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Tag: Independent Fundamentalist Baptist

Is it a Sin Against God for Women to Wear Pants?

Polly wearing her first pair of pants, Yuma, Arizona, 2004

God says:

The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God. (Deuteronomy 22:5)

The late Jack Hyles, formerly the pastor of First Baptist Church in Hammond, Indiana, said in a December 2, 1973 sermon:

Some of you pants-wearing ladies, I hope God will get you so under conviction tonight that you’ll hit the mourner’s bench before you go home!  Let me tell you something.  You ladies who wear your “britches,” don’t you laugh at me while I’m preaching the Bible to you. The Bible says a woman should not wear that pertains to a man.  In this heathen generation, you ladies who wear pants have fallen prey to the unisex philosophy. You are a part of the unisex movement! I’m going to prove it to you.  You won’t believe it because you want to go ahead and be a part of it. You don’t want to be different. You’re not willing to buck the trend, but you’re hearing one preacher tonight who is happy to buck the trends even if he loses his job because of it. I started 27 or 28 years ago what I believe, and I am preaching the same thing tonight. If you get my sermons and listen to them, I preach the same things tonight I preached 28 years ago. I preached against ladies wearing britches 28 years ago, and I’m not going to stop it just because you can’t find a skirt in a department store any more.

It’s time for some of you deacon’s wives to look like ladies instead of men.  It’s time for some of you deacons to yank them up and say, “Put a skirt on and take those ‘britches’ off!” It’s time for some of you who teach Sunday school classes in our church, to look like ladies and not like men. The Devil is trying to break down the barrier between the sexes. When you do anything to aid it, you’re a part of his work.

You say, “Brother Hyles, I heard you on the radio. I didn’t expect this!  You come on saying the radio saying, ‘A happy hello to all of our friends in radio land.  It’s a great joy to meet you this morning. Maybe the burden is heavy and load is light.  We come on the broadcast not with a kick in the pants but with a pat on the back’” That’s the broadcast, honey. In the pulpit, it’s a kick in the pants and not a pat on the back!  The back-pattin’ is on Monday morning, but the pants-kickin’ is on Sunday night!  The Devil is using clothing. Whether you believe it or not, the book of Deuteronomy is in the Bible and Deuteronomy 22:5 says it is wrong for a woman to wear that which pertaineth to a man. “Well,” you say, “in those days, the men wore long, flowing garments.” I don’t care what they wore, there was a difference between men and women. I mean it’s up to the man to decide what he wears. You say, “My husband is not going to do that!” Well, you Jezebel, I am!


I’ll just say it again. It’s time some of you Christians dress like fundamentalists.  In fashion, men’s magazines and clothing trade journals herald men’s mini-skirts- can you feature it?  Can you feature Jim Vineyard in a miniskirt? That would set burlesque back two generations! Get this now. There are harem lounging pajamas. Did you know that there are lingerie shops for men, where men can buy silk, satin, and lace gowns and pajamas? You’re horrified, aren’t you? Yet you wear your “britches” to the store tomorrow!  Men’s magazines and clothing trade journals herald men’s miniskirts, harem lounging pajamas, earrings and necklaces. One manufacturer is showing men’s shifts- a rather straight-line dress worn by women. Their colors, psychedelic prints, are soft pinks. (Can you imagine Sully in a pink shift?) Fashion designers admit they are using ladies wearing men’s clothing and men wearing ladies’ clothing as a part of the trend to make America one sex. You haven’t got enough sense to know it! “Now,” you say, “Preacher, what are you saying?” I’m saying that God wants there to be a difference between the sexes. I’m saying, in our generation, ladies ought not to wear whatever men have worn, and men ought not to wear whatever ladies have worn.

In 2002, Catholic Marian T. Horvat  wrote:

The three ladies [from a 2002 photo] are wearing pants, which are inappropriate for women for reasons of both immodesty and egalitarianism. As for modesty, according to the sound Catholic teaching of the past, trousers are immodest apparel for a woman because by their nature they emphasize a woman’s form and invite immodest regard. As for egalitarianism, Cardinal Guiseppe Siri made a superb warning in 1960. He noted that the wearing of men’s dress by women is “the visible aid to bring about a mental attitude of being ‘like a man’” since the clothing a person wears “modifies that person’s gestures, attitudes and behavior.

Millions of Americans attend churches that believe it is a sin for women to wear pants (britches, slacks, jeans, trousers, shorts, capris).  Many of these churches refuse to let non-dress-wearing women attend their services. The late Jack Hyles, the one-time pastor of the largest church in America, required pants-wearing women to put paper dresses over their clothing before entering the sanctuary. I grew up in churches where pants-wearing was grudgingly allowed, but women who did so were considered rebellious hussies. Evangelist John R. Rice speaks for countless Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) preachers when he says:

Oh, women, what have you lost when you lost your femininity! When you bobbed your hair, you bobbed your character, too. Your rebellion against God’s authority as exercised by husband and father, has a tendency, at least, to lose you all the things that women value most. If you want reverence and respect from good men, if you want protection and a good home and love and steadfast devotion, then I beg you to take a woman’s place! Dress like a woman, not like a man. Have habits like a woman. And if you want God to especially bless you when you pray, then have on your head a symbol [long hair/head covering] of the meek and quiet spirit which in the sight of God is of such great price.

The message to women was clear: want to be right with God? Stop wearing pants.

In the mid-1970s, I attended Midwestern Baptist College in Pontiac, Michigan. Midwestern prided itself in being a character-building factory; an institution that turned out soulwinning, hellfire-and-brimstone preachers and missionaries. While women were permitted to take classes, most of them were there to snag a preacher boy, hoping to graduate with an MRS degree. My wife, Polly, was no exception. She came to Midwestern hoping to find a preacher to marry. She found one. However, I think I can safely say that she sure got more than she bargained for when she married me! I am certain that Polly’s mom wished her daughter had married one of those other preachers. Why, she might still be a preacher’s wife, if she had!

Women were not permitted to wear pants at Midwestern. Dresses had to be knee-length. One weekend, Polly and I went on a double-date with another dorm couple. Dorm students were not permitted to travel more than ten miles from the college campus. Wanting to go to the mall, we decided to break the ten-mile rule. Such daredevils, right? Not long after we arrived at the mall, we noticed the wife of Midwestern’s president walking through the mall with her youngest daughter, Debbie. Imagine our surprise to see Mrs. Malone and her daughter wearing pants! This was an early example of the hypocrisy that permeated the IFB church movement.

Polly was forty-six years old before she wore a pair of pants for the first time. In 2004, we lived in Yuma, Arizona. We thought of ourselves then as far more progressive and liberal than we were when we married in 1978. And we were, but deep-seated Fundamentalism dies hard. I had concluded that many of the church standards and rules we lived with for forty-plus years were legalistic and unnecessary. Polly, fearing that she would burn in Hell if she broke the rules, was not, at the time, as liberal, especially when it came to clothing. One day, we were shopping at Target, and I noticed that women’s capris were on sale. I picked up a pair, turned to Polly, and said, “why don’t you try on a pair of these.” You would have thought I had asked her to strip naked and run through the store. She had that look on her face, the same one she had when I brought home a Christian rock CD (Petra) and played it in our home. She was certain that God was going to send lightning from Heaven and kills us all. I assured her that God didn’t care about what she wore. Now, I didn’t really know that for sure. I just thought that Polly would look nice in capris. After what seemed like forever, I finally convinced Polly that God was not going to get her if she wore pants.

We returned to Ohio in 2005. By then, Polly was a pants convert. Well, except when her mother was around. Polly’s mom, who died last year, never wore a pair of pants. Polly was afraid of what her mom would say or think if she saw her wearing pants. Eventually, Polly decided to show her rebellious streak and donned a pair of pants in her mom’s presence. Polly’s uber-rebellious sister had been wearing pants for years. Not Polly. She was a true-blue believer. I still remember the look on Mom’s face when she saw Polly was wearing pants; a look of sadness and disappointment; a look that was repeated numerous times over the past twenty years as we continued to shed the bondage of our Fundamentalist Christian past.

Bruce, this sounds crazy! Sure, from the outside, it does. However, when you are in the Evangelical/IFB bubble, believing it is a sin for women to wear pants makes perfect sense. Let me outline for you how my thinking went back in the day.

  • The Bible is the inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of God
  • The Bible says in Deuteronomy 22:5 that it is an abomination for women to wear men’s clothing
  • The Bible teaches that there is to be a visible difference between the sexes  — hair and clothing
  • Women are to wear modest apparel, clothing that does not expose their flesh or accentuate their shape
  • Men are visually attracted to women
  • Women shouldn’t dress in ways that cause men to lust after them
  • Refusing to dress properly reveals a rebellious spirit
  • Christians are to dress differently from the “world”

These “truths” governed my thinking, preaching, and conduct until I was in my early forties. Perhaps my deconversion actually began then, as I started to question the rules, standards, and regulations that had governed and dominated my life. These days, I tell Polly, “hey, it sure would be nice to see you in a dress once in a while. You know, show a bit of cleavage.” 🙂 My, oh my! How far we have come.


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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The Day IFB Luminary Russell Anderson Called Out Redheaded Teenager Bruce Gerencser for Misbehaving in Church

russell t anderson

Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) luminary Russell T. Anderson died yesterday. Over the course of his life, Anderson helped start, through his multi-million dollar contributions, seven IFB colleges and 1,300 churches. One of those colleges was Hyles-Anderson College in Crown Point, Indiana.

Hyles-Anderson posted the following statement:

We are saddened to announce the passing of our co-founder, Dr. Russell Anderson. He went to Heaven with his family by his side last evening at 7:34 p.m. Dr. Anderson and Dr. Jack Hyles were the best of friends and worked together to start Hyles-Anderson College in 1972. Dr. Anderson was a regular source of encouragement and support for Hyles-Anderson College.

Russell Anderson’s passion for souls was contagious. His dedication to training the next generation was evident. His generosity and true spirit of giving was unmatched. Dr. Anderson was a friend who will be greatly missed on this earth, but who was undoubtedly welcomed with a hero’s welcome at the doorway to Heaven.

Thank you, Dr. Anderson, for your love for Jesus, your friendship for decades, and your eternal investment in Hyles-Anderson College.

Please keep his family in your prayers at this time.

Anderson was hardcore IFB until the end. Part preacher, part businessman, he devoted his time, energy, and money to advancing the IFB cause.

Several readers have asked me to opine on Anderson. I really don’t know much about the man other than he was the money behind Hyles-Anderson College and several other IFB college institutions. That said, I did have one memorable interaction with him one Sunday in 1971 at Trinity Baptist Church in Findlay, Ohio.

Trinity Baptist is an IFB church. During the time I attended the church, it was pastored by Gene Millioni. Ron Johnson was the assistant pastor, and Bruce Turner was the youth pastor (please see Dear Bruce Turner). I was an active member of the youth group, though in 1971 I had yet to be saved and called to preach. That would happen in 1972. In 1971, I was a rebellious youth, focused on having fun, chasing girls, and hanging out with my friends. I wasn’t as rebellious as my non-IFB schoolmates, but, as my school friends will tell you, I had an ornery streak. They will likely tell you of the time in the fall of 1971 when I told Bob Bolander, a man in the church who was holding a youth group hayride at his rural home, to go fuck himself. 🙂 I had quite a sharp tongue, but Jesus delivered me from cursing when he saved me at a revival meeting in 1972. Seriously, I stopped swearing for decades after Jesus washed my mouth out with soap.

On the Sunday mentioned above, Russell Anderson was scheduled to preach. I was sitting in the far back of the church with several of my friends. There were folding chairs in the back of the auditorium, so I was as far away from the preaching as I could get. Sitting down the row from me and my friends was Ralph Ashcraft, a church deacon. Ralph was the father of a friend of mine named Rod. I don’t remember if Rod was sitting with me on that particular day. I suspect not. Most church teenagers tried to get as far away from their parents as they possibly could.

Anderson started preaching, and that was the signal for me and my equally restless friends to start horsing around. Somewhere in his sermon, I caught Anderson’s eye. He stopped his sermon and called me out, telling me that I needed to sit still and listen. This was common behavior from IFB preachers. They are known for publicly chastising and embarrassing congregants for not behaving in ways deemed appropriate by these so-called men of God during church services.

I sat up and paid attention for a few minutes, but boredom quickly returned, and I went back to horsing around with my friends. My behavior got Anderson’s attention again, and in classic bully fashion, he stopped his sermon, and called on one of the ushers to go sit with that redheaded boy in the back and straighten him out! Welp, “redheaded boy” told everyone, including my parents, that Bruce Gerencser was misbehaving. Ralph Ashcraft, jingling keys hanging from his belt, plopped down next to me, telling me to sit up and behave. Busted. 🙂 The next Sunday, and a few after, I was consigned to church hell — sitting next to my parents. Eventually, Mom and Dad allowed me to return to my wicked ways.


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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Songs of Sacrilege: Autotheist by Baby Bugs

Baby Bugs

This is the latest installment in the Songs of Sacrilege series. This is a series that I would like readers to help me with. If you know of a song that is irreverent towards religion, makes fun of religion, pokes fun at sincerely held religious beliefs, or challenges the firmly held religious beliefs of others, please send me an email.

Today’s Song of Sacrilege is by Autotheist by Baby Bugs. Baby Bugs is a nonbinary artist who was raised in the Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) church movement.

Video Link


Dear god up in heaven
Are you glad I learned my lesson?
I’m not making any promises
That it’ll end any time soon

And dear god up in heaven
How do I fucking get in?
You tried to make me scared of hell
But I’m living there, I’m living there

And if I was god, I’d kill the people who believe in me
And if I was god, I’d make everybody bow to me
And who says that I’m not a god?
I am god to me
And if I was god, I’d make you all believe in me

Dear god up in heaven
You saved my soul, held me for ransom
You said my life was yours, and I tried so fucking hard

And dear god up in heaven
Who do you really let in?
I pray that it’s not me
I’d rather die than be with you

And if I was god, I’d kill the people who believe in me
And if I was god, I’d make everybody bow to me
And who says that I’m not a god?
I am god to me
And if I was god, I’d make you all believe in me

You are not my god
You sent all of these people after me
You are not my god
You kept me from feeling anything
And who says you’re a god at all?
God is only me
And when I become god, I promise you’ll believe in me


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.

The Evangelical War on Books, Movies, and American Culture

banned books
Cartoon by Joe O’Mahoney

Who would have thought that banning books, defunding libraries, and closing them would be front-page news in 2023? Yet, here we are. Library books are under assault, primarily by Evangelical Christians. Once again, the media refuses to “see” that religion is what is motivating the war on books, particularly Evangelical Christianity; the same religion behind Trumpism, the January 6 insurrection, the reversal of Roe v. Wade, and the frontal assault on LGBTQ people. I am not suggesting that Evangelicals are the ONLY religious people behind the present culture war — conservative Catholics. Mormons, and a smattering of people from other groups play a part too — but without the support of Evangelicals, the culture wars die overnight.

I am sixty-six years old. I was part of the Evangelical church for fifty years, both as a member and a pastor. In 2008, I left Christianity, but I have continued to follow closely the machinations of Evangelicalism. For all of my adult life, Evangelicals have been waging a war against secularism, people who are different from them, and violators of their peculiar interpretations of the Bible’s moral code.

Evangelicalism is a fear-based religion. Taught to fear God, Evangelicals also fear anyone who is different from them socially or politically. Not known for their support of tolerance and diversity, Evangelicals want to live in a monoculture; one where everyone is a Christian who thinks and believes as they do. In recent years, some Evangelicals have been very clear about their objective: the establishment of a Christian theocracy; one where Jesus and the Bible (as interpreted by them) rule supreme.

Here in the United States, there was a time when Evangelicalism was a dominant force, both politically and socially. Those days are gone. Evangelical church attendance is in decline, and younger adults are exiting stage left in droves. Paranoia and fear are in the air, and instead of taking a hard look at themselves, Evangelicals blame American culture; especially mass media, public schools, secularism, atheism, humanism, liberals, progressives, Democrats, LGBTQ people, and anyone and anything else that doesn’t comport with their worldview. Of course, this behavior is not unusual for Evangelicals. Known for blaming the Devil for all sorts of things, Evangelicals are experts at pointing fingers and judging people they disagree with. That’s why many of the readers of this blog who have Evangelical backgrounds are estranged from their Evangelical parents and families. Their loved ones refuse to accept them as they are; refuse to play nice with anyone who doesn’t believe exactly as they do.

book banning 2
Cartoon by Grant Snider

American culture is changing. Secularism, humanism, atheism, and indifference toward organized religion are on the rise. Evangelicals feel threatened by the unwashed, uncircumcised Philistines of the world. In their minds, the Huns are at the gate. Never mind the fact that the Philistines and Huns just want to be left alone. They want the freedom to fuck whomever they want as long as it is a consenting adult relationship. They want the freedom to read what they want, watch what they want, and buy what they want. They want the freedom to marry whomever they want and seek out reproductive care. Simply put, they want Evangelicals to fuck off and leave them alone.

Of course, Evangelicals cannot and will not do that, and that is why they are trying to ban library books they consider “inappropriate” — mainly books which are LGBTQ-friendly, critical of Christianity, or which portray Whites in a less than flattering light. Evangelicals don’t want people to have the freedom to read ANY book that offends their sensibilities. We see similar behavior from Evangelicals when it comes to television programming. Evangelicals are determined to become the arbiters of what all of us can read and see. Instead of not checking out certain books or changing the channel, Evangelicals expect all of us to obey their interpretations of the Bible — even though they don’t do so themselves.

I am sure some of my critics will say, “Bruce, you were an IFB preacher. You homeschooled your six children. I bet you controlled what books they could read!” Welp, I hate to disappoint you, but Polly and I allowed our children to read whatever they wanted. Five of our children learned to read at an early age, and by the time they were in sixth grade, they were getting books from the adult part of the library. I remember one librarian quizzing me about our children perusing the adult sections of the library. She thought they should be reading “age-appropriate” books. I explained to her that our children were advanced readers, and they had our permission to check out whatever they wanted. It was not uncommon to see our children coming home with 12-15 library books at a time. Remember, we didn’t have a TV for twenty years. Did we look at the books they brought home? Sure. Were there a couple of occasions when we said one of them couldn’t read a certain book? Sure. Outside of that, our children were free to read to their heart’s content. (I am delighted to see these same reading habits in most of my grandchildren today.)

banned books 3
Cartoon by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum

Books are not the problem; fear and closedmindedness are. Religious Fundamentalists fear the “world.” They are afraid if their children are exposed to the real world, that they might start to have questions and doubts about Mom and Dad’s Christian worldview. That’s why so many Evangelical parents either homeschool their children or send them to private Christian schools. Most Evangelicals aren’t countercultural, as Jesus was, they are anti-culture. That’s why they are waging war against American culture, one book and one movie at a time. Their goal is to return the United States to the “good” old days of the 1950s; a time when heterosexual married women were barefoot and pregnant, keepers of the home, and on-demand sex machines; a time when LGBTQ people were closeted; a time when Blacks knew their place; a time when most families went to church on Sundays and showed, at least, outward respect for the Christian God and the Bible; a time when abortion and birth control were illegal; a time when stores were closed on Sundays and Wednesday nights; a time when public school teachers read the Bible to students and led them in prayer; a time when churches, preachers, and the Bible were respected by even unbelievers.

Evangelicals are free to party as if it’s 1953. Have at it. People are free to live any way they want, as long as doing so is legal and doesn’t infringe on the rights of others. Most Americans want to party as if it is 2023. Evangelicals are free to retreat to their houses of faith and the privacy of their homes; free to live their lives according to the dictates of the Bible. However, the rest of us demand the same freedoms to do otherwise. And when you try to turn the United States into a theocratic state, we will push back. When you try to institutionalize hate, bigotry, misogyny, and homophobia, we will use the ballot box to fight back.

I don’t know how many years I have left; probably not many. My body tells me every day that time is running out. While some of the present Evangelical assaults on freedom and democracy seem overwhelming — looking at you Ohio, Texas, and Florida — we must not give in or give up. Evangelicalism has a demographic problem. Their core is aging, and as they die off, these Evangelical culture warriors are not being replaced. We must continue to fight and push back, even when it seems there is no hope. We must have the future of our children and grandchildren in front of us. They deserve a better tomorrow, one not dominated and controlled by religious Fundamentalism.


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.

Know-So Salvation

know so salvation

I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.

— The Apostle Paul

I know, I know, there’s no doubt about it
He lives in my heart and I’m gonna shout it
I know, I know my sins are forgiven
And I’m on my way to a place that’s called Heaven

— Chorus for the song I Know

Those of us raised in Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) churches heard preachers say countless times that Christians have a “know-so salvation,” that believers have heart knowledge, not head knowledge of Jesus Christ. Preachers often encouraged new Christians to write down the date, time, and place they asked Jesus into their hearts to save them in their KJV Bibles. Getting saved is the most important decision you will ever make, IFB preachers say. Never, ever forget the moment Jesus saved you!

What is the substance of this know-so salvation? The death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, as stated in 1 Corinthians 15: 3,4:

For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

That’s the IFB gospel in a nutshell. Believe these theological propositions, really, really, really mean it, and you are forever saved. IFB churches preach transactional salvation. These are the facts, believe them in your heart, and you are saved. Typically, a sinner is presented the gospel by an altar worker or a soulwinner using a plan such as the Roman’s Road, at which time the salvation prospect is asked “would you like to ask Jesus into your heart? If the sinner answers in the affirmative, he is asked to pray the “sinner’s prayer,” asking Jesus to forgive him of his sins and come into his heart to save him. And just like that, a new Christian is minted and promised a home in Heaven after he dies. It takes less time to get saved than it does to take a shower.

This way of saving sinners is often called “one-two-three, repeat after me,” or “decisional regeneration.” (Please see One, Two, Three, Repeat After Me: Salvation Bob Gray Style.) Simply put, salvation is simple and instantaneous. All one must do is believe. I am sure someone will ask, Bruce, what about repentance? Good question. IFB churches and preachers take one of two approaches to repentance:

  • Repentance means a change of mind. I once was against Christ, and now I am for him.
  • Repentance means turning from known sin to Christ.

Most IFB adherents I know believe the former; that dealing with sin takes place after salvation; that it is up to God to clean up sinners after they are saved. Many IFB preachers believe that saying a sinner must turn from sin before he is saved is “works salvation.” Those who believe a sinner must repent to be saved often accuse the “change of mind” crowd of preaching cheap grace.

According to IFB orthodoxy, once a person is saved, he can never, ever, for any reason lose his salvation. Once-saved-always-saved, the thinking goes. That’s why some IFB Christians think I am still a believer; that the sinner’s prayer I prayed as a fifteen-year-old boy guaranteed my salvation and a home in Heaven after I die. While I will lose rewards in Heaven, I will still dwell with God for eternity. No matter what I say or do — including professing atheism — I am forever saved!

Of course, many IFB preachers can’t stomach the thought of Evangelical-turned-atheist Bruce Gerencser going to the same Heaven as they after I die. These preachers confidently say that I never was a True Christian®. Wait a minute. I heard the gospel, came under conviction, went forward at the appointed time, knelt at the altar, and prayed the sinner’s prayer. I did everything my pastor told me to do, sincerely believing that Jesus is my Lord and Savior. How is it, then, that I am not a Christian?

I left the IFB church movement in the late 1980s because I believed most IFB preachers preached a shallow, truncated gospel. This led me to Calvinism and a Reformed understanding of salvation. It seemed inconceivable to me then, and still does today, that one can live any way he wants and still be a Christian; that there is no connection between saving faith and good works. I came to see that the cheap grace gospel preached by many IFB churches produced unsaved Christians; people whom the Bible calls the sevenfold children of Hell.

This warped understanding of good works results in IFB churches filled with people who think that the sum of their Christian lives is the momentary decision they made years before. Many IFB preachers believe that sanctification (being separated, and set apart for God’s service) happens at the moment of salvation. I came to see that this too was a corruption of what the Bible actually taught; that sanctification was a progressive work of God in the lives of believers. How does a Christian know he is progressing in sanctification? Good works. If you are not growing and maturing in faith and good works, it’s a sign that you might not be a Christian.

Why is it that IFB preachers are known for preaching the basics of Christianity over and over and over again? Why must church members be constantly reminded to read their Bibles, pray, attend church, and practice other normative things Christians do? Why do IFB churches have elaborate codes of conduct church members are expected to obey? Why do members have such a hard time following these man-made rules? One needs to look no further than to the bankrupt gospel preached by many IFB preachers. When you separate repentance and good works from the gospel, this is the result. Sadly, many IFB Christians haven’t progressed or matured from the moment they were saved. They remain people who are on pabulum, unable to eat and digest the meat of the Word. We see this in the noxious, hateful behavior of many IFB believers who comment on this site. Childish, to say the least.

I am sure a few of my atheist readers will say “who cares?” Christianity is bunk. Why should I care about what IFB Christians believe or don’t believe? Fair enough, but this post isn’t for you. My goal is to provoke IFB believers to do good works. Maybe they will think a bit about what their churches and pastors actually teach and practice. Maybe they will ask themselves, “what fruit does the IFB gospel produce?” I am not an anti-theist; an atheist who delusionally thinks the end of Christianity is nigh. Religion is here to stay for generations to come. Would the world not be a better place if IFB Christians take seriously the teachings of Christ in the Sermon on the Mount; who not only love God but also love their neighbors as themselves? The world is a much better place for all of us if Christians are people of love and compassion; people who value and care for the least of these.


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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Bruce, You Don’t Know Anything About the Independent Fundamentalist Baptist Church Movement — Part Two

peanut gallery

Yesterday, I responded to a long comment from an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist Christian named Gary Richards. (I have since learned that his real name is Gary MacKay.) You can read my response to MacKay here.

As is my custom, I sent MacKay an email with a link to my post. MacKay responded to my article today with what follows. My response is indented and italicized. All spelling and grammar in the original

It was a nice try Bruce, we both know that anyone can defend any which way side they want to but there is only one truth.

Much like Dr. David Tee, MacKay thinks there is one truth — his. This is a common trait among IFB adherents. Believers are encouraged to be certain in their beliefs, even though they lack sufficient education and knowledge about a given subject. They know what they know, but they don’t know what they don’t know. Certainty breeds arrogance. I’m right, you’re wrong, end of discussion, the thinking goes. That’s why it is almost impossible to have a profitable discussion with an IFB Christian. MacKay didn’t come to this site to engage is thoughtful discussion. He was here to preach and condemn.

MacKay’s behavior doesn’t surprise me. Scores of like-minded people have come before him. MacKay is deeply immersed in IFB culture. He thinks it is normal to preach AT people who disagree with you, uttering threats of judgment and eternal damnation. At some level, I feel sorry for the MacKays of the world. I was once just like them. I understand firsthand the cost of needing to be right all the time. It is a wearying way to live.

Sure, yeah, at age 15 you started, went to IFB schools, started churches & preached for all those years yet this goes on with so many and as you know Christ will say on that day “I never knew you”.

MacKay continues to delegitimize my story, suggesting that I was a fraud, just like so many other preachers today. He reminds me that one day I will stand before Christ and be cast into utter darkness.

He is alluding to Matthew 7:21-23:

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

As a proponent of IFB soteriology, MacKay believes that a person is saved by assenting to a set of theological propositions; that once a person is saved, good works play no part in the believer’s continuing salvation. Of course, I was saved in the IFB way. The difference, of course, is that I actually believed good works matter. I actually believed that faith without works is dead; that Christians will be judged one day, not on their mental assent to Bible facts, but by their works. Jesus made this clear in Matthew 25, and James made it clear that believers show their faith by their good works.

MacKay’s bankrupt gospel is why IFB churches are filled with people who think they have no obligation to love their neighbors as themselves; that nothing they say or do will keep them out of Heaven. Such people, if there really is a God, as portrayed in the Bible, are in for a rude awakening someday. My reading of the Protestant Christian Bible suggests that God really does care about how believers live; that good works matter.

In your case you just plain walked away and are essentially an anti-christ. If you really had fruit of your salvation & the Holy Spirit put His seal on you we both know you wouldn’t be where you are today. They must have left out the part that works can’t save you while you attended your education.

MacKay didn’t read any of my autobiographical writing, so he really doesn’t know or understand my story. Had he bothered to read my story, he would have learned that I didn’t one day, out of the blue, walk away from Christianity. I spent several years agonizing over my beliefs, worried that I was losing my faith. I desperately want to remain a Christian. After all, I had been part of the Evangelical church for fifty years. I pastored churches in three states for twenty-five years. My whole life and that of my family revolved around loving, following, and serving Jesus. I was all in, as were Polly and our children (not that they knew anything different). Walking away from all that I ever knew was hardly inconsequential. I shed many a tear over what was lost, much like someone who went through an acrimonious divorce.

According to MacKay, I am an anti-Christ. His goal is to demean and slander. He returns to his claim that I never was saved, and then adds that I never understood the Christian gospel. MacKay knows better — where can I take the gospel test? — but he’s not interested in interacting with me fairly and honestly. All that matters to him is discrediting me, painting me as an anti-Christ, false prophet, and tool of Satan. All MacKay has done is reveal to fair-minded people that he is a “tool.”

I have a hard time believing that you actually get death threats or any threats at all by Christians, possibly by those that were in your same situation where you were pushed into a Christian lifestyle & never given a choice to truly choose. There are many such as yourself that got hold of the wrong spirit as you yourself demonstrate & profess. This has always been even though as we ramp up to that day there is more & more as we have been told. It isn’t a surprise. I would like to think there is hope for your surrender to Christ even though your work is Satanic & has led many astray, but even though, Paul was forgiven & became the apostle to the gentiles.

MacKay concludes his screed by calling me a liar; that my claims of death threats or any threats at all are lies, lies, lies, and more lies. Long-time readers know firsthand the threats I have received over the years. One IFB believer threatened to slit my throat; another threatened to assault my daughter with Down syndrome; and still others have said they are praying for my sudden, painful death. Then there are the repeated, often daily, threats of Hell and eternal torture, with loving Christians hoping I drop dead today. I have even received threats from IFB preachers. These experiences are, sadly, not rare. They are a reminder of the rotten, violent underbelly of Evangelical Christianity, and, in particular, the IFB church movement.

That MacKay thinks I am lying? I simply don’t care. I know what I know. I hope he never has to experience what I have experienced at the hands of so-called followers of the Prince of Peace.

MacKay concludes with an orgastic fervor, saying I got ahold of the wrong spirit; that I am Satanic. You know what is interesting? MacKay made no attempt to evangelize me. He made no attempt to lead to the right path. He made no effort to share the gospel with me. Why is that?

Gary is right about two things. First, I have led many people astray. By telling my story and helping people who have questions and doubts about Christianity, I have helped people see that there is a better day. I don’t evangelize people. My objective has never been to win souls to Loki. If anything, my goal has been to show people that there are better expressions of the Christian faith than the IFB cult. Do I want the IFB church movement to die off? Absolutely. So many good people have been psychologically harmed, and, at times, physically harmed, by IFB beliefs and practices. There are kinder, gentler expressions of Christian faith for people who truly want a faith that practices the two great commandments: loving God and loving your fellow man.

Do some people who come in contact with me lose their faith? Sure, but I never push people to deconvert. All I am is a storyteller; a facilitator. I simply don’t care all that much about what people believe as long as those beliefs don’t cause harm to them or their families. MacKay’s beliefs materially harm people, so I make no apology for opposing, with what little strength I have left, the IFB church movement.

Second, MacKay claims I got ahold of the wrong spirit. On this account, he is absolutely right. The spirit of whiskey, that is. 🙂

Well, enough.

Saved by Reason,


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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Do Evangelicals Interpret the Bible?

the bible rock of gibraltar

The Bible is certainly more than 3 words. What that word ‘every’ is telling you is that from Genesis to Revelation every word of the Bible came from the mouth of God. It did not come from the human writers God used but from God himself.

That means that the believer is to live by Genesis 1 all the way to Revelation 22. Those are the words that God has spoken to us. Those are the words we are to live by not what unbelieving science or scientists say but by what God told us in his divine book.

This also removes the option of living by interpretation. As Peter has told us, the word of God is not by private interpretation. We are to find the truth of what God is saying and live by that truth.


Private interpretation is not allowed with scriptures. That is one of the reasons why we have over 40,000 ‘Christian’ denominations.

They do not live by every word that comes from God’s mouth. Instead, they live by their own private interpretation or the words of unbelievers. It is time to change and get back to the truth of the Bible and get rid of all alternatives to what God has told us in the Bible.

We are to live by the words of God while we can still do science, archaeology, and study other fields of interest, those are mere tools and have no authority over God or his words. if you want to live for eternity with God, then live correctly by his words.

— Dr. David Tee, whose real name is Derrick Thomas Thiessen, TheologyArcheology: A Site for the Glory God, We Will Follow the Science, March 24, 2023

Thiessen believes that Christians should just believe the Bible as written, and never interpret its words and teachings. This is a common Evangelical belief. The Bible is considered different from all other written works. Its words are written by God, not men or women. While Evangelicals have a variety of explanations for how the Bible came to be, all of them believe the Biblical text is the words of God — inspired, inerrant, and infallible.

From 1995-2002, I pastored Our Father’s House in West Unity, Ohio. One Sunday night, several new families came to visit the church. After the service, I struck up a conversation with one of the men. He asked me what I believed about a theological issue (I can’t remember the exact subject). We chatted back and forth for a bit, and then I told him that I had a book that I would be glad to loan him on the subject. He replied, “No thanks. The Bible is all I need.” These families didn’t visit again. I suspect I was too liberal for them; you know, I read books.

Any time we read something, we are interpreting the words of the text. Words have meanings, and we must make interpretations to determine what written texts mean. Individual interpretations will vary, sometimes wildly so. I have been writing for sixteen years — millions of words. While I do my best to write in a way so people will clearly understand what I am trying to say, it is not uncommon for people to “interpret” my words differently from the way I intended. Since I am a living author, these misunderstandings can be easily corrected by just asking me, “Bruce, what did you mean when you said ___________?” On occasion, I will write something, send it off to Carolyn to be edited, and she will return it with a note that says “is this what you meant to say?” Sometimes, I reply, “yes, that’s what I meant to say.” Other times, I correct the text so it means what I intended to say. Carolyn has been my editor for years. She has a good handle on how I think and how I use certain words.

We, of course, don’t have access to the authors of the sixty-six books of the Protestant Christian Bible. Even if I were to believe that “God” wrote the Bible, he’s inaccessible. Ask him what he meant to say in this or that verse and his reply is silence. For the past 2,000 years, believers and unbelievers alike have been interpreting the Bible. The moment we read a word, verse, text, or book, we are interpreting it.

Thiessen decries the fact that there are thousands of Christian sects, each with their own interpretations of the Bible, yet is this not what he does in his own life? I question whether Thiessen is a member of a local Christian congregation. If he is, he is part of a church/sect that interprets the Bible a certain way. Theissen demands that people accept that the Bible says this or that. Is he not saying that everyone must interpret the Bible as he does?

Of course, Theissen denies that he interprets the Bible; he just believes it. Such thinking is absurd. To believe is to interpret. Otherwise, one ends up believing that one’s beliefs perfectly align with what God (the Bible) says. This kind of teaching is dangerous, leading to all sorts of dangerous cultic beliefs. Evangelical misogyny, bigotry, racism, and hate rest on the notion that the words of God and the beliefs of God’s chosen ones are one and the same. This is why interpretation is essential to understanding what the Bible possibly says.

The Bible is a collection of ancient religious texts written thousands of years ago. The authors are dead, so we can’t quiz them about what they meant to say. All we can do is interpret their writings. We are blessed to have books, software, language tools, and commentaries to guide our understanding of the Bible. Thiessen uses these tools, so it is disingenuous for him to say he doesn’t interpret the Bible. All of us are influenced by the authors we read. None of us is a blank slate free from external influence. Every book we read, every video we watch, and every podcast we listen to influences our thinking and understanding. (Even if someone says he is following the direction of the Spirit, he is interpreting what he perceives to be the Spirit’s leadership.) All any of us can do is rationally and skeptically read and study the Bible, coming to reasoned, thoughtful conclusions about what the text says. Most important is humility. I may come to a conclusion about what a particular text says, but I am humble enough to know that I could be wrong.

“God said it, I believe it, that settles it,” thinking has called untold harm. The Bible can be a source of blessing, encouragement, and help, but far too often it is a tool of hurt and destruction.


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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Quenching the Holy Spirit, A Stick in the Hands of Authoritarian IFB Preachers

indwelling of the holy spirit

If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil. Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. 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. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:21-32)

The Apostle Paul told the church at Ephesus not to grieve (quench) the Holy Spirit by participating in sinful behaviors. According to verses 22-24, Christians are those who have put off their old lives and embraced the new life they have in Christ Jesus. Christians are new creations, created in righteousness and holiness.

Specifically, Paul said followers of Jesus were to:

  • Stop lying, and always speak the truth
  • Never let the sun go down on their wrath
  • Never give place to the Devil
  • Never steal, making an honest living by their own hands so that they can meet the needs of others
  • Never let corrupt communication come out of their mouths
  • Put away bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, evil speaking, and malice
  • Not be wrathful
  • Not be angry
  • Be kind, tenderhearted, forgiving

Failing to diligently keep these commands leads to Christians quenching the Holy Spirit — the third person in the Trinity who lives inside of every believer. To quench the Spirit, then, means suppressing (reducing to an ember) the power, influence, direction, and control of the Holy Ghost in believers’ lives. In other words, finite, sinful beings can hinder the work of an infinite God in their lives by behaving certain ways.

Here’s what Got Questions? has to say on the matter:

The Holy Spirit is a fire dwelling in each believer. He wants to express Himself in our actions and attitudes. When believers do not allow the Spirit to be seen in our actions or we do what we know is wrong, we suppress or quench the Spirit. We do not allow the Spirit to reveal Himself the way that He wants to.


To grieve the Spirit is to act out in a sinful manner, whether it is in thought only or in both thought and deed.

Both quenching and grieving the Spirit are similar in their effects. Both hinder a godly lifestyle. Both happen when a believer sins against God and follows his or her own worldly desires. The only correct road to follow is the road that leads the believer closer to God and purity, and farther away from the world and sin. Just as we do not like to be grieved, and just as we do not seek to quench what is good—so we should not grieve or quench the Holy Spirit by refusing to follow His leading.

I was raised in the Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) church movement, attended an IFB Bible college in the 1970s, and pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years. I heard numerous sermons about quenching the Holy Spirit, and preached a few myself. Far too often, “quenching the Spirit” was used as a stick to beat church members into submission.

Take Tony Hutson, pastor of Middle Tennessee Baptist Church in Murfreesboro, Tennessee:

Video Link

Hutson is known for telling fanciful stories (AKA lies), so take his illustration with a grain of salt. He wants his congregants to know that if God (the preacher) tells them to do something, they better do it lest they quench the Holy Spirit, and God has to discipline (abuse them with a leather belt) or kill them.

IFB pastors are known for their authoritarian tendencies. Hutson, and others like him, are control freaks. Believing they are supernaturally “called by God” to preach the words of a supernatural book to frail, sinful followers of Jesus Christ, IFB preachers expect church members to obey and practice what they say. If believers refuse to do so, they are quenching the Spirit.

When people think for themselves and voice their differences of opinion, IFB preachers often tell them that they are getting in the way of what God is trying to do; that they are standing in the way of the Holy Ghost doing something great. Often, IFB preachers will subtly threaten those who are quenching the Spirit with judgment, suffering, loss, and death. All because someone disagrees with them.

The goal of preaching on “quenching the Spirit” is to whip congregants into conformity so preachers can advance their agendas. What is really going on, of course, is that no matter how hard IFB preachers try to quash uniqueness and freedom of thought, congregants refuse to comply. You would think, if the Holy Spirit is what Evangelicals say he is, everyone would interpret the Bible the same way; think the same way; live the same way. That they don’t suggests that the Holy Spirit is a myth; that churches are groups of individuals working towards common objectives. There will always be differences of opinion. Healthy churches allow for freedom of thought and belief, even when congregants disagree with their pastors.

Pastors are not always right. The “Holy Spirit” led me to make bad decisions. I wish people had spoken up or questioned the path down which I was leading the church. Instead, when we had business meetings, people just sat there, nodded their heads, and acquiesced to my will. Conditioned and indoctrinated by years of IFB preaching, church members thought they should follow my leadership at all times; that if I, as the man of God, was led by the Holy Spirit, who were they to stand in the way of what “God” wanted to do? The last thing they want to do was “quench the Spirit,” and risk punishment from God and estrangement from their fellow Christians.

Did your pastor preach on “quenching the Spirit?” Was this teaching on prominent display in the churches you attended? Please share your experiences in the comment section.


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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Black Collar Crime: IFB Pastor Ken Shaver Accused of Stealing Over $10,000 From Church

pastor ken shaver

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

Ken Shaver, pastor of Greater Vision Baptist Church in Owensboro, Kentucky, stands accused of stealing more than $10,000 from the church.

The Owensboro Times reports:

An Owensboro pastor is facing a felony theft charge after police allege he spent more than $10,000 of church money without approval, according to Kentucky State Police.

Kenneth Alan Shaver, 62, of Utica, was arrested Tuesday and charged with Theft by Unlawful Taking or Disposition of Property $10,000<$100,000.

Shaver is a pastor at Greater Vision Baptist Church, according to their website.

According to the arrest citation, Shaver “was found to have fraudulently spent a dollar amount exceeding $10,000.” The funds belong to the church operating fund, and the purchases were not approved, according to the citation.

Shaver’s church bio states:

Ken Shaver has the great privilege of being pastor to the wonderful people of Greater Vision Baptist Church. With a desire to serve the Lord, Who is worthy of our lives, Pastor Shaver believes that God can and will do great and mighty things through His people in Owensboro, Kentucky.

In fact, he has had a great burden and vision for Kentucky since the Lord called him to preach in 2000. He answered that call by going to Hopkinsville, Kentucky and starting the Greater Cumberland Baptist Church, whose first Sunday was the week of 9/11. This church plant in the Fort Campbell area greatly impacted the military community there and many were saved, discipled, and several have even gone into ministry and the mission field. This ministry continues to thrive under the pastorate of his son-in-law, Paul Edes. The Lord is still doing an eternal work through this church plant.

After 18 years in his first pastorate, the Lord moved him and his wife, Robyn, to the Owensboro area to pastor Greater Vision. God is stretching Pastor Shaver’s vision on a broader scale, and he believes Western Kentucky can be the place where God will send a mighty revival to His people. He is confident that what the Lord has begun in Owensboro, in Western Kentucky, He will continue and expand. The Lord asks His people to be faithful, and Pastor Shaver’s heart’s desire is to be a faithful servant all his days.

Not going into the ministry until he was 41, his prior secular jobs as Black Hawk helicopter pilot, air traffic controller, and international air traffic training manager provide him with many opportunities to relate to a diverse group of people; as well as compel him to use the rest of his life in the service of the Lord.

Pastor Shaver and his wife, Robyn, have been richly blessed with four faithful children, and a multitude of amazing grandchildren. He and his family look forward to sharing in the blessings of God as they serve Him all over the United States.

Shaver previously pastored Greater Cumberland Baptist Church in Hopkinsville, Kentucky.

In 2019, the Messenger-Inquirer had this to say about Shaver:

Ken Shaver learned to fly before learning to preach.

Shaver is a former Black Hawk helicopter pilot who has been pastoring Greater Vision Baptist Church, 4733 Sutherland Road, for about three months.

Shaver, an Ohio native, joined the Army in 1978 straight out of high school and initially started out as a clerk.

It was a friend who persuaded him to take the test together that would allow them into the flight program.

“…I said, ‘I’ve never even been in a helicopter. Are you kidding?’” said Shaver about when his friend suggested the idea.


From there, Shaver was sent to flight school at Fort Rucker in Alabama and from there was stationed at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

And at that time, the Army’s Bell UH-1 Iroquois helicopter, nicknamed the “Huey” and best known for its use in the Vietnam War, was the standard utility fighting aircraft.

Shaver learned to fly the single-engine Huey before becoming among the first to pilot the twin-engine Black Hawk, which dramatically changed and improved helicopter flight combat.


During his 14 years in the Army — seven active duty and seven in the Army National Guard — Shaver logged just under 2,500 hours in the air.

While serving in the National Guard, Shaver was hired by the Federal Aviation Administration and worked his way up to the international air traffic manager. He was in charge of training foreign governments such as Morocco, The Bahamas and Egypt.

“We would go to help establish or improve a country’s aviation program,” Shaver said.

Shaver and his family were living in Oklahoma when he was “called to preach” at age 41.

Shaver said he was still working at the FAA but made the decision to leave a lucrative job for the ministry.

“(God) started dealing with my heart,” said Shaver, who’s now 59. “And I was a very happy man; I’ve lived a happy life; I had a great career and I was making big-time money; my future was set.”

But in 2001, Shaver returned with his family back to Fort Campbell to start a church.

“One of my greatest joys is that my wife and my kids never complained,” he said.

It was in the fall of 2001 that he converted a dance studio into what became Greater Cumberland Baptist Church.

“I quit my job; I took a $100,000 a year pay cut and moved to Hopkinsville, Kentucky,” he said. “…Our first Sunday was the week of 9/11.”

Shaver said the church became a home to many soldiers and their families.


Shaver said he’s trying to establish a veterans family care program that would help the families of the soldiers currently deployed from the Maj. Gen. (Ret) Dean Allen Youngman Owensboro National Guard Readiness Center.


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.

Bruce Gerencser