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Are You Interested in Writing a Guest Post?

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I am always interested in having people write guest posts for this site. If you are interested in writing a guest post, please use the contact form to email me. You can choose any subject. If you are a Christian, you can even write a post about how wrong I am about God, Christianity, and the Bible.

Have a story to tell about your life as a Christian and subsequent deconversion? Testimonies are always welcome. I have found that readers really appreciate and enjoy reading posts about the journey of others away from Evangelicalism. Perhaps you are someone who has left Evangelicalism, but still believes in the existence of a deity/energy/higher power. Your story is welcome too.

If you worried about grammar or spelling, don’t be. Carolyn, my ever-watchful friend and editor, edits every guest post before it is published. If she can turn my writing into coherent prose, trust me, she can do the same for yours.

Anonymous posts are okay, as are articles previously posted elsewhere. If you have written something for your own blog and would like to post it here, please send it to me.

If you have previously written a guest post, I am more than happy to publish another one from you. Some readers have become regular contributors. It’s important for readers to hear from other writers from time to time.

Several readers have emailed me in the past about writing guest posts. I am w-a-i-t-i-n-g. 🙂 Seriously, if you have something you would like to say, I am more than happy to post it here. The ball is in your court.

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.

Connect with me on social media:

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Can Religious Beliefs Have a Net Positive Effect Even if They Are Untrue?

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Guest Post by Troy

Recently my girlfriend and I watched an episode of “48 Hours” (transcript) about a California bus kidnapping in July 1976. The crime was as heinous as it was short-sighted. It involved three young men making a plan to abduct a bus full of kids and their driver. The men then put the abductees in a vehicle that had been previously buried underground. The children were able to dig themselves out and facilitate their own rescue after twenty-eight hours. Suffice it to say the trauma of such an abduction would leave emotional scars. Many of the children turned to drugs and alcohol in an attempt to deal with the trauma. Interestingly (and the reason for the article) one of the children (Larry Park, after abusing drugs in his 20s and 30s) turned to religion. He eventually became a pastor and met with the men who had done the kidnapping. In this he found relief.

So the question for me (and now for you) is this: if religion can give someone such deliverance, could it be that religion (whether true or not) could be a net positive? If fostering a delusion has a benefit, does it matter that the basis of the delusion is a lie? If placebos make you feel better, why not take them? I’d be curious how others feel about this, because considering the circumstances, it seems maybe he picked the lesser of two evils . . . (and maybe not evil at all?)

What say ye?

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.

Connect with me on social media:

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Vivek Ramaswamy Disingenuous About His Religion

Vivek God is Real

Guest Post by Troy

If you’ve seen parts of the first Republican Presidential debate, you likely noticed the brash young neophyte (and obnoxious) Vivek Ramaswamy. Not only is he a practicing Hindu, he’s also the highest caste in the Hindu religious system. So I found it interesting when he makes a list of “truths” (many of which are not or are nuanced to the point of not being a “truth”), the first being “God is real.” This does have a strategic value to him. He can stave off questions about his, let’s face it, alien religion and does so because his audience isn’t thinking about sacred cows and the non-person Hindu god Brahman. By doing this he can cauterize the political wound his religion will no doubt have on the evangelical base of the GOP. Americans are so unacquainted with Hinduism that at least for now he’ll likely get a free ride on his religion. There is no religious test to be President, but since he seems to be wearing his religion on his political sleeve, I think it is fair game. Ramaswamy also gets a free ride on the caste system which no doubt has been part of his success. While he is asked questions about American racism based on skin color, the media aren’t even primed to ask about the Hindu caste system that is based on societal traditions. I suppose one question that one might ask is this: Will American evangelicals tolerate a polytheistic Hindu so long as he kisses Trump’s keester? After all, Trump is not and never will be an evangelical. In addition, can Ramaswamy “hide” his Hinduism in plain site by proclaiming “God is Real dammit!”? For those of us who’d like to see less church in our state, I’m sorry to say Ramaswamy would be as bad as Trump or Pence. The best way to hide this deficit is to overcompensate–he will overtly and loudly be a cheerleader for evangelical church-state entanglements. Hopefully, it doesn’t get that far, but I’ll be interested to watch and we need to make sure the media is asking the right questions to take Ramaswamy to task.

Video Link

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.

Connect with me on social media:

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

The Mind Set Free

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Guest Post by Merle Hertzler who blogs at The Mind Set Free

If you search for my site, The Mind Set Free, you are likely to first find a book and sermon by Jimmy Evans, A Mind Set Free. Evans promises mental freedom. Yet he relies on the theme verse, “Casting down arguments, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” That does not sound like mental freedom to me. That sounds like mental captivity.

By contrast, when I speak of the mind set free, I am encouraging intellectual freedom, which is the freedom to explore ideas that differ from your religious background or cultural demands. Evans, however, asks people to commit that they will listen only to that which is consistent with what he calls The Word of God. He asks people to consciously block out ideas that differ from the Word of God. That is mental captivity.

The Place of the Skull

He explains why he thinks they crucified Jesus at a location called The Place of the Skull. It turns out God chose this place, Evans tells us, because God wanted to show the inherent corruption of natural thoughts inside our skulls. How does Evans know this is the reason for the selection of this site for the crucifixion? He doesn’t know this. But it makes for a good story. And so, he tells it as truth, not merely as one possible explanation. We hear that Jesus died in the place of the skull so he could let us know he wanted control of what happens in the skull. Really? That explanation sounds contrived.

I know how this works. Years ago, I regularly taught Sunday School. One can simply make up an explanation that sounds feasible, and so that is what it is. There is no need to question it or say this is just one interpretation. We found an explanation, so that’s how it is. Onward.

We hear that the devil and others are corrupting our thoughts in our skulls. What is his solution? He asks us to cast those thoughts out. We cannot allow ourselves to listen to anything that differs from The Word of God, which is, of course, his name for the Bible.

Why listen to The Word of God? He explains that the words in the Bible are so powerful, that they even brought into existence the very matter that forms the pulpit from which he is preaching. That is quite a stretch. First, nobody knows how the universe came into existence, but most likely the ultimate cause of the universe did not even have a mind. But even if the ultimate source of the universe had a mind, and we choose to call that mind God, we are still a long way from proving that this cause revealed himself in the ancient Hebrew scriptures and that the Bible contains his words. But even if that book contains God’s words, those words wouldn’t be the same words that created the atoms that made up his pulpit. Nevertheless, Evans somehow equates the words of the Bible with words that created all the matter we see. So, listen up!

He tells us to force ourselves to live by these words that he finds so powerful. “Every thought that comes into my mind,” he argues, “I need to point a spear under its neck and say ‘You are going to listen to what Jesus has to say’…Any thought that does not agree with the Word of God, I take it out.”

A lot of thoughts pass through my mind each day. Even if I wanted to avoid thinking them, how would I prevent my mind from thinking about these things? I don’t even know what my next thought will be. How can I prevent it from being one that opposes the Bible? He proposes that we block out those thoughts through biblical meditation.

Biblical meditation, as he defines it, is quite different from Eastern meditation, which is a process by which one empties the conscious thought stream while observing the thoughts that enter the mind outside of the normal stream of conscious thought. Some find that emptying the conscious mind this way is an effective method to see what is really going on inside the mind outside the clamor of everyday life. Others use relaxing vacations to do the same thing. The whole idea is to give the mind a little freedom to generate its own thoughts.

But biblical medication, as he proposes it, is the opposite of emptying the mind to give it freedom. Instead, he argues for purposely filling one’s mind with a particular set of thoughts. He asks us to force these thoughts from The Word of God into our consciousness night and day, constantly ruminating on them, constantly forcing the consciousness to dwell on the desired thoughts. We overcome atheist thoughts, he says, by forcing the correct thoughts–the thoughts that supposedly created atoms–into our minds.

To illustrate this, he tells us that, if we are told we should not think about a yellow elephant, we would find it hard to keep thoughts of yellow elephants out of our minds by sheer willpower. But if, instead, we force ourselves to think about purple lizards, then we won’t be thinking about yellow elephants. And so, he tells us, if we constantly think about the Bible (or purple lizards), then we won’t be able to think about atheist books (or yellow elephants).

The whole idea of trying to suppress certain thoughts often has paradoxical results. In psychology, Ironic Process Theory suggests that trying to suppress thoughts actually makes them stronger. In a famous experiment, Daniel Wegner found that subjects who tried not to think of white bears later found themselves thinking of white bears even more. In another experiment subjects listening to a story on a tape were divided into three groups that were each instructed either to a) deliberately not think about the tape, b) think about anything at all, or c) think about anything including the tape during the time the tape played. After the story finished, those who had been asked not to think about the story were more likely to talk about the story compared with those in the other groups. Similarly, another experiment found that subjects with a spider phobia, who were told not to think about spiders for five minutes, found themselves more likely to speak about spiders after that period was over. In yet another experiment, subjects with chronic low back pain were asked to play a computer game against a harassing opponent. Some subjects were told to suppress feelings of anger during the game. Those subjects who were told to suppress feelings of anger were later more angry and more aware of their chronic back pain after the game was over.

All these experiments show it is not easy to suppress thoughts and feelings. Attempts to do so can have paradoxical effects. The suppressed thoughts often later rebound to become very strong. The person who is going to continually suppress thoughts against his religion and force himself to think only thoughts in line with his beliefs can find himself needing ever larger efforts to keep the unwanted thoughts out. The result is not mental freedom. It is mental captivity.

When we hear new ideas, and our minds are interested, then it is fine to listen. That is what I refer to as the mind set free. It is simply observing that some new way of viewing the world has stimulated our thinking and then taking the time to understand and analyze that new view. If we find the new thoughts helpful, we can incorporate them into our worldview. If we find the new ideas worthless, we now understand why we don’t want to pursue those ideas further. If the ideas come up again, we know immediately why we rejected them before. No need to pursue them further. We already thought it through. Those thoughts already had their day in court. We move on. That is true mental freedom.

But Evans apparently would not have us take time to understand opposing thoughts coming from the world. He tells us instead to take those thoughts out. When the atheist speaks, we should apparently metaphorically clap our hands over our ears and shout the thought down: “I don’t hear you! I don’t hear you! Thus saith the Lord . . . Be gone, yellow elephant. Purple lizards, purple lizards, I am thinking of purple lizards. I don’t see no yellow elephant!”

That is not mental freedom. It is mental captivity.

Self-Esteem

One thought stream he tells us to avoid is thoughts of low self-esteem. I agree that self-esteem issues can lead to depression and anxiety, so yes, it is important to have healthy self-esteem. The combination of our biology and previous experiences can sometimes lead many of us into dangerously negative self-thoughts. That is a real problem. To overcome this, Evans resorts again to his self-brainwashing technique, in which one overflows the mind with thoughts he considers proper such that the negative thoughts don’t even have a chance.

With his technique, we endlessly concentrate on The Word of God. One verse he suggests is Psalm 139:14, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” So, if you are feeling down, just keep repeating this verse? I can tell you from experience this does not work for me. Constantly repeating a verse that tells me what to think does not overcome what the mind wants to think.

Yes, we are wonderfully made. Any biology book will tell you the amazing details of human biology. And many books talk about the marvelous things that we can do. But, of course, our biology is also deeply flawed, leaving us susceptible to diseases and unnecessary limitations, and our inner selves can also be flawed. But still, the overall being is good. And so, we can find many reasons to view ourselves as something worthy of value and respect. If we understand those reasons, we can truly feel good about ourselves, while balancing this positive view with realistic knowledge of our limitations. Such understanding is far more fruitful than repeating that an ancient book says I am wonderfully made. We overcome low self-esteem by understanding what it means to be good as a human. We cannot overcome it by drowning out reason with a steady stream of preferred thoughts.

Evans turns to another verse to build our self-esteem: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13) Here we have a statement that is simply false. You cannot do all things, even if Christ strengthens you. You are human. You have human weaknesses. You are limited. Endlessly repeating that we can do all things is simply brainwashing ourselves to believe something that is not true. If you truly force yourself to believe that you can do all things through Christ, then you have an unrealistically high view of yourself, a view that others who see you can easily interpret as hubris.

If your solution to negative self-thinking is unrealistically positive I-can-do-all-things thinking, it is no wonder that such positive thoughts don’t do well at crowding out the negative. Eventually, those suppressed negative thoughts push their way to the forefront of consciousness. It is better to instead understand the many facts about the whole self that are both realistic and positive.

In the popular secular treatment, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, patients learn about negative thoughts that distort reality, such as, “People always focus attention on me, especially when I fail.”  “Only my failures matter. I am measured by my failures,” and I am responsible for every failure and every bad thing that happens.” These are distortions of reality. In Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, one learns to identify these distortions that cloud the thinking and to view things more positively based on realistic assertions. Such therapy is far different from the therapy that simply brainwashes one’s self into thinking one set of thoughts that is not exactly true in the real world.

Evans tells us that it is the devil that is telling us to have low self-esteem. One wonders then why the Westminster Confession of Faith says, “We are utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all good, and wholly inclined to all evil,” and why John Calvin taught that self-love was a noxious pest. Were these people doing the work of the devil? Faced with the facts, Christians simply abandoned the historical Christian teaching on self-esteem, and conveniently found that thoughts that promote self-esteem were in their Bible all along. But the positive thoughts they find in the Bible are often far from reality.

Lust

Evans turns next to a discussion of sexual desire. He tells us that, when he was young, sexual thoughts overwhelmed him. He doesn’t tell us if his desires were for men or women, and I don’t care. Sexual thoughts are totally normal in young people. I have no problem with a person having and enjoying thoughts of sexual arousal, provided one doesn’t then behave and talk in ways that are inappropriate.

How did Evans conquer his lusts? “I began to meditate on scripture,” he tells us. “I got set free that quick,” he says with a snap of his fingers, “It didn’t take two seconds.”

Somehow, I don’t believe it was that simple. If sexual thoughts come to my mind, then no, constantly repeating “whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart,” (Matthew 5:28) does nothing to help me. Instead, I could simply acknowledge the thoughts and find ways to act morally and respectfully in the situation. If the drive becomes strong, there are ways for people to later relieve the urges in the privacy of one’s bedroom or with a consensual adult partner. But if one insists on removing the thoughts through self-brainwashing alone, then I doubt this will do the trick in two seconds as claimed. When faced with sexual desires, endlessly repeating Bible verses until the thought goes away only induces guilt without addressing the thoughts. Such attempts at mental freedom do not work.

Suppressing sexual desires can have all the familiar paradoxical effects of suppressing any thoughts. The suppression can lead to the thoughts becoming stronger. By contrast, understanding, accepting, and dealing rationally with desires can break the power of those thoughts.

Bruce Gerencser has documented countless times that members of the clergy have been charged with Black Collar Crimes, often involving sex. No doubt many of these people knew verses about sexual purity, preached them, and thought about the verses often. But in the end, somehow the urges allegedly drove these people to immoral activity. Endless meditation on commands does not end the desires. Understanding the desires and appropriate responses is far better.

Conclusion

Evans promises that his technique of metaphorically shouting down every idea that differs from the Bible is guaranteed to free you from fear, anxiety, depression, and lust, and that any Christian who does not know such verses is bound for defeat. He is simply wrong. Ask any good psychologist. There is simply no evidence that forcing yourself to think about how Jesus does not want you to fear, become discouraged, or lust will solve your problems. There are plenty of other good psychological options.

If you agree with Evans’ technique of closing your mind to every idea that differs from the Bible, it is doubtful that you have read this whole post. The words written here are specifically words he probably wants you to avoid. It is your choice. If you want to allow only those thoughts that say the Bible is God’s word, that say you can do all things through Christ, and that condemns any thought of sexual fulfillment outside of strict biblical norms, be my guest. But please, do not call that a mind set free. It is not. It is a mind held captive.

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.

Connect with me on social media:

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

The Dr. David Tee Saga — Part Five

david thiessen
David Tee/Derrick Thomas Thiessen is the tall man in the back

Dr. David Tee is a fake name used by Derrick Thomas Thiessen, a Christian Missionary and Alliance preacher who fled the United States/Canada twenty years ago and now lives in the Philippines. Thiessen has spent the past two years ripping off my writing, hurling sermons at me, and attacking my character. He has written over one hundred posts about me. And at times, I respond. (Search for Dr. David Tee and Derrick Thomas Thiessen.)

This concludes the series titled The Dr. David Tee Saga. From this point forward, Tee/Derrick Thomas Thiessen will not be mentioned on this site. I’m sure he will continue to “correct” me, but I will not respond.

Here’s what Tee wrote about me last week:

Why is he so afraid?

BG [Bruce Gerencser] continues to publish distorted materials about us [this series] and we wonder why he is so afraid of us? All we do is point out the error of his thinking and content and do nothing else. He is a quitter and we have not known one quitter to have any credibility whatsoever.

He offers everyone nothing save his own disbelief, blank ideas, and baseless declarations. He has no credible evidence to support his views. Maybe he is tired of being reminded of the dreadful mistake that he made so many years ago when he left the faith.

We wish we could redeem him but he seems to be happy in his dark life. ‘His story’ is boring, old, and not new as he is just another person in a long line of former believers who have left the faith and blamed everyone else for their departure.

Maybe he does not like being reminded of what he has left and lost? We cannot be sure but he really should stop making himself an internet laughingstock as people laugh at his inability to continue in his faith. Who celebrates a quitter? God doesn’t.

But he likes the bad attention as he likes playing the victim so we do not expect to see any change in him. It is just sad to see a person being used like he is.

I will leave it to others to decide whether what Thiessen said about me is true. I’m confident thoughtful people will see Thiessen’s rant as pure projection; the man looking in the mirror.

Thiessen has been given the opportunity to write a facts-based rebuttal to the material provided by W.W. Jacobs.

Let me conclude this post with two more things about Thiessen you may not know.

First, Thiessen is a 1980 graduate of a Bible college in Canada. It is doubtful Thiessen has a doctorate, and if by some slim chance he does, the degree is likely from an unaccredited institution or diploma mill — both of which abound in Evangelicalism. Thiessen has been repeatedly asked by numerous people to provide documentation for his claim that he has a doctorate. Thiessen refuses to do so, saying that “God knows,” and that is all that matters.

Second, “Dr. David Tee” is a name given to Thiessen by fellow students during his Bible college days. I viewed a college publication in which Thiessen, the student, is called “Dr. Tee.”

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.

Connect with me on social media:

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

The Dr. David Tee Saga — Part Three

david thiessen
David Tee/Derrick Thomas Thiessen is the tall man in the back

Editor’s Note: Dr. David Tee is a fake name used by Derrick Thomas Thiessen, a Christian Missionary and Alliance preacher who fled the United States/Canada twenty years ago and now lives in the Philippines. Thiessen has spent the past two years ripping off my writing, hurling sermons at me, and attacking my character. He has written over one-hundred posts about me. And at times, I respond. (Search for Dr. David Tee and Derrick Thomas Thiessen.) This series will take a look at things Thiessen doesn’t want anyone to know about. Once this series is completed, Tee/Thiessen will no longer be mentioned by me in my writing. You have my word on this subject.

Guest Post by W.W. Jacobs

First, we cover what may be my single favorite exchange in the record we’ve been discussing:

“Do you vote, Mr. Thiessen?”

“No.”

“Did you ever apply for voter registration?”

“It’s illegal to do so.”

“Yes, it is. Have you ever done so?”

“Yes.”

[Ed.: let us pause here and reflect on Derrick’s recent blog post: “…this confession … destroys any credibility or authenticity (he) thought he had. Anything he has published, is publishing, or will publish is now non-credible because he willfully admits to breaking the law. Nothing he says can be taken even at face value because he thinks he is above the law.”]

“When did you do that?”

“Ten years ago, ten to fifteen years ago?”

“Where?”

“It was in (State 1).”

“What did you do?”

“Didn’t vote.”

“Did you apply for voter registration in the state of (State 1)?”

“Yeah, I applied, but didn’t vote, didn’t use it.”

“How did you apply?”

“Just filled out a card and sent it in.”

“What name did you use?”

“David Ford.”

“You knew you had to be a US citizen to vote?”

“Yeah. I didn’t vote.”

“Did you know it’s illegal to create an application to vote using a false name if you’re not a US citizen?”

“It didn’t say application for one was illegal. To have one or use, it’s illegal.”

“Did you get the voter registration card?”

“No.”

[omitting several comments that are summarized as “you can’t prove I ever had physical possession of the voter registration card, and besides, I never used it, so no harm, no foul”]

“Did you apply for voter registration anyplace else?”

“No.”

“Specifically, did you apply for one in (State 2)?”

“No.”

“Did you ever use the name Peter Sullivan?”

“No.”

“… Do you recognize this?”

“No.”

“This is a voter registration card for (State 2). What’s the name that’s at the top?”

“Sullivan, Peter.”

“What is the address listed for Peter Sullivan applying for this registration card?”

“(redacted)”

“That’s where you lived, correct?”

“Yes.”

“And what is the occupation listed?”

“Writer.”

“And you are a writer, correct?”

“I was.”

“And what is the date of birth listed on this registration card?”

“(redacted)”

“That’s your date of birth, is it not?”

“Yes.”

“… Can you tell me any reason – this thing has your address, your date of birth, your occupation. Just a coincidence?”

“No, because off and on I would help people out and have them stay with me. Some were not the most reputable people, but they needed help and this could be the way they paid me back.”

[Ed.: I don’t know about you, but whenever I’ve done someone a favor, they’ve repaid my kindness with, usually, a meal, or returning the car they borrowed with a full tank of gas, not by committing a felony on my behalf.]

“… This says, if I’m correct, ‘I’m a citizen of the United States.”

“Okay.”

“Is that what it says?”

“Yes.”

“And does it also say it’s a felony for someone to sign this and submit it if that information is not correct?”

“Okay. That’s what it says.”

“So your testimony is that you did something similar to this in (State 1), but you’re denying any responsibility for doing this in (State 2)?”

“Yes.”

Incidentally, you’ve received just a taste of the mental gymnastics he’s capable of. Maybe later we’ll get to the visitation rights he demanded for his child, which he then never availed himself of because “I believe it’s my right not to do so.”

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.

Connect with me on social media:

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

The Dr. David Tee Saga — Part Four

david thiessen
David Tee/Derrick Thomas Thiessen is the tall man in the back

Editor’s Note: Dr. David Tee is a fake name used by Derrick Thomas Thiessen, a Christian Missionary and Alliance preacher who fled the United States/Canada twenty years ago and now lives in the Philippines. Thiessen has spent the past two years ripping off my writing, hurling sermons at me, and attacking my character. He has written over one-hundred posts about me. And at times, I respond. (Search for Dr. David Tee and Derrick Thomas Thiessen.) This series will take a look at things Thiessen doesn’t want anyone to know about. Once this series is completed, Tee/Thiessen will no longer be mentioned by me in my writing. You have my word on this subject.

Guest Post by W.W. Jacobs

This will be my final installment in this series. Derrick himself would be wise not to breathe a sigh of relief; I have certainly not disclosed all the damning information I have on him, and I will not hesitate to reveal more if he decides to start rattling his saber of sanctimony again, either here or elsewhere.

However, the objective of the first post I made here last year is accomplished. Any ministry worth its salt should be Googling David Tee / David Thiessen / Derrick Theissen / David Ford / Peter Sullivan / whatever he decides to call himself.

And the first several results of the search will be this site, recording the story of the would-be missionary whose employment in a non-teaching job is only measured in months because he decides the accepted standards of conduct in the typical place of employment do not apply to him … who has credibly been accused of domestic violence by at least two women … who has no verifiable degree from an accredited institution beyond a bachelor’s degree conferred in 1980 … who not only abandoned his child but fled the country to avoid so much as paying a nominal amount of court-ordered child support … who spits in the face of those who extend benevolence and compassion to him … and who is an identity thief and a convicted felon.

The first Scripture for today, just for Derrick, is Luke 12:1-3: “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops.”

Also Luke 8:17: “For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light.”

For the overall theme of this remaining installment, the Scripture is Romans 13:1-2: “Every person is to be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.”

For the sake of this discussion, we will assume that a Christian, such as Derrick, will recognize the 535 members of the U.S. Congress and the elected chief executive of the U.S. government – i.e. the President – as having authority that is ultimately been conferred upon them by God (Derrick’s presumed assessment of the legitimacy of Biden’s presidency notwithstanding).  This would include their authority to write and enact U.S. immigration laws.

To keep this simple, when you come to the United States from another country, you are either coming as a visitor or coming to work for an American employer. If you’re coming as a visitor, you are not allowed to work while you’re here, and you have to leave after a certain period of time. If you’re coming to work (an H-1B visa) you have to be sponsored by a specific employer and you have to have a job already waiting for you.

Derrick came in on a visitor visa, which is why he needed to steal …  err, “accept a gift of” … someone’s Social Security number in order to get a job, because possession of a Social Security number is a basic affirmation of your legal right to work in the United States. But we’ll get to that.

First, some background information. All quotes below were offered, under penalty of perjury, by Derrick.

“Mr. Thiessen, where were you born?”

“ British Columbia.”

“What is your date of birth?”

“(Redacted).”

“Do you have a Social Security number?”

“123-45-6789.” (Not the actual number he used.)

“And you’re a citizen of what country?”

“Canada.”

“Do you have any citizenship rights in the United States?”

“No.”

“What is your current immigration status?”

“Visitor.”

“Do you have a visa?”

“Canadians don’t need one.”

[Ed.: this is accurate – so long as they aren’t coming for work.]

“… we get automatic six months in America …”

[This is also accurate, with some caveats that are not germane to this discussion.]

“… we have to leave once in that six-month period, and we get an automatic six months again.”

[This is not accurate. Visitors must petition the U.S. government for an extension if they want to stay longer.]

“It’s your understanding that you can stay in the United States, Canadians can, indefinitely as long as you leave the country and come back in once every six months?”

“In consulting with an immigration attorney, yes, that’s what I can do.”

[Ed.: This is presumably the same immigration attorney who allegedly told him it would be fine to apply for entry to the U.S. under a false name.]

“Is that what you in fact have been doing?”

“Yes.”

 “And what did you do, go to [border town]?”

“Yes.”

“Cross the border?”

“Yes.”

“And then come right back?”

“Yes.”

“Is there paperwork you need to sign when you come back across?”

“No.”

[Ed.: His paper trail does include at least one Mexico-based cell phone number. My presumption is that he needed some way to validate having ‘left the U.S.’ and “here’s my Mexican phone number” was what he came up with.]

 “Have you ever used a false Social Security number?”

“Yes.”

 “Where was that?”

“(Redacted)”

“For what reason did you use a false Social Security number?”

“Just for identification. Someone gave it to me. I never applied for it, never bought it, someone just gave it to me out of the kindness of their heart.”

“Who did?”

“(Redacted name of a lady who is now of age to collect Social Security and, suffice to say, is having some issues doing so because of Derrick’s abuse of what he claims to be her kindness.)”

“What was that Social Security number that she gave you?”

“123-45- … I think it’s 6789.” (Again, not the actual number.)

“Did you ever use that Social Security number?”

“Not really.”

“What do you mean by not really?”

“I had it for identification. That’s it.”

“Did you ever write it down on a piece of paper verifying or saying that was your Social Security number?”

“Not that I can recall.”

“You were using a false name?”

“No, that [David Ford] is the name I was going by for ten years through that whole time.”

“Did David Ford have his own Social Security number different than your Social Security?”

“No, he never had one.”

“What Social Security number did you use during this … process?”

“Just the one that was given to me by that girl.”

“What number was that?”

“I don’t know … I haven’t thought about it for years.”

“So you used a false name and a false Social Security number, under oath … is that a fair statement?”

“No, I used the same name I was presenting myself by. I was not going to make matters any worse. I took that name, I stood by that name, I never committed any fraud by that name, because I was always going to stick by that name in all situations.”

[Ed.: this is emblematic of Derrick’s logic: “I never committed any fraud under the fraudulent name I was using.”]

“Did you use a false Social Security number?”

“I used that number that was given to me by the girl.”

“Was that your Social Security number?”

“It was hers, she lent it to me and she said, here, you can have your freedom, use my Social Security number.”

“Did you understand that to be legal?”

“At the time, no.”

“You understood it to be illegal, correct?”

“I … at the time, it took me about a year or two to find out all the legal ramifications.”

“This document … your Social Security number is stated there and it’s Social Security number 123-45-6789.”

“Okay.”

“Was that your Social Security number?”

“That’s the one that was given to me, yes.”

“Answer the question. Was that your Social Security number?”

“These were … can you clarify that?”

“Let’s do it this way. Was that Social Security number issued to you by the United States government?”

“No.”

“This as a false Social Security number given to you by some girl?”

“It was a Social Security number given to me by a friend.”

“You know you were not entitled to use it?”

“At the time, I knew that. At the time initially given, I didn’t know it.”

“You thought this might have been legal to use a false Social Security number?”

“I don’t have an opinion on that either way. At the time I wasn’t worried, didn’t think about it being illegal.”

“Did you have a card with that Social Security number on it in your wallet, on your person, or somewhere?”

“No.”

“[This voter registration record] … just right above the [stolen] Social Security number, it’s got your place of birth and it says California?”

“Yes.”

“Were you born in California, sir?”

“No.”

“So you lied on that question, is that correct?”

“Yes.”

“And do you think that was proper or legal to do?”

“No.”

This would be a good time to revisit Derrick’s recent comment: “…this confession … destroys any credibility or authenticity (he) thought he had. Anything he has published, is publishing, or will publish is now non-credible because he willfully admits to breaking the law. Nothing he says can be taken even at face value because he thinks he is above the law.”

This concludes my posting on the subject, unless Derrick and his lying, deserting, abusive ways escalate matters such that it becomes necessary to offer the rebuke of disclosing additional information.

I thank Bruce for allowing me this space and time.

To Derrick: I would presume that Bruce’s offer to provide the space for you to offer a substantive rebuttal remains in force.  Just remember having held the monkey’s paw if you do.

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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You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Is Prayer in Schools the Answer to All America’s Ills?

prayer in school

Guest Post by Matilda

Recently, Matt Gaetz has said he wants a law to make prayer mandatory in schools. He’s just the latest in a long line of fundy lawmakers, pastors, and leaders to want the same, telling us it’s the only solution to every one of the USA’s problems.

I’m comparing that belief in school prayer as the antidote to all that is wrong with American society, to religion in UK schools.

Britain is now an almost secular society in spite of the fact that, since 1947, it’s been law here that there should be a daily act of Christian worship in schools and that religious education (RE) should be part of the core curriculum. The mandatory act of worship still stands, though the teaching of RE is subject to local education boards and faith schools can set their own curricula. I used to observe that the only parents who withdrew their children from Christian teaching were from ethnic minorities who practised another religion. I then saw white British-born parents beginning to exercise their right to withdraw their children because they just found the idea of religious indoctrination abhorrent or totally irrelevant to their lives.

I was told that becoming a teacher was God’s plan for me, and that it would be a great career for sharing my faith. Newly married, hubby and I did just that. We were huge fans of Larry Norman back in the early 1970s. We played his albums repeatedly. I remember that a chill went through us as we heard his line in a song, ‘It’s against the law to pray in schools.’ And we worried slightly, because here in the UK, hubby and I, as teachers, could unashamedly promote our evangelical faith. Perhaps Norman was being prophetic, we would soon be persecuted and have to go into hiding.

In one place I lived, Christian mums held a monthly prayer meeting for Christian teachers in the local schools. In another, our church put out a summer prayer list, where students could fill in the dates of each of their end-of-year exams so we could pray for them on those days. Maybe our church students would be ‘A Good Witness,’ by getting better grades than heathen students and be able to attribute it to the power of prayer for them in school.

For decades I had free range. I told bible stories to 5-7-year-olds, quietly ignoring genocidal bits of the OT. I took assemblies – many schools didn’t have a practising Christian on the staff so were relieved when one offered to do that. Then schools were told they should be part of ‘the wider community,’ and invite local clergy in for morning worship. We rubbed our hands with glee and contacted evangelical speakers, or evangelists visiting the area and got them in so they could promote our brand of Christianity. I took courses that led to me training schools on how to utilize the newest, trendy way to teach RE in their schools. A fundy organisation had managed to draw up an RE curriculum that was very Bible-based, yet acceptable to secular authorities, but it required training, so I did that gleefully too. Being sneaky-for-Jesus was just fine if it got our flavour of faith into schools.

So, I’m wondering how prayer in USA schools would affect society – because it certainly hasn’t in the UK.

Back to those praying mums who told me I was ‘sowing seeds’ with every story. Maybe not now, but even many years on, it might get my hearers to think about their eternal destiny. . . I seriously can’t think of having met anyone who got saved as an adult by recalling what they had to pray for in school or because of what they were taught in mandatory RE classes. I suggest that if you ask many Brits how they’d describe school assemblies, they’d say ‘boring.’ No one’s ever told me they got saved by recalling that teacher many years later, who’d pranced about on stage with sets of two toy fluffy animals boarding the Ark and explained God’s omnibenevolent character to them through his genocide. No one’s ever told me they found The True Meaning Of Christmas when they took part in those many Nativity plays I produced, much as those pretty little (blonde) girls loved those sparkly angel dresses, tinsel, and glitter.

Am I completely off track here, Am I completely misunderstanding USA Christian culture?

I’m just recalling my wasted decades of praying and evangelising openly in UK schools, and, like other evangelistic projects I took part in, they recorded a score of zero converts.

What effect do you think compulsory prayer will have on America’s children? Will it re-Christianise the country as God sends wondrous, miraculous answers to school prayers?

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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You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

The Dr. David Tee Saga — Part Two

david thiessen
David Tee/Derrick Thomas Thiessen is the tall man in the back

Editor’s Note: Dr. David Tee is a fake name used by Derrick Thomas Thiessen, a Christian Missionary and Alliance preacher who fled the United States/Canada twenty years ago and now lives in the Philippines. Thiessen has spent the past two years ripping off my writing, hurling sermons at me, and attacking my character. He has written over one-hundred posts about me. And at times, I respond. (Search for Dr. David Tee and Derrick Thomas Thiessen.) This series will take a look at things Thiessen doesn’t want anyone to know about. Once this series is completed, Tee/Thiessen will no longer be mentioned by me in my writing. You have my word on this subject.

Guest Post by W.W. Jacobs

I want to open with this thought from Derrick’s recent blog post:

“You cannot be Christian and a Democrat.”

Not even the fact of him being Canadian would lend any credence to a claim of unfamiliarity with a Democrat named Jimmy Carter. He is far from the only example, but he is certainly the most prominent one.

On to today’s post. In reviewing some of the recent comments, I get the impression that there’s significant interest in his history of interpersonal relationships.

Today I open with 1 Timothy 5:8: “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”

 “To whom have you been married?”

“Her name was [redacted].”

“For what period of time were you married to (her)?”

“From 1988 to 1989.”

“Have you had any contact with (redacted) since 1989?”

“No.”

“Did you get divorced in (state)?”

“Yes.”

“What name were you using at the time of this divorce?”

“David Ford.”

“Was there ever filed in court any paperwork regarding any domestic violence whatsoever between you and (redacted)?”

“No.”

“At any time?”

“No.”

“Was there any domestic violence between you and (redacted) at any time?”

“Not in my opinion.”

“Tell me about what someone else might think.”

“Well, we fought like normal. That’s all.”

“Did you ever strike her at all?”

“She probably says I did.”

“Did you?”

“Not that I recall.”

[During a discussion about his employment history.]

“Canadian dollars are 50% of American dollars, and I’m going to have to be paying child support, it’s a 50% hit that I can’t afford, it’s better that I find work here that I can fully fund the child support.”

[Ed.: I am not sure if this is a genuine misunderstanding or deliberate obfuscation – I suspect the latter – but for most of the time period at issue, the exchange rate was around 1.50 USD to CAD. In other words, it would cost him $15.00 American to get $10.00 Canadian. However, in reverse, $10.00 Canadian could be exchanged for $15.00 US, meaning that in Canadian dollars, his monthly child-support obligation would be roughly the same as a monthly utility bill.]

“Have you made any child –“

“There’s no money to pay the child support.”

“So the answer is no?”

“It wouldn’t be effective to do that.”

“Why not?”

“Well, 50 percent, that would be almost impossible for me to pay child support.”

“Why?”

“The Canadian expenses are very outrageous. Not only is there a 52 percent income tax, but if you live in the wrong area where the jobs are, expenses are astronomical.”

“So I’ll ask you again. Your reason for not going back to Canada and getting a job is because of the exchange rate and expenses in Canada would not make it worth your while financially?”

“They would not benefit anyone financially.”

Derrick hails from Alberta originally. Above, I referenced information about what presumably would be one of his monthly bills. The site where I found this information has this to say about the cost of living in Alberta:

With Alberta having no provincial sales tax and relatively higher incomes than the rest of Canada, the province can be attractive to move to. Along with a fairly modest cost of living that is anchored by low rents province-wide, and cheap gas prices, Alberta can be a place to comfortably raise a family.

Source: https://wowa.ca/cost-of-living-canada

I will let the reader draw their own conclusions about the validity of his statement that he could not afford to return to his home province of Alberta, get a job, and fulfill his court-ordered obligations.

Also, simply because I don’t want the headache of transcribing it, here’s a basic outline of some of the other testimony about this child:

  • He was granted visitation and never availed himself of it
  • When asked why, he said, “it’s my right not to.”
  • Regarding additional questions about the child, he said “I don’t believe it’s mine.”
  • He claims that a few different women have tried to pin him as the father of their children “but when push came to shove, no child came forth.” Does anyone want to take bets that he skipped town before a paternity test could be done?
  • “I had a childhood disease, and I have been sterile for years.” He had never had a medical determination of this because “I never felt the need to.”
  • Several pages of this deposition are all about how he doesn’t feel it’s his child. I wonder if that’s how he convinced himself that he’s not violating 1 Timothy 5:8 all these years – if it’s not his child, he’s under no obligation to provide, right? Yet in my e-mail correspondence with him, from the jump, he kept referring to “my boy.” Dude, make up your mind.

From here there was some discussion about Derrick’s family history, which I am skipping, notwithstanding an amusing exchange in which he couldn’t remember if his brother’s name is “Tom” or “Jerry” (not real names, although the real ones are equally dissimilar). To limit the scope of this post to his personal relationships, we now turn to a discussion of Derrick pleading guilty to a very minor – Class C – felony and put on probation.

“Did you, in fact, violate your probation?”

“Yes.”

“Did the probation officer file a petition to have your probation revoked?”

“I don’t know. That I don’t know.”

“Specifically were there allegations of new criminal activity?”

“No, not that I’m aware of.”

“Specifically allegation of assault by you on [former girlfriend]?”

“Okay. They reported that. I got sent back.”

“Tell me about that.”

“About what?”

“What was the assault on [former girlfriend]?”

“We just had a disagreement.”

“You assaulted her, is that correct?”

“Not really.”

“What do you mean by not really?”

“She’d call it assault. I wouldn’t.”

“But she did call it assault, didn’t she?”

“Yes.”

“She called the police, did she not?”

“Yes.”

“She got an injunction against you for domestic violence?”

“As far as I know she did.”

“Any domestic violence of any kind between you and [ex-wife]?”

“No.”

“Never?”

“No.”

“Were there any arguments?”

“We fought like normal people.”

“Did you ever break anything?”

“I threw a phone away from her, not at her.”

“Phone break?”

“Yes.”

“You threw that in anger?”

“Yes.”

“Anger at [ex-wife]?”

“Anger at the situation.”

“What situation?”

“Just whatever was going on at the time.”

“What was going on at the time?”

“Just an unreasonable amount of dialogue that pertained to her wanting to leave.”

“She wanted to leave you?”
“Yeah.”

“You didn’t want her to leave you?”

“Didn’t want her to, but I didn’t stop her.”

“Threw a portable phone across the room and smashed the phone, correct?”

“Yeah.”

“Do you have certain problems with people closing doors in your presence?”

“At the time when that happened it felt like she was cutting me off.”

“What, at the time what happened?”

“I just told her she did it she could open it.”

“The door?”

“Yeah.”

“When did this happen?”

“I never kicked it open.”

“When did this happen?”

“About the same time frame as when the phone was thrown.”

“So you agreed telling [ex-wife] not to close any doors behind her, is that correct?”

“Yes.”

“You told her that on more than one occasion?”

“I could have.”

“And you told her that if she ever closed any doors on you, you would kick them down?”

“Yes.”

“Why did you tell her that?”

“Because I thought she was cutting me off, and I couldn’t handle that.”

“Why couldn’t you handle that?”

“She was my wife.”

“So your wife is not entitled to any privacy?”

“She got privacy.”

“How did she get privacy if she can’t close the door?”

“I never kicked one down either.”

“But you threatened to?”

“Yes.”

“On more than one occasion?”

“Could have been more than one.”

“Was it more than one?”

“I remember once.”

“[Ex-wife] got a protective order against you, did she not?”

“Yes.”

“And were the allegations made in that document accurate?”

“Yes.”

“You consider that domestic violence?”

“No.”

“Do you consider not allowing your wife to go into her room and close the door, threatening to kick the door down if she does, do you consider that domestic violence?”

“That’s not a question that would pertain … that would get the full truth out of that.”
“I’m sorry?”

“That’s a question I couldn’t answer with the full truth. That would be stipulating that I set the limit that she couldn’t close any doors. That’s not true.”

“Do you consider threatening to kick a door down if your wife closes it to be domestic violence?”

“No.”

“What do you consider domestic violence?”

“Basically if I physically did something to her.”

“So threatening her doesn’t –“

“I didn’t threaten her. I threatened the door.”

“This isn’t the first time a protective order has been issued against you, is it?”

“I don’t know.”

[Ed. Spoiler alert: it’s not the first time.]

One of the reasons this is all being done in multiple parts is simply that I get a headache trying to follow along with his semantics.

For a different angle regarding his interpersonal relationships, we all know how Derrick feels about gay people.

I have been in contact with a man named Max, who was rather astounded to read some of Derrick’s blog posts on the subject. He and his late (male) partner gave Derrick food, clothing, shelter, and even money – more than once – during a period when Derrick was homeless and broke.

Max would like Derrick to know that if Derrick feels the humanity they showed him – to include their compassion and generosity toward him – is somehow tainted by their sexual orientation, he is willing to negotiate a repayment plan so Derrick need no longer be indebted to a homosexual.

Incidentally, I shared this with Derrick, and Max’s unhappiness about being labeled a reprobate. His response was “I never called Max a reprobate!” No, Derrick, you just said gay people are depraved and beyond all hope of salvation so long as they continue in “their lifestyle.” That’s <check notes> the dictionary definition of “reprobate” and you certainly never noted any exceptions, least of all your long-ago benefactor, to that statement. So … yeah, you did.

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.

Connect with me on social media:

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

The Dr. David Tee Saga — Part One

david thiessen
David Tee/Derrick Thomas Thiessen is the tall man in the back

Editor’s Note: Dr. David Tee is a fake name used by Derrick Thomas Thiessen, a Christian Missionary and Alliance preacher who fled the United States/Canada twenty years ago and now lives in the Philippines. Thiessen has spent the past two years ripping off my writing, hurling sermons at me, and attacking my character. He has written over one-hundred posts about me. And at times, I respond. (Search for Dr. David Tee and Derrick Thomas Thiessen.) This series will take a look at things Thiessen doesn’t want anyone to know about. Once this series is completed, Tee/Thiessen will no longer be mentioned by me in my writing. You have my word on this subject.

Guest Post by W.W. Jacobs

“Your irrational ‘response’ has no evidence backing it up.” — Derrick Thiessen, 27 July 2022

“Make sure you’re not holding onto a monkey’s paw when you demand evidence be offered against you.” — “W.W. Jacobs”, 27 July 2022 (For an explanation of this comment click here.)

This exchange eventually escalated to Derrick threatening suits over libel and slander. Problem: accusing someone of libel and slander involves documenting that they knowingly and maliciously disseminated false information.

The information disseminated to date isn’t even false, let alone maliciously disseminated. And what is contained herein is just a portion of the information available to me.

I haven’t decided how far I’m going to dive into this – that will largely depend on my interest and the level of benevolence Bruce is willing to extend – but since the single biggest pet peeve Derrick seems to have is being addressed as “Derrick” and not “David” (which he has the audacity to compare to Saul being renamed Paul) I’ll start there.

The following is excerpted from a sworn deposition that Derrick sat for a number of years ago:

“(The deponent), having affirmed to state the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, testified as follows:

“Would you state your full, legal name please?”

“Derrick Thomas Thiessen.”

“And Derrick is spelled how?”

“D-E-R-R-I-C-K.”

“Your middle name is Thomas, T-H-O-M-A-S?”

“Yes.”

“Mr. Thiessen, do you have any other form of ID in any other name, or is Derrick, or David, the name?”

“No. Surname is David, I go by David. My immigration lawyer who filed the paperwork put David Thiessen down as the primary name, so I’ve gone by that instead of Derrick, so all my American ID is in David.”

(Incidentally, Derrick, the next time you’re hard up for money, you may well have a solid malpractice case against the attorney who advocated filling out paperwork listing a name other than the one on the identification issued to you by the Canadian government when you sought to enter the U.S., considering how far your detrimental reliance on that information has spun out of control.)

“Mr. Thiessen, have you ever used any other name other than Derrick Thiessen?”

“What?”

(His attorney) “We did discuss his name David Ford, I believe.”

[Ed.: he published a tract or pamphlet entitled “Abortion: Where Can We Turn?” under the pseudonym “John Ford” – not “David Ford” – in the mid-1980s, and testified to same in this deposition.]

“Fine. Did you have any other names, other than David Thiessen?”

“I don’t believe so.”

“What other name did you use?”

“David Ford.”

“Did you use any other names at all?”

(His attorney) “I’m sorry, are we remembering the fact that he also said that Derrick and David is, used those names recently? I just want to make it clear he doesn’t forget we’ve already discussed that.”

“We did discuss his name David Ford, I believe.”

“You testified that you used the name David Ford?”

“Yes.”

“You also testified you used the name David Thiessen?”

“It’s synonymous. I don’t differentiate between the two.”

“Your synonymous names are Derrick Thiessen and David?”

“I use D. David Thiessen, it’s on my American ID.”

“What about the name David Ford?”

“I haven’t used that in years.”

“Why did you use it?”

“I didn’t want my family to find me.”

“Who specifically in your family didn’t you want to find you?”

“My immediate family.”

“Why didn’t you want them to find you?”

“Personal reasons at the time.”

“What were the personal reasons at the time?”

“Just disagreements between the family and me.”

“What type of disagreements?”

“I just said I wasn’t coming back.

“Why did you want them not to find you?”

“Didn’t want anything to do with them.”

“So you used the name David Ford?”

“Yes.”

“It’s your testimony that you didn’t use any other false names?”

“Yes.”

“This was a false name, correct?”

“It wasn’t changed legally, but it –“

“That was not your name, correct?”

“For ten years it was, yes.”

“But not your legal name, correct?”

“Not my legal name.”

“Where did you come up with Ford?”

“Came to me. I just picked a name out of the hat.”

(There are other names he acknowledged previously using, including Peter, elsewhere in this deposition.)

So, let’s recap:

Neither “David” nor “Tee” are part of his legal name.

“Derrick Thomas Thiessen” is his legal name.

His legal name has apparently never been changed – through deed poll, civil action, or similar – from “Derrick Thomas Thiessen.”

He did not start calling himself “David” to commemorate some “road to Damascus” moment, but because he wanted to go “no contact” with his family.

In this same deposition, he identifies his parents as “Frank” and “Eleanor.” The cemetery where they are buried records their names as “Franz” and “Elnora.”

As best I’ve been able to determine, they were either first- or second-generation Canadians of German descent. It is certainly understandable why people living in North America in the 1940s might want to downplay their German heritage, thus understandable why they started calling themselves Frank and Eleanor, just as Derrick’s uncle Heinrich started going by Henry. But none of them ever legally changed their names. They also never disclaimed Franz / Heinrich / Elnora as their legal names, they simply started identifying themselves by Anglicized versions of those names.

Derrick is definitively a name of Germanic origin. I gave Derrick the benefit of the doubt and looked into whether “David” (or even “Thomas”) might be an Anglicization of “Derrick.” It is not.

However, “David” is the name he reverted to once he left the company of anyone who was aware of his second marriage. (Yes, his current marriage is at least #3 … what is it Paul instructed Timothy about church leaders being “the husband of one wife”?) He also left the purview of people aware of the child his second marriage produced – including child-support enforcement authorities, who had the name “Derrick Thiessen” flagged for wage garnishment if the name was ever listed on an I-9 form.

But I’m sure Derrick will be happy to explain that it is a complete coincidence that the beginning of his child-support obligations approximately coincide with when he started abbreviating his last name to his college nickname. Just as I’m sure the increased scrutiny of identification and immigration records after 9/11 merely happened to coincide with his “call” to Korea.

One other issue needs to be pointed out. To reiterate, this is Derrick’s sworn testimony under oath. This leaves only a couple of possibilities:

  1. He told the truth in this deposition and has been misrepresenting the truth since then, such as when repeatedly denouncing Bruce’s use of a “wrong name” to identify him. (Even the one admission he made in his own blog implied that he had legally changed his last name, and still paired it with the first name “David.”)
  2. He lied in this deposition, in which case he committed perjury.
  3. Just kidding. There is no third possibility.

Neither lying under oath nor lying in the years since is a good look for a man who claims to lead a broad and far-reaching ministry.

Next time if Bruce’s magnanimity and my schedule permit: why the curriculum at Canadian Bible College [now called Canadian Theological Seminary] apparently does not involve studying Romans 13 or any portion of 1 Timothy. We’ll also discuss the odds of a man with Derrick’s level of arrogance opting not to acknowledge holding a degree more advanced than a bachelor’s in theology when under oath.

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