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Tag: Hillburn Drive Grace Baptist Church

Alien Baptism: Baptizing E.T., Mork, Alf, and Worf

alien baptism

If I were to ask Christian readers to define alien baptism, I suspect very few could do so. Alien baptism? Baptizing creatures from other planets? Baptizing people who are not legal residents of the United States? Nope. In the ersatz world inhabited by Independent Fundamentalist Baptists (IFB), alien baptism is the re-baptism of people who were saved and baptized in churches other than IFB churches. If Methodist Joe Smith and his family move to Purity, Kentucky, and want to join the local alien-baptizing Baptist church, they would be required to be re-baptized before being permitted to join the church and take communion. Now if an IFB family moves to Purity, they would not need to be re-baptized. Well, most of the time anyway. The new church pastor, before accepting them as members, would make sure that their previous church was a like-minded IFB church. If their old church was an IFB church but had different doctrine, the new church might require them to be re-baptized. Got all that?

Then there are churches that are commonly called Landmark (Baptist Brider) Baptist churches. These churches typically treat all other churches as alien, thus requiring new members coming from another church to be re-baptized. Landmark Baptists also practice close or closed communion. Churches that practice close communion will allow people who are visiting from a like-minded church to take communion, whereas churches that practice closed communion won’t. Most Landmark Baptist churches take communion (Lord’s Supper) every Sunday. Years ago, I preached for Jose Maldonado and the Hillburn Drive Grace Baptist Church in San Antonio, Texas. When it came time for the church to take communion, Joe whispered to me, “we practice closed communion, brother.” In other words, I could preach at the church, but not take communion with them. Welcome to the wonderful, wacky world of the Landmark Baptists.

trail of blood chart
The Trail of Blood Chart, showing that the Baptist Church is the True Church (Full size here)

These types of churches, in a manner similar to the Roman Catholic Church, believe in Baptist successionism (Baptist perpetuity). Wikipedia defines Baptist successionism this way:

Baptist successionism (also known as “Baptist perpetuity”) is one of several theories on the origin and continuation of Baptist churches. The tenet of the theory is that there has been an unbroken chain of churches since the days of John the Baptist, who baptized Christ, which have held similar beliefs (though not always the name) of current Baptists. Ancient anti-paedobaptist groups, such as the Montanists, Paulicians, Cathari, Waldenses, Albigenses, and Anabaptists, have been among those viewed by Baptist successionists as the predecessors of modern-day Baptists.

To simplify things for readers: John the Baptist baptized Jesus, so that made Jesus a Baptist. Jesus baptized the disciples, so that made them Baptists too. This means that the first Christian church was Baptist (First Baptist Church of Jerusalem). So there ya have it, the Baptist church is the one, true, historic church.

The Campbellite movement (Restoration movement) of the 19th century which birthed the Churches of Christ and Disciples of Christ, found its roots in the Baptist church. Thomas and Alexander Campbell, in an attempt to restore the Baptist church to its apostolic roots, contended that baptism was required for salvation. The Baptists believed that baptism was an outward sign that one had been saved, whereas the Campbells believed baptism was salvific, that sins were washed away in the waters of baptism. Today, Churches of Christ and Baptist churches bitterly fight over which church is practicing New Testament baptism. Most of the debate centers on the word FOR (Greek word eis) in Acts 2:38:

Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ FOR the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

The Baptists believe the word for means because your sins have been remitted. Churches of Christ believe the word for means in order to have your sins remitted. Back in the days when I pastored churches in Southeast Ohio, I would preach sermons against the Churches of Christ. I would then take tapes of the sermons and mail them to local Church of Christ preachers. And they would do the same, refuting my Baptist ecclesiology and soteriology.

But Bruce, doesn’t the Bible say ONE Lord, ONE Faith, and ONE Baptism? Doesn’t this mean that all Christian baptism is legitimate in the eyes of God? Silly you, to think such things. ONE baptism? Why that is Baptist baptism. All other baptisms are — drum roll please — alien baptisms.

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 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.

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Gone but Not Forgotten: Years Later San Antonio Calvinists Still Preaching Against Bruce Gerencser

Jose Maldonado Bruce Gerencser Pat Horner
Pastors Joe Maldonado, Bruce Gerencser, and Pat Horner, Somerset Baptist Church, Fall of 1993

Repost from 2015-2016. Edited, updated, and corrected.

In March of 1994, I became the co-pastor of Community Baptist Church in San Antonio, Texas. I have written extensively about my time at Community in the series I am a Publican and a Heathen. My seven-month tenure at Community quickly turned into buyer’s remorse, and in late September, I resigned and returned to Ohio. Community is a Calvinistic (Sovereign Grace) Baptist church, started by Pat Horner — a former Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) preacher. Horner ruled the church with a rod of iron, using church discipline to “deal” with all those who crossed him. Community’s disciplinary practices weren’t viewed as a tyrant’s attempt to silence those who refused to play by his rulebook. Instead, church disciplinary meetings were dressed up with Bible verses meant to give the illusion that the church (Horner) was following the Apostle Paul’s and Jesus’ teachings when errant, unrepentant church members were excommunicated. Numerous members were “disciplined” during my tenure at Community. People were excommunicated for everything from not regularly attending church to refusing to submit to pastoral authority. On the day that I resigned, Horner informed me that I could not resign without the church’s permission. Taking a “watch me” approach, I packed up my family and moved back to Ohio. As we were pulling out of the church’s compound, Horner was addressing the church about the “Bruce Gerencser problem.” I was excommunicated, and to this day, I am considered a publican and a heathen (Matthew 18:15-19).

Fifteen years later, I wrote the letter titled Dear Family, Friends, and Former Parishioners. In this letter — which was sent to numerous ministerial colleagues, family members, and former church members — I detailed the reasons why I was no longer a Christian. Of course, the Calvinistic preachers in San Antonio — men such as Pat Horner, Tim Conway, and Jose Maldonado — saw my letter as “proof” that my ex-communication from Community Baptist Church was justified. See! See! See! Bruce Gerencser never was a “real” Christian! One would think, having thrown me out of the church, that would be the end of the story. However, what Horner and his fellow Calvinists didn’t count on is me publicly writing about my time in San Antonio. When Horner and the Church excommunicated me in 1994, they could control the storyline. Horner could lie about me, and there was little I could do about it (He told several people that the church I was pastoring in Ohio was filled with unsaved people). The Internet, of course, changed things dramatically, allowing me to tell my side of the story to thousands of people. Karma’s a bitch.

I check the search logs daily, and rarely a week goes by without someone searching Pastor Pat Horner, Pastor Jose Maldonado, Pastor Tim Conway, Grace Community Church San Antonio, Hillburn Drive Grace Baptist Church, or Community Baptist Church Elmendorf that brings them to this blog. To combat the influence I might have on people, the San Antonio Calvinists have taken to mentioning me in their sermons. Here are two examples:

In November 2015, Tim Conway, then pastor of Grace Community Church, San Antonio, preached a sermon titled The Futility of the Mind. In the sermon Conway said:

Futile, vain, empty, pointless, to no avail. And right here in Ephesians chapter 4, futility of mind is the characterization of the Gentiles. That’s how you are no longer to be. Christian, we are to put away futility. No longer. You must no longer. Futility of mind is a picture of people using their mind in ways that are just a waste of time. They are a waste of effort. You want some examples? Brethren, I know this about all of us. We all want to be happy. That is what mankind is striving after. Mankind wants to feel good, and mankind strives after that. You want an example of futility of mind? Futility of mind is man who is forever and always trying to figure out how to be happy while he is an enemy of God. That, folks, is futility. That is vain. That is worthless.

….

Or how about this: The futility that people walking around just spending their time; I was thinking about, some of you know about Bruce Gerencser, who was one of the co-elders down at Community Baptist Church when Ruby and I were down there, who apostatized and basically became an Atheist. What futility to spend your life trying to convince yourself there is no God. You see, these are the futile ways or futility that comes to nothing. Nothing at all.

Conway mentions me at the 25:48 mark.

Video Link

In 2010, Jose Maldonado, pastor of Hillburn Drive Grace Baptist Church (link no longer active), preached a four-part sermon series about my apostasy.  Here’s a short audio clip from one of the sermons:

If you have the stomach for it, you can listen to the Apostasy and Its Awful Consequences! (also titled “why Bruce Gerencser Was NEVER, EVER a Christian!) series on Sermon Audio.

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

If you would like to read the sermons and not listen to them, here are PDF transcriptions of the sermons.

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

Why are preachers such as Conway and Maldonado still preaching about me years later? What is it about my story they find so threatening? Perhaps they just want to use my story as a warning or a cautionary tale, as Ralph Wingate, Jr. did in a 2013 sermon at Calvary Baptist Church in Normal, Illinois:

Audio Link

Whatever the reasons, my story remains a burr in the saddle of those who once considered me their colleague or pastor. Numerous prayers have been uttered on my behalf, yet God has not seen fit to save or kill me. I remain a red-flashing-light reminder of the fact that pastors — men who once preached the unsearchable riches of Jesus Christ — can and do apostatize. And if men of God can lose their faith, well, anyone can.

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 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:

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

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

Jose Maldonado Says I Never Was a Christian

Jose Maldonado Bruce Gerencser Pat Horner 1994
Jose Maldonado. Bruce Gerencser, Pat Horner, Somerset Baptist Church

Bruce Gerencser again says, “Since I do not believe the Bible to be the Word of God, and I no longer embrace the beliefs and teachings of the Christian faith, I am no longer a Christian. My deconversion came at the moment where I finally admitted to myself that I no longer believed the Bible to be the word of God.” He has consciously sealed his doom!

Pastor Jose Maldonado, from 2010 Sermon Series about Bruce Gerencser

Jose Maldonado is the pastor of Hillburn Drive Grace Baptist Church in San Antonio, Texas. I met Joe in 1993 when I preached at  the annual Sovereign Grace Bible conference held at Community Baptist Church in Elmendorf, Texas. In the fall of 1993, Jose came to Ohio with Pat Horner, pastor of Community Baptist. The purpose of their visit was to hold a Sovereign Grace Bible Conference at the church I was pastoring, Somerset Baptist Church in Mt Perry, Ohio.

In late October of 1993, Horner called me and asked me to consider coming to Elmendorf to help him pastor Community. After a week or so of “seeking” the will of God on the matter, I turned his offer down. Several weeks later, in what can only be described as an emotional breakdown that I called, at the time, God speaking to me, I changed my mind, and in March of 1994, I packed up my family and we moved to Elmendorf, Texas.

In 2010, thanks to a member of Community Baptist Church alerting people about my defection from the faith, Maldonado preached a four-part sermon series about my deconversion. What follows is a short audio clip from Maldonado’s sermons. Enjoy!

If you have the stomach for it, you can listen to Apostasy and It’s Awful Consequences! on the Sermon Audio website.

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

If you would like to read the sermons and not listen to them, here are PDF transcriptions of the sermons.

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

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Bruce Gerencser