The fact that this church even feels the need to hold a hearing on this matter is an indication of how hopelessly converged it is. And in answer to the question posed by the headline, no, an atheist cannot lead a Christian church:
The Rev. Gretta Vosper is a dynamic, activist minister with a loyal following at her Protestant congregation in suburban Toronto. She is also an outspoken atheist.
“We don’t talk about God,” Vosper said in an interview, describing services at her West Hill United Church, adding that it’s time the church gave up on “the idolatry of a theistic god.”
Vosper’s decision to reject God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit and to turn her church into a haven for nonbelievers “looking for a community that will help them create meaningful lives without God” has become too much even for the liberal-minded United Church of Canada.
The United Church, the country’s largest Protestant denomination, has begun an extraordinary process that could end up stripping Vosper of her rights to continue as a minister. Last week, a special committee of the Toronto Conference of the United Church requested that a formal hearing be convened by the General Council of the United Church to determine her fate as a minister. That followed a review of Vosper’s actions by a separate committee.
“In our opinion, she is not suitable to continue in ordained ministry because she does not believe in God, Jesus Christ or the Holy Spirit. Ms. Vosper does not recognize the primacy of scripture, she will not conduct the sacraments, and she is no longer in essential agreement with the statement of doctrine of The United Church of Canada,” the committee said in a report released recently….
Like other mainstream denominations, the United Church of Canada, founded in 1925 as a merger of several denominations, has seen its numbers fall sharply in recent years. It reported having 436,292 members at the end of 2014, less than half the 1,063,951 it had at its peak in 1964. But a spokeswoman notes that the Canadian census of 2011, which has a broader definition, counted more than 2 million “adherents” of the United Church.
“It’s become a question of the church’s public integrity,” the Rev. Don Schweitzer, a professor of theology at St. Andrew’s College in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and editor of a history of the United Church, said of the dispute with Vosper. “It’s tough on the United Church because we’ve created this mantra of inclusiveness and now it’s been tested. It goes against the grain to tell somebody that you have to leave.”
Inclusivity and tolerance are NOT Christian principles. They are quite literally the opposite of Christian principles. They are social justice principles, which is to say, they are among the many principles acceptable to Hell.
The Devil is most inclusive and extraordinarily tolerant. You can do whatever you want, whenever you want, to whomever you want. And all it will cost you is your soul.