HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, N.J., Jan. 14 (UPI) -- A New Jersey preacher turned viral star said a clip of a sermon where he recounts punching a youth for "not taking the Lord serious" was taken out of context.
Eric Dammann, pastor of the Bible Baptist Church in Hasbrouck Heights, appears in the video clip delivering a sermon to his congregation about a "smart aleck" kid named Ben he encountered at a youth group meeting 13 years ago in Calgary.
Dammann said the boy was "trying to push [his] buttons" and "not taking the Lord serious."
"So I walked over to him and went, bam! Punched him in the chest as hard as I could. I crumpled the kid. I just crumpled him.
"Then I leaned over and said, 'Ben, when are you going to stop playing games with God?' I led that man to the Lord right there.
"There's times that that might be needed."
The sermon, which is from July, had initially been posted online by the church, but was later deleted. However, the video was posted to YouTube by someone else in December and has since gone viral online.
Dammann told the New York Daily News he considers his confrontation with "Ben" to be "inexcusable" and he feels "deep sorrow" about the incident. He said the sermon clip was taken out of context.
"I do not endorse child abuse or the punching of children," he said. "My intention in the sermon was to make a point of how God can use our mistakes. The viral clip does not show the whole sermon, where I say what I did was wrong."
The pastor released a statement to NBC New York.
"My actions were not reflective of Christ and the teachings of the Bible," the statement said.
"I do not condone abuse in any form," Dammann said. "I chose a very poor example from my past and very poor wording to describe it and deeply regret using it."