If you had asked me two weeks ago who Marty Sampson was, I would not have been able to tell you. It was at that time that Sampson, a music leader with Hillsong, burst onto the scene with the declaration that he was “losing his faith.” In a statement on Instagram, he said,
“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 xx 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 4 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’m not going to comment on the motivation or psychology of this statement here. There are two points that I believe need to be made.
First, “nobody is talking about it.” Marty Sampson lists several apparent problems that, in his view, are not being talked about in the church: failing preachers, miracles, contradictions in the Bible, Hell, and the supposed conflict between science and faith. Are these issues that have been swept under the rug? Sampson is simply dead wrong on this point. There are groups, podcasts, and websites dedicated to answering these points. My teaching partner, Bruce Hennigan, and I have been talking about these issues and many others for years in our church and assisting believers with their questions on these issues.
Second, Marty Sampson brings up good questions with which he has been dealing with for years. However, there doesn’t seem to be anyone in his church that could answer them. If there were such persons, either at the staff or lay level, he did not seek them out. Every church needs to be able to handle questions that believers and non-believers have about the Christian faith.
I have heard many stories of people, like Sampson, who had questions about the faith but were unable to find answers in the church and drifted off into unbelief and atheism. This should not happen in the church!
Every church should avail themselves of the resources of people who can answer questions like those raised by Marty Sampson. Those people are called apologists. According to an article from Christianity today, Sampson has said that he is investigating the work of some good apologists, such as William Lane Craig, Ravi Zacharias, Mike Licona, and Frank Turek and encouraging people with deep questions to check out their resources.
There is hope yet.