The beginning of my deconversion from Christianity began when I took up a challenge from a former Christian, now atheist blogger to read Bart Ehrman. That was his requirement to continue our online conversation regarding the existence of God. (It was my intent to help this “lost soul” and bring him back to Christ.)
I had barely started reading the first book, Misquoting Jesus, when my jaw dropped to the floor. I asked myself:
“Why has no Christian pastor in my entire life ever told me this stuff?”
The fundamentalist Baptists didn’t tell me.
The non-denominational evangelicals didn’t tell me.
The liberal Lutherans didn’t tell me.
The liberal Episcopalians didn’t tell me.
And the confessional (orthodox) Lutherans did not tell me.
From Bart Ehrman’s book, How Jesus Became God:
When I deliver talks like this (lectures/debates in Christian universities and churches) I regularly and consistently get two questions from members of the audience. The first is,
“If this is the view widely held among scholars (that Jesus is best understood as an apocalyptic prophet who was anticipating that God was soon to intervene in human affairs to overthrow the forces of evil and set up a good kingdom here on earth, not that Jesus believed himself to be God), why have I never heard it before?”
I am afraid that this question has an easy but troubling answer. In most instances the view of Jesus that I have is similar to that taught—with variations here or there, of course—to ministerial candidates in the mainline denominational seminaries (Presbyterian, Lutheran, Methodist, Episcopalian, and so on.) So why have their parishioners never heard it before? Because their pastors haven’t told them. And why haven’t their pastors told them? I don’t know for sure, but from my conversations with former seminarians, I think that many pastors don’t want to make waves; or they don’t think their congregations are “ready” to hear what scholars are saying; or they don’t think that their congregations want to hear it. So they don’t tell them. –Bart Ehrman
Gary adds: Or for conservative/orthodox pastors, they are afraid to lose their jobs if they do not preach the “party line”.