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Tag: Once Saved Always Saved

There’s No Such Thing as a Former Christian

saved or lost

Like Hotel California, once you are in, you can’t get out.

Once you are saved, you can never be lost.

Once God’s hound dog, the Holy Spirit, tracks you down, you belong to God forever.

Or so says Charles Smith:

If you scour the world-wild-web for any amount of time using atheism as your search term, you will undoubtedly find pages and pages of sites laced with the famous proclamation, “I used to be a Christian.” While this may be intriguing to the seeker, desiring a glimpse at the testimony of a formerly professing believer turned cynic in hopes of discovering reasons to remain religiously repulsed by Christendom, or possibly the opposite – looking to see if their retroversion experience is sensible – one thing is certain…there’s no such thing as a former Christian.

Cultural Christianity is quite the phenomenon of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries…

After “leaving the faith,” these misguided, false-converts then find their voices in the blogosphere, social sites, chat rooms, discussion boards and every other form of digital media outlet known to man – exhaustively expatriating as many “cardboard Christians” as they can sink their flaw-full claws into. Ironically, if they would spend as much time truly investigating and begging with a contrite heart, “God, please show yourself to me!” they would discover that He is absolutely faithful to do so – and the door the Lord has once opened, can be closed by no man.

These poor misinformed “ex-Christians” were never truly reborn of the Holy Spirit of God. They followed the crowd in church, were dunked under water, consumed crackers and gulped grape juice, sang songs, talked the talk, looked the part, memorized verses and so many other religious acts, but never came to a saving faith found in a relationship with the only begotten Son of God. Like so many of their contemporaries who weren’t led to the foot of the blood-stained cross of Calvary, they never saw their sins in the mirror of the ten commandments and consequently, never realized the magnitude of their debt – owed to a God who, because of His perfect love and justice, must punish sin – and they never saw the spotless Lamb for who He was and is, the ransom payment – the sacrificial substitute – who carried their sins before the Father and said “I will take their punishment.” Their prideful hearts of stone never crumbled under the weight of such a love and therefore, they simply socialized and enjoyed the music and learned to get along. But, of course, anyone who goes through a “phase” knows, it wore off and they moved on and Jesus wept…

Let the reader understand, just as you can’t become unborn once you have evacuated the womb, you also cannot become un-born-again. It is impossible to un-ring a bell, un-cook an egg or un-kill the living. If you are a spiritual seeker, please know that there is no such thing as an ex-Christian and if you want the truth, please look in a good Bible teaching church for assistance. If after reading this you still claim to be a “former believer,” you just do not understand…

While Smith’s argument certainly might apply to cultural or nominal Christians, it falls flat on its face when it comes to people like me; those who were sincere, committed, devoted, sold-out, on fire, consecrated, dedicated, sanctified followers of Jesus. While it is quite easy to dismiss those who never really took Christianity seriously, what about those of us who did? Did I really spend most of my adult life deceived, never having come to faith in Jesus Christ? Only in the echo chamber of Smith’s mind is such a claim possible. The only way he can square his theology with the life of someone like me is to say I never was a Christian, and since theology always trumps reason, Bruce Gerencser never was a Christian.

Look, I understand. I really do. Christians such as Smith cannot fathom anyone walking away from their Jesus. Why would anyone want to walk away from J-E-S-U-S, the most awesome God-man in the world, the biggest, baddest God in the entire universe? Why would anyone walk away from a golden ticket to God’s Motel 6? No more pain, no more suffering, no more death . . . who in their right mind would turn down such an offer?

But I did, others have, and more will continue to do so. Evidently, God didn’t want us bad enough to keep us.

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

Connect with me on social media:

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

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

Bruce, IFB Doctrines are Biblical and Correct

peanut gallery

Earlier today, an Evangelical man named Mark left the following comment:

It is a shame that you you [sic] have rejected Christ as your Saviour. How could you even Pastor a church and not be saved? Yes there are lots of problems with the IFB’s, but their doctrines (except for KJV only-ism and legalistic standards and Pastor worship) to name a few, are very Biblical and correct. There is still only one way to heaven.

We all make choices in life. Mark says it’s a “shame” that I didn’t make the same religious choice that he did. He provides no evidence for why my rejection of his peculiar brand of religion is a “shame.” Would he say the same thing if I was a Catholic, Mormon, Muslim, Hindu, or Pagan? I suspect he would. Mark likely believes that there is one true God, one true religion, one true interpretation of the Bible — his.

Mark asks “how could you even pastor a church and not be saved?” Best I can tell, Mark read all of two posts on this site:

He read none of my autobiographical posts. Had he done so, he would have learned that I was part of the Evangelical church for fifty years; that I was gloriously saved at the age of fifteen; that I spent the next thirty-five years of my life devotedly following after and serving Jesus. I wasn’t an “unsaved” pastor. I was a born-from-above preacher of the gospel. I was in every way a child of God. And then, at the age of fifty, I walked away from Christianity.

I suspect that Mark is having a hard time reconciling my story with his Baptist theology. He knows that I’m an atheist, so how is it possible that I was ever a “saved” preacher? In his mind “this does not compute.” However, either I was the most cunning deceiver since Satan himself, or I once was saved and now I am not. Mark will search in vain for any evidence that suggests I was a deceiver. Talk to my wife and children. Talk to my extended family. Talk to people I pastored over the course of twenty-five years in the ministry. Talk to my former ministerial colleagues. You will not find one person who will say that they knew, at the time, that I was a deceiver; a false Christian; a tool of Satan; an enemy of God.

Mark, a Baptist, thinks once a person is saved, he remains saved — forever. Once gained, salvation can never be lost. Yet, here’s Bruce Gerencser, a sixty-five-year-old man who by all accounts, was saved, and now he is lost. How can this be? Mark thinks. Instead of reconciling the defect in his theology, Mark decides to make a fantastical claim for which he has no evidence: Bruce Gerencser never was a real Christian.

I am not certain if Mark is an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB). He recognizes several glaring theological problems, yet he thinks that IFB beliefs are correct. (Please see What is an IFB Church?) Of course, all he is saying is that IFB beliefs are not much different from those held by Southern Baptists and countless other Evangelical sects. (Please see Are Evangelicals Fundamentalists?) What sets the IFB church movement apart from a lot of other sects is their social beliefs and practices (please see An Independent Fundamentalist Baptist Hate List); their ecclesiology; their irrational belief that the King James Version of the Bible is inerrant and infallible. What Mark doesn’t mention is the high rate of sex crimes committed by IFB pastors, evangelists, missionaries, deacons, Sunday school teachers, and bus workers; crimes that are routinely dismissed or covered up. (Please see Black Collar Crime Series.)

It is hard not to conclude that, when taken as a whole, the IFB church movement is a cult. The psychological and, at times, physical harm caused by IFB churches and pastors has wounded and scarred countless people. Many former IFB church members end up needing therapy to come to terms with the harm inflicted upon them by so-called men of God.

If I were inclined to return to Christianity someday, there’s not a chance in Heaven or Hell that I would ever join an IFB church. Decades of abuse was enough for me, causing incalculable harm. My advice to anyone in an IFB church is this: RUN! There are gentler, kinder forms of faith; places where you will be loved and respected as you are.

Mark concludes his comments by saying “there is still only one way to Heaven.” Evidently, Mark has never read the Bible. The Bible actually teaches that there are numerous ways to Heaven: faith alone, faith plus works, and works alone. Further, each Christian sect has its own spin on the requirements for salvation. Which sect is right? Every sect appeals to the Bible for its theological claims. You would think that God, the alleged author of the Bible, would have made the plan of salvation clear. Instead, we find Peter and Paul arguing with each other about salvation. And then James comes along and says they both are wrong.

I am sure that Mark has been taught how to harmonize these contradictory beliefs. However, a plain reading of Scripture suggests that there are conflicting plans of salvation. Christians can’t even agree on basics such as baptism, communion, or church government. Yet, mere unbelievers are expected to pick through the conflicts and contradictions, hoping to find the faith once delivered to the saints. Maybe, just maybe, the various competing beliefs are a sign that Christianity is a manmade religion; that ancient men made it up as they went; that God, in all its forms, was created by fallible, frail humans.

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

Connect with me on social media:

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

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

Kent Hovind Says Evangelical-Turned-Atheist Bruce Gerencser is Still a Christian!

kent hovind

Thrice-divorced young earth creationist and convicted felon Kent Hovind and I attended the same Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) college in the 1970s. Students at Midwestern Baptist College were taught that once people are saved (born again), they can never lose their salvation (fall from grace). No matter what people do after getting saved, they can never, ever lose their salvation. Salvation is God’s to give, and once he gives you the gift of eternal life, he will never take it away. Think, for a moment, of all the evil humans can possibly commit. If they were saved when they committed their heinous acts, they are still saved. Nothing, according to Hovind, can separate them from the love of Christ. Of course, this theology works well for Hovind, a man with a sordid, criminal past. No matter what Dr. Dino does, he’s still saved and will go to Heaven after he dies.

If you are unfamiliar with Kent Hovind, please check out the following video by McKinnon Mitchell. I make a minor appearance in the documentary.

Video Link

Hovind recently put out two videos on the subject of once-saved always-saved.

Video Link

Video Link

Hovind reiterates the same soteriological beliefs he and I were taught almost fifty years ago. In fact, outside of changing his eschatological beliefs, Hovind believes the same things today that he was taught at Midwestern decades ago. His young earth creationist/theological presentations reveal a man who knows what he knows — what he was taught at Midwestern — but hasn’t learned a damn thing since. In other words, he is intellectually stilted.

As I listened to Hovind’s videos on the once-saved always-saved doctrine, it was a reminder of the fact that preachers like him are forced to admit that the preacher-turned-atheist Bruce Gerencser is still a Christian. There’s no question about my salvation; that I was gloriously saved at Trinity Baptist Church in Findlay, Ohio at the age of fifteen; that I spent the subsequent thirty-five years devotedly following Jesus: building churches, preaching the gospel, winning souls, and teaching church members the Word of God. There’s no question, in my mind and that of countless Christian family members, former parishioners, and colleagues in the ministry, that I was a Christian. Yet, today I am an unrepentant, outspoken atheist; an enemy of God; an apostate; a reprobate. I am, according to Hovind, a saved atheist. Al praise be to Loki!

Hovind does talk about in his videos how God chastises disobedient Christians. Of course, the alleged domestic abuser Hovind uses violent language to describe God’s chastisement: he’s lurking around the corner with a hammer, ready to beat you for your disobedience. Even here it could be argued that my health problems are Jesus, the Prince of Peace, hitting me with a hammer trying to get my attention and bring me to repentance. And if the hammer beatings fail? According to Hovind, God will kill me. As regular readers know, I am seriously ill. I am on the sort side of life. I don’t expect to die today, tomorrow, or next week. But, a reading of the tea leaves of my life reveals that the battery in the Big Ben clock by my bedside is slowly losing power. Someday, it will tick, tick, tick, and stop. When I eventually die, Evangelical apologists, zealots, and critics will point to my death as God settling the score with me.

this was your life

According to Hovind, after I die I will face the judgment of God: a Jack Chick tract, This Was Your Life, accounting of my life. On that day, Jesus will say to me, ” Not bad, Bruce, not bad. Say three hail Christopher Hitchens and then enter into the joy of the Lord. And with that, I will move into the mansion next door to the shack Jesus built for Hovind.

Let me say thanks to Kent Hovind for encouraging me in my faith. 🙂 See you soon in Heaven, Kent! 🙂

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

Connect with me on social media:

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

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

Once Saved, Always Saved: Is Bruce Gerencser Still a Christian?

salvation card

Evangelicals are not of one mind when it comes to the security of the believer. Some Evangelicals believe that a saved person can fall from grace (lose his or her salvation). After a person falls from grace, some Evangelicals believe salvation can be regained through repentance and faith. Other Evangelicals believe that once a person falls from grace, salvation can never be regained.

Evangelical Calvinists believe in conditional salvation, contingent on enduring (persevering) to the end (death). Saved people persevere, unsaved people don’t. While Calvinists will wail and howl at my assertion that they preach salvation by works, their soteriology suggests otherwise.

Many Evangelicals, especially Southern Baptists, Independent Fundamentalist Baptists (IFB), and nondenominational churches, believe in once-saved-always-saved; that once a person is saved, he or she cannot fall from grace. In these churches, salvation is transactional. Once the transaction is completed, the gift (salvation) cannot be returned. A once-saved-always-saved Christian can renounce Christ and live out his days as an atheist, yet when he dies, he will go to Heaven. Salvation, then, is a marriage between Jesus and the sinner, one that can never, ever be dissolved.

At the age of fifteen, I repented of my sins and asked Jesus to save me. At that moment, I was gloriously born again. I was baptized the next Sunday, and the week after that I went before the church again, telling them that I believed God was calling me to preach. For the next thirty-five years, I was a devoted, committed follower of Jesus. My life, in every way, was Christian — as family, friends, and former parishioners can attest. Like all Christians, I sinned, sometimes grievously. Yet, the bent of my life was toward godliness and holiness. I was, to the people who knew me, a true-blue believer.

Yet, I am an avowed atheist today, disavowing everything I once believed. My present apostasy poses a real conundrum for once-saved-always-saved Christians. According to their theology, I am still a Christian. No matter what I say or do, I am going to Heaven when I die. God may punish me in this life, in the hope that I will return to him, but once I arrive in Heaven, I will receive the same heavenly benefits as everyone else. This surely has to chap the asses of Evangelicals who devoted their whole lives to Jesus, denying their flesh and worldly ambitions.

Not wanting to follow their theology to its logical conclusion, once-saved-always-saved Christians go out of their way to prove that I never was a “real” Christian; that I was a fake Christian; that I was a false prophet; that I was a tool of Satan. They will use a nit comb to go through my life, looking for any anomaly that says to them that I was never a Christian. And once they go looking, they always find what they are looking for. Thus, to these Evangelicals, I spent my whole life either deluded or deliberately deceiving everyone around me.

Is it ludicrous that I am still a Christian? Absolutely. It is absurd to think that I am Christian; that the Holy Spirit lives inside of me. What once-saved-always-saved Baptists have is a theological problem. Their soteriology demands accepting me as a fellow brother in Christ. The solution is to change their beliefs, adopting an Arminian or Calvinistic soteriology. Of course, this will never happen. To do so, would require once-saved-always-saved Baptists to admit they are w-r-o-n-g. And we know that ain’t ever gonna happen.

The plane is circling the runway, waiting to land, and then I will be dead. At that moment, I will learn who is right. Or maybe not. All of this is based on several presuppositions: the Evangelical God exists, the Bible is true, and upon death, every human goes to Heaven or Hell, based on whether or not they were saved. I reject these claims out of hand. Thus, when I die, my body will be turned to ash and scattered along the eastern shore of Lake Michigan. And if I am wrong? Well, I will remind Jesus of all the confusing beliefs Christians preach about salvation. How could I have possibly known which one was right?

And so it goes . . .

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

Connect with me on social media:

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

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

Bruce, You Never Knew the REAL Jesus

who is the real jesus

I have been accused hundreds of times over the years of never having been a True Christian®. The gist of this accusation is that I met, worshiped, and followed a counterfeit Jesus. If I had encountered the REAL JESUS and put my faith and trust in him, I would have become a True Christian® and would still be a follower of Christ to this day. The Bible gives cover for this argument when it says:

For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works. (2 Corinthians 11:13-15)

They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. (I John 2:19)

According to Evangelicals who say I never met the REAL JESUS, the angels of light in my life — parents, pastors, professors — were actually tools of Satan used by him to deceive me. And true to my training, I then became a false angel of light too — deceiving the churches I pastored and pulling the wool over the eyes of my colleagues in the ministry; that is, if any of them knew the REAL JESUS themselves.

The fact that I no longer profess to be a follower of Jesus is further evidence that I never met the REAL JESUS. Had I met the REAL JESUS, I would have continued in the faith; I would have continued pastoring churches. That I now stand in opposition to Christianity and the teachings of the Bible is clear evidence to Evangelicals that whatever Jesus I followed over my fifty years in the Christian church, he was not the REAL JESUS.

A good example of this thinking can be found in the recent blog comments by Rod Rogers [all spelling and grammar in the original]:

Yes, but you now claim that you are not a christian and therefore you never were a christian, right? You have painted your self into a corner. Either you were a liar for years or you are lying now; but you have to choose. My point is that God is always God or there never was a god. You have claimed both. Very sad.

Bruce, you don’t go from preaching God’s word, studying and praying daily and then wake up one day and say God never existed. That never happens. Somewhere you came to a place where God didn’t meet your expectations. I don’t know where that happened but it happened.

“Each aspect of my life must be judged in its context.” Ok, YOU said you were a Christian, said you were a preacher. In that context, were you preaching the truth or preaching a lie? Preaching a lie makes one what? “All I am saying is that I once was a Christian just like you, and now I’m not.” And all I am saying is that by your own admission you believed in once saved always saved. Now you don’t believe in God at all. By you own theology you yourself believed either you were not saved to begin with or you preached a lie. You are in a corner.

Matthew 7:21 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. Matthew 7:22 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? Matthew 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Either you never were a child of God or you still are.

Bruce, it doesn’t matter what happened when. The only thing I am assuming is that you are telling the truth when you say that you were an IFB. If you were ever IFB then you believed in OSAS. You just don’t want to admit the truth. Your comment, “It’s like saying, I’m divorced now, so that means I never was married”?”, has nothing to do with my comment; its Non Sequitor.

I’m 64 years old and have met a lot of people and you are the only one who claims to have lived at the foot of the cross and woke up one day and renounced it. Sorry, I don’t believe that.

Rod is an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB). As such, he believes in the doctrine of “once saved, always saved.”  According to this doctrine, once a person is saved, he can never, ever fall from grace; never, ever lose his salvation. Built upon a foundation of intellectual assent to a set of theological propositions, most proponents of “once saved, always saved” believe that I am still a Christian; that I am just backslidden or out of the will of God. I say most, because some “once saved, always saved” believers can’t bear to fathom that someone who has trodden under foot the Son of God, and has counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and has done despite unto the Spirit of grace (Hebrews 10:29) can still be a Christian. If I am not now a Christian, in their minds that means I never was a Christian; that in decades of pastoral experience I never came in contact with the REAL JESUS.

Calvinists fall into “once saved, always saved” crowd, albeit they believe that a person must endure to the end (death) to be saved; and even then, some people who thought they were saved will wake up in Hell, realizing that they never were one of the elect. What a con job, right?  Much like many in the “once saved, always saved” IFB crowd, the Calvinists who knew me have concluded that I never met the REAL JESUS. If I had met the REAL JESUS, I would still be in church, availing myself of means of grace. That I am now an outspoken opponent of True Christianity® is proof to them that I was a false Christian.

In 1994, I was the co-pastor of Community Baptist Church — an independent Calvinistic congregation — in Elmendorf, Texas. While at Community, I became friends with Jose Maldonado, pastor of Hillburn Drive Grace Baptist Church. I had met Joe in the fall of 1993 when he and Pat Horner — my soon-to-be co-pastor — came to preach a conference at the church in Ohio I was pastoring at the time.

I resigned from Community in the fall of 1994. You can read more about that debacle in the series titled, I Am a Publican and a Heathen. After leaving Community, I had no further contact with Maldonado. Imagine my surprise, then, to hear that Maldonado, sixteen years after our last contact, took to the pulpit to let people know that I was now an atheist; a man who never knew the REAL JESUS.

Here’s a short audio clip of Maldonado “exposing” me as a false prophet:

You can listen to Maldonado’s four-part sermon series or read transcripts of his sermons here.  You also might find interesting the post titled, Gone but Not Forgotten: 22 Years Later San Antonio Calvinists Still Preaching Against Bruce Gerencser.

The hilarious thing in the whole “Bruce met a false Jesus” saga, is that “once saved, always saved” Baptists and Calvinistic Baptists bitterly oppose one another, each believing the other preaches a false gospel. In other words, each side believes the other has never met the REAL JESUS.

As you can see, the core theological problem for both groups is that True Christians® are eternally saved. The Bible says in John 10:27-29:

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.

Those who hear the voice of Jesus and follow after him are given eternal life and are held safe in his hand. No man is able to pluck Christians out of the hand of Jesus. The problem with this argument, of course, is my life as a Christian clearly shows that I heard the voice of Jesus and followed after him. There’s nothing in my storyline that remotely suggests that I was following after a false Jesus; that I was a wolf in sheep’s clothing; that I was a false prophet. Yet, here I am today, having safely jumped out of the hand of Jesus, an out-and-proud apostate. “How can these things be?” Evangelicals ask themselves. Zealots such as Rod refuse to accept my story at face value, suggesting that there is some part of my story I am not sharing lest I give away the “real” reason I am no longer a Christian. This leads people to concoct all sorts of conspiracies about my loss of faith.

How about we let Occam’s Razor tell the story here. Occam’s Razor is a philosophy which suggests that if an event has two possible explanations, the explanation which requires the fewest assumptions is usually correct: I once was a Christian and now I am not; I once was a follower of Jesus and now I am not; I devotedly loved Jesus and now I don’t; the telling of my story is an honest, forthright reflection of my life as a Christian and an Evangelical pastor — theology be damned.  Christians holding to Arminian theology believe followers of Jesus can and do fall from grace. In their minds, I am just one more sad example of someone who chose not to follow in the footsteps of Jesus. Works for me.

Here’s what I know for sure, I once was saved and now I am not. It really is that simple. It is not up to me to help Evangelicals square their theology with my testimony. Can’t make my story fit in the narrow confines of your rigid theological box? Tough shit, not my problem. I have no doubt I met numerous times the REAL JESUS. A mythical being, to be sure, but I most certainly had a torrid love affair with this Jesus for most of my adult life. Just as I would never doubt a sincere Christian’s testimony of faith, all I ask is that Evangelicals grant me the same courtesy. This will never happen, of course, because their theology bars them from doing so. Their intransigence reveals the real truth behind this discussion; that the question has never been about meeting the REAL JESUS; that what really matters is believing the right sectarian doctrines; that Evangelicalism is inherently a text-based system; that what really determines entrance into Heaven is checking off the right boxes on the Beliefs Checklist. The Evangelical gospel is this: BELIEVE THESE DOCTRINES AND THOU SHALT BE SAVED. It’s never been about the REAL JESUS.

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

Connect with me on social media:

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

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

Evangelical Young Adult Pastor J.D. Rodgers Says Bruce Gerencser is Still a Christian!

jd rogers

J.D. Rodgers is the young adult pastor (young adults associate director) at Watermark Community Church in Dallas, Texas. Recently, Rodgers delivered a sermon that categorically stated that once a person is saved (born from above) he can never, never lose his salvation. No matter what a person says, does, or believes, once he is married to Jesus, it’s forever.

Rodgers said:

If you can revoke your salvation, you are saying that the Holy Spirit can be unsealed, that the Holy Spirit won’t keep His promise to give you your inheritance. What is your inheritance? Glory. Eternal life. John 3:16 says that we will as Christians’ receive eternal life.’ If there’s something that you can do to take back the gift of eternal life, was it ever truly eternal?

He [ Jesus] lived on the earth 33 years. He then died a sinner’s death on a cross. He hung there. And on that cross, He took every sin that you committed against God that deserved death. He took it and He died in your place on the cross. And if you put your faith in that, what happens? You are justified. You are now a Christian because you’ve been justified by faith.

You were once opposed to God. Now, therefore, ‘because we have been justified by faith, we now have peace with God.’ Because of the death, burial and resurrection, Jesus went to the grave [for] three days. Three days later, He rose from the grave, conquering sin, conquering your shame, your guilt. So now, you don’t have to be afraid of death. You don’t have to be afraid of a penalty. You can stand free before God because of Jesus. You are justified.

Rodgers went on to say:

[Christians who say you] “can lose your salvation” [are saying they can] “change the definition of the gift of eternal life that you receive the moment you were saved. To say you can lose your salvation [is] to say that God is not trustworthy, that God will take back what He’s promised and God will take back the gift that He’s given to you. All three of those things are inconsistent with what the Bible says is the character of God. God is trustworthy. God has given the gift of His Son of eternal life freely. He’s not taking it back. No matter what you’ve done

So there ya have it, once saved, always saved. I was saved at the age of fifteen at Trinity Baptist Church in Findlay, Ohio. Two weeks later, God called me to preach. Four years later I enrolled at Midwestern Baptist College to study for the ministry. I married a pastor’s daughter, and for twenty-five years I pastored Evangelical churches in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. By all accounts, I was a devoted follower of Jesus. I loved the Lord, my God, with all my heart, soul, and might. Colleagues in the ministry and parishioners recognized that I was a man who loved Jesus; a man who devoted his life to preaching the gospel, winning souls, and ministering to the church. That’s the facts. Anyone who suggests otherwise has an agenda or wants to discredit me.

In November 2008, I walked out the doors of the Ney United Methodist Church for the last time. A few months later, I sent out a letter to family, friends, and former church members declaring that I was not a Christian. It was not long before I self-identified as an atheist.

According to Rodgers, I am still a Christian — a Christian atheist. 🙂

Recognizing that he has a theological conundrum on his hands, Rodgers, ends his sermon by completely contradicting what he said earlier. Realizing that there are people like me who “once proclaimed they were ‘in the faith’ left the faith to practice a different lifestyle or became an atheist,” Rodgers states:

“The problem with these two oppositions is they come with the assumption that these people were actually Christians to begin with.”

“1 John also actually says that, ‘if you walked with us, and you looked like us, and then you walked away, you were never one of us.’ 1 John 2:23-24, it says, ‘No one who denies the Son has the Father.’… So if there’s any point in your life where you say, ‘No, I don’t believe Jesus has done this for me,’ you do not have the Father. You never had the Father. That’s what the Bible would teach.”

So which is it? Am I still a Christian or was I never a Christian? Rodgers miserably fails to account for people like me. Either he must claim that I was never a Christian; that I was a false prophet; that I successfully deceived scores of Christians over the years, or I am still a bought-by-the-blood child of God.

Arminians, of course, will argue that I once was saved, and now I am lost; that I was a Christian who fell from grace. The problem with this position is all the Bible verses that suggest that once a person is saved, he can never lose his salvation. Who is right? Both appeal to the Bible to justify their positions. How can I possibly ever know whether I’m going to Heaven or Hell? 🙂 Not that I care. I’m an atheist. I will leave it to God’s chosen ones to debate and settle the eternal destiny of my non-existent soul. In the meantime, I’ll be cheering on the Reds and Bengals and having wild sex with my smoking hot heathen girlfriend. 🙂

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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 Gerencser