Dave Gass, formerly the lead pastor at Grace Family Fellowship, a church in Missouri, recently took to social media to announce his decision to leave the church, his faith, and his family behind.
In a series of agitated tweets, Gass described why he left the church, starting with the fact that the Christian faith is filled with abuse, which caused him “mental and emotional breaks.”
After receiving thousands of interactions on Twitter, it has now come to light by a deacon in the church, that consequently, Gass had an affair with a married woman, and never repented for it.
Gass, whose tweets are now protected, shared a thread to Twitter, detailing not only why he was walking away from his church, but from his faith altogether.
“After 40 years of being a devout follower, 20 of those being an evangelical pastor, I am walking away from faith. Even though this has been a massive bomb drop in my life, it has been decades in the making,” Gass originally tweeted.
“When I was in 8th grade and I was reading Greek mythology, it dawned on me how much of the supernatural interactions between the deity of the bible and mankind sounded like ancient mythology. That seed of doubt never went away,” he added, comparing faith to Greek mythology.
Gass went on to explain how he was raised in a “hyper-fundamentalist” home where Christianity “didn’t work. The promises were empty. The answers were lies.” But despite his upbringing, he grew up to be a church-going, scripture-memorizing Christian.
“I was fully devoted to studying the scriptures. I think I missed maybe 12 Sundays in 40 years. I had completely memorized 18 books of the bible and was reading through the bible for the 24th time when I walked away,” Gass explained.
But no level of scripture memorization could save his marriage, according to Gass.
“As an adult my marriage was a sham and a constant source of pain for me. I did everything I was supposed to – marriage workshops, counseling, bible reading together, date nights every week, marriage books – but my marriage never became what I was promised it would be,” he added.
Gass explained that he continued to feel worse and worse, as his expectations for life slowly failed one after the other.
“An inescapable reality that I came to was that the people who benefited the most from organized religion were the fringe attenders who didn’t take it too seriously. The people who were devout were the most miserable, but just kept trying harder,” he said.
He also addressed the Christian faith in general, arguing that the entire system is corrupt.
“… The entire system is rife with abuse. And not just from the top down, sure there are abusive church leaders, but church leaders are abused by their congregants as well. Church people are just sh*tty to each other,” he continued. “I spent my entire life serving, loving, and trying to help people in my congregations. And the lies, betrayal, and slander I have received at the hands of church people left wounds that may never heal.”
Not only did his life as a Christian not live up to his expectations, but church led to the decline of his mental and physical health.
“This massive cognitive dissonance – my beliefs not matching with reality – created a separation between my head and my heart. I was gas lighting myself to stay in the faith. Eventually I could not maintain the facade anymore, I started to have mental and emotional breaks. My internal stress started to show in physical symptoms. Being a pastor – a professional Christian – was killing me,” Gass added.
Ultimately, he had to make a decision.
“Eventually I pulled the lever and dropped the bomb. Career, marriage, family, social standing, network, reputation, all gone in an instant. And honestly I didn’t intend to fully walk away, but the way the church turned on me forced me to leave permanently,” he said.
Gass added that he still loves those that have called him an apostate for leaving the church, and apologized to those that sat under him.
“For those of you who want to yell at me, that’s fine. I know that many will call me an apostate, say I was never really saved, that I was a wolf in sheep’s clothing and that a hotter hell awaits me. And to you, I say I love you. My heart is tender toward you,” he said.
“To those who have been in my congregations or under my teaching/preaching, I sincerely apologize. I thought I was right. I thought I was doing the right thing. I thought I could fake it until I made it. I was wrong. I’m sorry. I love you,” he concluded.
But that’s not the whole story
This past week, Justin Tuttle, a deacon at Grace Family Fellowship, took to Twitter to finally address Gass leaving the church, and publicly proclaiming it.
A Twitter user quote tweeted Gass’s thread, saying “There is something simply off in this thread…something about the language rings alarm bells, makes me skeptical. But at the least if it is truthful (background wise) it speaks to the foolishness of churchianity. Real faith lives in the real world.”
Justin Tuttle responded to the tweet, saying “Yes, he was my pastor when he ‘walked away.’ He actually just slept with a married women in the church and got caught. He never repented and they still live together.”
White responded: “Well, that’s a part that puts a different light on the entire thread, to be sure.
“Last year all the information came to light,” Tuttle added. “The affair happened for almost a year before it was uncovered. So the whole, ‘I did everything right in my marriage’ part was kinda funny until I saw how many people liked his story.”
The Christian Post spoke to a representative from Gass’s former church, who said that Justin Tuttle’s input on Gass’s leaving was correct.
“Justin’s input is accurate. I would only add that, to our knowledge, none of the churches where Gass was on staff were megachurches. And after he resigned, he cut off all communications with anyone from Grace Family Fellowship,” the representative said.