This blog is the combined effort of four senior pastors of different churches. Their desire is to point you toward living a God-centered, gospel-focused, Christian life.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Pastors Who Don't Believe

I think you’d be hard-pressed to find a more tragic website than

The Clergy Project, according to the website, “is a confidential online community for active and former clergy who do not hold supernatural beliefs.” In other words, it’s a community for pastors who no longer believe in God.

On the website, you can find testimonials from pastors who have abandoned the faith but not had the courage to admit it. You can discover a network of pastors who share your beliefs—or, if you prefer, your unbeliefs. You can even receive financial assistance as you transfer out of the community of faith.

As I looked through the website, several “feelings” struck me.

First, I feel pain for those who are struggling in their faith. There are genuine believers who wrestle with difficult questions regarding God and His character. Sometimes our questions are legitimate questions—faith seeking understanding. At other times our questions are borne not from a heart of love for God but from a heart that struggles with the sin of unbelief.

In either case, as we come alongside brothers and sisters who are doubting, our responsibility is clear. We are to aid those who are weak. As the writer of Hebrews says:

Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed (Heb 12:12-13).

Second, I feel sorrow that this website is the resource to which many of those who are doubting turn. It is clearly antagonistic to the gospel of Christ. It encourages pastors to “move beyond faith.” The website preys upon pastors at their weakest moments.

When a pastor comes to a severe crisis of faith it is time for him to leave the ministry. He no longer meets the requirement of an elder. Pastors can struggle with doubts at times and labor over tough questions. But when a pastor persists in doubts or comes to conclusions that are contrary to the faith he no longer can be said to be “holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict” (Titus 1:9).

Third, I feel concern for the flocks at which these pastors minister. While some pastors are struggling with their faith, others have abandoned it yet continue to minister for financial or other reasons. There are those in the church who know they have no business being there. They are those who “have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly person who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ” (Jude 4).

The existence of this website should be a sobering reminder for all of us. Pray for the church of Jesus Christ. Pray for her pastors. Pray for her flock. Pray for a faith that perseveres until His return.

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