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Tag: Secondary Separation

The Wearying Life of a “Separated” Christian

working for jesus

Leslie Allebach blogs at Growing4Life: Never Satisfied with Status Quo. She, along with countless other Evangelicals, spend their waking hours devoted to Jesus, the Bible, and the church. As the following excerpt shall show, Leslie is chasing a “separated life,” constantly judging and reassessing every aspect of her earthly existence:

The new Christianity (the mystic, self-centered, ecumenical version) is literally in everything. Once we are aware and start looking for it, we find it everywhere. While there are still a few pure churches, they are few and far between (as many of you can probably attest to). It’s an additive that comes in just bits and pieces at first. Although, unlike sodium benzoate, it is more like a terrible yeast that grows uncontrollably until it’s taken over the once-sound church or ministry.

But it begins as a bit. Just a tiny promotion of a false teacher here. A joining with a false church there. An almost invisible twist on the Gospel here. A book or movie recommendation there. Little things that look minuscule to the average church goer. But these little compromises spell disaster to the one who has taken the time to compare what is happening in this new Christianity to God’s Holy Word.

You see, you have to know what you are looking for and that it actually exists before you can understand what is taking place.


But what is my duty now? Do I just ignore the truth and live life as normal? Or do I have a responsibility to share the truth and make some changes in my life? Changes that might mean giving up favorite products that I’ve used for years?

I am guessing you can see the clear parallel here. When we begin to see the truth of this new (i.e. false) Christianity, it requires something of us. And it isn’t a fun process. The truth rarely is. One by one, we start eliminating things that contain it. Books, music, movies, and other forms of compromised “Christian” entertainment. We start evaluating our churches and what they are preaching from the pulpits, teaching in their Sunday Schools, and using as books for their small groups and Bible Studies.

Whether we are discussing an unproven additive or a wave of unbiblical teachings, there will always be scores of people to tell you to relax. Trust the narrative. Stop witch-hunting. Stop being so negative. Stop doing your own research. Just. Stop.

But we can’t stop. Because it is the truth that sets us free. It truly is. It may be an easier road to not know it in the short term. But, in the long-term, knowing the truth is always best. Knowing the truth is what keeps you spiritually and physically healthy. It protects you from the harm and danger of the world. It keeps you from being deceived. Spiritual truth is what keeps Satan from devouring you.

So how in the world do we find this spiritually life-saving Truth?

It is in God’s Word. If we are in the Word and reading it and studying it with a humble heart and a readiness to obey, no matter the cost, God will show us the truth. We don’t need to study the ways of false teachers or make a long list of who has compromised. We can simply compare them to scripture and see, fairly quickly, if someone has compromised.


This life is hard, isn’t it? I wish I could say I have this down, but I definitely struggle with the first reason, particularly. I can grow exhausted and in my exhaustion, I grow lazy. My flesh whispers “what does it matter, anyway?” and I give in. (That is one of the things I am looking most forward to in heaven– no whispering flesh!!)

But we must endure to the end. We may cave to laziness or an unwillingness to give something up or to the ridicule that is sure to come, but when God helps us to see it, we must acknowledge it, confess it, and then move on. Thankfully, we have a wonderfully forgiving God and He loves us dearly.

Allebach admits that pursuing the “separated” life is hard, and that she finds her struggle for purity and perfection exhausting. Instead of embracing and enjoying life, Allebach seeks to “endure to the end” so that she might be saved. This present life is just a means to an end. Prepare to meet the Lord thy God, the prophet Amos said. Everything experienced in this life is just preparation for the life to come.

I spent much of my life seeking a path similar to that of Leslie Allebach. Be ye perfect, even as your Father in Heaven is perfect Jesus said in Matthew 5. Ditto for being holy. If one believes the Bible is the inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of God and Jesus commands his followers to obey every law, command, and precept, it’s hard to live a nominal Christian life. If the goal is to hear Jesus say “well done thou good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of the Lord,” how can a Christian not pursue separation from the world? After all, I John 2:15 says:

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

We only have one life. I just celebrated my sixty-fifth birthday. Born when Dwight Eisenhower was president, I am nearing the end of life. My body tells me that time is running out. If I were still an Evangelical Christian, much like Leslie, I would be working on making sure that my spiritual house was in order; that I was ready to meet my Lord and Savior face-to-face. Fortunately, fifteen years ago, I saw the “light.” Since then, I try to spend as much time as possible with Polly, our six children, and thirteen grandchildren. I want their last memories of me to be good ones, not memories of a husband and father so devoted to Jesus, the ministry, and evangelizing sinners that I had little time for them; that I had little time to exhale and enjoy life.

I have a bucket list, things I want to do before I die. I am calling this summer “Summer 2022 Bruce Gerencser Death-Defying Bucket List Tour.” So far, I have heard Breaking Benjamin, Halestorm, and Theory of a Deadman (and their opening acts) in concert, with Drive-By Truckers, Lydia Loveless, Collective Soul, and Switchfoot still on the schedule. Polly and I plan to take a daylong steam train ride next month. While doing these things (and others) this summer has extracted a high price from me physically, I intend to do all I can to check things off my bucket list. Why? This is the only life I will ever have, and I want to go out with a bang. And why not? Life after death is a myth, so I only have a short time to do the things I want to do. Leslie is willing to sacrifice her present life in hope of a divine payoff after she dies. But what if she is wrong? What if this life is all she has? BUT IT’S NOT, Allebach will likely say. The Bible says _____________. Yeah, about that. What if the Bible is not what Evangelicals claim it is? What if it’s just the words of fallible men? I for one am not willing to gamble my life away on the irrational belief that an ancient religious book written thousands of years ago by mostly unknown men is the rulebook/blueprint for my life. Bruce, what if you are wrong? I’m confident that I am not. I’ve seen no evidence that suggests I should give the Bible one moment of my time. (The only time I ever look at the Bible is when writing for this site.) Instead, as a good humanist, I seek after meaning and purpose, pleasure and happiness.

Allebach will continue pursuing the separated Christian life until something happens that causes her to doubt and question her sincerely held beliefs. If this never happens, she will arrive at the end of life, hoping and praying that her separated life will be sufficient to gain her entrance into Heaven. If she is wrong about God, Jesus, the Bible, and the afterlife, she will never know. Death ends life for all of us, regardless of our beliefs. When I die, I will remember nothing. But, maybe, just maybe, before my brain shuts down and my heart stops pumping blood, I will have a brief moment when a smile comes to my face as I think about the summer of 2022. I hope I will have the opportunity in that moment to say to the love of my life, thank you.


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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Questions: Bruce, What Are the ‘Fundamentals of Christianity’ Evangelicals Talk About?


recently asked readers to submit questions to me they would like me to answer. If you would like to submit a question, please follow the instructions listed here.

Charles asked, “What Are the ‘Fundamentals of Christianity’ Evangelicals Talk About?”

Evangelicalism, an inherently Fundamentalist system of belief, is built upon a foundation of what is commonly called the fundamentals of the faith or the cardinal doctrines of the faith. Most Evangelicals consider the following beliefs to be essential:

  • The inspiration, infallibility, and inerrancy of the Bible
  • The sinfulness, depravity of man
  • The deity of Christ
  • The virgin birth of Christ
  • The blood atonement of Christ for man’s sin (usually subscribing to the substitutionary atonement theory)
  • The resurrection of Christ from the dead
  • The second coming of Christ
  • Separation from the world
  • Salvation from sin is by and through Christ alone
  • Personal responsibility to share the gospel with sinners
  • Heaven and hell are literal places

The more Fundamentalist a sect is, the longer the list of non-negotiable doctrines. Some within the IFB church movement, for example, believe things such as:

  • The 1769 revision of the King James Bible as the inspired, infallible, inerrant Word of God. (All other version are errant and used by Satan to deceive the masses.)
  • Secondary separation (Real Baptist Bob refuses to fellowship with Baptist Bruce because of wrong beliefs or practice. Real Baptist Bob also refuses to fellowship with those who are friends or associated with Baptist Bruce.)
  • The Baptist church as the true church. (Also called Landmarkism, these Baptist churches believe they can trace their lineage all the way back to Jesus.)
  • Dispensational, Pre-tribulational Premillennialism (Human time is divided into seven distinct periods, Jesus will rapture away all believers prior to the Great Tribulation, and then physically come to Earth prior to the Millennium — the thousand year authoritarian rule of Christ.)

And then there are the Christians who believe the followers of Jesus must believe certain things and live certain ways to be Christians. Years ago, back in my Evangelical/Socially Progressive days, I preached a sermon that suggested Democrats could be Christians. After the service, a man who was visiting that day came up to be and told me in no uncertain terms that he doubted Democrats could be Christians due to their support of abortion. More than a few Evangelicals believe that anyone who believes in legalized abortion, same-sex marriage, and the normalization of homosexuality cannot be a Christian.

The list of essential beliefs, quite frankly, is endless, with every sect, church, and pastor believing that there are certain nonnegotiable doctrines and practices that must be believed in order to be a True Christian®. Evangelicals are big proponents of proof-texting, with every belief and practice having Biblical justification.

Liberal Christians laugh and sneer at Evangelicals with their long lists of non-negotiables, but I wonder if liberals have given away too much in their attempt to find a minimalist way to doctrinally appeal to everyone. Years ago, my wife and I, along with our three youngest children, attended the local Episcopal church. After the service, one of the matriarchs of the church thanked us for visiting. She then added, “you can believe whatever you want at our church!” I thought, has she not read the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion, the theoretical doctrinal standard of the Church of England and its sister sect The Episcopal Church? Does the church really allow its congregants to believe whatever they want? We never tested their openness.

My conclusion is this: every Christian sect, church, pastor, and individual believer has its own set of fundamental beliefs (and practices). Thus, countless are the number of Christianities and Christs. The Bible is right when it says in Proverbs 21:2: Every way of a man is right in his own eyes. The Bible says there is ONE Lord, ONE Faith, and ONE baptism, yet Christians can’t even agree on basics such as salvation, baptism, and communion. While it is up to Christians to determine what is TRUE Christianity®, a historically unified standard of belief would cause unbelievers such as myself to pause a bit before criticizing Christianity. As it stands now, Christianity is infested by conflict, controversy, and internecine warfare. When I look at Christianity, what I see is Friday WWE wrestling matches. Whatever Christianity might have been two-thousand years, THAT Christianity died somewhere in the Judean hillsides twenty centuries ago.

About Bruce Gerencser

Bruce Gerencser, 61, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 40 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.

Bruce is a local photography business owner, operating Defiance County Photo out of his home. If you live in Northwest Ohio and would like to hire Bruce, please email him.

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Bruce Gerencser