The Problem With An Atheist Pastor

The United Church of Canada has given their final decision that Gretta Vosper can remain in her position of minister of West Hill United Church, despite being an atheist.

Vosper had previously been found unsuitable for ministry by the UCC because of fundamental disagreement with their statement of faith. This new decision allows her to return to ministry.

I will say that I am open to disagreements about certain aspects of faith. One of the reasons that I am a Baptist is that we value diversity of faith on all secondary issues. But I would consider the lowest common denominator to at least be belief in God.

I am disappointed that Gretta Vosper will continue to be a pastor of what claims to be a Christian church.

This is not because I am intolerant or a bigot. I respect Vosper’s right to believe what she wants and I respect that West Hill is choosing to stand by their pastor. However, believing in God is a necessary part of being a pastor of a church.

I see it the same way as a leader of an atheist or humanist group who converts to Christianity. That person should step down because their beliefs are no longer consistent with the organization.

If Vosper wishes to remain in her role and if West Hill wants to keep her, it would make sense for them to separate from the UCC and to stop calling itself a church. Because if God is absent, then it has already stopped being a church in all but name.

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3 thoughts on “The Problem With An Atheist Pastor”

  1. If you read West Hill’s statement of faith, on their web page, there is no mention of them claiming to being a Christian church. It states, “With roots in the Judaeo-Christian tradition, we embrace theists, agnostics and atheists.”
    They are not Christians, as in the same document, there is no mention of God, Jesus Christ, or the Holy Spirit. It appears that their primary goal is to love others, which is good, but nowhere does it state that their love is to be directed to God.
    This says a lot about the United Church of Canada, as they allow this to take place in one of their own denominational churches. This is not a church, it’s a group that has been misled miserably.

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