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Tag: Seventh Day Adventists

Teaching IFB Church Members About Every Cult But Theirs


I grew up in Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) churches in the 1960s and 1970s. I later attended an IFB college — Midwestern Baptist College in Pontiac, Michigan. Next to evangelizing the lost, preaching against “sin,” and trumpeting the soon return of Jesus, IFB preachers love to talk about cults.

The IFB church movement generally believes themselves to be God’s true church. Some preachers — called Landmark Baptists or Baptists Briders — believed they could, much like Roman Catholics, trace their church’s lineage back to Jesus and the New Testament. While most IFB preachers will grudgingly admit that some other Christian sects include True Christians®, many non-IFB groups are labeled cults. Seventh Day Adventists? Roman Catholics? Mormons? Church of Christ? Charismatics? Pentecostals? Jehovah’s Witnesses? Calvinists? Cults, the lot of them.

As an IFB pastor, I thought it important to teach church members about the teachings of cults. Sunday School was a perfect place to introduce teaching about cults. Congregants loved learning about cults. After all, learning about the heretical beliefs of cults only reinforced the notion that their pastor and church had the “right” beliefs. What was never considered was the fact that Christianity itself is a cult, as is the IFB church movement.

My teaching presupposed that my interpretation and understanding of the Bible were equivalent to the faith once delivered to the saints. Thus, it was easy to “prove” that certain sects were cults. Just compare their beliefs to mine. See! There’s all the evidence you need to prove that baby-baptizing, Virgin-Mary-worshiping Catholicism is a cult. That’s why I could go to a town of 1,600 people that had two Catholic churches, a Methodist Church, a Lutheran Church, and a Church of Christ, and start a new church — a true New Testament Baptist congregation. I was convinced that I knew the truth, and I was duty-bound to deliver the residents of Somerset and Perry County of the hold cults had on their souls. Especially those fish-eaters.

People raised in IFB churches have likely read or heard of Walter Martin’s seminal work, The Kingdom of the Cults. This book takes a prominent place on the bookshelves of many IFB preachers. It was a necessary tool in the raging war against cults. Ironically, Martin did not believe the Seventh Day Adventist Church was a cult.

Two stories come to mind from my days as a cult-busting preacher. One year, I had been teaching on Mormonism. During the class, a visitor stood up and challenged what I was teaching. Unbeknownst to me, this man had gotten wind of my teaching and decided to visit our church so he could put in a good word for Mormonism. Needless to say, his attempt to set me straight didn’t go well. My retort was simple, THE BIBLE SAYS! That was always my answer when my preaching or teaching was challenged.

Later in my ministry, as pastor of Our Father’s House in West Unity, Ohio, a Seventh-Day Adventist man and wife attended our church. They were friends with a couple who periodically attended Our Father’s House. By this time, I was much more open-minded towards other sects. In fact, the front doors of our church building said, “The Church Where the Only Label that Matters is Christian.” I was friends with the local Church of Christ preacher, and a member of the local ministerial group — a cardinal sin back in my IFB days.

I believed, at the time, that this Seventh-Day Adventist couple genuinely wanted “Christian fellowship.” One Sunday evening, I learned differently. I don’t remember what I had preached on that night, but afterward, as was my custom at that time, I asked if there were any questions? The Seventh-Day Adventist man stood up and started condemning my preaching. I was shocked by his behavior. I told him that he was wrong to assume that we believed what we did out of ignorance. We went back and forth for a few moments, and then I put an end to our “discussion.” This couple never came back. I suspect that they were there to infiltrate and evangelize instead of to bond over food, fun, and fellowship. 

Both of these confrontations troubled me, not because I thought my beliefs were wrong, but because I never dreamed of visiting a different church so I could evangelize or set them straight. Back in the 1980s, I preached a series of messages about the Church of Christ, showing that they were a cult that preached a false gospel. On Mondays, I would make cassette copies of the sermons and mail them to Church of Christ preachers in a four-county area. This, of course, provoked all sorts of outrage. I received several cassette sermons in the mail from Church of Christ preachers. Their sermons were their attempt to expose the Baptists as a cult! How dare they! I was a member of True Church®. In the 1800s, the Baptists expelled Campbellites — Alexander Campbell and his father Thomas Campbell were the founders of the Church of Christ (along with Barton Stone) — from their midst for heresy. Cults, the lot of them.

What I never considered is that I too was a cultist; that Christianity, in general, was a cult. According to the TheSage Dictionary, a cult is a system of religious beliefs and rituals; cultists are followers of an exclusive system of religious beliefs and practices. Pretty well describes Christianity in general, and the IFB church movement in particular, does it not? I could see the “cult” in every sect but my own.

Want to enrage Evangelical/IFB preachers? Call them cultists. Out will come their Bibles, proof-texts, and evidence that “proves” that their brand of Christianity is that which was founded by Jesus, John the Baptist, and the Apostle Paul. Blinded by arrogance and hubris, they cannot see that their sects and churches are cults too.

To these True Christians® I say: by all means, continue to fight among yourselves. Keep waging internecine warfare against each other. Keep slinging words such as cult or heretic. You are doing good work, exposing the bankruptcy of your beliefs.

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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Songs of Sacrilege: Talkin Anthropocalypse Blues by Scott Cook

scott cook

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

Today’s Song of Sacrilege is Talkin Anthropocalypse Blues by Scott Cook.

Video Link


Remember Y2K?
Remember what you did that day?
Were you scared the machines would turn on us all?
Or maybe your phone just wouldn’t work?
Maybe aliens would come to earth?
Could’ve been a mushroom cloud, or heaven’s bugle call
Me and some friends took a trip down south
And we were on a beach, hanging out
With folks from all over the world, feeling nothing but fine
We drank until we got demented
Counted down for each time zone represented
And partied like it was 1999
‘Cept it actually was, it wasn’t just a figurative thing
And when it turned 2000, well, we kept on partying
Getting kinda silly by that point
Stumbling around, yelling at clouds
The new millennium was looking pretty messy so far

But you can’t always party daily and nightly
And not everyone takes those kind of things lightly
Some folks got more serious concerns
Take William Miller, back in 1818
With all the scripture he’d been studying
He got to figuring out when Jesus would return
Once he was done calculating
He got to proselytizing & debating
And within several years he rounded up thousands more
They had pamphlets and meetings, the more the merrier
Saying God would cleanse the sanctuary or
Something like that, October, 1844
And after waiting years for their coming king
They started giving away everything
Unconcerned with possessions or employment
But when the day finally rolled around
And Jesus was nowhere to be found
They had what was called “The Great Disappointment”
Some said they’d botched their calculations
Used the wrong calendar or computations
And He was still coming, just a few months or years later
Some other folks just figured they’d been wrong
Figured they’d better try and keep their home
And think of a way to explain it to the neighbours
And somehow find the wherewithal
To stock that pantry after all;
Heck, maybe they should even go and see the dentist!
But some other folks insisted it really did happen
Just not on earth, but up in heaven
And they became the Seventh-Day Adventists
Now, if there’s any Adventists listening
I really don’t want to offend you…
Really, I’ve got friends who are Adventists!
I mean, I met one one time
Besides, we’ve all got crazy ideas of our own
For instance, I thought this would be
A nice little subject to write a song about!

Back in the first century, off the Turkish coast
On a little Greek island called Patmos
A guy wrote down a bunch of visions he thought reliable
And rather than asking “what’s this guy on?”
People named it the Apocalypse of John
And 300 years later they decided it was in the Bible
And I grew up believing it’d all come true
Just when and how nobody knew
But God was coming back to get His biz done
First time by water, next time fire
Righteous and wicked to divide
And we’d get a new world in exchange for this one
And it was gonna happen soon!
‘Cause things are obviously getting worse
There’s no turning it around
There’s no saving this Earth
Nothing worth saving anyway!
You got men marrying men, men marrying dogs, trees…
Next thing you know some guy’s gonna marry his truck!
It’s just wrong!

Now some cheeky folks offer a service
To believers who are getting nervous
To ease their mind about their dogs and cats
‘Cause pets don’t get raptured, you see
So these folks say, for a small fee
They’ll feed and walk ’em in the unlikely event of that
And boy, if it happens like they say
And all the believers are borne away
You can be sure those atheists’ll come around then!
Once they find out they lost the bet
They’ll take real good care of your pets
It might be their last chance left at gettin’ in!
It’s written no man knows the day of the Lord,
But I saw it on some big billboards!
Harold Camping figured it out, and wrote it up high
God must’ve thought, who’s this hack?
Maybe He was even planning to come back
And then didn’t, just to spite the poor old guy!
After May 21st went by, people laughed but he stuck to his guns
Said it’d been a spiritual event, not a physical one…
And the real thing was coming, October 21st, 2011… Poor Harold!
He kinda lost his enthusiasm for predictions after that

2012 was gonna be big, right?
That shit was gonna be tight!
They had special calculations we could rely on
This wicked old world’s gotta make room
It’s the start of a new baktun
According to the calendar of the Mayans
Well, those Mayan dudes may’ve been rough
But they sure did make some amazing stuff
And they really must’ve been rapidly evolving
They didn’t waste time with messy elections
They put the pedal down on natural selection
By cutting off your head if you lost a ballgame
But what’d they think 2012 would mean?
Would the poles reverse? Would the sun turn green?
Would we see the planet Nibiru? Would it destroy Man?
Or was it the dawn of the Aquarian Age
Our ascension to another vibratory stage
Without war, injustice, materialism, or boy bands?
Terence McKenna predicted the singularity
With all the hard-earned sincerity
And certainty that goes with dedicated research
See, he made a computer program, threw the I Ching
Ate psilocybin mushrooms and some other things
And as a result, he was ’bout as sure as anyone on Earth
Funny thing about being sure:
The more you are, the less I believe you
Especially if it’s that crazy-eyed, foaming at the mouth kind of sure
The kind where no matter what happens, it still proves you’re right!
And if you don’t see it
Well, it was just more of a hidden, spiritual thing…
Anybody see a pattern here?

We’re pretty good at getting it wrong
This song’d be even more stupidly long
If I tried to tally up everybody’s guesses
One thing in common with all these tales
They depend on someone besides ourselves
As if we won’t have to clean up our own messes
As if we’re the last people on earth
As if these times are the craziest there ever were
As if we’re not just holding space here for our grandkids
As if it’s all gonna turn to black and white
And everyone’s gonna see the light
And convincing won’t be as hard as it always is
Like we won’t have to change minds one by one
It’ll just happen, it’ll just get done
We won’t have to take time with all the messy stuff
Of building bridges, loving people in
Realizing when we’re wrong even
And learning how to stop when we’ve had enough
Sounds like a pretty tall order, right?
God help us, you say? Or what?
It’s gonna take a miracle to save us from ourselves, right?
What if we’re the only miracle we’ve got?

This world has gotta end
This world has gotta end
It’s on us to make a new one my friends!

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

Connect with me on social media:

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

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Bruce Gerencser