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(moved) United Church of Canada responds to atheist minister

Discussion in 'Current News & Events' started by redleghunter, Jan 25, 2016.

  1. No, clearly this against the church statement of faith

    16 vote(s)
    80.0%
  2. Yes, she should stay as the UCC is under government regulation

    4 vote(s)
    20.0%
  1. redleghunter

    redleghunter Abide Boldy my friend Supporter

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    United Church of Canada responds to atheist minister

    By
    Allison Barron ChristianWeek Correspondent | September 2, 2015


    TORONTO, ON—An ordained minister of the United Church of Canada (UCC) recently stated that she believes in neither God nor the Bible. Gretta Vosper, minister of West Hill United Church, says that how you live is more important than what you believe.

    “The belief that the Bible is the authoritative word of God is one such presupposition that must be let go if we are going to seek the truth,” Vosper writes in her book, With or Without God: Why the Way We Live Is More Important Than What We Believe.

    The majority of her congregation supported her views until a decision to remove the Lord’s Prayer from the service in 2008 prompted two thirds of the congregation to leave. The remaining members of the congregation support her.

    David W. Allen, Executive Secretary of the Toronto Conference of the UCC, says there is no single reaction to what Vosper is saying, either within the UCC or outside of it.

    “Some people find her refreshing and candid, and have expressed appreciation for the care they have received from her and the West Hill United Church congregation,” says Allen. “Others, though, have expressed serious doubts about how a minister can say some of the things she says about God and Jesus, and still function as a minister within the church.”

    Allen recognizes that this is a stressful time for Vosper and many others—no matter where they stand on what she says. He encourages those who are invested in the matter to maintain thoughts and/or prayers for Vosper and also for the United Church of Canada.

    “My hope is that at the end of the process, we’ll have a good reason for maintaining her as a minister – or we’ll have a good reason for saying she is not to continue in that role,” says Allen. “What we have not done is to pre-judge the outcome and we, like many others, await the recommendations that will eventually come to us.”

    The Toronto Conference initiated a review of Vosper, which she has appealed using the process outlined by the UCC’s General Secretary. The Toronto Conference has suspended the review until the results of the appeal are known, anticipating the outcome sometime this fall.

    http://www.christianweek.org/united-church-of-canada-responds-to-atheist-minister/
     
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  2. redleghunter

    redleghunter Abide Boldy my friend Supporter

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    For those interested, the statement of faith for the UCC does have God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit at the beginning of the statement.

    Edit add SoF: http://www.united-church.ca/history/overview/webelieve

    So why there is a debate on whether or not an atheist can be a member let alone a minister in the UCC is a bit odd.

    Unless someone has a reference where the UCC has recanted believing in God as a requirement for ordination or baptism?


    If not.....

    everybody-is-going-there.gif
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2016
  3. xpower

    xpower Newbie Supporter

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    She should be removed from being a minister.
     
  4. ViaCrucis

    ViaCrucis Evangelical Catholic of the Augsburg Confession

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    I think it's disingenuous to present oneself as a minister of Christ and His Gospel if one believes in neither. I think it is intellectually dishonest to continue acting in the office of minister of a Christian Church if one, quite admittedly, is an atheist or otherwise does not subscribe to at the very least the most rudimentary form of a Christian creed. By definition a Christian is one who believes in and/or follows Jesus the Christ. If one does not believe Jesus is the Christ, then calling oneself a Christian is either dishonest or redefining words to the point of meaninglessness.

    It seems to me that she would probably fit in a lot better being part of the UU, or joining a similar group. I also think that would be the responsible thing to do.

    -CryptoLutheran
     
  5. SnowyMacie

    SnowyMacie Well-Known Member

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    We sometimes wondered how many of our Bible professors actually believed in Christianity or just in the morals of Christianity and being a Christian.
     
  6. ViaCrucis

    ViaCrucis Evangelical Catholic of the Augsburg Confession

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    If a professor is teaching the Bible on an academic level, I don't know that I'd have a huge problem if they weren't a believer themselves. Academically one doesn't need to be a Christian to teach basic historical and exegetical facts about the Bible; though if one is an ordained minister of the Gospel, not believing in said Gospel is sort of a problem. Not that one couldn't, technically, do it--we should be wary of the tendency toward Donatism or Novationism that preaching and the Sacraments are dependent upon the sanctity or validity of the clergy themselves, the efficacy of these are on God's word, not the one officiating. Baptism remains Baptism even if administered by an atheist, a Buddhist monk, or Joe down the street who runs his own auto repair shop who simply has never thought about religion in any way at all.

    It's really a matter of being responsible in the case of a minister who turns out they don't believe at all, and/or ecclesiastical discipline if necessary.

    -CryptoLutheran
     
  7. classicalhero

    classicalhero Junior Member

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    Well if you are a Christian you should be a follower of Christ. You can't be one if you don't follow Christ. Is that pretty simple?
     
  8. redleghunter

    redleghunter Abide Boldy my friend Supporter

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    I just added a poll if anyone is interested.
     
  9. redleghunter

    redleghunter Abide Boldy my friend Supporter

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    LOL. Yeah those grand inquisitors are all over the place in the US. /sarc

    We have people joining and leaving churches in the US every year. If some pastor or professor is biting their tongue and not leaving that probably means they like the income and power/prestige.
     
  10. redleghunter

    redleghunter Abide Boldy my friend Supporter

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  11. Blondepudding

    Blondepudding Who Sprinkled You With Grumpy Dust?

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    Intense gif if I do say so.

    I looked up the UCoC Faith Statement.

    I. God
    We believe in God, the eternal personal Spirit, Creator and Upholder of all things.

    We believe that God, as sovereign Lord exalted above the world, orders and overrules all things in it to the accomplishment of His holy, wise, and good purposes.

    We believe that God made man to love and serve Him; that He cares for him as a righteous and compassionate Father; and that nothing can either quench His love or finally defeat His gracious purpose for man.

    So we acknowledge God as Creator, Upholder, and Sovereign Lord of all things, and the righteous and loving Father of men.


    How would a former minister who now, per the very meaning of apostate, retain the trust of her congregation? She's violating the statement of faith of the church if she is permitted to retain her now renounced ministerial credentials to serve the church.
    I'd think the SoF is the same as a contract. And now with this revelation, no pun intended, she's in breach.
     
  12. redleghunter

    redleghunter Abide Boldy my friend Supporter

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    Obviously not to this minister nor the church who has kept her in that position for 7 years now.

    The UCC has a statement of faith which invokes God.

    Perhaps some government anti-discrimination law is preventing removal. Canada does not have the free exercise of religion as in the US. I believe government heavily regulates what the churches can and cannot do.
     
  13. redleghunter

    redleghunter Abide Boldy my friend Supporter

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    Perhaps she believes she is enlightened and knows better than the church and their statement of belief. Would not surprise me. This article sheds light on her hubris:

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news...d-churchs-effort-to-fire-her/article25849312/

    More here:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry...-a-church-hearing_us_55c42c34e4b0923c12bc68c4
     
  14. ViaCrucis

    ViaCrucis Evangelical Catholic of the Augsburg Confession

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    Not necessarily. Social pressure and stigma are legitimate issues. A pastor or anyone in some position leadership who has lost faith may have legitimate fears about letting that information become public. It might be that the church is the only real social community they are really a part of, and potentially losing an entire community of friends and family is hardly a small issue. To what degree this might happen largely depends on the sort of church we're talking about, and what sort of community it is, both the smaller church community as well as possibly the larger civil community.

    I've never lived in nor have I visited the American Bible Belt, but I've certainly heard plenty of stories from people who came out as non-religious or atheist, or who otherwise don't conform to the general Christian milieu. The reality is that in some places coming out as a non-believer, even for just a lay-person, can be a serious issue that can radically change the dynamics of the person's life, including how they are treated and may end up losing close friends or even have family turn on them. Those things really do happen and it's absolutely tragic.

    Depending on the sort of religious environment, coming out as an atheist can have almost as many negative consequences socially as coming out as gay. Too many churches function as fortresses of sub-cultural conformity, rather than acting as sanctuaries of respite and compassion.

    -CryptoLutheran
     
  15. JackRT

    JackRT Trump supporter waking up ... Supporter

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    A great many!
     
  16. Blondepudding

    Blondepudding Who Sprinkled You With Grumpy Dust?

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    The first article source says between 100 and 150 congregants left the church when it did away with the Lord's prayer years ago. Now this woman expects to remain in a post as a minister when she's not a believer in what she's doing in that capacity.
    She is no longer qualified for the job. Maybe she didn't think her new found atheism would cost her her job as a minster of what she now says doesn't exist. That's shortsighted even peripherally. She can fight but I'll wager she'll lose. As she should.


     
  17. Eryk

    Eryk Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Preachers Who Don't Believe

    http://www.tufts.edu/alumni/magazine/fall2010/features/pastorssecret.html

    "With all the mental gymnastics they perform to carry out their duties, it may seem puzzling that these preachers don’t just leave. But they all have their reasons for staying, and for most it is a combination of perceived duties to their families and financial necessity."
     
  18. Job8

    Job8 Senior Member

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    Well, as a matter of fact, she should never have been allowed to be a minister in the first place. But the UCC departed from Bible truth about 100 years ago. This is just icing on the cake.
     
  19. redleghunter

    redleghunter Abide Boldy my friend Supporter

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    Very good you are UCC. Do you have more detailed information on this minister and the case?
     
  20. redleghunter

    redleghunter Abide Boldy my friend Supporter

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    Seems the motivation for this UCC minister is she does not want to let go of her congregation even though she is leading it astray.
     
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