They are atheists

by | Jul 28, 2019 | Christianity Today | 21 comments

The young man of God who stood before me was in deep turmoil. He had heard a horror story of a minister who lived in obscene wealth, had several mistresses, and who told anyone who criticized him that God would kill them if they exposed him or left his church.

The young man wanted comfort, but I had none to give. I had to break it to him that this is sickeningly common. The vileness that is currently going on behind closed doors is worse than ever in the past. I get reports every day of people in pulpits living in depraved indifference.

The conditions today exceed what we saw in the evangelist scandals of the 1980s, and even the kind of cultic activity we saw with Jim Jones because it is starting to happen on a wide scale. We are watching the rise of many voices who blatantly believe they can do anything they want, and no one has the right to criticize them.

The young man turned to me and shouted “that man is demonic.”  I replied, “Son, he is worse than demonic—he is an atheist.”

It is true: that crooked preacher—that immoral church leader—is an atheist. Nothing else explains it.

The fact is, they do what they do because they believe there is no God. If there is no God, then they can go on with their evil lifestyles. Remember: an atheist cannot find God, for the same reason a burglar cannot find a policeman. This is the key to understanding this wickedness in the pulpit. Look at these verses:

Romans 3:13 “Their throat is an open tomb; with their tongues they have practiced deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips; 14 their mouth is full of cursing and bitterness. 15 Their feet are swift to shed blood; 16 destruction and misery are in their ways; 17 and the way of peace they have not known. 18 There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

The list of crimes is stated from the bad to the worst. It begins with deceit; then they are called snakes; then, in their mouths are nothing but curses and bitterness; then it escalates to violence and murder; then they are capable of nothing but destruction and despair; and finally, all they know is war, and none of their ways are ways of peace. But their ultimate crime is: they do not fear God. They are atheists. 

Many Christian leaders are under the influence of a virus–the love of money. I call it affluenza. Affluenza is addiction to money and lifestyle. This materialism is not to be confused with true prosperity or the balanced teaching of the word of faith where you teach that you are blessed to be a blessing.  The Bible teaches that God will prosper His own.

I am talking about greed. This greed pushes a preacher to put out a message that makes them money. There are even preachers who preach stern messages, even gloom and doom just to make money. They are not yet atheists but they are moving in that direction.

I believe that most atheists are actually agnostics. They can boast all they want to that they don’t believe in God, but most of them realize—and, if pressed, they will reluctantly admit—they have no proof that God does not exist. It is impossible to prove that negative. 

Press them even further and you will find their rants are tied to a hurt they have experienced, either in church, or a tragedy that wounded them. Many atheists are simply agnostics who are mad at God. But if you are mad at someone, you are acknowledging that the object of your anger exists.

The true atheist is experiencing a mental lapse. Franklin Graham said, “The Bible tells us in several places that only the fool says that God does not exist. “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God’” (Psalm 14:1). That Scripture is repeated verbatim in Psalm 53:1, and the same sentiment is expressed in numerous other biblical passages.”

Atheism removes the fear of the Lord. If there is even an iota of the suspicion that God does exist, it gives you pause before you do evil. But when that pause button is removed—and there is no longer any fear of God—you no longer fear what God will do about your evil.

That atheism is at the root of aggressive evil and arrogance is clearly seen in Psalm 73:8, “They scoff and speak wickedly concerning oppression; they speak loftily. 9 They set their mouth against the heavens, and their tongue walks arrogantly through the earth…11 and they say, “How does God know? Is there knowledge in the Most High?””

Here is the contradiction: an atheist looks at the sky and curses the God they say does not even exist, with total contempt. It is their final statement that is the heart of true atheism.  “Is there knowledge in the most High?” In other words, they are mocking God, saying, “This so called God of yours, doesn’t have a mind, and is devoid of knowledge.” This is simply saying, “No one is watching me.”

When that preacher seduces women, when they steal money from the sheep, when they live with no remorse over the glaring contradiction and hypocrisy of their lifestyles, it is because they believe there is no God. There is no fear of God before their eyes.

Entertainers like Bill Maher, theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, British professor Richard Dawkins, and others, have publicly promoted a brand of atheism that is openly hostile to Christians, but they are not they highest form of atheism.

True atheism has murdered millions in communist countries. True atheism is not a noble intellectual pragmatism. It is the ultimate foolishness. And, the ultimate version of this atheism is the false preacher.

The true atheist is evil enough to stand in a pulpit and claim they represent God—even as they live in total depravity. They steal money, saying, “No one is watching.”  They defile innocent people and say, “I have no Judge or Day of Reckoning.”

What is the end of the atheist pastor who has so shamed themselves as to be at risk of permanently losing the ability to feel conviction or to repent? Their end is an unutterable horror!

Psalm 73:18, Surely You set them in slippery places; You cast them down to destruction. 19 Oh, how they are brought to desolation, as in a moment! They are utterly consumed with terrors. 20 As a dream when one awakes, so, Lord, when You arise, You shall despise their outward appearance.”

Your destruction is like getting thrown out of a thirty story window. Special night terrors are reserved for you who pervert the ways of God. And to your utter horror, you will see the face of God. You will know the wrath of the Lamb.

“and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb.” (Revelation 6:16)


  1. Elizabeth Hall Coleman

    Mario, I still vividly remember hearing in 1987, your rehearsing of a wake up call to do a radio broadcast with an host who wanted your explanation of bad things happening to the godly: a life built on the rock.
    You coined the phrase I’ve long quoted about presumption, “…some were sent; others just went…”
    I saw you earlier this morning on Lance’s Utube interview…I hope he will look to you as a mentor. Your life steadfastly mirrors Jesus’s. May your exploits always be as a mighty man’s to the King. Blessings, Sir.

  2. scrnelso

    You are one of a very small group of Christian leaders with integrity and God inspired boldness who care enough to speak out against this in plain sight sin of the high profile “money changers” in our churches across our nation. Those who adorn themselves with high priced cars, homes, jets, and expensive trinkets will need to answer for their wickedness and selfishness ways. They have squandered and turned their backs on the teachings of Christ.

    I pray they would hear your voice and repent as they have led many astray.

    I appreciate your truth and ministry so much

    God Bless you

    S. Nelson

  3. Surfcourier

    Just maybe one of those “atheists” will be driving along the road to Fresno soon when some Invisible Force compels them to stop by the Tent Revival in progress, where they encounter the Mercies of God, hear a Word spoken directly to them by the Holy Ghost, and seized with conviction, run to the altar and cry out in true repentance.

  4. Patty Sullivan

    “Remember: an atheist cannot find God, for the same reason a burglar cannot find a policeman.” Also, there are people so bad they know they are not Christians but are saying Praise the Lord and pretending to be Christians. Those people are infiltrating the Church. What a wild day it will be when those Preachers and those liars in the pews face the wrath of God. It has been prophesied that they will start dropping dead again like in early days of the Church, Ananias and Sapphira come to mind of course. Great article. That sure explains a lot of what I have been seeing. I thought is was just once saved always saved license to do anything. But I think you are right. They are athiest, or rather agnostics. A form of religion but denying the power of God. But it shall come around them eventually that power, and woe unto them.

  5. Marilyn Benoit

    That sure does describe the “radical left” attacking the Man of God in the Whitehouse.

  6. Vanya Were

    Amen to that

  7. Michael Druckenmiller Sr

    The problem with atheists: Rom 3:18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

    And, because of that:
    As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” “Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit.” “The poison of vipers is on their lips.” “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.” “Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know.”

    Without some assurance of Justice, Divine or otherwise, their attributes proceed unchecked…

    And, they are ample and willing targets of satan’s “encouragement” to do evil because they do not believe there will ever be a price to pay.

    There’s a sermon here, but, I’ll spare everyone…

  8. Roger Culwell

    amen hardly anyone today fears God, a woman last night on a video down played the fear of the Lord, to it was nothing God does not punish, these POB believe and teach this, they have no fear of the Lord, they do what they do thinking there is no literal hell, nothing to be afraid of, and they serve fallen angels, who set them selves up as gods, we have a mess in the church, and its hard to fight all these people claiming there Gods, and so full of love yeah I feel it everytime I start doing warfare and go to sleep they attack like cowards in the night, oh they are trying kill you, but they love you, WHAT PLANET DID YOU COME FROM, UNILOVE OR SOMETHING ITS JUST CRAZY, and there is another plan when these get exposed, its some who are real close to preaching the truth, with strange fire, they can all most hide Jezebel well can from most, but if you listen close you will catch it, Jezey all ways wants control, we must get the Holy Spirit and fire back.

    • Desertstream

      Amen Bro Roger, good to see ya, man of God

  9. Gloria

    Why, doesn’t anyone tell us who these ministers are?

    • Francisco

      Perhaps, the total number would be staggering, Gloria

      • Gloria


  10. Carolina

    Could it be that these Mario spoke of here today are the leaders of the “apostasy” also called “rebellion”, that AP-Paul told us about in 2 Thessalonians 2: 3,?
    Verse 4 goes onto say, “He opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship so that he sits in God’s sanctuary publicizing that he himself is God.” (HCSB)

  11. Wesley Buel

    2 Corinthians 11:12-14 Amplified Bible (AMP)
    12 But what I am doing I will keep doing, [for I am determined to keep this independence] in order to cut off the claim of those who want an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the things they brag about. 13 For such men are counterfeit apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, since Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light., i learned a few new things after reading your message Mario, wow! atheist preachers in leadership.nothing new under the sun. Jer.23/ Ezek.34/ and Matt .23 . thank you

  12. Noel

    Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

  13. Mark Stripling

    So many things beyond understanding. * I need a 56 million dollar airplane so I can fly anywhere without refueling. * Send in a seed offering NOW, to me, so your house can be paid off and your debts cancelled. * Send me an offering and you get a “prophets reward” for doing so. *Send me a “vow” so that a healing miracle can be released to you.” In my thoughts, only Jesus himself has the authority to grant miracles and provisions. I do not have to “go through” some preacher to access the riches of God in Christ Jesus. Do any of these folks, in their own hearts and minds, when they go to bed at night, say “I know all I’m doing is preying on folks in a crisis to make myself wealthy through empty promises I have no power to back up.” Some tv preachers rake in over 20 million a year in income, but it is never enough. Anyone can inflate their own self importance to the Kingdom of God to the place that they feel they “deserve” all the wealth that comes their way. I can only hope that, if they are truly dishonest shysters and they know it, that the Holy Spirit breaks through to them. Proverbs 21:2, “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the hearts.” And I place my opinion expressed here before the Lord in fear and trembling, because it is ultimately Him who will weigh these preachers hearts, as he will mine also!

  14. kingskid48

    I had never thought of it that way or seen it in that light, that false/greedy, “preachers”, are actually atheists in disguise. That explains a lot. That explains how satan uses them to embarrass and humiliate the Body of Christ. They are “wandering stars, for whom the blackness of darkness is reserved forever”.

  15. Shoshanna

    I was at the Mall one afternoon in the 80’s, a lady I knew from church called me into a jewelry store to see her engagement ring, and tell me of her wedding plans. The Doctor she was claiming had never asked her out for coffee let alone to marry him, and the poor thing even had her dress picked out plus the cake.
    The teacher that started it all just bought his 3rd jet and its reported he is worth 600 to 700 million. As long as Christianity remains a Billion dollar industry, con artist preachers will be trying to hit the jackpot.
    It would help if Christians knew their Bible, and looked for relievable minsters.

  16. Michael

    Shouldn’t we all be fully equipped by now ready to do every kind of good work, operating in all the gifts of the spirit and all the fruit of the spirit? I have never come away from a church service where I was taught or encouraged to develop gifts or fruits. Most church services are all about the sermon which mostly is lacking in any miracles or wisdom. Head knowledge tickles the ear for a moment but within an hour it fades. Not sure where to go from here. All I know for sure is that my Heavenly Father is well pleased with me and gives me joy in his presence and I want others to know this great experience of joy. Chasing the church pyramid scheme of the leaders verses the laity leads you only so close to the Father. Where do we go from here?



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