In a post at blog Makarios (http://makarios-makarios.blogspot.com/2009/09/inquisition.html)
I talked about how the crusades and the inquisitions could never be justified by Jesus’ teaching, and in fact Jesus taught specifically about NOT doing things like that.
In the parable that I referred to (Matthew 13:24-30) Jesus said that every congregation in the world will have people like John Loftus and Bart Ehrman and many if not most of the atheists who hang around here attending at one time or another. Pretenders, frauds, hangers-on, hypocrites, tares.
Tares are plants that, in the early stages of growth look almost exactly like wheat. Only when they are mature and not able to hide their true selves any more is the reality of the situation known. Tares, like John Loftus and Bart Ehrman and a whole bunch of present day atheists were and are in every congregation. They look and sound - at least in the early stages - like real Christians. They have great sounding testimonies. They sing and pray like they mean it. They may lead interesting and knowledgeable Bible studies. They may even stand in the pulpit and preach sermons that are used by the Holy Spirit to lead others to salvation. They seem just like genuine believers.
They aren’t. Their lives are a sham. While sounding like people who are close to Jesus in thought, word and deed, these people remain unregenerate sinners. Only with time does their true nature show. In time they abandon the faith and completely embrace another doctrine or heresy or completely give themselves over to some sinful lifestyle.
The fact is, true followers of Jesus are not the majority of any group, not even those who attend Church. For the majority, if not outright tares, they are people who simply use Jesus as an accessory to their normal lifestyle. Phoney Christians and pretenders of all stripes have been and will be with us till the end of time. There is no point in getting overly excited about this. It’s just one of the realities of Church life.
“They left us, but they were never really with us. If they had been, they would have stuck it out with us, loyal to the end. In leaving, they showed their true colours, showed they never did belong. 1st John 2:19