"3. You choose a mate based solely on mutual attraction. Based on my pastoral observation, I have seen countless Christians marry a person merely because of an emotional or physical attraction. Although God can work through any marital situation (Rom. 8:28), making a decision like this is no different than an atheist who will also choose a mate merely on emotional and physical attraction. I believe God uses the way He has wired us emotionally, physically and spiritually, for example, I would never council a person to marry a person to which they were not physically attracted However, at the end of the day, God has a specific spouse who matches your calling and destiny, which comes from being led by the Spirit and hearing from God. To be fair, I have seen many married couples come to Christ whom God brought together even though they were not believers, but after you are saved, much more is required of you regarding decision-making." -- Joseph Mattera
A spouse who matches your calling and destiny? Put down Jeremiah Chapter 29 and slowly walk away. The truly sad thing is this is a real point to be made but Mattera misses it. Instead of misusing Romans 8:28, he should have went to the scripture that flat out says do not be unequally yoked. That is the real problem. Many Christians settle. I understand the struggle as a single Christian. The church does a pitiful job of ministering to single Christians and that does not help either. The truth however is that if you marry someone who does not share your beliefs they will ultimately lead you away from Christ. I do need to note again the foundational premise is simply beating the sheep. I know people who made the decision to marry someone who did not share their beliefs and to call them a functional atheist is cruel and unfair. They were lonely and made a poor decision. God however can still make something out of that poor decision.
"4. You have no consistent communion with God. Any believer who does not seek the Lord regularly, aiming to be in continual communion with Him, is living like a functional atheist. Moses said to the Lord, "If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here" (Ex. 33:15). Being in communion with the Spirit and being led by Him continually is a staple of normal Christianity (Rom. 8:14; Eph. 5:15-18). Believers who continually fill their lives with activities bereft of seeking Him behave like functional atheists." -- Joseph Mattera
I bristle at the use of a singular verse from the Exodus to create whole doctrine but will bypass that point for the more simple issue here. Mattera seems to overly spiritualize this point and people without discernment could easily mistake what he is saying. We are to be led in what we do by God. Our faith should not only inform our lives but guide it. That is accomplished through reading His Word and through prayer. The Spirit will lead us into all truth within the Word and intercede for us in prayer. The notion of "continual communion" sounds like what one might hear at IHOP or Bethel. A pastor might be able to live in a Christian bubble but the rest of us have to live and work in this world. I also do not know how he leaped to "activities bereft of seeking Him." That is very disturbing. Does Mattera have a family? Take vacations? You cannot lay this level of legalism on believers. It is unfair and not accomplishable. Perhaps this item was just written poorly.
"5. Scripture does not inform your worldview. Every election season it amazes me the unbiblical policies and candidates some believers support. It is obvious to me that they are primarily informed by secular humanism and don't understand how to integrate their private faith with public policy. Those who are not informed by Scripture regarding their world and life views are functional atheists in this area." -- Joseph Mattera
Now we see the effect of Charisma News on Mattera. This is straight up NAR nonsense that constantly drives sheep out of the sheepfold. We are not of this world beloved. We are citizens of heaven. We are not supposed to inform culture but save people from it. The shining city on the hill shines because it stands out not because it picks a carnal side. Neither party cares for the cause of Christ which means the best you can do is guess the lesser of two evils. To then go out and defend that evil as if it were righteous? That is a problem far worse than functional atheism. To beat the sheep of the Lord into your political submission is beyond the pale.
"6. You casually speak negatively about churches and spiritual leaders." The Bible teaches us that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Prov. 1:7). When a person casually speaks evil of other people, especially Christian leaders and churches, it demonstrates that they lack the fear of the Lord who hates discord among His people (Prov. 6:19; Eph. 4:29-31). Slanderers and gossipers in the church live like functional atheists." -- Joseph Mattera
Looks like I am a functional atheist. That is how absurd these arguments are. Now let us be clear. If someone speaks falsely about someone that is slanderous. If someone gives away privileged information that is gossip. Neither of these behaviors are Christian, although if we were to label those who might sin in this area atheists there will be very few sheep left. That is another point Mattera misses. These are sins beloved and guess what? We sin as human beings every single day. That does not make us functional atheists. It makes us in need of a Savior and thanks be to God He gave us one. The larger point here however is the blatant attempt by Mattera to silence dissent. The Bible commands us to rebuke what and who is false. Neither I nor any discernment ministry I have seen speaks "casually" about these matters. A true lack of fear of God is more on display in this sheep flogging.