Hillsong's former worship leader and songwriter Marty Sampson has responde to Skillet's frontman John Cooper's criticisms about Sampson's doubts about the Christian faith. Earlier, Sampson has taken on Instgram to air his confession that he was no longer a Christian. Later, clarifying that he has not renounced his faith but his beliefs were on "terribly shaky ground."
Such a shocking confession has invited a long and extended response from Skillet's John Cooper. Though Cooper never mentioned Sampson by name, he encourages readers not to be influenced by worship leaders or other thought leaders. "We must STOP making worship leaders and thought leaders or influencers or cool people or 'relevant' people the most influential people in Christendom."
Cooper also wrote, '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?"
"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."
Sampson has responded by saying that he was not out there to influence others into unbelief. It was never his intend to influence anyone. "Anyone who knows me, knows me. Knows I'm not about the spotlight. That I'm not doing any of this for attention. That I couldn't care less about the approval of others. When I posted four days ago, that I was losing my faith, I could not imagine the response. I guess Christian media doesn't have much to write about. I wasn't posting to gain attention, to influence others, or to win anyone over to the "dark side"."
The reason why Sampson shared about his doubts was a response to fans who kept asking him whether or not he would be singing or writing more songs for Hillsong. "I was honestly sharing my heart with the 4K followers I had, many of whom would comment on random posts I've made "when are you coming back to Hillsong" and all kinds of questions."
Sampson insists that his Instgram posts are private and he is not accoutable to anyone for his views. "This is my page on Instagram, and I can do what I want with it. Post photos, delete posts, write what I want, this is social media. All I care about is 1) does God truly exist? and 2) did Jesus truly rise from the dead? Why am I even writing this at all? Who cares what I think? I'm a nobody. I am me. That's all I think about myself. God, I'm seeking You. With my whole heart. You said if I do that, I'll find you. Everyone else doesn't ever matter to me. They never have. Love you."