BIG BREAKING NEWS – PASTOR LEAVES MINISTRY: Pastor leaves ministry over church’s broad support of Trump [#KeithMannes #EastSaugatuckCRC] 10/18

BIG BREAKING NEWS – PASTOR LEAVES MINISTRY: Pastor leaves ministry over church’s broad support of Trump [#KeithMannes #EastSaugatuckCRC] 10/18

BIG BREAKING NEWS – PASTOR LEAVES MINISTRY: Pastor leaves ministry over church’s broad support of Trump [#KeithMannes #EastSaugatuckCRC] 10/18

Keith Mannes has given his life to the Christian Reformed Church, serving as a pastor for more than 30 years.

Keith Mannes has done so happily and thankfully.

But on Oct. 11, 2020, Keith Mannes has gave his last sermon and walked away from ministry among increasing political tension and divisiveness.

Put simply, Keith Mannes has stepped away due to the church’s broad support of President Donald Trump.

While Keith Mannes has loves the congregation he served at East Saugatuck CRC for the past 4 years, he says the church as a whole has “abandoned its role” as the conscience of the state in support of Trump, leading Keith Mannes to step away.

“There’s a quote from Martin Luther King where he said, ‘The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state,’ That just hit me hard because I think, broadly, the white evangelical community in our country has abandoned that role.
– Keith Mannes

“The question of the church largely and how it’s functioned in this moment has been really disturbing. That’s been troubling enough that I need to lay it all down.”
– Keith Mannes

Keith Mannes is not the only Christian feeling the strain.

Keith Mannes said he knows several other pastors who are feeling the same things.

Keith Mannes has been feeling a disconnect between the teachings of the church and the actions of the political candidate it largely supports for years.

It started when Trump announced his campaign in June 2015 while descending down an escalator at Trump Tower.

“From the time he came down the escalator. It’s only been building ever since. From the beginning I thought there’s something about this man and the instrument that he is for a lot of things that are just very not Jesus.”
– Keith Mannes of when he began to feel an internal struggle

Keith Mannes said the congregation at his church has “saved (his) faith in many ways,” but what he has seen from Christians nationally has challenged it.

That includes when white supremacists gathered for a rally in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017 which led to 3 deaths and dozens of injuries, after which Trump said there were “very fine people on both sides.”

Keith Mannes was part of a group of pastors that walked 130 miles from Charlottesville to Washington, D.C., in August, hearing the stories of people there during the 2017 events.

Keith Mannes called Trump’s photo holding a Bible in front of St. John’s Church in Washington in June 2020, following the use of tear gas and riot control to clear protesters from the area, a “tremendous violation of something deep and holy,” and said it was a key moment in his views.

“It just floors me how church-going people who read the Bible and sing the hymns can show up at a (Trump) rally and just do that deep bellow like an angry mob supporting these horrible things that come out of his heart and his mind. It just began to trouble me so much that I am a pastor in this big enterprise.”

As the tension in his heart and the world around him continued to grow, Keith Mannes said his feelings began to show in his sermons, causing discomfort for some parishioners.

Trying to keep his thoughts internalized became more and more difficult as time went on.

“What it was really doing was tearing me up. I’ve had to be very careful to not speak about these things directly with members of the church.

“It’s not only me, but quite a number of pastors I know are just like, ‘This is it? All this preaching we did about Jesus and there’s this big of a disconnect?’ I think that’s a real burden on a lot of pastors’ hearts. I love these people, I love God, I love Jesus, I love the church, but there’s something happening here.”
– Keith Mannes

Keith Mannes sat down with the elders of his church in September 2020 to express the tensions he had been feeling.

After a long and emotional meeting, they agreed it was time to part ways.

“We got down on our knees, many of us wept. It was a really hard decision. It was time for me to lovingly and with great peace and loss separate from the church. It was really crushing because I’ve given my life to the church, and thankfully so.”
– Keith Mannes

Keith Mannes says he understands many Christians will vote for Trump, and he will still love those who do, but implores them to think about what it means to be a Christian before making their choice.

“I would just implore anybody who claims Christ to just look very seriously at the core things Jesus called us to do and be. Do some serious soul searching about who you’re serving and how you’re trying to accomplish that purpose in the world.”
– Keith Mannes

Keith Mannes calls on his fellow Christians to be the conscience of the president, whoever it is, and force them to be better than the division that has become common.

“We’re supposed to be the conscience of the president and we have refused to do that. I don’t know that a church who believes in Jesus as we do, can abandon its conscience and not say, ‘Mr. President we’re calling you to better than that and you need to call our nation to better than that.’”
– Keith Mannes

A few weeks prior to his last sermon, Keith Mannes spoke with a member of the church, who asked him to reconsider his decision.

The person asked him about his plans once he walked away, with no guarantee that the issue will even persist after Election Day.

“He said, ‘What are you going to do? What are you going to have?’ Well, at least my conscience.”
– Keith Mannes recalled

Michigan pastor leaves ministry over church’s broad support of Trump:
Detroit Free Press

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