Infidels in the Pulpit

Cecil Willis
Marion, Indiana

The most of the pulpits in America are filled with infidels. All infidel is "one that does not believe; an unbeliever in respect to a particular religion." I am completely aware of the fact that most people will think my assertion to be extreme and unwarranted. Yet most of the people who fill the pews in church in this land do not know what the men who fill the pulpits really believe. In tact, they would be shocked to know what the men who fill the pulpits actually believe, and more importantly, disbelieve.

Sometime ago I participated in a discussion with a Methodist preacher who taught at Marion College. Early in the discussion he attempted to defend the evolutionary theory, which was not too startling, since most sectarian preachers believe in evolution. But it was not long until the course of the discussion had caused him to assert that he did not believe in verbal inspiration. He said the Bible was only inspired like the great literary pieces written by man are inspiring. He believed the Bible had many errors in it.

Before the evening was over, he had said he did not believe in the virgin birth. He said he believed that Jesus had an earthly father as well as an earthly mother, though he ventured no guess as to who his earthly father was. Furthermore, he said he did not believe the miracles recorded in the Bible actually occurred. He also stated that he did not believe that the body of Jesus actually was raised from the tomb. He said he believed it could have been, but that he did not believe it was.

One wonders why such a man spends his time in preaching. Furthermore, one wonders how such a man could teach in a Wesleyan Methodist College. The Wesleyan Creed book says, "These Scriptures we do hold to be the inspired and infallibly written Word of God, fully inerrant in their original manuscript and superior to all human authority." (p. 11).

But this one teacher in one sectarian college is no exception to the general condition prevailing among sectarian preachers. In 1967 the Hadden survey of denominational preachers revealed that most of them are infidels. On a series of specific propositions, the Hadden survey revealed the percentage of preachers who believed the proposition.

On the proposition, "Scriptures are the inspired and inerrant Word of God not only in matters of faith but also in historical, geographical and other secular matters", affirmative answers were given by 33 percent of the preachers in the American Baptist church, Episcopalian 5 percent, Methodist 13 percent and Presbyterian 12 percent.

In a recent speech given before the Southern Baptist Convention, "Dr. Pinnock, theology professor from New Orleans," said "while many Baptist pastors hold to the idea of Biblical infallibility, 'the percentage of our professors who do is very small. "

On the statement, "I believe that the virgin birth of Jesus was a biological miracle", the percentages were: American Baptist--56 percent; Episcopalian--56 percent; Methodist--40 percent; Presbyterian--51 percent. On the resurrection this proposition was worded: "I accept Jesus' physical resurrection as an objective historical fact in the same sense that Lincoln's physical death was a historical fact." The percentages who answered affirmatively were: American Baptist--67 percent; Episcopalian--70 percent; Methodist--49 percent; and Presbyterian--65 percent.

Another proposition surveyed was "I believe in a divine judgment after death where some shall be rewarded and others punished." The affirmative answers were in these percentages: American Baptist--71 percent; Episcopalian--55 percent; Methodist--52 percent; and Presbyterian--57 percent. On another statement, "Adam and Eve were individual historical persons", the percentages were: American Baptist--45 percent; Episcopalian--3 percent; Methodist--18 percent; and Presbyterian--16 percent. (These figures were published in the July-August, 1967 issue of Trans-Action.

These figures indicate that two out of every three Baptist preachers do not believe that the "Scriptures are the inspired and inerrant Word of God." But nearly nine out of every ten Methodist and Presbyterian preachers deny that the "Scriptures are the inspired and inerrant Word of God." And only one out of every twenty Episcopalian preachers believe the "Scriptures are the inspired and inerrant Word of God." Now do you see why I asserted in the beginning of this article that most of the pulpits in this land are filled by infidels? If Jesus was not born of a virgin, he was just an ordinary man. If he was not raised from the dead, our hope rests on a myth, and we have hoped in vain (1 Cor. 15:1-10).

It probably would be a great help in converting sectarian people if their preachers would directly state what they believe. Instead, they continue to deceive the people as "Wolves" in "sheep's clothing" (Matt. 7: 15L These preachers only reveal their infidelity when they can do so through the anonymity of a religious poll. But the polls show that the majority of the pulpits in America are filled by infidels.


May 28, 1970