I feel for Marty Sampson.
I’m working from people who saw his recent Instagram post, which has now been taken down. He expressed his wrestles and doubts with Christian belief, and he gave us a list of these.
- Church leaders who fall
- apparent Bible contradictions
- eternity for the unsaved (Jesus in the Gospels refers to this place as Gehenna – we translate this as Hell)
…his list went on. I get it. These are real issues to grapple with. After each one, he complained that no one was talking about these things. I’ve spent years talking about these things. They need to be discussed. Why on earth wasn’t Marty doing so in his church?
He apparently concluded that he was not a Christian any more. “It’s not for me … Christianity just seems like another religion at this point.” If that’s where he is, then that’s a real shame, because he put his finger on something really important in his Instagram post. Something that, if he allows it to, could move him forwards in a positive way.
“I want genuine truth, not just the “I believe it” kind of truth.”
I totally agree with him here. That’s what I think Christianity is. Christianity is about genuine truth, not “I believe it” kind of truth. It has ALWAYS been this. But it sounds like … Marty hasn’t realised this before. True Christianity has never been about saying, “Just believe it. Have faith and your faith will get you through.” If you are a Christian believer and you think that your Christian belief is grounded on faith alone…like Marty…then one day you are going to be in trouble. Serious – trouble. And – it’s just a matter of time before the wheels start coming off. Unfortunately for Marty, this has happened in a very public way.
Yet people will ask, “isn’t faith important?” Of course it is. “So – why can’t Christianity be grounded on faith alone?”
Well – you’ve got to understand what the word “faith” means. Faith is not the ground of knowledge about anything. Faith is our RESPONSE to the knowledge of the revelation about Jesus we have received. Faith does not give us any knowledge about God, we need to find that knowledge about God elsewhere. This is what doing theology is all about, folks. If we don’t do the work of understanding the Bible, then there will be no source of knowledge to ground our beliefs on. Oh – we may go along with the crowd in church. We may develop as a leader, find ourselves repeating what the other leaders say, and feel we are right because other people are impressed and believe what we say. We may even advance in the use of our gifts and talents in various ways. But inside … we will always be thinking … “is this stuff really TRUE? Can I bet my life on Christianity or not?”
Faith isn’t about saying “I believe it.” Any environment which fosters this … and teaches Christianity this way, is an unhealthy environment. Rather – faith is about choosing to trust and act on the basis of the God you are truly coming to know and believe.
Faith isn’t knowing what we don’t know, or believing something in spite of the evidence. Faith is not a source of knowledge at all! Rather – faith is simply our active choice to respond with TRUST in the God we have come to believe and know because he has made himself known to us.
What is Christian faith? It is holding on to the God we’ve learned about when the storms of doubt come raging in our lives. But we can only hold on in the first place … because we already genuinely and truly know the God who we are holding on to.
I’m praying Marty gets that so that he can move forward in that way. God loves you and – “he is still calling you out upon the waters,” Marty.
 Leah MarieAnn Klett, Hillsong writer: ‘I’m genuinely losing my faith’, The Christian Post, https://www.christianpost.com/news/hillsong-writer-reveals-hes-no-longer-a-christian-im-genuinely-losing-my-faith.html.