I won't name the Pastor, but he recently emailed me the following email:
I found your remarks strikingly sobering. I am an Independent Baptist Pastor. I loathe with all my loathing Jack Hyles' vile legacy though in my early Christian experience, late 1970's and early 1980's, I was rather impressed with him and his view of ministry. I now know his empire was rotten and I thank the Lord often for giving me warning against him before I was ensnared in the Hyles/Hammond cult. The best one could say about the Hammond/hyles cult was that is was a form of present tense salvation by works.
Then you mention Bill Gothard. He is an evil Old Covenant syncretist. I call him Bill "the butcher" Gothard. He butchers the scriptures and he butchers people's lives. I am still stunned and appalled at what took place in the woeful homes that took that man's teaching seriously and in heavy doses. He is a spiritual "ishmaelite"--Galatians 4:29-31.To which I responded, a bit rambling at times:
Dear young squire,
Thank you for your kind words. I must implore you not to be sober. Pastor Hyles and Bill Gothard, while horrible representatives of the Christian faith, and not indicative of everyone in the faith by any means, were simply a beginning catalyst on my walk out. The true facts of my de-conversion are quite reasoned and minimally have anything to do with evil people. Though, the fact that evil people exist because of the faith, not faith existing in spite of evil people, is part of the reason why I left.
See, there is no way to butcher the Bible. It is open to any and all interpretations and cannot be taken as a singular organism. After all, the councils that put together the canon, as we know it, voted on everything with a majority vote. If God had his hand in it, the Bible god, who allegedly contains all sorts of omni characteristics, would have made sure their were no contradictions in it. More importantly, my view is that, if these men were actually godly men, led by god, the votes would have been unanimous.
So, don't blame Hyles for my current life. Don't blame Gothard. Blame your god. He was the one that didn't take it upon himself to solve the riddle to mankind with a simple tutorial. Blame your god for not striking down these evil men before they could destroy lives. He was so active in the Bible at doing so, and yet, now, he's bloody impotent. He watches while little children get raped in dark rooms and the men get away with it with no consequences. Sure, you claim they will have consequences, but this god, who sees all doesn't have the capacity to stop the raping of the child and wills that she continues with a destroyed life?
If you were god, you would obliterate the evil man. Free will be damned. With a god who transcends all, there is absolutely no excuse for any evil done to any innocent being. And all the clauses your religion sets up just keeps your hands tied from coming to any sort of solution for mankind to move forward - in your view.
But hear this, young squire - I'm happy as a clam! No need to weep for me! I've thrown off the shackles of your god and have learned to live! Life, for me, is one big happy experience. Sure, I get sad and angry, at times, even swear on occasion. But so do you. I just don't have anyone to blame it on but myself. And thus, I know how to fix it.
Carry on with your good work. But consider rethinking your premise - these evil men of the faith are not evil because they misinterpreted the faith. Rather, they are evil because the faith dictated that they COULD be evil. That humanity saw their bullshit and took them to task is a celebration of US and not your impotent god.
I. C.I love it when people write to me. I hope he writes again. But, suffice it to say, there are two things that irritate me about people trying to get me to come back to Christianity:
1. That the only reason I left was because of bad people. If only I had been surrounded by good people, I would still be a Christian.
2. That the person writing or talking to me, in exclusion of all others, holds the keys to the most correct interpretation of the Bible.