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Tag: Lying

Liars for Jesus: Evangelical Preachers and Their Sermons, Stories, and Testimonies

liar liar pants on fire

Evangelical preachers, regardless of their theological flavor, are liars. I have known a number of Evangelical pastors, evangelists, missionaries, and professors in my lifetime. Without exception, these men of God, at one time or another, lied to their congregants or ministerial colleagues. Now, this doesn’t mean that they set out to deliberately obfuscate or deceive — though some did — but the fact remains these so-called men of God played loose with the truth. I plan to deliberately paint with a broad brush in this post, so if you just so happen to be the Sgt. Joe Friday of Evangelicalism, please don’t get upset.

One way preachers lie is by withholding truth. On Sundays, pastors stand in pulpits and preach their sermons, giving congregants a version of truth, but not the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Evangelical preachers enter their pulpits with an agenda, an objective. Their agendas affect how they interpret the Bible and what they say in their sermons. The Bible, then, becomes a means to an end, be it saving the lost, calling congregants to repentance, raising money, or advancing pet projects.

This means that Bible verses are spun in ways to gain desired objectives. Instead of letting the Bible speak for itself, the text is manipulated and massaged in the hope that congregants will buy what their pastors are selling. And make no mistake about it, there’s little difference between pitchman Billy May and the preacher down at First Baptist Church in Podunk City. Preachers are salesmen with products to sell, and the goal of a well-crafted sermon is to get hearers to sign on the dotted line. (Please see Selling Jesus.)

Another way preachers lie is by giving the appearance that their sermons are God’s opinion on a matter. God speaks through God’s man as he preaches God’s infallible Word, or so the thinking goes, anyway. However, every preacher’s thinking is colored by his past religious experiences, education, and culture. Pastors regurgitate what they heard their pastors preach while growing up, what their professors taught them in college, and what they read in theological books. Every Evangelical preacher walks in a certain rut, interpreting the Biblical text as do others in that rut. Birds of a feather flock together, the old saying goes. Christianity consists of thousands and thousands of sects, each with its own peculiar spin on the Bible. Countless internecine wars are fought over minute points of doctrine and practice. Only within the Christian bubble do these things matter, but boy, oh boy do they matter! Evangelicals, in particular, are known for their bickering over theology and how followers of Jesus should live. This fact is a sure sign, at least to me, that Christianity is not what Evangelicals say it is. If there is one God, one Jesus, and one Holy Spirit who lives inside every believer, it stands to reason that Christians should all have the same beliefs. That they don’t suggests that there are cultural, sociological, and geographical issues at work. How else can we explain the theological differences between sects, churches, and individual Christians? Why, Christians can’t even agree on the basics: salvation, baptism, and communion/Eucharist/Lord’s supper.

Most preachers know about the diversity of theology and belief among Christians, yet they rarely let it be known to their congregations except to call other beliefs false or heretical. It is clear, at least to me, that the Bible teaches a number of “plans of salvation”; that both the Arminians and Calvinists are right; that both salvation by grace and salvation by works are true. Why don’t preachers tell the truth about these things? Is it not a lie to omit them — the sin of omission? If Christianity is all that Evangelicals say it is and Jesus is all-powerful, surely Christians can handle being given the truth about the Biblical text, church history, and the varied theological beliefs and practices found within Christianity. If pastors want to be truth-tellers, they must be willing to tell congregants everything, including the stuff that doesn’t fit a particular theological box. Imagine how much differently Evangelicals might act if they were required to study world religions and read books by authors such as Dr. Bart Ehrman. That will never happen, of course, because it would result in most preachers losing their jobs due to attendance decline and lost income. Truth is always the enemy of faith.

Atheists such as myself know the value of wide exposure to contrary beliefs. After all, our deconversions often followed a path of intense and painful intellectual inquiry. In my case, it took years for me to slide to the bottom of the slippery slope of unbelief. Along the way, I made numerous stops, hoping that I would find a way to hang on to my belief in God. I found none of these resting places intellectually satisfying. I wanted them to be, but my commitment to truth wouldn’t let me. In the years since, I have encouraged doubters to follow their paths wherever they lead. Meet truth in the middle of the road. Don’t back up or try to go around. Do business with truth before moving forward. This is, of course, hard to do, because it requires abandoning previously held beliefs when new evidence is presented. It requires admitting you were wrong. And therein is the rub for many Evangelical preachers: they have spent their lifetimes being “right” and preaching their rightness to their church congregations. To admit they were wrong would cause their metaphorical houses to crumble. So instead of telling the truth, Evangelical preachers lie. They lie because they have careers, families, congregations, and denominations to protect.

And finally, some Evangelical preachers lie in their sermons, stories, and testimonies because they never let the truth get in way of telling a good story. I have heard countless testimonies and sermon illustrations, and the vast majority of them were embellished at some point or the other. Not that this is a great evil. We all do it, Christian or not. My problem with Evangelical preachers doing it is that they present themselves as pillars of moral virtue and arbiters of truth. When you ride your horse on the moral high road, you should expect attempts will be made to push you down the ravine to where the unwashed, uncircumcised Philistines of the world live.

Preachers know that there’s nothing like a good story to seal the deal with people listening to their sermons. Believing that “the end justifies the means,” preachers shape and mold their stories and testimonies in ways that best lead to desired outcomes. For those of you who were raised in Evangelical churches, think about some of the salvation testimonies you heard on Sundays. Fantastical stories, right? Almost unbelievable! And in fact, they aren’t believable. All of us love a good story, but when trying to convince people that a particular sect/church/belief is true, surely it behooves storytellers to tell the truth. Instead, preachers color their stories in ways so people will be drawn to them. Every story and every sermon is meant to bring people to a place of decision. A preacher has wasted his time if his sermon hasn’t elicited some sort of emotional response. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with this. Politicians, sportscasters, and preachers — to name a few — all use the power of stories to draw people in and get them to make a decision — be it to get saved, vote, or cheer your team on. Any preacher worth his salt knows how to manipulate people through his use of stories. A boring sermon is one that is little more than a dry, listless lecture. Gag me with a spoon, as we used to say. Give me someone who speaks with passion and uses the power of words to drive home his or her message. As a pastor, one of my goals was to inspire people, not put them to sleep.

Sometime during my early ministerial years, I stopped expecting preachers to be bold truth-tellers. I listened to Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) conference speakers such as Jack Hyles, Curtis Hutson, Tom Malone, John R. Rice, Bob Gray, Lee Roberson, Lester Roloff, and countless others tell stories that were embellished or outright lies. Hyles, in particular, lied more often than he told the truth. He is famous for telling people how many people he counseled every week. Much like those of former President Trump, Hyles’ stories and statistics didn’t hold up under scrutiny. Hyles could have told conference attendees that he counseled X number of people each week, but instead, he led conference attendees to believe that he counseled hundreds and hundreds of people every week. He wanted people to see him as some sort of super hero; an Evangelical Superman. The same goes for his soulwinning stories. While there may have been an element of truth in his stories, they were so embellished that only Kool-Aid-drinking Hyleites believed them to be true.

Such is the nature of preaching. Does this mean that preachers are bad people who can’t tell the truth? Certainly, some of them are. More than a few Evangelical churches are pastored by con artists who want to scam their congregations, troll for children to molest, or seduce naïve church women. Most preachers, however, are decent, thoughtful people who genuinely believe in what they are selling. They want to save souls and help congregants live better lives. Often raised in religious environments where embellishing truth or outright lying was acceptable, these preachers preach in the ways that were modeled to them. Isn’t that what we humans are wont to do? We tend to follow in the footsteps of our parents and teachers. There is nothing I have said in this post that will change this fact. All I hope to do is warn people about what they hear preachers saying during their sermons. Tom Malone, pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Pontiac, Michigan, and the founder of Midwestern Baptist College, one time said during a sermon, “I’m not preaching now, I’m telling the truth!” Dr. Malone meant to be funny, but what he really did, at least for me, is reveal that what preachers preach may not always be the truth. Judicious hearers should keep this in mind the next time they listen to this or that preacher regale people with their fantastical stories. Remember, it’s just a story, an admixture of truth, embellishment, and lie. In other words, good preaching. Amen? Amen!


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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Is it Ever Okay to Lie?

pinocchio lying

I grew up in a religious culture where lying (bearing false witness) was always considered a sin. It was never, ever right to tell a lie, even if the ends justified the means. This was more of an ideal than anything else. Pastors and congregants alike lied. I quickly learned that despite all their talk about moral/ethical absolutes, my pastors and other church leaders would lie if the situation demanded it. Despite frequent condemnations of situational morality/ethics, the Christians I looked up to would, on occasion, lie. One example that vividly comes to mind happened when I was fifteen and attended Trinity Baptist Church in Findlay, Ohio. As many Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) churches of the 1970s did, Trinity Baptist had a large bus ministry. Each week the church’s buses brought hundreds of people to church. Many of these buses were rambling wrecks, yet parents rarely gave a second thought to letting their children ride the buses. Most parents, I suspect, saw the three or so hours their children were at church as a respite from caring for them.

Church buses had to be annually inspected by the Ohio State Highway Patrol. Each bus had to pass a mechanical and safety inspection. One item of importance was the tires. Trinity Baptist was a fast-growing church of working-class people that always seemed to be short of money. Properly outfitting each bus with safe tires would require a lot of cash, so the church decided, instead, to lie about the tires. In the spring of 1972, it was once again time to have the buses inspected. Several of them needed to have their tires replaced. Instead of replacing the tires, the church outfitted one bus with new tires and took it to the Patrol Post for inspection. After passing inspection, the bus was driven to a garage owned by a church member so the new tires could be removed and put on the next bus needing inspection. This was done for every bus that had tires that would not pass inspection. What church leaders were doing, of course, was a lie. This particular lie was justified by arguing that running the buses and winning souls for Jesus were more important than following Caesar’s law. Over the next thirty-five years, I would see similar lies told time and again, with the justification always being that God’s work must go on and souls needed saving. But what about not bearing false witness? I learned that for all their preaching on situational morality/ethics, Evangelical pastors and church leaders were willing to tell a fib if it advanced their cause. In their minds, the end indeed justified the means.

Years ago, I pastored one man who believed it was ALWAYS wrong to lie. One time, a woman asked him if he liked her new hat. Wanting to always tell the truth, the man told her that he didn’t like the hat and thought it was ugly. Needless to say, he hurt his friend’s feelings. When asked by his wife whether an outfit looked nice on her or made her look fat, he would never consider what his wife was actually asking. Fundamentalist to the core, all that mattered to him was telling the truth. However, all his wife wanted to know is whether he accepted and loved her, as-is. Instead of understanding this, he dished out what he called “brutal honesty.” Needless to say, this man routinely offended his family and friends.

One time, after a blow-up over his truth-telling, I asked him, “Suppose you lived in Germany in World War II and harbored Jews in your home. One day, the Nazis come to your door and ask if you are harboring any Jews. Knowing that answering YES would lead to their deaths, what would you say? Would you lie to protect them?” Astoundingly, he told me that he would either tell the truth (yes) or say nothing at all. In his mind, always telling the truth was paramount even if it meant the death of others. I knew, then, that I had no hope of getting him to see that there might be circumstances where telling a lie was acceptable; that sometimes a lie serves the greater good.

Bruce, did you ever lie as a pastor? Of course I did. Let me give you one example. The churches I pastored dedicated babies — the Baptist version of baptizing infants. Couples would stand before the congregation and promise before the church and God that they would raise their newborns up in the fear and admonition of God. Most of these parents lied, but then so did I. I would hold their babies in my arms and present them to the church, saying, isn’t he or she beautiful? when I believed then, and still do, that most newborns are ugly. Our firstborn came forth with wrinkly, scaly skin and a cone-shaped head — thanks to the doctor’s use of forceps. “Beautiful,” he was not!  I lied to the parents about their babies because I knew no parent wanted to hear the “truth.” The parents lied about their commitment to church and God because that’s what everyone in attendance wanted to hear — especially grandparents.

While I generally believe that telling the truth is a good idea, I don’t think this is an absolute. There are times when telling a lie is preferable to telling the truth. Let me share an example of when I should have lied and didn’t. The church I co-pastored in Texas held an annual preaching conference. I preached at this conference the year before the church hired me as their co-pastor. When discussing who we were going to ask to preach at the upcoming conference, I suggested a preacher friend of mine from Ohio. I thought it would be a great opportunity for him. He gladly accepted our invitation. One night after he preached, my friend asked me to critique his preaching. I thought, oh don’t ask me to do this. My friend had several annoying habits, one of which was failing to make eye contact with those to whom he was preaching. He insisted on me telling him what I thought of his preaching, so with great hesitation, I did. After I was done, I could tell that I had deeply wounded my friend, so much so that he talked very little to me the rest of the conference. Sadly, our friendship did not survive my honesty. Yes, he asked for it, but I really should have considered whether he would benefit from me telling the truth. I should have, instead, recommended several books on preaching or encouraged him to use the gifts God had given him. Instead, I psychologically wounded him by being “brutally honest.”  Twenty or so years ago, I tried to reestablish a connection with him. I sent him an email, asking him how he was doing.  He replied with one word: FINE.

As a professional photographer, I was often asked for photography advice. I learned that people didn’t really want my opinion about their latest, greatest photographs. Instead of telling them how bad their photos were, I chose, instead, to encourage them to practice and learn the various functions of their cameras. (Most people never take their cameras off AUTO.) I told one person that I didn’t critique the work of others. There’s no such thing as a perfect photograph, and taking photographs is all about capturing moments in time. As a professional, how my photos looked mattered to me, but I knew that most people would never invest time and money into becoming skilled photographers. Often, they didn’t have the same passion for photography as I did. (I stopped doing photography work two years ago due to my loss of muscle strength and dexterity. I sold all of my equipment, one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.) They wrongly thought that buying an expensive camera would automatically make their photos look good. It’s the photographer’s skill, not his equipment, that makes the difference. I tried to encourage others, even if it meant, at times, I stretched the truth a bit. I suspect all of us look for affirmation and encouragement instead of “brutal honesty.”

Are you an “absolute” truth-teller? Do you believe it is ALWAYS wrong to lie, or do you believe there are circumstances when lying serves the greater good or causes the least harm? If you are a pastor/former clergy person, did you ever lie? Don’t lie!  Please share your thoughts 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.

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.

Sounds of Fundamentalism: Atheism Takes Away Your Joy, Purpose, and Meaning, Says Evangelical Pastor Mark Clark

pastor mark clark

The Sounds of Fundamentalism is a series that I would like readers to help me with. If you know of a video clip that shows the crazy, cantankerous, or contradictory side of Evangelical Christianity, please send me an email with the name or link to the video. Please do not leave suggestions in the comment section.  Let’s have some fun!

Today’s Sound of Fundamentalism is a video clip of Evangelical pastor Mark Clark telling congregants the “truth” about atheism. Clark’s bio states:

Mark Clark is the founding pastor of Village Church, a multi-site church with locations in multiple cities across Canada and online around the world, that seeks to reach skeptics and challenge Christians.

That was in 2021. Evidently, Clark is no longer at Village Church. Based on this page, Clark is now a preacher for Bayside Church in Granite Bay, California.

This video is only three minutes long, so give it a listen. Clark lies about atheists/atheism from start to finish, thus damning himself to the eternal flames of the Lake of Fire. The Bible says that no liar shall inherit the kingdom of God. Clark repeatedly lies in this clip, so based on the authority of the Word of God, he’s going to burn forever. God said it, I didn’t. 🙂

Video Link


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.

Dear Pastor Dax Hughes, Words Have Meanings

fake dax hughes
Dax Hughes, current or former pastor of Heartland Worship Center, Paducah, Kentucky. This is not actually a photograph of Dax. He objected to my use of a photo of him I found on his church’s website, so I was forced to find a replacement. This photo is actually of Jesse on the hit Evangelical show Preacher.

Dear Dax,

Several days ago, you and I had kind of a discussion on the Infected Saint blog. I say “kind of a discussion” because you ignored or refused to answer most of my comments and the questions I asked you. The focus of the discussion was a post you wrote for your public blog — “Top Ten Reasons Life is a Disaster Without Jesus.” You seemed to be shocked that people are holding you accountable for what you said in this post. Let me take a moment to school you on blogging. When you write a blog post on a public site, it is assumed that you want people to read it. I understand that your blog is not read by very many people, but for the people who do read it, what you say matters. I have a blog that is widely read, and I know that I must be careful about the words I use. If I misspeak or don’t clearly speak, readers are going to call me out, asking that I either explain my word usage or correct my post. Fortunately, I rarely have to do this because I carefully pay attention to the words I use, and when I use a particular word, it is because I mean to do so.

Several years ago, readers schooled me about my use of the words “homosexual” and “pussy.” I learned, from LGBTQ readers, that the word “homosexual” is a derogatory slur used by religious Fundamentalists to denigrate gays. When I learned this, I stopped using the word. The same goes for the word “pussy.” Several female readers emailed me about my use of the word pussy to describe wimpy, physically weak men. Since “pussy” references a woman’s genitals, my use of the word implied that weak men were like women, a connotation I certainly did not want to give. Women, contrary to what the Bible says, are anything but weak.

Dax, words have meanings. Evidently, you have not yet learned this lesson, so I hope you will allow me to take you to the woodshed over your word usage on the Infected Saint blog and in your post referenced above.

In the comment section on the Infected Saint  blog, you stated that you had a Ph.D. in ” Greek language and biblical backgrounds.” You also wrote you “have a Ph.D. in ancient languages with an emphasis on NT background.” Let me refresh your memory about what you said:

My whole education has been centered around the manuscripts and history of the Bible and its people. I know there are some discrepancies but to say it completely unravels is not where my study has taken me.

. . .

I wonder what primary sources you have studied? To do so you need to be versed in koine and Semitic languages. Are you? I have studied these primary sources. Not secondary sources that write from their bias to prove their “theory.” Honest scholarship deals with primary sources and takes years of study to be able to do so. When you have done that we can have more of a discussion on foundational issues

. . .

I don’t claim anything. I have a PhD in the are[a] and have studied this for most of my adult life. If your sources are second and third sources removed then how is that really an argument from you. Have you looked at these things directly or from internet and popular reads. That’s not true scholarship. And how can you say that about the languages if you can’t read them. Sure there are textual variants but can you question its [sic] veracity without giving an honest and careful study of DSS, P literature, Textus Receptus, Q, and many other sources?

. . .

I do explore outside some but scholarship is highly focused on an area so I study little except in my area of languages and NT. Give me a source and I will investigate this. I of course have heard of debate on it but have not read up on it

When asked what specific kind of Ph.D. you had, you replied:

Yes in Greek language and biblical backgrounds. It’s what I do. I don’t feel the burden of proof is on me with you for this reason… we don’t know each other and can’t meet face to face. Trying to argue and show things here would be fruitless. If you are ever in my area Ian would be honored to meet up with you and discuss face to face at rhisnkevel [sic].

. . .

My PhD focuses primarily on Koine Greek and ancient Hebrew. I also focused on al [sic] backgrounds of the NT writings.

. . .

Seriously? Do you not get that I have a PhD in ancient languages with an emphasis on NT background?

. . .

Accredited school. Samford University in Birmingham. My degree is legit. It’s not like a mail in or something. I had to write a dissertation and oral comps. It is in biblical languages.

. . .

Yeah this will always be your argument now. I have a doctorate and ancient languages have been my emphasis. Believe it or dont [sic].

. . .

I am Dr Hughes regardless of what you say gere [sic]

. . .

Except I do have a doctorate and not just read a bunch. I teach classes and have written a dissertation. I am not just well read.

. . .

It didn’t take some us long to figure out that you had grossly misstated and exaggerated your academic credentials; that you had, in fact, LIED about your education. Yes, you have a doctorate, but it is a D.min (doctorate of ministry). A D.min requires nowhere near the work required for a Ph.D. in Biblical languages. When asked about the subject of your dissertation, you replied, fasting. Fasting? Yes, fasting.

You deliberately lied about your academic background, and you owe it to the readers of The Recovering Know It All blog to apologize for your subterfuge. Not only did you lie, but you attempted to use your supposed John Holmes-sized academic prowess to suggest that you knew more than everyone else and that we should bow to your authority on matters concerning the Christian Bible. Here’s one (of many) examples of this:

You take me out of context. For me arguing with Ark about the veracity of the scripture and historicity of the faith it is a scholars [sic] work and not a Pastor’s work. Call it pride but I have every right to show I am qualified here and not speaking out of tradition, emotion, or uneducated bias

When the owner of the blog called you out on your lie, exposing that your academic background was not what you claimed, you chose instead to argue and obfuscate. It was only when you were finally backed into a corner that you admitted you had given readers the wrong impression about your credentials. No, Dax, you didn’t give the wrong impression, you lied. Words have meanings, and it is time you learned this.

Now let me address your recent blog post, “Top Ten Reasons Life Without Jesus is a Disaster.” When confronted about your attack on most of the human race on the Infected Saint blog, you said that people were misunderstanding what you wrote. Here’s some of what you said:

But like you said, you know I didn’t mean it [my blog post] as an insult. No way I would say it that way.

. . .

I want what is best for people and I think Christ is what they need. It is who I needed too.

. . .

Yeah but I want them to see There is more to life than what they know with their senses. That to miss out on the supernatural is disastrous. If I really believed this wouldn’t it make sense to talk this way? Be cruel to hold it only for myself.

. . .

I do care. You are always quick to question my motives but you don’t know me. I know my heart here. I care about who reads it. I care about you.

Dax, imagine if I wrote: Christians have miserable lives that are lacking meaning, purpose, joy and peace; lives that are like a perfumed dead corpse; lives that are blind, unaware, ignorant, and deceived. It would be natural for you, as a Christian, to conclude that Bruce thinks that I have a miserable life that is lacking meaning, purpose, joy, and peace; a life that is like a perfumed dead corpse; a life that is blind, unaware, ignorant and deceived.

Words have meanings, so when you write these very same words about everyone who isn’t an Evangelical Christian, you should not be surprised when non-Evangelicals view your words as hateful, mean-spirited, and unkind, especially when it is evident that you have lived your entire life within the sheltered confines of the Evangelical bubble.

Instead of admitting that your words were poorly chosen, ill-advised, and unhelpful, you doubled down and tried to suggest you were being misunderstood. You attempted to paint yourself as a loving, kind gent of sorts who only wants what’s best for people. Really? Do your words match how you want to be viewed? Of course not.

I spent fifty years in the Christian church, twenty-five of those years as an Evangelical pastor. In November, 2008, I divorced Jesus and now I am an atheist. Over the past fourteen years, I have had to deal with a constant stream of emails and blog comments from people who were just like you, Dax. Evidently, Evangelicals — whose minds are sotted with Fundamentalist theology and practice — think they can say anything and not be held accountable for what they say. I am one person, however, who intends to hold such people’s feet to the fire, exposing how their hateful, bombastic, mean-spirited, and at times, vile and threatening words are viewed by their intended targets. I also make it my mission to publicly expose Evangelical preachers, evangelists, missionaries, and parachurch leaders who think they can say whatever they want without being held accountable for what they say.

If your goal in writing your blog post was to reach non-Christians, you failed miserably. I suspect, however, that that was not your intent; that your Ten Reasons post was meant for the choir; for those who already embrace your worldview. You are used to preaching to groups where ninety-nine percent of people in attendance are already Christians. Whoo Hoo! You tell them, Brother Dax! Way to preach the Word, pastor! Little did you know that there were atheists, agnostics, and unbelievers metaphorically sitting in the audience. And now these unbelievers are holding you accountable for what you said about their lives, and the lives of their spouses, children, grandchildren, extended family, and friends. Remember Dax, words have meanings.

On the nineteenth of June, I will turn sixty-five years old. During my lifetime, I have preached thousands of sermons, taught countless Sunday school lessons, preached revivals, spoken at conferences, preached on street corners, and written thousands of blog posts. I have on more than a few occasions stepped in shit with my words, resulting in misunderstanding and conflict. On more than a few occasions I have had to apologize for things I said or explain what I meant when I said what I did. Seventeen years ago, I wrote an apology letter to the readers of the Bryan Times, apologizing for the bigoted, Fundamentalist letters to the editor I had written over the previous decade. The editor was surprised by my apology, but it was important for me to let local residents know that my past words were ill-advised, and that I now repudiated them.

There have also been times when people objected to something I have said or written, and I have stood my ground — I said what I meant to say. Years ago, when I first embraced Calvinistic soteriology, I preached a sermon on limited atonement (particular redemption). After the service, a church member gave me a note that said, Did you say what I think you said? This man was not a Calvinist, so he strenuously objected to the narrow scope of my view of the atonement. He had, in fact, heard me correctly. I said exactly what I intended to say.

While the target audience of this blog is former Evangelicals and people who are having doubts about Christianity or are trying to extricate themselves from Evangelicalism, I do have a fair number of Evangelical readers. Many of them are one-and-done readers. They read one post, object, and move on. Some of these offended Evangelicals object to me characterizing Evangelicalism as a Fundamentalist religious belief. I AM NOT A FUNDAMENTALIST, they say, thinking that their anecdotal examples will set me straight. However, I am not moved by such examples. Based on their beliefs and practices, most Evangelical sects, churches, pastors, and congregants are Fundamentalists. They might not like being called Fundamentalists, but if it walks, talks, and acts like a Fundamentalist, it is a Fundamentalist. If Evangelicals don’t want to be labeled Fundamentalists, then it is up to them to change their beliefs and practices. (Please read Are Evangelicals Fundamentalists?) This is another example of me meaning what I say when I write, “Evangelicals are Fundamentalists.” I know that not every Evangelical is a Fundamentalist, but when taken as a whole, Evangelicalism is a Fundamentalist belief system.

Dax, you are a younger man. I hope you will let this old curmudgeon (please see I Make No Apologies for Being a Curmudgeon) give you some advice. First, always remember words have meanings. Say what you mean, and mean what you say. Second, when engaging people in the public sphere — any place outside of the safety of the Christian box — keep in mind that people are paying attention to what you write and say. Choose your words carefully. It is okay to be pointed, direct, and passionate, but passion can quickly turn into bigotry and hate. Third, religion and politics are hot-button topics, so be aware of how easily your words can be misconstrued. If your intent is to write a rant or a polemic or preach to the choir, make that clear so people won’t waste their time on your post. When I responded to your post, I thought I was engaging someone who sincerely believed what he was saying. You made no attempt to respond to my critique of your post, nor did you make any effort to learn anything about my site or me as a person. This told me that you didn’t care how your words were received. Your behavior, by the way, is typical of Evangelical preachers. I can count on one hand the number of Evangelical preachers I have interacted with on my blog who proved to be decent, thoughtful, honest human beings. More often than not, these so-called “men of God,” had ulterior motives and were not the least bit interested in what I had to say. Armed with certainty and an inspired, inerrant, infallible religious text, they had a goal of slaying the Evangelical pastor-turned-atheist named Bruce Gerencser. By failing to understand that thousands of people are reading their words, these men did incalculable damage to their cause. If your goal as an Evangelical preacher is to proclaim the gospel and share the love of Christ, what you say and how you say it is vitally important. Your “Ten Reasons” post failed spectacularly in this regard. In the future, when you want to write about the miserable unwashed, uncircumcised Philistines of the world, I hope you will pause for a moment and consider how your words will be received by unbelievers. Every blog post you write is a sermon preached by you to the world.

I wish you well, Dax.

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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Evangelical Preacher Says Parents Shouldn’t Lie to Their Children Except When Telling Them About God

santa and jesus

Oh, the irony. Sweet, sweet, can’t-see-the-forest-for-the-trees, irony. What follows is a quote from an Evangelical preacher who believes parents should never, ever, under pains of judgment from God, tell their children Santa or the Easter Bunny are real. These non-entities are nothing but myths, this preacher alleges, yet he, at the same time thinks it is vitally important to tell children the “t-r-u-t-h” about the Evangelical version of God. In his mind, God is different from Santa or the Easter Bunny.

Here’s what he had to say:

While it may seem like a good idea to teach your children about the Easter Bunny, or that there is such a creature that brings easter eggs. It is not. It is lying to them. Parents, you need to tell your children the truth.


A mythical creature does not do what Christ did for us.

[The same headline] would apply to Santa Claus and all you have to do is replace the Easter bunny with the words Santa Claus and you will get the real picture.

Both mythical beings may ‘bring’ nice items that bring temporary satisfaction to the human body or fulfill long-held desires for gifts and chocolate but they can’t do anything for your child.

Nor can they help your children out when they are in trouble. They have no power to rescue them at any time. So why teach your children about these two ‘people’ who have never existed in the format they are credited?

While there may be historic people who have done nice things and have been given credit for being the basis for the mythical Santa Claus, those men could not and cannot die for our sins nor grant us eternal life.

If you want to give your children easter eggs, and chocolate on this weekend, do so with the right purpose, the right reason, and the right focus. Put your children’s eyes, minds, and hearts on Christ, not a mythical creature that seeks to rob Christ of his purpose for coming to this world.

We need to place our children’s eyes and the world’s eyes on Christ and his sacrifice not on some creature that does not exist and can’t lay eggs made from candy or chocolate. Bunnies can’t lay eggs at all but that is a minor point in this hoax.

Keep your childrens’ and your own eyes on Christ as there is no substitute for him.

This preacher provides no evidence for the existence of God, yet, contrary to his missive about Santa and the Easter Bunny, he expects parents to teach their children to keep their “eyes” on a dead man, Jesus, for which he has no evidence for his claim that this man is a resurrected deity. Outside of the Bible, there is zero evidence for the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.

Over the weekend, Polly and I went out to eat at Sweetwater Chophouse in Defiance. Afterward, we stopped at Meijer to buy a few groceries. Typically, we grocery shop in Toledo — better stores with a variety of foods. The Defiance Meijer is poorly staffed with half-empty shelves, and, quite frankly, it’s a dump. We don’t like shopping at this store, but, unless we want to drive 50 miles to Toledo or Fort Wayne, this is where we must shop.

As we were leaving the store, I noticed a mother, her four-year-old daughter, and another woman standing in the aisle talking. I noticed the four-year-old giving me the “look” — that wide-eyed, eyes-fixed look of a child who is amazed that she just spotted Santa. As we approached, she never took her eyes off of me. I waved at her. She excitedly returned my wave. Though I was in excruciating pain, I decided to stop and talk to this little girl for a moment. I said to you her, “do you think I’m Santa Claus”? She shook her head yes. I replied, “I get that a lot.” Mom said to the girl “this is what Santa does when he is not delivering presents.” (I thought, if I was Santa, I sure as hell wouldn’t vacation in Defiance, Ohio in the off-season!) I asked the girl, “have you been good this year”? She nodded her head yes. And with that, I said, “you all have a wonderful evening.”

This scenario has played out numerous times over the past decade (now that my beard is long, pure white). I have told countless “lies” to children. Am I in any way harming them? OF course not. Fantasy and myth play an important part in the lives of children. No harm, no foul. In time, these children will get older and outgrow the myths of their youth. I feel honored to provide a fleeting moment of joy and pleasure in their lives.

Now imagine if I went up to this child and said, “there’s no Santa or Easter Bunny. You need to grow up and stop believing lies.” Imagine if I excoriated her mother for lying to her, telling her that she needed to tell her daughter the t-r-u-t-h. According to the aforementioned Evangelical preacher, parents should tell their children the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth about everything. Okay, here’s what I should tell this four-year-old girl: God became a man, who was born of a virgin (that’s a woman who has never had sex), who lived a sinless life, who was, at the age of thirty-three, executed on a cross ✝️ to provide a blood 🩸 sacrifice for your sins. Three days later, he resurrected (came back to life, think about your dead hamster 🐹 Joey coming back to life) from the dead, and later left earth 🌍 to return to Heaven (a place you have never seen, but it really exists up ⬆️ there). Someday, he will return to earth to slaughter 🩸 everything (humans, animals, cats, dogs) on earth, including you (and your mommy, daddy, nana, and grandpa) unless you tell the God-man, Jesus, that you are sorry for being a despicable, vile little girl, and ask him into your heart (your mind) to save you from your sins. If you pray this prayer, and really, really, really mean it, cross your heart, hope to die, you will go to Heaven when you die. If not, the God-man will torture you in Hell forever.

I, for one, don’t have a problem with lying in certain circumstances. Some lies are harmless, others are not. I don’t lose a moment of sleep over the former, and I try not to do the latter. During my fire-breathing Evangelical days, I was much like this Evangelical preacher. I prided myself in always telling my children the truth. Our six children were never exposed to the Santa, and Easter Bunny myths. In fact, we didn’t practice Christmas or Easter (or Halloween). No trees, lights, or Easter baskets. All Jesus, 24-7. Polly wanted it otherwise, but I was the head of our home, so she acquiesced to my authority and judgment. As if she had a choice. 😢😢

Of course, I was a hypocrite when it came to lying to my children. I generally told them the truth, but there were times I withheld the truth from them or out and out lied. Let me give you one humorous example. For eleven years, we lived in a12x70 mobile home. Our bedroom was on one side of the trailer, and our children’s two bedrooms (three children in each room) were on the other side. One night, Polly and I had a noisy, rambunctious roll in the hay. Boy, those were the days! 🙂 The next morning, our six-year-old daughter asked us about the “noise” she heard last night. With a smile on my face, I replied, oh, that was an owl in the woods. 🙂 Laura’s curiosity was quickly satiated, and off she went to prepare for school.

I suspect this preacher has spun a few lies in his time. In fact, having interacted with him numerous times, I know he has. All of us lie at one time or another. The only question in my mind is when is it okay to lie? I am sure I will be accused of practicing situational ethics or having subjective morals. On both of these counts, I heartily plead guilty. I am more than happy to flesh out my view on lying in the comment section. For now, I’m content to point out this Evangelical preacher’s rank hypocrisy.


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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Blaming God . . .

blame god

An Evangelical preacher, whom I will no longer name, nor will I link to his site, continues to rage against Bruce Almighty. My wife, Polly, asked me last night, “does he ever write his own material”? I replied, “not very often.” It seems the best he can do is take my work and deconstruct it with deep analysis such as: you are wrong, you are a quitter, God is always right, the Bible is always right, atheists are liars, and scientists are deceiving the masses. Sometimes he does the same with the writing of my friend Ben Berwick, and, on occasion, as with a recent grammar error-ridden post about Hemant Mehta, the writing of other atheists. This “follower” of Jesus — a man denies or ignores the behavior rules found in the New Testament or thinks they don’t apply to his treatment of atheists — has been banned from numerous Christian and atheist websites. Yet, he refuses to accept responsibility for his boorish behavior. His bannings are always, according to him, the result of his “truth-telling” or taking a stand on the inspiration, inerrancy, and infallibility of the Protestant Christian Bible. Simply put, in his mind, his peculiar version of God is right, the Bible is right, and his interpretation of an allegedly supernatural religious text is right. Just a typical Fundamentalist Christian, right? This man delusionally believes that if everyone believed as he does, all would be well.

Yesterday, he decided to use my post Where is the God Who Created the Brain-eating Amoeba? as a reason to personally attack me, saying that I “blame” the Christian God for everything “bad” that happens in world and in my own life. This is, of course, a bald-faced lie.

First, I am an atheist. I don’t believe deities exist. Not the Christian God, not the Muslim God, not the Jewish God, nor any of the deities of the religions of the world. Thus, it would be absurd for me to “blame” God for something that happens in my life or the lives of others. If I get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom and step on a Matchbox car, what happens? Do I look to the heavens and shake my fist, saying, “I hate you, God!” Of course not. I blame my grandson for leaving the car in the walkway or I blame myself for not making sure all the toys were put away before I went to bed. On a more serious note, I have a dear unvaccinated friend who died from COVID-19 several weeks ago. Do I blame “God” for her death? Of course not. I blame her ignorance. I blame her willingness to buy into conspiracy theories. I blame Donald Trump. I blame Fox News, NewsMax, and OAN. I blame those who convinced her that the COVID vaccine would kill her. But God? Child, please.

So, let me be clear, I DON’T BLAME GOD FOR ANYTHING, and anyone who suggests otherwise is either ignorant of my position or deliberately lying.

Sometimes, people who say that I am blaming God for ____________ don’t understand my writing style and methodology. My writing daily attracts a significant number of Evangelical and Independent Fundamentalist Baptist readers. Knowing who my readers are helps me tailor my writing in such a way that will be amenable to them. I want them to “hear” what I have to say, so I write using verbiage they are comfortable with and understand. I am conversant in all things Evangelical, and I use this knowledge to effectively reach my target audience: those who have questions/doubts about Christianity or who have left Christianity. Thus, many people find my writing encouraging and helpful. My writing says to them: here’s a guy who understands where I am coming from. Here’s a man who speaks my language.

When I wrote the aforementioned post, Where is the God Who Created the Brain-eating Amoeba?, I was writing from the Evangelical perspective. I want Evangelicals to “think” about their beliefs, about their God. I want them to carefully examine what is going on in their lives and in the lives of the people around them. I want to challenge their “Biblical” beliefs about God and suffering. Most of all, I want them to try to square the suffering and heartache in their lives with their theology. I want them to look beyond the pat answers or quoted Bible verses, and see that maybe, just maybe, their deity is not worthy of their praise, worship, and devotion.

I hope this clears up the false accusations leveled against me by the Evangelical preacher mentioned above. Let me be crystal clear, I DON’T BLAME GOD FOR ANYTHING.


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

Sermon Illustrations: The Lies Preachers Tell

lying for jesus

From 1976-1979, I attended Midwestern Baptist College in Pontiac, Michigan. Midwestern was started in 1954 by Dr. Tom Malone, pastor of nearby Emmanuel Baptist Church. Dorm students were required to attend Emmanuel. One Sunday, Dr. Malone made a statement during his sermon that I have never forgotten. Meant to be a joke, Malone said, “I am not preaching now. I’m telling the truth.”

I was twenty-years-old when Malone made this statement. In June, I will turn sixty-four. In the intervening years, I preached thousands of sermons and heard hundreds of other sermons, either in person or on cassette tape. Preaching is an art form meant to convey some sort of spiritual message to hearers. While Evangelicals love to make much of the Bible, preaching is far more than just reading the Scriptures. Following Jesus’ example, many preachers use stories to illustrate their sermons. Story-less sermons are, in my estimation, boring as Heaven. I suspect most churchgoers would agree with me. Imagine going to church on Sunday and hearing a sermon that consists of a droning-fan-on-a-summer-day preacher reading the Bible word for word. B-o-r-i-n-g.

Illustrations help keep parishioners engaged. There’s nothing better than a couple of stories interjected at just the right time. In fact, many parishioners won’t remember anything about their preachers’ sermons except for the fantastical stories they told. Marge, wasn’t that a wonderful story Pastor Billy told today? Yes, it was, Moe. Why, that one story was almost unbelievable. Pastor Billy wouldn’t lie, so I know he is telling us the truth.

Dr. Malone got it right when he said, “I am not preaching now, I’m telling the truth.” Malone knew that preachers love to tell stories, and sometimes their stories are not as factual as they should be. Younger preachers often buy illustration books. These books provide preachers with a ready source of catchy, provocative illustrations sure to get parishioners’ attention. Older preachers often develop a cache of illustrations that can be pulled out of their mental file cabinets and used when needed. These illustrations often come from past experiences, especially for preachers who did a lot of “sinning” before Jesus rescued them. I have heard countless preachers regale parishioners with stories about their lives as drug addicts, drunkards, Satanists, atheists, or hitmen for the mob. These stories often seem larger than life. And they are, because these kinds of stories are often embellished or outright lies.

Several years ago, I posted a video of anti-porn crusader Dawn Hawkins telling a story about seeing a man watching child pornography on an airplane.  Several commenters said that, based on their flying experiences, Hawkins was lying. I believe they are correct. I think the same could be said for many of the stories preachers use in their sermons. Simply put, these men are liars for Jesus.

The late Jack Hyles, former pastor of First Baptist Church in Hammond, Indiana, was a masterful storyteller. I heard Hyles preach in person and on tape. His stories were mesmerizing, especially to a wide-eyed young Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) preacher from Ohio. However, over time, I came to the conclusion that Hyles was a narcissistic, pathological liar.

For many years, Hyles pastored the largest church in the United States. Those raised in the IFB church movement know that for men such as Hyles, it was all about the numbers: church attendance, souls saved, baptisms, and offerings. The ministry was like a bunch of third-grade boys in the restroom playing the who has a bigger penis game. Preachers who had John Holmes- or Ron Jeremy-sized churches were considered men whom God was mightily using. Young preachers and men who pastored smaller churches were expected to sit at the feet of these preachers, learning how they too could have large penises, uh I mean churches.

Due to his church’s number one place on the charts, Hyles was viewed as a demigod by many IFB preachers. Hyles told stories about how many people he counseled, souls he had won to Jesus, and the thousands of miles he traveled to preach at Sword of the Lord conferences and other weeknight meetings. Wow, what a great man of God, I thought at the time. I want to be used by God just like Brother Hyles.

I now know that Hyles’ stories were lies. He simply did not have enough hours in the week to sleep, eat, shit, have an affair, pastor a church, win souls, and fly around the country to preach at conferences. As with all lies, Hyles’ stories had elements of truth. However, when carefully analyzed, Hyles’ sermon illustrations sound too good to be true.  Let me illustrate this with several stories found in Hyles’ book Let’s Go Soulwinning:

So I walked in and said, “Hey! Anybody home?” And there was—thirteen people at home—company all dressed up in suits and fine clothes. There I was. Imagine, Rev. Hyles, a cup in his hand, fishing hat on, split tee shirt, patch in his breeches, and a pair of tennis shoes on his feet! And I said, “Hello.” The lady looked at me, she looked at her company, then announced, “This is my pastor.” I was horrified! I was humiliated! I wanted to evaporate but couldn’t.  Finally I said, “Excuse me; I’m sorry.” Then I got to thinking. Shoot! Just take over the conversation. Just act like you have good sense. So in I walked. “How do you do! How are you? Are you a Christian?” I went around the entire room asking the same question. Then THEY got embarrassed.  (I found out long ago that when a preacher goes to a hospital or gets some place where he feels like a fifth wheel, he should just bluff them and take over the conversation. That will help you, too. It really will. You go to the hospital.  Here is the doctor, the nurse, the family. And everybody says, “That’s the preacher.” You know how you feel, pastors. It’s a terrible feeling. So I walk in, “Hello Doc. How are you?” Make HIM feel bad. Make HIM feel like he’s a fifth wheel.)

So I walked in and asked each person if he or she were a Christian. The last man, a young man, said, “No, I’m not, but I’ve been thinking about it.” Well, I said, “I can help you think about it right here.” We knelt there in that home and opened the Bible. He got converted. He lived at Irving, Texas, forty miles from Garland. I said, “Now, J.D., you need to walk the aisle in the church in Irving tomorrow.” He said, “If you don’t mind, Preacher, I’ll just stay over tonight and come to your church and walk the aisle.” He did, and that night he got baptized in my church. Later he joined the First Baptist Church of Irving, Texas.

You don’t realize how many places you will bump into people. I saw a lady while on vacation just recently. She said, “Hello, Brother Jack. Remember when you won me to the Lord?” I said, “I certainly do.” It happened while I was looking for a Mrs. Marsh. I knocked on Mrs. Marsh’s door—I thought. She came to the door. I said, “Mrs. Marsh?”

“No, I’m Mrs. Tillet.”

I said, “Mrs. Tillet, I thought Mrs. Marsh lived here.”

“No, she lives five houses down the street.”

“Thank you, Mrs. Tillet.” I walked off. Then I said, “Wait a minute, Mrs. Tillet. Are you a Christian?” She began to cry. I led her to Christ right there.

I have won shoeshine boys and fellows on airplanes. I was going to Phoenix to a conference last year. I sat down beside a man seventy-two years old, a wealthy rancher. “Where do you live?” I asked.

He said, “On a ranch between Phoenix and Tucson.”

I said, “Do you and your wife live alone?”

“My wife died a few months ago.”

I asked, “Do you ever think about having anybody else come and live with you?” “Oh,” he said, “If I could find somebody who would come and live with me, a friend to keep me company, I’d give anything in the world.” He had chauffeurs, servants. He owned a big ranch with hundreds of acres, but was as lonely as he could be.

I said, “I know Somebody who would come and live with you.”

“You do? Does He live in Phoenix?”

I said, “He sure does. He lives everywhere.”

He said, “Who is it?”

“Jesus will come.” In fifteen minutes that man had Somebody to go home with him to live.

Oh, if we will just take time to witness. The trouble is, we are ashamed of Jesus. We don’t mind saying, “Isn’t it hot today?” or, “I wonder how the Berlin situation is.” We don’t mind talking about Khrushchev. We’re more eager to talk about him than about Jesus. Isn’t that a shame! Here we are redeemed. He died for us on the cross. We have been made heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ. He is building a home in Heaven for us. We’re God’s children and we won’t even tell a stranger that we belong to the Lord Jesus. Be soul-conscious.

Storytelling preachers love to tell stories about people suddenly dying and going to Hell. What better way to drive a point home than to tell hearers about this or that man rejecting God’s plan of salvation and then dropping dead and awaking in Hell. This story can be told in numerous ways with different characters and circumstances. Jesus himself told a similar story in Luke 16. The point is always the same: now is accepted time, now is the day of salvation.

Let me conclude this post with several stories I have heard preachers tell over the years. One preacher told a story about a man God had called to preach. The man ignored God’s call and went on to have a large family and made lots of money. One day, this man’s wife and children were driving down the road when a truck hit them head-on. This man’s entire family was instantly killed. In a quiet moment before the funeral, the man wept over the caskets of his loved ones. And at that moment, God audibly spoke to him, telling him that it was God who had killed his entire family to get his attention. Are you ready to serve me now? God asked the man. The man collapsed on the floor and told God that he would indeed forsake all and follow him.

Another preacher told a story about the people in Hell. One day, a crew that was drilling an oil well began hearing what sounded like people crying and screaming. Where was this noise coming from, they wondered? They soon ascertained that the noise was coming from the oil well casing. One of the workers decided to drop a microphone down the well casing, and sure enough, they heard people screaming about being in the unrelenting, fiery flames of Hell!

Of course, neither of these stories is true. The first story was a legend of sorts – I heard variations of it numerous times. Preacher Bob heard Big Name Preacher John tell the story at a Sword of the Lord Conference. Bob thought, why not use this story in my sermon, impressing on people the importance of immediately obeying the voice of God?

The second story is pure fabrication. But hey, if souls get saved . . . right? The end justifies the means, even if it means telling stories that are more farcical than the miracles of Jesus and his resurrection from the dead.

Have you ever heard too-good-to-be-true sermon illustrations?  Please share them 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.

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.

Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Don’t Tell Your Children Santa is Real

Christmastime can be so much fun when you have children. Many of us remember the excitement of Santa, the Christmas tree, and presents from our own childhood. They’re happy memories, and we want to recreate those for our children.

But as Christian parents, our first priority isn’t fun, it’s obedience to Scripture. Yet is there a way to make Christmas merry for our children while still upholding God’s Word? Is Santa patently unbiblical?

No, he doesn’t have to be, as long as he keeps his sleigh parked inside the parameters of Scripture. Let’s take a look at some of the ways Santa can be unscripturally naughty, and how godly parents can keep him nice and biblical.


Santa Claus isn’t real. If you tell your children he is, or that he is the one who brings their presents, or that he knows whether they’ve been naughty or nice, you’re lying. The Bible says that lying is a sin, period. There’s no exception for jolly old elves who pass out toys (or for tooth fairies or Easter bunnies, either, for that matter). And not only is lying a sin, it is extraordinarily hypocritical to lie to your children about Santa Claus and then turn around later and punish them when they lie about something. Lying to your children about Santa Claus teaches them that it’s OK to lie (i.e. sin) when you want to or when it would be to your advantage.


Santa Claus isn’t omniscient. 

He sees you when you’re sleeping
He knows when you’re awake
He knows if you’ve been bad or good
So be good, for goodness’ sake!¹

Uh uh. No way. Omniscience is an incommunicable attribute of God. He is the only One who has the power to see and know all things, and it is an insult and an affront to Him to even suggest that a mere mortal – let alone a fictional character – has the same power and knowledge that He has. In reverence and awe for God’s preeminence, we should never ascribe to others the things that belong to God alone.


Santa Claus teaches works righteousness. In St. Nick’s economy, good behavior earns a reward (presents). Bad behavior earns punishment (coal). If you’ve ever shared the gospel with anybody, that will probably sound familiar. Most lost people think that’s what Christianity is. If you’re a “good person” God is happy with you and you’ll go to Heaven. Hell is the punishment for “bad people”: Hitler, murderers, and rapists. This is not what the Bible teaches, either about salvation, or about why children should obey their parents.

— Michelle Lesley, What should we tell our kids about Santa Claus?, December 2, 2019

Bruce, You are a Liar

garfield liarLet me say from the start: I have, on occasion, lied. I am human, so it really would be a lie for me to say that I have never stretched the “truth,” told little white lies, whoppers, or an occasional big, fat black lie. (Why is it that black is the color always used for the really bad things in life?) I have lied on purpose, by accident, and told a few stories that were exaggerations I am sixty-two years old, and having lived on planet earth for 22,720 days, is it any surprise that I have told a lie or two or three hundred? Of course not. No one reaches the sunset years of life — including born-again Christians — without telling a few lies. That said, I rarely lie. In my day-to-day relationships with my wife, children, grandchildren, and my fellow homo sapiens, I do my best to be truthful and honest. I expect the same from others.

Over the years, I have developed skills that help me detect when someone is lying to me; when they are spinning a yarn; when they are regaling me with Grade-A bullshit. With family, I am pretty good at reading their body language. Polly, in particular, is not a very good liar. I can usually spot her untruths from a mile away. Me? I am not a very good liar, either. That’s why we rarely lie to each other. Oh, we might color the “facts” to present a certain narrative to each other, but generally we are plainspoken.

Now that I have that out of the way, let me address the Evangelicals who think anything I say that doesn’t fit within their narrow, defined theological and cultural box must be a lie. When it comes to telling my story, I try to be a truthful, honest storyteller. Granted, I don’t tell readers e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g. I have secrets; things I have never told anyone, including Polly and my counselor. No, I haven’t murdered anyone, molested children, or robbed a bank, but I have done embarrassing things in my life that I am not comfortable with sharing with others. That said, I do my best to be an open book; transparent and honest. Thus, it irritates the Hell out of me when Evangelicals question, doubt, and deconstruct everything I write. Instead of accepting what I say at face value, zealots are Heaven-bent on stripping my story bare and exposing me as some sort of charlatan or deceiver.

Several years ago, one Evangelical preacher told anyone who would listen that I had NEVER been a pastor; that he had talked to someone who lived in rural northwest Ohio during the time I was pastoring churches, and that person had never heard of me! In his mind, that meant I was a liar; that I had never been a pastor. I have had more than a few pastors attempt to discredit me, telling people that I was a liar. At first, such accusations bothered me, but not any longer. I have learned that two people can look at the same events and circumstances and come to different conclusions. My siblings and I have different views of our childhood. Sometimes, I wonder if we are even related!  People can see things from different perspectives, and this colors their understanding. I am sure that can be said of the people I pastored over the years. Congregants who loved/liked me generally spoke well of me. Those who hated me or really, really, really disliked me tended to say negative things about me. I’m sure it’s hard to believe, but I know several former parishioners who would accelerate, hoping to run me over, if they say saw me in a crosswalk. Such is life, right? I used to care incessantly about what people thought of me. Today? Not so much. If being a public writer has taught me anything, it has taught me that I can’t please everyone. Read my writing long enough, and you are sure to see something that will piss you off.

I have concluded that Evangelicals who call me a liar do so because it allows them to dismiss my story out of hand. What better way to not have to deal with the truth, than to attack the messenger and discredit him? There’s nothing I can do to stop people from attacking my character. That said, one fact remains: thousands of people read this blog, and that suggests to me, at least that many readers think my story is true and helpful. And that’s good enough for me.

About Bruce Gerencser

Bruce Gerencser, 62, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 41 years. He and his wife have six grown children and twelve 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. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

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Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Atheists are Pathological Liars, says Bruce Walker

bruce walkerAtheism is the slavish and simple-minded embrace of ignorance.  When people call themselves “atheists” today, what they really mean is Christophobes, people with an irrational hatred and fear of Christianity.  The arguments they make against Christianity are both bizarre and silly.

Consider first the macabre atheistic position that only stupid people believe in God (i.e., Christianity) [straw man argument that no thinking atheist makes].  Until the latter part of the 19th century, virtually all great scientists were extraordinarily devout Christians.  Indeed, the scientific method itself was created by Roger Bacon, a Franciscan friar.  Buridan, a priest, perfected the scientific principle of impetus and answered many questions about the revolving of our planet.  Ockham created the idea, the heart of modern science, that the most simplified explanation for phenomena ought to be considered the truest.

Science long was exclusively the province of devout Christians, and the greatest scientists, like Newton, Maxwell, and Kelvin, were also profoundly religious individuals whose faith was greater than that of most people of their time.  Even through the modern age, important scientists have been Christians.

The contrast with atheism is stark.  Until the modern age, there were virtually no atheist scientists worth mentioning [yet, many modern scientists are atheists, agnostics, or indifferent towards religion].  Atheism, instead, proved an obstacle to scientific thought.  Most prominent was the wiliness of atheists to lie.  Lacking any divine overseer to perceive and punish mendacity, virtually all atheists – Nazis, Soviets, Maoists, fascists and our indigenous atheists – have been willing to lie and to conceal if the subterfuge is deemed in the interest of a greater cause.


The pattern is clear: atheists are Christophobes who irrationally hate and fear Christians (and also religiously serious Jews) because they hate and fear the idea of a divine and perfect judge of our honor and virtue.  Atheists are the dead end of scientific inquiry and rigorous speculative theory because of their phobia.  They run from truth as they run from God [if God is chasing atheists, surely he can catch them].  They are profoundly unserious minds whom no one needs to heed.

— Bruce Walker, American Thinker, The Ignorance of Atheism, February 10, 2018

Walker, a chiropractor, lives in Perth, Australia and is on the faculty of Murdoch University.

Bruce Gerencser