Skip to comments.From Bible-Belt Pastor to Atheist Leader (Heroes of the Left Alert
Posted on 08/22/2012 3:14:56 PM PDT by mojito
Late one night in early May 2011, a preacher named Jerry DeWitt was lying in bed in DeRidder, La., when his phone rang. He picked it up and heard an anguished, familiar voice. It was Natosha Davis, a friend and parishioner in a church where DeWitt had preached for more than five years. Her brother had been in a bad motorcycle accident, she said, and he might not survive.
DeWitt knew what she wanted: for him to pray for her brother. It was the kind of call he had taken many times during his 25 years in the ministry. But now he found that the words would not come. He comforted her as best he could, but he couldnt bring himself to invoke Gods help. Sensing her disappointment, he put the phone down and found himself sobbing. He was 41 and had spent almost his entire life in or near DeRidder, a small town in the heart of the Bible Belt. All he had ever wanted was to be a comfort and a support to the people he grew up with, but now a divide stood between him and them. He could no longer hide his disbelief.....
As his wife slept, he fumbled through the darkness for his laptop. After a few quick searches with the terms pastor and atheist, he discovered that a cottage industry of atheist outreach groups had grown up in the past few years. Within days, he joined an online network called the Clergy Project, created for clerics who no longer believe in God and want to communicate anonymously....
DeWitt began e-mailing with dozens of fellow apostates every day and eventually joined another new network called Recovering From Religion, intended to help people extricate themselves from evangelical Christianity.
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
Well said, metmom.
If all this person wanted to do was to comfort people, he should have been a Wal-Mart greeter. That is not the aim of a Christian but is a result of being a Christian. His decline into atheism, assuming he won't repent, is simply because he was never a Christian in the first place.
>God and how He works cannot be reduced to a formula and we cannot force His hand no matter how much *faith* we work up within ourselves, or how much we are convinced that HE HAS to act in a certain way.<
Indeed, within given parameters God leaves such room that He cannot be boxed in as some do. The book of Acts makes that manifest.
Thank you! I was thinking the same thing. Now if he was a Muslim minister....
It's like the story of the husband and wife in the car. He's driving and she's sitting all the way over against the passenger side door. She looks at him and wistfully says, "Remember when we first got married, how close we used to sit?" "Well", he said, "I didn't move."
Amen! And it is a "hardening" that happens which means it is a gradual process. You don't go from exalting in joy in fellowship with your Creator and Savior one day and slip into unbelief the next. The life of faith is an ongoing one that is fed and nurtured just as any other relationship is. A husband and wife, who tend to their marriage through love and self-sacrifice will rarely, if ever, wake up the next day and want out - and that's human to human. We have a Heavenly Father who is always there, always faithful, always loving and always forgiving and, though we may not physically see His face, we see His grace and touch all around our lives. The walk of life, the race we run, is one of endurance through the good and the bad times assisted by God's grace through the presence of the Holy Spirit within us bearing witness with our spirit that we ARE the children of God.
Everyone goes through periods of self doubt - I would question the sincerity of someone's faith who say he hasn't ever weathered them. It is part of being finite, mortal human beings. But, a well-tended garden is one that grows more lush and beautiful as time goes by and being well-tended means that there has to be pruning, as well. Just as gold becomes more pure the more it is tempered with fire:
In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faithof greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls. (I Peter 1:6-9)
Marriage is a good analogy.
Backsliding reveals itself in an attitude of self-reliance or independence from the Lord. Isaiah 30:1 says, “’Woe to the rebellious children’ says the LORD, who take counsel, but not of (from) Me, and who devise plans, but not of (from) My Spirit, that they may add sin to sin.’”
In application: when we fail to resist temptation, when we become bold in doubtful areas, when we approve of things that formerly grieved us: — then we are backsliding! When Christian service becomes a burden, when we show no concern for the lost, when our prayer life and worship becomes a duty: — then we are backsliding! - http://peacebyjesus.witnesstoday.org/BACKSLIDING.html
Which i would add. When we do not walk in the fear of the Lord all the day long as we once did, in conscious dependance on Him and out of a desire to glorify God, in heartfelt appreciation for His mercy and grace, but taking such for granted, and chaffing at the yoke.
And when something created is out chief source of security and object of affection, then that is our god, at least at that time. Ouch.