then challenge what they are saying instead of insulting them or ignoring what they have said because you have identified them as false teachers.


Give credible and legitimate information not personal attacks or ad hoc statements that put a black mark against your claims of being Christian. Jesus may have insulted the Pharisees, etc., but that does not give us permission to ignore the rules of behavior Christ laid out for us.

None of us are on his level and we should be very careful not to copy him without fully understanding more of why he said what he said. We are not free to insult but we are free to identify and refute, as well as challenge those who pretend to be Christian, yet say and do unChristian things.

Thiessen lacks any sense of self-awareness. He seemingly has forgotten the countless articles he has written about me and Ben Berwick. He evidently has forgotten about his comments and emails too.

A year ago, Thiessen sent me the following mail:

Our assessment of BG. We are not going to post this publicly so do not worry about being humiliated or embarrassed.

We have analyzed BG’s behavior and words for some time now and we see a developing identity. He is a person who was a low-level obscure independent Baptist preacher who certainly gets jealous and envious of others.

His Christian work seems to have been motivated by these desires as he used his own will and not Jesus’ in his ministry as well as his being critical of those more successful, popular, and less obscure counterparts.

Instead of humbling himself and correctly following Jesus, he followed his character trait and quit. That is not a sign of a good servant of God. He likes to stand in judgment of others grading their level of spirituality with a subjective ruler judging that those observed were not practicing the faith properly.

What exact standard he used is not known, but it was his own making and not God’s. Then instead of being the example, he walks away and condemns every Christin and God for failing to meet his ideals.

Now he is just a narcissist who hopes he gains the fame and popularity that escaped him when he was a Christian. he wants to leave a negative legacy behind so that people will think he was a great preacher and now a great blogger.

In reality, he remains obscure, uninfluential, and wants to be the center of attention like he has found something new and wonderful for the world, when he is just another unbeliever in a line filled with billions of unbelievers saying the exact same thing as every other unbeliever has said or is saying.

He is a sad and pathetic figure who needs to broadcast his failure to follow Christ to the end of the world and instead of being great, he makes himself a laughingstock. Someone who could not cut it.

And yes we are still sad that you walked away from your faith.

DR. [capitalizing it doesn’t make it so] David Tee

Evidently, Thiessen’s “insults” are different from those uttered by the “fine” Christians at Protestia. Thiessen also states “that does not give us permission to ignore the rules of behavior Christ laid out for us.” I fell on the floor and laughed for twenty minutes after I read this line. Go to Theissen’s TheologyArcheology: A Site for the Glory of God blog and read the plethora of posts he has written about me. You will search in vain for any evidence of Thiessen following the commands of Christ or demonstrating the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22,23). This so-called man of God shows no regard for the teachings of Christ on how you should treat your enemies:

Ye [Derrick Thiessen] have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you [Derrick Thiessen], Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. (Matthew 5:43-48)

The Message translation renders Matthew 5:48 this way: Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.”

Grow up, indeed.

Thiessen continues to refuse to mention me or Ben Berwick by our names. He also refuses to properly link to the content he uses from our sites. Thiessen lies about us and routinely distorts and misuses our words, so I find it unbelievable that he can say, with a straight face that he always treats people with respect. He doesn’t, and the readers of this blog know he doesn’t. But, what do we know, right? He and God, the royal “we,” know the truth.

For the record, Theissen has written at least twelve posts about me since December 31, 2022 — one post every two days.

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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The Fruit of the Spirit “Is” or Why Christianity is a Dead Fruit Tree

I spent the first fifty years of my life in the Evangelical church. Twenty-five of those years were spent pastoring churches in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. I have met thousands of Christians in my lifetime. Even now, fourteen years removed from the last time I attended a Christian church, I continue to meet Christians and interact with them on this blog, through email, and on social media. My exposure to the personal lives of hundreds of Christians allows me to draw some conclusions about Christianity. I include myself and my family in the sample set. My conclusion is this: For all their talk about being Spirit-filled, it seems that Christians are anything but.

According to the Bible, all Christians have the Holy Spirit living inside of them. The Holy Spirit is their teacher and guide. He teaches them everything that pertains to life and godliness. Why is it then that most Christians live lives contrary to the basic, foundational teachings of the New Testament? WWJD, what would Jesus do, is rarely seen among Christians. Christians are commanded to follow the Lamb (Jesus) wherever he goes. How many times have Christians heard their pastor say we need to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, yet any casual observer can see that most Christians seem to walk wherever the hell they want. If Jesus wants to follow along, that’s okay, but if not, fine, because the mall has some great sales going on.

The passage at the top of this post says, “the fruit of the Spirit is.” The fruit of the Spirit is the evidence, the proof that a person is a Christian. Notice that it says IS. This is a very important word. According to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance and Greek Dictionary, the word IS in this verse is “third person singular present indicative.” Simply put, the fruit of the Spirit is not some lofty objective to hope for or aspire to; it is the proof, the evidence that a person is a Christian. Since the Holy Spirit lives inside every Christian, shouldn’t it be readily evident in the lives of EVERY Christian? The lives of Christians should evidence the fruit of the Spirit every moment of every day. With such a great power as the Christian God living inside them, surely this should not be a difficult way of life to maintain, right? After all, according to the Bible, he that is in the Christian (the Holy Spirit) is greater than he that is in the world (Satan).

hypocritical christian

However, when we critically look at how Christians live their lives, what do we find? We find that Christians are not much different from the uncircumcised, unwashed Philistines of the world whom they judge and condemn to Hell.  It is chic these days for Christians to admit that they are just sinners saved by grace or that they are a work in progress. A popular bumper sticker says, Don’t judge me, God isn’t finished with me yet. However, such statements are directly contrary to what Galatians 5:22, 23 says.

The Bible is very clear…every Christian should evidence the following each and every day of his or her life:

  • love
  • joy
  • peace
  • long-suffering
  • gentleness
  • goodness
  • faith
  • meekness
  • temperance

A wonderful list of admirable character traits, to be sure. Every one of us would do well to strive to live lives that demonstrate these traits. However, we know, even on our best days, we fail miserably in demonstrating these character traits. We are, after all, human. We recognize that all of us have flaws and weaknesses that can and do affect the relationships we have with others. I don’t know of any non-Christians who think they are perfect or a beacon of morality and virtue. While many non-Christians certainly evidence the fruit of the Spirit, none would be so foolish to say that they perfectly do so.

Christians aren’t given the luxury of claiming they are human. Remember, the fruit of the spirit IS. There is no place in the Christian life for anything less than perfect obedience to the Christian God. After all, Christians have EVERYTHING they need to live a life of perfection. Surely God did not leave them lacking in any way, right?

Within Christianity we find many reactions to what I have written above:

  • Some Christians believe in perfection. They are entirely sanctified and cannot and do not sin.
  • Some Christians think there are two classes of Christians: ordinary everyday Christians and Spirit-filled Christians. Most Christians are the former and very few become the latter.
  • Some Christians think every Christian has two natures, the Spirit and the flesh, and these two natures continually battle against each other. Which nature you feed the most is the one who wins the battle. Christians are classified as either Spirit-filled or carnal/fleshly.
  • Some Christians think they are saved by grace and how they live doesn’t matter. While they certainly think a believer should evidence the fruit of the Spirit, if they don’t they are still Christian. Their ticket to Heaven is punched, their fire insurance is paid up, and a home in God’s Motel 6 awaits them no matter how they live their lives.
  • Some Christians think that God gives a special anointing of the Spirit to some people. All the TV preachers have this anointing (along with the ability to extract large sums of money from the bank accounts of gullible Christians) Some sects call this being baptized with the Holy Spirit, while others call it a second definite work of grace.
  • Some Christians believe in progressive sanctification. They believe that the Christian life is a long process where sin is progressively dealt with and forsaken. It is a wash, rinse, and repeat kind of process.

All of these reactions, except the first one, reject the clear teaching and meaning of Galatians 5:22,23. Again, the fruit of the spirit IS! Of course, the first reaction is ludicrous. There is no such thing as a Christian who doesn’t sin. The evidence of this is everywhere we look. Here’s a dirty little secret that many Christians don’t want non-Christians to know: for all their talk about God, Jesus, and Spirit-filled living, they live just like the rest of us. While they may be experts at putting on the good Christian act, underneath the façade, they are no different from Atheists, Humanists, Buddhists, Muslims, Mormons, Shintoists, Pagans, or Satanists. Try as they might, they still live lives that are an admixture of good and bad behavior.

All I am trying to do is knock Christians off their high horses and get them to see that they are not, in any way, different from the rest of us. I am trying to get them to see how offensive it is when they try to force their moral code on others when they themselves can’t even keep it. Even with God living inside of them, they “sin” just like everyone else. Christianity would be better served if Christians presented their moral code as one code among many, worth aspiring to and not as a “God says, Do this or else.” Not many atheists are going to disagree with Christians about the value of the character traits listed in Galatians 5:22,23. The world would be a far better place if we all tried to evidence these character traits (and others) in our lives.

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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Why Victor Justice, Derrick Thiessen, Daniel Kluver, and Revival Fires Don’t Really Believe and Practice the Bible


God says (according to Evangelicals):

Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. (Matthew 17:16-20)

But the fruit of the Spirit is [present tense] love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)

Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. (Ephesians 4:29)

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. (Colossians 3:12)

Based on these Scriptures and others I can easily provide, Victor Justice, Revival Fires, Derrick Thiessen (also known as Dr. David Tee), and Daniel Kluver don’t really believe and practice the Bible. In fact, it can be argued that they are not Christians, at all.

Remember, God said it, I didn’t. 🙂

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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Christian Bling and Jesus Junk

jesus loves me 2015

Repost from 2015. Edited, rewritten, and corrected. 

Several years ago, I spotted this t-shirt at my grandson’s tee ball game.  Most residents of rural northwest Ohio are Evangelicals or conservative Protestants and Catholics. Jesus is on display everywhere one looks. There’s at least one church for every three hundred Defiance County residents. Republicans hold every major office. Atheists and agnostics are endangered species. Declaring your godlessness is a sure way to be socially ostracized and marginalized. If there is place where Jesus is King of Kings and Lord of Lords, this is it. Why then are local Christians obsessed with wearing Christian bling and displaying Jesus junk?

Take the woman wearing the Jesus Loves Me t-shirt. Does she wear it to remind herself that Jesus loves her? Or perhaps she wears it to let her fellow Christians know that she is on their team. I wonder if she has thought about who made the shirt, how old they were, how much they were paid? Like American flags made in China, most Christian bling and Jesus junk is made by impoverished people who are paid poor wages.

My wife works for a manufacturing concern where Christian bling and Jesus junk is on display everywhere one looks. Christian slogans and Republican one-liners are prominently displayed on office walls and desks. I’ve often wondered what the response would be if someone put on their desk a sign that stated There is no God or that There is no God but Allah. This will never happen, of course, because doing so would be career suicide. But, knowing how Evangelicals love to whine over having their feelings hurt, I wonder how Christians in the office might respond. Would they demand the offensive signs be taken down?

Any cursory reading of the Bible reveals that Jesus preached a lifestyle of moderation and simplicity. I wonder if Evangelicals bother to consider what Jesus thinks about their bling and junk? Would the apostles have worn Jesus Loves Me t-shirts or adorned their wrists with WWJD bands? The apostle Paul went from community to community preaching the gospel and establishing new churches. I wonder what he would think of twenty-first-century entertainment Christianity? If Matthew 5-7 — the Sermon on the Mount — is the essence of what it means to be a follower of Jesus, where can one find such followers? Rare are Evangelicals who verbalize their faith in the hope of leading a person to Christ. Even in IFB churches — a sect that puts a premium on soulwinning — most church members never verbally share their faith even one time. If Jesus is the greatest story ever told, why is it most Christians never share it?

Christian bling and Jesus junk are meant to identify one as part of the club. The purpose isn’t to evangelize, it’s to let everyone who gazes on their bling or junk know that they are part of Club Jesus®. When Christians put on their Jesus shirts and go to the mall, grocery, or restaurant, everyone will know what club they belong to. Granted, atheists can do the same, but most atheists I know are content to quietly live their lives. And Muslims? When’s the last time you’ve seen a Muslim wearing a shirt that says Allah Loves Me or Allah, the One True God?

It is primarily Evangelicals who are obsessed with public displays of affection for Jesus. It is Evangelicals who co-opt culture and turn it into shirt-worn slogans such as This Bloods for You or Jesus died for MY SPACE in Heaven. Corporate slogans and logos are turned into cute clichés and plastered on t-shirts and bumper stickers. Why? Are Christian bling-wearing Evangelicals over-compensating for something they lack? What are they hiding behind the bling and junk?

Remember the manufacturing concern I mentioned above? Why is that some of the most hateful, argumentative, and critical people are those who have the most Jesus junk on their desks? Why does the car of the asshole who cuts you off in traffic often sport a Christian bumper sticker? I love to stand back and observe the behavior of God’s chosen ones. While certainly there are many thoughtful, polite, helpful, and humble Christians, why are so many of them arrogant, rude, and unkind? Ponder for a moment the comments left on this blog by warriors for God, soldiers who likely have Bible verse screen savers on their computers and tablets. For every Evangelical who has left a thoughtful, respectful comment, there have been a hundred Evangelicals who’ve left hateful, argumentative, judgmental ones. Why is this?

While I was still a Christian, I concluded that hundreds of millions of Americans might be Christian, but most of them have no interest in following after Christ. They are more interested in avoiding hell and gaining political and social power than they are walking in the steps of Jesus. According to orthodox Christian doctrine, the Christian is indwelt by the Holy Spirit. Simply put, this means Christians have God living inside of them as their teacher and guide. If this is so, then please explain to me why few Christians behave in a way that evidences this? Galatians 5:22,23 says:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

Bruce, the fruit of the Spirit is the goal. God sanctifies the Christians and they grow and mature, evidencing the fruit of the Spirit later in life. Why is it then that so many people who have been Christian for decades behave as if they have never heard of the fruit of the Spirit? Besides, Galatians 5:22,23 says the fruit (singular) of the Spirit is (present tense). Not a future hope or desire, but a present reality. Can one be a Christian and not show any evidence that God lives inside of them? The same could be said of the Biblical qualifications for being a pastor. I Timothy 3:2-7 states:

A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; one that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (for if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

A bishop then MUST BE. Not hope or aspire to be, but must be. I will soon be sixty-three years old, and I have yet to meet a pastor who meets the qualifications found in 1 Timothy 3. Why is this?

By all means, exercise your first amendment right to wear Jesus bling and display Jesus junk. But, if you want to convince me that I should be a Christian, you better start living according to the teachings of the Bible you say you believe. Until then, you have nothing to offer the unwashed, uncircumcised Philistines of the world. As long as Evangelicals continue to publicly state that their religion is the one true faith and the Bible is THE moral standard by which Christian and non-believer alike must live, I plan to point out to Evangelicals how hypocritical they are. I’m just practicing what the Bible says . . . judging Evangelicals by their fruit (Matthew 7:16-20). So far, all I see are barren trees.

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