Screenshot 2023-01-13 at 1.50.18 PM


Reporting the Truth.
Restoring the Church.

Christian Rocker Posts Stunning Response to Recent Apostasy of Christian Leaders

By Julie Roys

John Cooper, the lead singer for the band Skillet, posted a stunning response on Facebook yesterday to the recent public renunciations of Christianity by Joshua Harris and then Hillsong songwriter, Marty Sampson. (Sampson has since slightly walked back his initial statement after Dr. Michael Brown posted an open letter challenging Sampson’s assertions.) Below is Cooper’s entire statement, which was also published at Cogent Christianity. I’m reposting it here because it’s so good and so important, and I want to make sure everyone who follows this blog sees it. Thank you, John Cooper, for saying what few have the insight or courage to say. God bless you, brother!

“Ok I’m saying it. Because it’s too important not to. What is happening in Christianity? More and more of our outspoken leaders or influencers who were once ‘faces’ of the faith are falling away. And at the same time they are being very vocal and bold about it. Shockingly they still want to influence others (for what purpose?) as they announce that they are leaving the faith. I’ll state my conclusion, then I’ll state some rebuttals to statements I’ve read by some of them. Firstly, I never judge people outside of my faith. Even if they hate religion or Christianity. That is not my place and I have many friends who disagree with my religion and that is 100% fine with me. However, when it comes to people within my faith, there must be a measure of loyalty and friendship and accountability to each other and the Word of God.

“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!) 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?

We must STOP making worship leaders and thought leaders or influencers or cool people or ‘relevant’ people the most influential people in Christendom . . . we are in a dangerous place when the church is looking to 20 year old worship singers as our source of truth.

“I have a few specific thoughts and rebuttals to statements made by recently disavowed church influencers…first of all, I am stunned that the seemingly most important thing for these leaders who have lost their faith is to make such a bold new stance. 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 in to 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?

“My second thought is, why do people act like ‘being real’ covers a multitude of sins? As if someone is courageous simply for sharing virally every thought or dark place. That’s not courageous. It’s cavalier. 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.

(W)hy do people act like ‘being real’ covers a multitude of sins? As if someone is courageous simply for sharing virally every thought or dark place. That’s not courageous. It’s cavalier.

“Thirdly, there is a common thread running through these leaders/influencers that basically says that ‘no one else is talking about the REAL stuff.’ This is just flatly false. I just read today in a renown 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. 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.

Give a gift of $30 or more to The Roys Report this month, and you will receive a copy of “The Ballot and the Bible” by Kaitlyn Schiess. To donate, click here.

“And lastly, and 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? That is actually not human nature. No child is ever born and says ‘I just want to love others before loving myself. I want to turn the other cheek. I want to give my money away to others in need.’ Those are bible principles taught by a prophet/Priest/king of kings who wants us to live by a higher standard which is not an earthly standard, but rather the ‘Kingdom of God’ standard. Therefore if Jesus is not the truth and if the Word of God is not absolute, then by preaching Jesus’s teachings you are endorsing the words of a madman. A lunatic who said ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the father except through me.’ He also said that he was alive before Abraham, and to see him was to see God because he was one with God. So why then would a disavowed christian leader promote that ‘generosity is good’? How would you know ‘what is good’ without Jesus’s teachings? And will your ideas of what is ‘good’ be different from year to year based on your experience, culture trends, popular opinion etc and furthermore will you continue year by year to lead others into your idea of goodness even though it is not absolute? I’m amazed that so many Christians want the benefits of the kingdom of God, but with the caveat that they themselves will be the King.

“It is time for the church to rediscover the preeminence of the Word. And to value the teaching of the Word. 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.

It is time for the church to rediscover the preeminence of the Word. And to value the teaching of the Word. We need to value truth over feeling. Truth over emotion.

“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. But rather 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)”

Amen and amen.



Keep in touch with Julie and get updates in your inbox!

Don’t worry we won’t spam you.

More to explore

69 thoughts on “Christian Rocker Posts Stunning Response to Recent Apostasy of Christian Leaders”

  1. Amen, remember it just part of the helps ministry like youth worker nursery worker, custodian and usher, parking lot worker we all just create a space where people can come in and listen to Word of God, without the minor distraction, baby crying Fidgeting teenager, dirty church, a place to sit and a place to park your car.

    1. Well…the truth is that Jesus wasn’t the first one to talk about forgiveness, love, compassion and kindness. Many spiritual leaders long before him taught these principles. Buddha for one. Unfortunately, many Christian start researching in other faiths and what they were taught is showing up way before Jesus said it. It throws people off because we were taught things that existed before as ONLY coming from Jesus. Like the Christmas story. It’s been filtered through romanticism. Read facts about the story. It wasn’t an inn. People don’t allow you to talk about hell, especially when you’ve studied context and it’s way different than evangelicals taught us. You can only talk about if you believe the way it’s been handed down to us. There’s so many other things that people find out were whitewashed and cultural and people begin deconstructing because what 5hey were taught were taught by men 2000 yrs ago who were inmeshed in their OWN cultures. Same. Doctrines were formed around Christ that were of men. Jesus even said it. The great falling away is much different than we’ve been led to believe. People are falling away and leaving the doctrines of men that were male oriented, not compassionate, and weren’t the words of Jesus at all. They were the words of Men who sincerely thought they spoke of Christ. And they did in THAT culture. That’s how they saw Christ. But just read the words of Jesus without all else, without the letters of men. Read them in CONTEXT, how Jesus talked to that culture. Check out and study the culture back then. Jesus did not intend us to bring Jewish , Greek, or any other culture to BE the gospel. The gospel is good news. At least suppose to be. If people aren’t finding good news, they won’t stay forever. It’s too stressful, legalistic, and…frankly…not that relevant. To claim these people as “ never having been of us” or apostates in my opinion is jumping the gun. Find out WHY they are leaving if you really care. And in the mean time, check out the religions way before Christ and see what they taught as far as dealing with their fellow man, culture, etc. You’d be surprised at where some of our Bible verses were influenced by. Also check out the god “ Horace and many others so that you know how many “ Christmas stories” were told before Jesus. Maybe these guys started READING HISTORY. It can undo your faith if your faith is in the “ doctrines or logos”. God is much deeper than that. Jesus too. Have you ever wondered why Jesus never wrote his own books like other spiritual leaders? How did all the 5000 hear him on the mountain? Did he have a megaphone? Ever wondered? These are a few of the questions you don’t talk about. Because the answers are “ always”, “ Gods thoughts and ways are higher than ours”. Or like this rocker says, “ we talk about them but just because we don’t get the answer we WANT…..”
      Listen, we’ve all been taught to stop thinking or questioning when it creates doubt. We aren’t taught to keep asking God or if God tells us something different, we are called false prophets. We aren’t encouraged to KNOW OR WORSHIP GOD. We are encouraged to know and worship the Bible. Jesus said, “ come unto ME.” Follow ME. LIVE IN ME”. The word became FLESH. Not bound between leather covers.

      1. We need both the Spirit and the Word. Rules, without the Spirit, are dead. Likewise, “Faith without Works is dead”. You have half the truth, when you realize that following Christ takes more than just stating doctrines. But it does take biblical doctrines.

        Remember this… without the Bible’s testimony, you have no reason to believe that Jesus Christ is risen from the dead. And as Paul wrote, “If Christ is not risen, then your faith is in vain.” Stick to the Word of God, and pray for the in-filling of His Holy Spirit.

        1. I was thinking this as well. The issue I find with part of Cooper’s comment is his notion that looking to “20 year olds” even if they are worship leaders, is a problem. The issue may be more so that more worship leaders aren’t more strongly rooted in the word of God that their ministry is so weak. I saw a man who lead worship and would preach the word. I think we need to push for people in other areas of ministry to be strong in the Word, not just music. There is not enough follow up with the music ministry at times and would makes sense as to why there seems to be spiritual disconnect.

          As to the notion that we need to “rediscover the truth”, we have done so in a number of ways, not to be spiteful regarding his claim that people have been talking about things already, but we have learned where the traditional world upheld the rules of society over the Word, and we have learned the truth from the Word for ourselves, but still make the mistake of sacrificing the Word for social and cultural rules at times. The issue I see in the “old school” notion of doctrine, is that they pushed for “truth” but they too weren’t upholding God as they were supposed to, they preached but failed to live or practice. This is where we need more than just rules. But when they did practice, they treated the Word as nothing more than religion and rules, this lead to a lot of spiritual issues. So, instead of going backwards we need to be going into a way of living that is what God intended, and it’s not by doing what was done, but doing what we have been failing to do for generations.

      2. “Well…the truth is that Jesus wasn’t the first one to talk about forgiveness, love, compassion and kindness.”
        Teri — Jesus is God come in the flesh. He certainly WAS the FIRST One to, “Talk about forgiveness, love, compassion, and kindness”! I’m STUNNED that not one other person here picked up on that comment. God ALWAYS has been, and like ONE person said, Jesus DID say, “Before Abraham was, I Am!” There are NO other false gods who were here before THE One and Only TRUE God, who came to dwell with men and died on Calvary’s cross as the One and Only God Man, the Lord Jesus Christ. I could add much more, but I’ll only add that whoever it was who said to visit Servus Christi’s channel on You Tube was RIGHT. He has some amazing videos espousing much truth — including about Skilet.

      3. You need to stop for a moment and reflect on the contradictory nature of using knowledge and quotes that you acquired from scripture in an attempt to dismiss scripture.

        Either scripture is important in its entirety or it isn’t.

        And if it isn’t, upon what authority are you selecting your favorite verses and tossing others?

        Pray about this please.

      4. Complete nonsense. Who said Jesus taught what you said first? This is God’s (from the Bible) universe, and certain absolute truths exists, so if someone, or many, or millions, encountered said eternal truths first, that would only make perfect sense. What Jesus said FIRST is that He is God and no one can come to the Father in any other way. For that he was called a lunatic, tourtured and murdered in our place.

      5. Teri, while I know this response is two years late, I feel for you, your faith and your intellect. This comment makes no sense.

        You make a number of conclusory statements about comparable religions without supporting the statements with at least average analysis.

    2. Didn’t you read the text? Jesus was before Abraham. He walked with Adam in the Garden of Eden. He was before man was created…

  2. I am with you Brother. As a single mother I always taught my children to keep their eyes on the King of Kings and not on man. Man can fall and man can fail but Jesus NEVER fails. I hold on to this in the most difficult, hurtful times of my life. Keep your eyes on the prize as someone running to win the prize. I John 4:1 Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
    Its end time and the enemies will fool even the very elect. God have mercy on us and help us to endure until the end.

  3. I feel like Joshua Harris’ book had a lot of legalism in it and I can see him confusing it with God who is authentic and the opposite of legalism. So if he’s walking away from legalism (rules before the importance of people), that makes sense. He just may need a revelation that the legalism was not God anyway.

    1. Serving Kids in Japan

      I imagine that at least some of Harris’ doubt and disillusionment stems from having been molested himself as a youth. He confessed to this a few years ago. He’s revealed few details, but I wonder how strongly his parents or pastors encouraged him to hush it up and let his abuser go unpunished, “for Jesus’ sake”.

    2. Wow! I didn’t know about the abuse or the legalism, and I think it makes sense that this is where he was likely coming from and needs some time to work things out. I think people should pray for him as he may need enlightenment in his shift away from legalism and find freedom. With this, I think we can learn from his honest confession.

  4. Here’s the good news….I couldn’t give a rip what a “Christian Rocker” or “Christian Author” (Harris) says. Means nothing to me. They are just men, like me.

    What I do care about is what the Word of God says. As Christian believers, I pray that we would turn away from celebrity churches (e.g., Harvest, Willow, et al) and attend a church that preaches the Word of God only. Leave the popular friends (e.g., current or former Bears players, Clinton, etc) to your own time. When you are in the pulpit, no one wants to hear about your good times at your summer home, or the time you spent with your celebrity friends. And if you do care about those things in a church, then I question the level/quality of your faith.

  5. hmm…The pastors saw the wolves lurking nearby the flock and said : “The eagle doesn’t catch flies”. Now they’re snivelling after the damage done. A little too late… “Keep watch over yourselves and the entire flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which He purchased with His own blood. I know that after my departure, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your OWN number, men will rise up and distort the truth to draw away disciples after them.…

  6. I applaud John Cooper’s position on relying on the Word of God, without it we’re just following the ideas of men. With regard to Mr. cooper’s appearance, it seems appropriate for his audience (western youth). I think Paul is clear enough here…
    1 Corinthians 9:19-23
    19For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. 20To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. 21To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. 22To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. 23I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings. ESV

  7. Thank you for sharing this. The church has lost its way and the results are evident everywhere with the exception of places like Africa whose leaders insist on a faith based on and in God’s Word, His Son and the Bible. I had someone tell me recently that Jesus never said anything about homosexual practice. Really?? He is the Word (see John 1) and has said this activity is an abomination to God all through the Bible (God’s Word), both in the Old and New Testament. While on earth He explicitly stated that marriage is between one man and one woman (see Matt.19:4-6). The great apostasy is heating up and will usher in the anti-Christ. The only protection we have against the delusion of the enemy is to be in the Bible daily. Sadly, less than 30% of evangelical Christians today have a Biblical world view. The salt is losing its saltiness. Come, Lord Jesus.

    1. Patty B. I disagree, actually there are issues in Africa as far as upholding the word of God. I think we need to pay more attention the difference between preaching and living. For example, sexual immorality is a major issue in certain African countries, and a lot of them are Christians who don’t see an issue with it unless Gay people are a factor then they take offence or use the Bible. Also, rape is an issue in certain parts as well, among Pastors and congregation. Yes, people will preach a message but whether they live it or practice it is different. Keep in mind years ago people taught false biblical doctrine as well. The notion that things were better years ago, must die when you factor that aspects of validity in biblical doctrine has been disputed and issues in the church has been present for a long time, not just in West, but even in other countries.

  8. I don’t say this lightly – sometimes you read something, and it’s immediately obvious that the gift of prophecy is still at work in the Church. This was one of those moments.

  9. Great article – I wanted to go and read the original post myself but failed to find it on either of his facebook pages unfortunately.

  10. Hummm. Doesn’t it say somewhere in Gods word that in the last days there will be a great falling away. All I kept hearing as I read this was that a double minded person is unstable in all his ways. It’s not hard to understand why someone who walks away from Christianity or God Himself looks for followers. Isn’t it part of our sin nature to try to justify what we are doing! I agree the sin should be confronted and with love show the truth of what is happening. The truth shall set us free. Come Lord Jesus and redeem. Make the crooked paths straight.

  11. These poor people. Some of them aren’t wrong. Christianity has turned into just another religion, like the Hillsong artist (I believe his name is Marty – initially states). People have forced their individual views and fleshly understanding of the words and life of our Messiah for almost 2000 years. People wonder why the “church” is powerless yet reject even acknowledging the part of the Bible that makes up a physical and literary majority of the book – what they call the Old Testament. In this section we see prophecies about Messiah, we see teachings God gave His people (Torah) and we see constant pleas from God through His prophets to “turn back to Him” and “repent of your sins” and yet every time I walk in a Church and sit down, I am affronted with this “it’s all about grace and mercy” – which is true, but people don’t understand that faith leads to a life changing event where you become obedient, you TURN AWAY from your past life/sins, and begin to be transformed. I hate to say it, but most are not walking out their faith in obedience. I have people try to tell me how it all works who don’t even bother to open the Scriptures and find out for themselves. I hear people talking about God and denying the fact that he was opening up the earth in Exodus to consume the ungodly and rebellious. Yes He is merciful, but He tells the Israelites FIRST that He is jealous God and visits the iniquity of people to their 3rd and 4th generation, but showing mercy to the thousandth of those that love Him…… I’ve been told I’m walking a path trying to earn salvation just in my mere attempts to obey God, fully aware that my salvation comes free through the blood of Messiah. But people act like that’s it, you just have to show up and “get your free ticket” – this walk is on a narrow path and that gate at the end of it isn’t very wide….. People need to turn back to God, open Scripture -> the “Old” Testament (what Jesus taught btw and Paul admonished Timothy to stay in Scripture) and learn from God’s teachings on how to live. It’s all there….. Exodus, Leviticus especially – Deuteronomy for a recap……. people think this stuff was just for Jews and isn’t important (their words). Absolute nonsense.

  12. You do indeed have to have a “living faith”. But you ALSO have to have THE WORD OF GOD. Rules and doctrines alone cannot save your soul, but neither can mere feelings of benevolence and good will.

    You say that men before Christ taught charity and mercy. So they did. Have you noticed, we did not listen?. Christ did not come into the world to TEACH us right from wrong. He was not a “moral innovator”. He taught enough so that it would be clear that He accepted the Law. But we are condemned as sinners against that Law, and His main purpose was to SAVE US.

    IS CHRIST RISEN? Has He DEFEATED DEATH? If not, then (as Paul states) “our faith is in vain”. So too, are the “warm feelings and alms giving and best wishes” of the compassionate “liberal religious believer”. If Christ is not the one true Son of God, and if He is not risen from the dead…. then the doctrines of the legalist, AND the feelings and passions of the liberal, are both totally in vain.

    The Buddha is not risen from the dead. Zoroaster is still in his grave. So are Moses and David… and Paul, for that matter. CHRIST IS RISEN. And it is in the Bible that we are told of this. A “faith” that is not true to the Bible is no faith at all. It is mere “feel-good psychology”. The kind of thing you get from Oprah Winfrey and Dr. Phil.

    But Friend…. it won’t raise you from the dead. Jesus Christ will.

  13. God sends no one to Hell. People choose their eternal destiny: Choose Jesus and live; reject Jesus and die (yes, forever in Hell – Matthew 25:46 – and many other places). Why not choose Jesus and live?

  14. Ok – Cooper’s response is simply a perfectly example of why people leave – barely cogent, incredibly shallow – just the same mindless religious blather we have come to expect from so many in evangelical leadership.

    His first sentence – I am stunned that the seemingly most important thing for these leaders who have lost their faith is to make such a bold new stance. 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 in to my next truth.’

    Enter Jon Steingard. If Cooper had done an ounce of LISTENING (a skill evangelicals seem to lack except for what they want to hear) he would be aware that Jon spent a LOT of time working through the challenges that he had – and is amazingly cogent in his responses to “the best of the best” evangelical apologists, e.g. Sean McDowell.

    I would encourage those who GENUINELY are interested in understanding the de-conversion process to actually LISTEN thoughtfully to such discussions – including challenging their own theology and Bibliology.

    I could go on and on – but until God sets you free to challenged neo-Pharieesism, aka modern American evangelicalism, you will simply remain in your seemingly cute little mouse wheel regurgitating the same trite memes for DECADES – which is EXACTLY why the “20 years” Cooper mentions is IRRELEVANT – those 20 years showed NO genuine growth – and were worth maybe six months of critical thinking and openness to the working of the Spirit of God.

    In Christ

    Greg Logan

Leave a Reply

The Roys Report seeks to foster thoughtful and respectful dialogue. Toward that end, the site requires that people register before they begin commenting. This means no anonymous comments will be allowed. Also, any comments with profanity, name-calling, and/or a nasty tone will be deleted.
MOST popular articles

Don't miss the stories that matter!

Sign up to receive our Daily News Digest


Hi. We see this is the third article this month you’ve found worth reading. Great! Would you consider making a tax-deductible donation to help our journalists continue to report the truth and restore the church?

Your tax-deductible gift helps our journalists report the truth and hold Christian leaders and organizations accountable. Give a gift of $30 or more to The Roys Report this month, and you will receive a copy of “The Ballot and the Bible” by Kaitlyn Schiess.