Is God in Your Church?

Is God in Your Church?

An Atheist once asked a Pastor to prove that God is real. "Well that's easy," said the Pastor. "Just come to my church this Sunday and you'll experience his presence first-hand."

That Sunday, the Atheist visited the Pastor's church. He experienced a particularly powerful service. The worship was so moving that people were standing with their hands raised and on their knees crying. A woman returned from the hospital having been healed from cancer after many months of prayer. The sermon encouraged many people to slow down and enjoy life.

The Pastor was pleased to see that the Atheist was passionately singing along with the worship songs and raising his hands with the crowd. He was listening and taking notes during the sermon. He even put money into the plate when the offering was taken. After the service, the Pastor asked the Atheist what he thought. "It was amazing. I'm actually thinking of joining your church!" said the Atheist.

The Pastor was amazed! He invited him to the membership class later that afternoon. But first he wanted to know what had changed the Atheist's mind so quickly. "I saw you singing with your hands raised during the service. Did you experience God's presence in the worship?"

The Atheist answered, "No, but the music was really good! I get into the performance. This concert was especially great because it was free."

"Surely you were touched by God through my sermon then," said the Pastor. "God gave me the words to speak."

"Really?" questioned the Atheist. "You told stories about your family, quoted Bible scholars, and translated the Greek, but you didn't quote God once."

The Pastor answered, "We don't need to hear directly from God because he already gave us his complete revelation in the Bible. I studied the Bible for many years in seminary. I learned from the top minds in theology. I spent several weeks researching and preparing my sermon. I'm glad you were taking notes and I hope you were encouraged."

"I was! You gave exactly the same advice as my therapist last week about taking life slow and enjoying small moments. He also studied for many years. But my therapist doesn't believe in God," the Atheist responded.

"Then was it the woman healed of cancer that convinced you? We prayed for her for many months," said the Pastor.

"In her testimony, she said she was healed by six months of medical treatment, just like many other people who you don't pray for. It's a demonstration of the miracles of modern science, not a miracle of God."

The Pastor's confusion continued to grow about what could have possibly changed the Atheist's mind about God. "I saw you put money into the offering! It must have been God who prompted you to give."

The Atheist said, "I'm not sure if God recognizes your church, but I know the government does. That's why I get a tax write-off which is great. Plus, you said members only have to give ten percent of their income. That's a bargain compared to most other religions!"

The Pastor was perplexed. "Then what was it that convinced you that God was real?"

"Nothing. I don't believe God is real," answered the Atheist.

"If you don't believe God is real, then why would you want to join our church?" the dumbfounded Pastor asked.

The Atheist explained, "I want to join your church because it's an amazing organization. It's quite admirable how well you run things without God. It inspires me as an Atheist!"

Is God in your church? If he left, what would change? 


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