Friday, April 3, 2009

Truth in advertising

Touchstone recently published a report from Ecumenical News International about the decision of Protestant church authorities in the Netherlands not to discipline a pastor who is a self-declared atheist:
Hendrikse gained attention with his book published in November 2007, in which he said that it was not necessary to believe in God's existence in order to believe in "God". The Dutch title of the book translates as, "Believing in a God who does not exist: manifesto of an atheist pastor".

In his book, Hendrikse recounts how his conviction that God does not exist has become stronger over the years.

"The non-existence of God is for me not an obstacle but a precondition to believing in God. I am an atheist believer," Hendrikse writes in the book. "God is for me not a being but a word for what can happen between people. Someone says to you, for example, 'I will not abandon you', and then makes those words come true. It would be perfectly alright to call that [relationship] God."
At least he is honest about what he believes — his superiors, though, seem very confused about their responsibilities. Episcopalians in this country have demonstrated, somewhat surprisingly, that they have limits:
Bishop Geralyn Wolf of the Episcopal Diocese of Rhode Island deposed Ann Holmes Redding, citing abandonment of Communion of The Episcopal Church.

Although Wolf has described Redding as a "woman of utmost integrity," the bishop said she "believes that a priest of the Church cannot be both a Christian and a Muslim," according to a statement by the Rhode Island diocese. ....

An ordained minister in The Episcopal Church for over two decades, Redding made headlines in 2007 when she told the Seattle Times she was "100 percent" Muslim and Christian. Her story was first revealed in the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia's newspaper, the Episcopal Voice. ....

Convinced that her new Muslim faith did not contradict her beliefs as a Christ follower, Redding declared she was both a Muslim and a Christian.

"Both religions say there's only one God," Redding said, according to CNN, "and that God is the same God. It's very clear we are talking about the same God! So I haven't shifted my allegiance."

She also said she does not believe that God and Jesus are the same and believes Jesus is divine just as all humans are divine. .... [more]

Unlike the Dutch "pastor" she does at least believe in God, although her deficient understanding of who Jesus was [and is] marks her as no more a Christian than he is.

Update: And Christian priests who are Druids?

Touchstone Magazine - Mere Comments: Church OK With Atheist Pastor, Episcopal Priest Defrocked After Refusing to Recant Muslim Faith|

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