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beloved

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Aug 30 12 6:38 AM

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Atheists in the Pulpit by ALBERT MOHLER/8/29/2012, (why do we not see these people if they are on our pulpits?)


“It is hard to think of any other profession which it is so near to impossible to leave.” That is the judgment of Richard Dawkins, perhaps the world’s most famous living atheist, as he welcomes unbelieving pastors to join the Clergy Project, a group designed to help unbelieving pastors make their way out of the ministry.

He explains that the Clergy Project “exists to provide a safe haven, a forum where clergy who have lost their faith can meet each other, exchange views, swap problems, counsel each other. More precisely, they want to use the existence of unbelieving pastors to embarrass the church and weaken theism.

This past Sunday, The New York Times Magazine told the story of Jerry DeWitt, once a pastor in DeRidder, Louisiana and later the first “graduate” of the Clergy Project. He is now the executive director of a group known as Recovering from Religion, based in Kansas. DeWitt told the magazine of his struggle as an unbelieving pastor. “I remember thinking,” he said, “Who on this planet has any idea what I am going through?”

The magazine also told of Teresa MacBain, once a Methodist preacher in Tallahassee, Florida and now another trophy of the Clergy Project. MacBain first told just about everyone but her church of her atheism.

I am currently an active pastor and I’m also an atheist,” she said. “I live a double life. I feel pretty good on Monday, but by Thursday — when Sunday’s right around the corner — I start having stomachaches, headaches, just knowing that I got to stand up and say things that I no longer believe in and portray myself in a way that’s totally false.

Of course, she didn’t have to say such things at all
. She could have resigned and spared herself and her church the hypocrisy. MacBain told NPR of her experience with mounting doubts, and then of her “eureka moment” when she realized, “I’m an atheist. … I don’t believe.”

On March 26, 2012, she stood before the American Atheists convention in Bethesda, Maryland and told the 1,500 attendees, “My name is Teresa. I’m a pastor currently serving a Methodist church — at least up to this point — and I am an atheist.” As NPR reported, the crowd hooted and clapped for more than a minute.  MacBain presents herself as unnerved by the fact that her church fired her and did not appreciate her declaration of atheism behind their backs at a convention hundreds of miles away.

They spoke openly and in considerable detail about their unbelief, with the ministers explaining how they had abandoned any confidence in biblical Christianity.

Why didn’t they just resign? Most shockingly, some openly spoke of losing their salaries as the main concern. So much for intellectual honesty. Many liberal ministers hold to no supernatural beliefs, but they also tenaciously hold to their pulpits without admitting atheism.

The Clergy Project is a magnet for charlatans and cowards who, by their own admission, openly lie to their congregations, hide behind beliefs they do not hold, make common cause with atheists, and still retain their positions and salaries.

Ministers struggling honestly with doubts and struggles are in a different category altogether. Doubt will lead to one of two inevitable consequences. Faithful doubt leads to a deeper embrace of the truth, with doubt serving to point us into a deeper knowledge, trust, and understanding of the truth. Pernicious doubt leads to unfaithfulness, unbelief, skepticism, cynicism, and despair. Christians — ministers or otherwise — who are struggling with doubt, need to seek help from the faithful, not the faithless.

http://www.albertmohler.com/2012/08/29/atheists-in-the-pulpit-the-sad-charade-of-the-clergy-project

Christianity is being attacked by all sides. Maybe the true believers will not be fooled but what about the new Christians that are listening under one of these pastors? Emerging church leaders like Rob Bell have large followings. The virgin birth is being questioned as a myth. Along with the OT prophets. I see so many that profess to be believers but do not know the essentials/basics of Christianity. We have one leader in our church that constantly brings in books like the Shack and uses the Message Bible for his personal use. At this point, he has little influence that I can see, but for how long?

IMO our society is in the last days that is so well described in our Bibles. OT and NT. What can we personally do to warn anyone? I did and our last pastor ignored it. I know it must be hard for a pastor to talk to someone about their erroneous beliefs when he comes into a church with a members that was in good standing with the previous pastor and one that all of us love. I have been going to church so little lately because of health reasons that I am afraid my voice will not be heard. This new pastor seems solid in church beliefs. He is trying to build our church back after many left when we took months to find a new pastor.

What is the solution?








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quasar

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Aug 30 12 8:40 PM

That is indeed one of the most shocking revelations I have yet heard of, in the falling away of the Church.  There are so many other distortions of the Bible being preached today it defies an actual count of what was convoluted last among them

IMO, I see no solution to the problem and that it will get worse, rather than better, with the only possible solution - the return of our Lord, Jesus Christ, to correct it.


Quasar

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servant

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Aug 31 12 4:05 AM

The problem is the organization of the modern church. It is run like a business instead of the example we have in the Bible of the early Christians. One person is put on a pedestal and looked to soley for the direction and functioning of the church. This one person is expected to be a councelor, teacher, pastor, entertainment guru etc etc. If the churches were actually functioning the way they should be, then the congregation itself would have teachers, evangelists, helpers, prophets etc that would be working together along with the pastors so there is a support base for when one does fall. If everyone is looking to one person, and that person does fall into what ever doubt or sin, then it is devastating to the rest. It is basically idolatry. If there are not people in the congregation that are not seeking God on their own learning from Him on their own, and being lead by Him on their own, then that church is in trouble. Of course there are baby Christians that need support and to be worked with, but that should not only be on the back of the pastor or teacher. Others in the congregation that are more mature need to step up to the plate. There should be an avenue for the regular congregation to fill each role in the church as the Lord leads. That way the same face is not behind the pulpit each Sunday. The same voice is not on the phone each morning, and the same voices are not singing that new song to the Lord each evening. There needs to be a more organic way of doing church than making sure it is run a certain way for the tax breaks. There are many churches that are doing home groups in the week. That is where you would probably see God more at work than at the Sunday morning meet and greet.

There really is something wrong with the members of the congregation if it falls completely apart when one person leaves, or dies etc. Also, the underlying doctrine should be looked at as well. If that is off, then there won't be any confirmations or working of God's Spirit. The miracles of the early church did not happen unless the correct gospel was preached.

Pro 17:22 A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.

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beloved

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Aug 31 12 4:47 AM

You are so right Quasar. We have his assurance of peace in all things and the assurance of His coming again.

John 14:27
  Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.

servant, I complete agree. What a great post! You laid it all out in order so well.

There is one pastor, that I know, that seems to follow the same guide line you posted except when he invites his son (also a pastor of a large church) to speak. It is how to bring in new members with the emerging church ideas and is focused on how to raise money to build more churches. There is very little Scripture. Thank the Lord he is seldom invited to speak.

Our new pastor must have read your mind He is trying to implement, basically, the same things even though we are a small church. We do have 5 or 6 God fearing men that preach on Sunday mornings and teach Sunday School classes. The same amount of women take the burden of all social functions and many other jobs. Sunday night seems to be the time we actually inter-act with members that we know have problems or wanting answers they wouldn't ask any other time. That may be the beauty of a small congregation in a small town.

You have encouraged me to do more.

Romans 1:17, For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written:"The righteous will live by faith."

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quasar

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Aug 31 12 5:24 AM

The fact of the matter is, the LDS [Mormon] church is very much as you outlined, servant.  I am by no means Mormon, nor do I advocate anyone into becoming one.  Because they cling to teachings that never came from either Jesus or from the Bible.  However, I have Mormon in-laws, from the son and daughter of my late wife's, former marriage, and have attended their services, been in their tabernacle and church in Salt Lake City, as well as many very good Mormon friends.  They have no such thing as a designated pastor, but they all participate in the services by a different member taking the podium each week or whatever schedule they arrive at.  Then they discuss the meaning of the Bible lesson being studied as a group.

One of the major problems in the Christian churches today is the fact there are those who are alsways the leaders while the majority sit around and do nothing in genuinely participating in the whatever actions are taking place.


Quasar

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servant

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Aug 31 12 10:40 AM

I didn't know that about the Mormons. Have a friend that lives in Salt Lake who happens to be struggling with the traditions of the Catholic religion (sometimes a struggle is a good thing). Sometimes the Lord places us at the right place at the right time. Her and her family moved to Utah when she was in grade school. I remember her telling me that her mom would invite the Mormons in to tell them about her Catholic faith. That had to have been some heated discussions.

Pro 17:22 A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.

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