Atheist Presbyterian preacher believes God is optional

by Vanessa Garcia Rodriguez, |
Southminster Presbyterian Church in Beaverton, Oregon, describes itself as an open and welcoming community that is part of the Presbyterian Church (USA), and members of the More Light consortium of Presbyterian Churches. | FACEBOOK/Southminster Presbyterian Church

EAVERTON, Ore. (Christian Examiner) -- An Oregon minister who believes God is optional and kind of "shorthand" for "the universe" is crusading for a "belief-less" sect of Christianity.

John Shuck, a Presbyterian USA minister, bellowed about his critics in a March 17 blog post on the Friendly Atheist. " I don't appreciate being told that I'm not truly a Christian," he said, claiming he is not alone in his unbelieving ways.

The self-identified Christian first denounced the foundational concepts of Christianity on his blog in June 2011 in which he argued against the existence of heaven and hell, rebuked the need for salvation and discredited Christ as the Son of God.

"Belief-less Christianity is thriving right now, even as other forms of the faith are falling away rapidly," he wrote in his most recent controversial post. "Many liberal or progressive Christians have already let go or de-emphasized belief in Heaven, that the Bible is literally true, that Jesus is supernatural, and that Christianity is the only way. Yet they still practice what they call Christianity," 

Shuck claims to recognize the contradictory nature of his "belief-less" system.

"Can a belief-less Christianity really survive if God isn't in the picture? Can you even call that Christianity anymore? In theory, yes. In practice, it is a challenge," he asked and answered. He claims the reason is because "belief in God" seems "intractable."

Several ministers have come out against Shuck's stance. The Christian News Network reported the leader of New Jersey's Striving for Eternity Ministries Andrew Rappaport refuted Shuck's claims by referencing Scripture.

"Mr. Schuck proves that he knows very little about Christianity," Andrew Rappaport of Striving for Eternity Ministries in Jackson, N.J. told Christian News Network. "He talks about 'belief-less Christianity' thriving. But what defines a Christian is specifically stated as a belief that Jesus Christ is God (Romans 10:9–10). Therefore, it is impossible to have a belief-less Christianity."

Jennifer LeClaire, senior editor of the Christian news magazine Charisma. and director of Awakening House of Prayer in Fort Lauderdale, Florida wrote an op-ed piece in Charisma stating Shuck's views are "perverting God's word."

"We're seeing prominent pastors and entire denominations perverting God's Word, twisting it to defend and justify perversion itself and suggesting the rest of us are legalistic or unenlightened about the truth. It may have started with the gay marriage doctrine but it won't end there. Shuck, a Presbyterian minister who doesn't believe in God, is one more proof point."