I recently came across an article that was both shocking and humorous. In Oct. 4, 2016 The Salt Lake Tribune ran an article entitled “She is an atheist, but still an ordained minister in Canada-at least for now”. Rev. Gretta Vosper is an ordained minister in the United Church of Canada. The only problem is she is an outspoken atheist. In an interview Rev. Vosper said “We don’t’ talk about God, it’s time for the Church to give up the idolatry of theistic god”. What she hopes to do in her Church is to create a haven for nonbelievers “looking for a community that will help them create meaningful lives without God”. Rev. Vosper was ordained in 1993 and she openly came out as an atheist in 2013. Rev. Vosper claims the United Church of Canada has a tradition of pulling down barriers. The Church ordains women, embraces the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and performs same sex marriages. The denominations reaction to Ms. Vosper is, that she is not suitable to continue in an ordained ministry since she does not believe in God. They go on to say, that 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 doctrine of The United Church of Canada. If the Church declares her unsuitable, she’ll leave the Church.
They accuse Ms. Vosper of not recognizing the primacy of scriptures, what is shocking is how they view scriptures. They claim that the Bible is central to the United Church as a source of wisdom, personal prayer and devotion. The United Church performs the marriage of same sex couples and couples of different religions. They also have developed an immense body of policy related to social, political and ecological issues.
When a Church or denomination begins to wander away from the scripture as the sole source of faith and practice, they usually end up going much further away than they ever imagined. In my opinion this church is falling in a trap that was presented in the Garden of Eden by Satan.
Human beings were made to bear the image of God, to be like him. In the Garden, Satan offered Eve an alternative, if you eat of the fruit of this tree you will be like God, knowing good and evil. The temptation in the Garden was one of autonomy. Autonomy from God. If you will be able to decide for yourself what is good or bad why do you need God. You don’t need him to tell you what is good or bad, you can decide for yourself. We decided to be autonomous and choose for ourselves what is good or bad. The problem of humanity is that our logic is upside down, we just don’t know it. We decide based on our perception of good or bad and we base it on how it will benefit us or humanity at large. The sad truth is, what is best for us should be God centered not man centered. The United Church has embraced a human centered world view. They decide what is right in their own eyes and if scripture happens to agree with it, great, otherwise we part with scriptures. In this world view, it is God that bows to us, not us to God. In my understanding, this is humanistic not Christian. As far as Ms. Vosper is concerned, I think she lacks integrity. She likes the name and idea of the church without embracing what the Church stands for. If she does not believe that there is a God, she should go and start an atheistic group where everyone knows where this group is coming from. But to be in a “church” is dishonest. It will be interesting to see how this whole thing gets resolve.