Days after Hillsong Worship's Marty Sampson revealed that he is no longer a Christian, Skillet's frontman John Cooper has responded by penning a lengthy Facebook post on Tuesday. Though John Cooper didn't list names, he did address some of the issues Sampson raised in his original Instgram post.
"It is time for the church to rediscover the preeminence of the Word. And to value the teaching of the Word," Cooper wrote. "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."
The church, Cooper argued, too often looks to the wrong leaders for biblical guidance.
"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!)," he wrote. "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?"
Cooper added he is "stunned" when former Christian leaders leave the faith by taking a "bold new stance."
"[They are] 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 into 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?
"... 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."
Cooper didn't name Sampson but took issue with his reference to the doctrine of hell.
"I just read today in a renowned 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," Cooper wrote. "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."
So, what is Cooper's solution to leaders falling away from faith?
"... 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)"