Hillsong Songwriter Marty Sampson Says He’s Losing His Christian Faith
I read about this on Instagram today, and while it's a sad story Marty's questions will sound familiar to any doubting Christian.
If you're not familiar with who Marty Sampson is, he's a pretty prolific songwriter in the world of worship music. He has written and also co-written worship songs for Hillsong Worship, Hillsong United, Delirious and Hillsong Young & Free - although he hasn't written music for Hillsong Church in a long time.
Marty has taken his original Instagram post down, but Relevant Magazine published his statement overnight:
"Time for some real talk. I'm genuinely losing my faith, and it doesn't bother me. Like, what bothers me now is nothing. I am so happy now, so at peace with the world. It's crazy.
This is a soapbox moment so here I go ... How many preachers fall? Many. No one talks about it. How many miracles happen. Not many. No one talks about it. Why is the Bible full of contradictions? No one talks about it. How can God be love yet send four billion people to a place, all 'coz they don't believe? No one talks about it. Christians can be the most judgmental people on the planet—they can also be some of the most beautiful and loving people. But it's not for me.
I am not in any more. I want genuine truth. Not the "I just believe it" kind of truth. Science keeps piercing the truth of every religion. Lots of things help people change their lives, not just one version of God. Got so much more to say, but for me, I keeping it real. Unfollow if you want, I've never been about living my life for others.
All I know is what's true to me right now, and Christianity just seems to me like another religion at this point. I could go on, but I won't. Love and forgive absolutely. Be kind absolutely. Be generous and do good to others absolutely. Some things are good no matter what you believe. Let the rain fall, the sun will come up tomorrow."
While I don't know the specifics of Marty's situation, I can talk about my journey of faith and the things I've struggled with. I feel embarassed admitting this, but I have dealt with a large crisis of faith as a teenager. Instead of being supported, I was ostracised and looked down upon. There are many kinds of Christian Churches all throughout Aoetearoa, but I personally have never experienced a Church which is upfront in it's confrontation of doubt. When was the last time you heard a Pastor speak on doubt? I'm yet to experience it, myself.
A culture of discipleship for people who are struggling with doubt would be revolutionary. I really, truly believe that it's okay to doubt - but with the hope that it fuels faith. People experiencing doubt need to know that their questions will be taken seriously. They need to know that they won't be judged. They need to know that their Church will come alongside them, mentor and disciple them through doubt, help break down what needs breaking down and rebuild when they are ready.
Doubts don't phase God! He loves you enough to never leave, he is bigger than all your questions. Nothing you could do or say or think will turn him away from you.
It made me sad to see Marty writing about Christians being judgemental. This is something I hear endlessly (I think because I work for a Christian radio station!) and it's something I used to say myself. Over time I came to realise that Christians aren't any more judgemental then any other people on this planet - we all find things to be judgy of others about, regardless of our own situations. We should all be working on becoming a bit less judgemental. And here's the pinch: saying Christians are judegemental, but not allowing them to pray for you before you reached the point where you are losing your religion is surely judgement in itself. You get my point?
I also wonder about the lack of apologetics in some Churches. If you're not familiar with apologetics, wikipedia defines it as "a branch of Christian theology that defends Christianity against objections." In 1 Peter 3:15 we are called to "always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect." I wonder if Churches do their congregations a disservice by not equipping them to handle the kind of questions Marty Sampson has come up against. For him to have been actively involved in Church and writing worship songs for so many years, and not have addressed the kind of questions a new Christian would have, is perhaps a symptom of our Church culture in 2019. So what do we need to change? I'll leave that question with you. But perhaps we can all look for ways to be supportive of our friends who experience doubt - if you're a Churchgoer, I'm sure you'll come across one eventually.
Cover photo from youtube.com via relevantmagazine.com