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Tag: Love Bombing

Dear Evangelicals: Insanity is Doing the Same Things Over and Over and Expecting Different Results


I interact with Evangelical Christians of all stripes virtually every day; on Facebook, YouTube, via email, and responding to comments on this site. I was part of the Evangelical church for fifty years. I attended an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) Bible college in the mid-70s and spent twenty-five years pastoring IFB, Sovereign Grace, Christian Union, Southern Baptist, and non-denominational churches in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. I know Evangelicalism inside and out.

One thing I have learned in my sixty-six years of life is this: Evangelicals seem to have a hard time adapting or changing their ways to reach and influence unbelievers. In the IFB church movement, in particular, churches and parachurch organizations are using the same techniques and methodologies that they were using in the 1970s and 1980s. Our culture has moved on, but Evangelicals continue to sing the old gospel song, I Shall Not be Moved.

Evangelicalism is dying on the vine. Evangelicals often object when I make this claim, saying look at all of the growing megachurches! What they don’t mention, however, is that the vast majority of church attendance growth comes from transfers — people moving their membership from one church to another. All around the country, smaller Evangelical churches, whose memberships have been pilfered by larger congregations, are closing their doors. New convert numbers are in decline, as are baptisms. There is also a huge statistical disconnect between the membership roll and actual church attendance. On any given Sunday, half of Southern Baptist church members are not in church. Evangelical church growth experts are alarmed over the attendance decline among young adults. The rise of the NONES — atheists, agnostics, and people who are indifferent towards religion — scares the shit out of them, as does the increasing number of people who are “dones” — people who are done with church.

Knowing all these things, what do Evangelicals do to stem declines in attendance, conversions, and baptisms? The same things they have always done. Evangelicals have been waging culture wars for a hundred years. They are seemingly clueless as to how their wars are perceived by unbelievers and non-Evangelical Christians. Either that or they don’t care. Today, Evangelicals are one of the most hated religious groups in America.

As I mentioned above, I interact with Evangelicals almost every day, sometimes multiple times a day. As I pondered writing this post, I made a list of techniques Evangelicals attempt to use to win me to Jesus:

  • Love Bombing — pretending to “love” me, hoping that doing so will give them an in with me. Such people express deep love for me and often offer to buy me lunch/dinner or give me money.
  • Feigned Friendship — pretending to befriend me, hoping that becoming my friend will make me more willing to hear what they have to say. Evangelicals frequently send me friend requests on Facebook, even though we have absolutely nothing in common. Some of them will badger me about accepting their friendship. This approach usually results in me bluntly telling them why I do not want to be best buds with them. If all else fails, I tell them to go fuck themselves.
  • Threats of Judgment and Hell — telling me that I am under the judgment of God and headed for Hell when I die. How they think this approach will draw me to Jesus is beyond me.
  • Proof Texting — using Bible verses to show me I am wrong and why I need to repent of my sins and get saved. People seem to forget that I was a pastor for twenty-five years; that I likely know a lot more about what the Bible says and teaches than they do. Many Evangelicals are woefully ignorant about the Bible. Once beyond their proof texts, they flounder.
  • Philosophical Arguments — arguments used to prove the existence of God, God-given morality, or defend God from culpability for evil, pain, and suffering.

None of these approaches works with me. It’s not that I am a reprobate or an apostate — as many Evangelicals allege. Their claims don’t make sense to me. (Please see The Michael Mock Rule: It Just Doesn’t Make Sense.) I find them to be irrational and illogical. I have been listening to Evangelicals for sixteen years. I can’t tell you the last time I have heard an original or novel argument from an Evangelical apologist. Take Dr. David Tee, whose real name is Derrick Thomas Thiessen. He has written thousands of words about me; countless posts that attack me or respond to something I have written. Thiessen’s position on anything and everything is this: the Bible is right, and you are wrong. End of discussion. Of course, “what the Bible says” actually means Thiessen’s personal interpretations of an ancient religious text. He is not special in this regard. Evangelicals are largely “God (Bible) said it, I believe it” Christians — that is until the Bible conflicts with how they want to live their lives. Then, what the Bible says is just a matter of personal opinion.

Here’s the thing: none of these things matters to the average unbeliever. What does matter is how supposedly born-again, sanctified, and filled-with-the-Holy-Ghost Bible believers live their daily lives. And quite frankly what unbelievers see (and experience) angers and disgusts them. God isn’t the problem, Evangelicals are. It is Evangelicals (and conservative Catholics and Mormons) who gave us Donald Trump. It is Evangelicals who were behind the 1/6 Insurrection. It is Evangelicals behind banning abortion, persecuting LGBTQ people, banning books, and restricting sex education. Worse, many Evangelicals are hell-bent on forcing the American people to obey, under the penalty of law, their interpretation of the Bible. In other words, they want to force their beliefs on secular, unbelieving, non-Evangelical Americans. Is it any surprise that many Americans hate Evangelicals? They want to return the United States to the good old days of the 1950s; a time when Christianity ruled supreme, LGBTQ people were deep in their proverbial closets, Blacks knew their place, and women were keepers of the home, busy with domestic work, cooking meals, bearing children, and fucking their husbands on demand.

If Evangelicals truly want to reach unbelievers, I suggest they stop talking and begin loving their neighbors as themselves. Instead of trying to evangelize people, how about loving them as they are; accepting them as they are; embracing them as fellow travelers on planet earth. Show your faith by how you treat others. Be a people who are known for how they treat people who are different from them; people who are known for their love, mercy, and compassion towards the “least of these.”

Will Evangelicals listen to a lowly, no-account Evangelical-preacher-turned-atheist? Probably not. The Titanic is sinking, and Evangelical are on the deck shouting, I’m right, I’m right, I’m right, as the ship turns over and drowns them in the sea.

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