Can a Pastor in a Church Be an Atheist?

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In the Netherlands the answer is yes. Reverend Klass Hendrikse is a priest in the Protestant Church in the Netherlands and believes that God is not supernatural. In a recent BBC article, he states the following:

When it [God] happens, it happens down to earth, between you and me, between people, that's where it can happen. God is not a being at all... it's a word for experience, or human experience.
Rev. Hendriske even wrote a book entitled, Believing in a Non-Existent God. What a paradox! He is not alone in his beliefs, as the BBC article shared:
A study by the Free University of Amsterdam found that one-in-six clergy in the PKN (Protestant Church in the Netherlands) and six other smaller denominations was either agnostic or atheist.
The idea of replacing the God of the Bible with “god” being people and their interactions is becoming common. A few days ago I watched a clip of a young man who had survived cancer and decided that his god/religion is the Internet and the people who interact with each other on it. I couldn’t help but think about how upset people get when Internet access at their home or work becomes unavailable. Many people, including Christians, think nothing of spending hours each day on Facebook and other social networking sites, while spending precious little time reading their Bible and praying. For how many of us has the Internet and our interactions with others on it become our god too?

A member of the church where Rev. Hendriske preaches said, “I think it’s very liberating. [Klaas Hendrikse] is using the Bible in a metaphorical way so I can bring it to my own way of thinking, my own way of doing.” Another member adds, “Here you can believe what you want to think for yourself, what you really feel and believe is true.”

Once again we see people putting their own authority above God and His Word. Many people believe that in order for Christianity to survive it must be made more palatable to be accepted in a postmodern world. It seems the only idea that is not accepted or tolerated is Christianity that claims there is only one way, one truth, and one life. (John 14:6)

Another supporter of what I term “atheistic christianity” (talk about oxymorons!) stated this:

The Church has to be alert to what is going on in society," he says. "It has to change to stay Christian. You can't preach heaven in the same way today as you did 2,000 years ago, and we have to think again what it is. We can use the same words and say something totally different.
But if it changes can we still call it Christianity? The answer is no! If we strip Christianity of its core concepts—such as the existence of a personal, omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent God and salvation by grace through Jesus Christ alone—then it isn’t Christianity. Look at what Paul stated in 1 Corinthians 15:1–2:
Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.
A city official in the Netherlands, Syste de Jong, agrees with Paul:
When we get people into the Church by throwing Jesus Christ out of the Church, then we lose the core of Christianity. Then we are not reforming the institutions and attitudes but the core of our message.
Exactly. When we throw out Jesus Christ, it becomes man-made christianity, not biblical Christianity. It becomes the arbitrary, errant opinion of man versus the definitive, inerrant Word of God. I encourage you to read the whole BBC article and listen to the short videos of interviews with Rev. Hendriske and church members. Also, be sure to get a copy of our newest book, How Do We Know the Bible is True? and be equipped to defend your faith in our postmodern world.

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