Rock Band Skillet’s John Cooper On Apostasy Among Young Christian Leaders

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Apostasy is nothing new in Christianity and defending herself from heresies is something the Church has been doing since it’s birth.

John Cooper, lead singer for the rock band Skillet, responded to the litany of recent apostasies among young Christian leaders. In a Facebook post titled ‘What in God’s Name is Happening in Christianity?’ put up on Tuesday, August 13, Cooper directly addressed the reasons given by Hillsong songwriter Marty Sampson for renouncing his Christian faith, before highlighting the need for Christians to stay grounded in a truth-driven faith over an emotion-driven one. Here is the text of the post in its entirety (not corrected for spelling or punctuation):

“Ok I’m saying it. Because it’s too important not to. What is happening in Christianity? More and more of our outspoken leaders or influencers who were once “faces” of the faith are falling away. And at the same time they are being very vocal and bold about it. Shockingly they still want to influence others (for what purpose?)as they announce that they are leaving the faith. I’ll state my conclusion, then I’ll state some rebuttals to statements I’ve read by some of them. Firstly, I never judge people outside of my faith. Even if they hate religion or Christianity. That is not my place and I have many friends who disagree with my religion and that is 100% fine with me. However, when it comes to people within my faith, there must be a measure of loyalty and friendship and accountability to each other and the Word of God.

“My conclusion for the church (all of us Christians): We must STOP making worship leaders and thought leaders or influencers or cool people or “relevant” people the most influential people in Christendom. (And yes that includes people like me!) I’ve been saying for 20 years(and seemed probably quite judgmental to some of my peers) that we are in a dangerous place when the church is looking to 20 year old worship singers as our source of truth. We now have a church culture that learns who God is from singing modern praise songs rather than from the teachings of the Word. I’m not being rude to my worship leader friends (many who would agree with me) in saying that singers and musicians are good at communicating emotion and feeling. We create a moment and a vehicle for God to speak. However, singers are not always the best people to write solid bible truth and doctrine. Sometimes we are too young, too ignorant of scripture, too unaware, or too unconcerned about the purity of scripture and the holiness of the God we are singing to. Have you ever considered the disrespect of singing songs to God that are untrue of His character?

We don’t need more words to expand on The Word, we just need to go deeper into The Word and develop our relationship with the Living Word in Christ.

“I have a few specific thoughts and rebuttals to statements made by recently disavowed church influencers…first of all, I am stunned that the seemingly most important thing for these leaders who have lost their faith is to make such a bold new stance. Basically saying, “I’ve been living and preaching boldly something for 20 years and led generations of people with my teachings and now I no longer believe it..therefore I’m going to boldly and loudly tell people it was all wrong while I boldly and loudly lead people in to my next truth.” I’m perplexed why they aren’t embarrassed? Humbled? Ashamed, fearful, confused? Why be so eager to continue leading people when you clearly don’t know where you are headed?

“My second thought is, why do people act like “being real” covers a multitude of sins? As if someone is courageous simply for sharing virally every thought or dark place. That’s not courageous. It’s cavalier. Have they considered the ramifications? As if they are the harbingers of truth, saying “I used to think one way and practice it and preach it, but now I’ve learned all the new truth and will start practicing and preaching it.” So the influencers become the voice for truth in whatever stage of life and whatever evolution takes place in their thinking.

“Thirdly, there is a common thread running through these leaders/influencers that basically says that “no one else is talking about the REAL stuff.” This is just flatly false. I just read today in a renown worship leader’s statement, “How could a God of love send people to hell? No one talks about it.” As if he is the first person to ask this? Brother, you are not that unique. The church has wrestled with this for 1500 years. Literally. Everybody talks about it. Children talk about it in Sunday school. There’s like a billion books written on the topic. Just because you don’t get the answer you want doesn’t mean that we are unwilling to wrestle with it. We wrestle with scripture until we are transformed by the renewing of our minds.

There’s nothing new under the Sun. The Truth you seek has already been given fully in the testimony of Jesus Christ and revealed to his disciples.

“And lastly, and most shocking imo, as these influencers disavow their faith, they always end their statements with their “new insight/new truth” that is basically a regurgitation of Jesus’s words?! It’s truly bizarre and ironic. They’ll say “I’m disavowing my faith but remember, love people, be generous, forgive others”. Ummm, why? That is actually not human nature. No child is ever born and says “I just want to love others before loving myself. I want to turn the other cheek. I want to give my money away to others in need”. Those are bible principles taught by a prophet/Priest/king of kings who wants us to live by a higher standard which is not an earthly standard, but rather the ‘Kingdom of God’ standard. Therefore if Jesus is not the truth and if the Word of God is not absolute, then by preaching Jesus’s teachings you are endorsing the words of a madman. A lunatic who said “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the father except through me.” He also said that he was alive before Abraham, and to see him was to see God because he was one with God. So why then would a disavowed christian leader promote that “generosity is good”? How would you know “what is good” without Jesus’s teachings? And will your ideas of what is “good” be different from year to year based on your experience, culture trends, poplular opinion etc and furthermore will you continue year by year to lead others into your idea of goodness even though it is not absolute? I’m amazed that so many Christians want the benefits of the kingdom of God, but with the caveat that they themselves will be the King.

“It is time for the church to rediscover the preeminence of the Word. And to value the teaching of the Word. We need to value truth over feeling. Truth over emotion. And what we are seeing now is the result of the church raising up influencers who did not supremely value truth who have led a generation who also do not believe in the supremacy of truth. And now those disavowed leaders are proudly still leading and influencing boldly AWAY from the truth.

We need to stand together to hold hands across the divide the devil has tried to make and reclaim our unity under One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism of the Holy Spirit.

“Is it any wonder that some of our disavowed Christian leaders are letting go of the absolute truth of the Bible and subsequently their lives are falling apart? Further and further they are sinking in the sea all the while shouting “now I’ve found the truth! Follow me!!” Brothers and sisters in the faith all around the world, pastors, teachers, worship leaders, influencers…I implore you, please please in your search for relevancy for the gospel, let us NOT find creative ways to shape Gods word into the image of our culture by stifling inconvenient truths. But rather let us hold on even tighter to the anchor of the living Word of God. For He changes NOT. “The grass withers and the flowers fade away, but the word of our God stands forever” (Isaiah 40:8)”

I am glad to see one of these ‘influencers’ come out in defense of the authority of Scripture and the importance of a robust faith that can outlast even the harshest of challenges. Now, if only Christianity could begin to appreciate the Catholic Church has been doing just that for more than 1500 years like Mr. Cooper referenced (try 2,019) and there is already a wealth of Scriptural Truths deposited in voluminous writings by Saints of the Church who have asked those very same questions these apostasy leaders are asking today then maybe we could avoid playing the same game of deception the devil has been doling out for millennia. Apostasy is nothing new in Christianity and defending herself from heresies is something the Catholic Church has been doing since it’s birth.

It’s time Christians face the Truth together. Stop looking at the splinter in your brothers eye when there’s a log in your own. It doesn’t matter which part of the Body of Christ we worship in we are each called to herald the Truth of God’s Word and that makes us equal prey to the devil’s schemes. If you’ve read our article on what’s coming in the Decade of Pey then you aren’t surprised to hear stories like these about influencers of the Faith falling away. Friends, there are many more to come. We need to arm ourselves agains such deceptions and pray we are not one of them. We need to pursue Truth. We need to ask for Wisdom. We need to lean on the Church Fathers and their deposit of Faith so that we can enter in to the promise of Abraham by that same faith. There’s nothing new under the Sun. The Truth you seek has already been given fully in the testimony of Jesus Christ and revealed to his disciples. We don’t need more words to expand on The Word, we just need to go deeper into The Word and develop our relationship with the Living Word in Christ.

It’s important when we read about events like these and influencers speaking out about them that we remember division and deception are tactics used against all of Christianity not just one side of the faith. In fact the presence of such derision should be cause for us to see the Holy Spirit is at work among us, reminding us we are each part of that One Spirit. And because we belong together in that same Spirit we will be attacked by the spirit which opposes it.

We need to stand together to hold hands across the divide the devil has tried to make and reclaim our unity under One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism of the Holy Spirit. We need to Widen Our Mouths and speak Truth in Love and Mercy. Our Victory over Apostasy lies in our willingness to stand together in Oneness of the Truth. A house divided cannot stand.

A popular rock band for over two decades, Skillet recently came out with their latest album ‘Victorious’, available on their website.

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