In recent days, Hillsong worship leader, Marty Sampson, has announced that his faith in Jesus Christ is “on incredibly shaky ground.” He has refuted initial reports of an outright denial of his faith.
Predictably, this announcement came, like Joshua Harris’s, via the millennial way, Instagram. Sampson cites atheist arguments against Christianity in the fields of science, suffering, and the character of God as his reasons for this spiritual drift. For those of you who are familiar with the work of Fixed Point Foundation, you will know why this bothers me.
We have sponsored debates against the best that atheism has to offer — Dawkins, Hitchens, Singer, et al. — and have demolished arguments set up against the knowledge of God. (2 Corinthians 10:5) Indeed, we are currently publishing a history of those debates, telling the previous untold backstory. You can watch the first of those debates here.
One wonders what Sampson is reading, watching, and listening to that he finds so convincing. What we said about Joshua Harris’s similar move applies to Sampson. You can read that column here. Romans 1:18-20 says that those who deny the existence of God “suppress the truth,” meaning they do so because they simply do not want to believe in the God who is there. The same passage says that evidence of God is “clearly seen” in the “things that have been made.”
In my own very extensive experience with atheists or, in Harris’s case, apostates, they deny God for emotional reasons, in spite of their insistence to the contrary. Sometimes that emotional reason is a deep hurt or a deep anger. More often than not, it is a desire to indulge a selfish lifestyle. Whatever the reason, Sampson’s Instagram post is further evidence that our churches need to be teaching on those issues where our faith is most often attacked: science, the integrity of scripture, the problem of suffering, and so on.