The Christian music world has been abuzz in recent days about the unorthodox theology of celebrated Dove-award winning musical artists Michael and Lisa Gungor, known for popular worship songs like "Dry Bones" and "Beautiful Things."
Citing an interview in the Oakland Press, World Magazine noted that Michael Gungor, 33, revealed that he lost his "metaphysic" in 2012. The pastor's son from Wisconsin, according to World Magazine, also reflects his departure from traditional Christianity on his band's 2013 album, I Am Mountain.
The Gungors, however, have never really concealed their evolving theological position. In a blog post titled "What Do We Believe" in February, the couple asserted that they simply no longer literally believed in stories from the Bible on such topics as creation and the flood.
"Over the last year, I have had so many questions asked of me about what I believe. Just tonight I had a conversation with someone extremely close to me that said that he wouldn't consider me a Christian anymore," explained Gungor in the post.
"Why? Not because of my life … Not because my life looks like Jesus or doesn't look like Jesus. But because of my lack of ability to nail down all the words and concepts of what I exactly BELIEVE. Because I've lost so many of the unconscious assumptions that I used to have and have no ability to un-see what I have seen," he explained.
"I have no more ability to believe, for example, that the first people on earth were a couple named Adam and Eve that lived 6,000 years ago. I have no ability to believe that there was a flood that covered all the highest mountains of the world only 4,000 years ago and that all of the animal species that exist today are here because they were carried on an ark and then somehow walked or flew all around the world from a mountain in the middle east after the water dried up," he continued.
"I have no more ability to believe these things than I do to believe in Santa Claus or to not believe in gravity. But I have a choice on what to do with these unbeliefs. I could either throw out those stories as lies, or I could try to find some value in them as stories," he added.
Gungor went on to explain that he has been trying to address his evolution as a Christian but traditional Christians have not been very welcoming.
"If you try to find some value in them as stories, there will be some people that say that you aren't a Christian anymore because you don't believe the Bible is true or 'authoritative.' Even if you try to argue that you think there is a truth to the stories, just not in an historical sense; that doesn't matter. To some people, you denying the 'truth' of a 6,000 year old earth with naked people in a garden eating an apple being responsible for the death of dinosaurs is the same thing as you nailing Jesus to the cross. You become part of 'them.' The deniers of God's Word," he said.
He concluded that this is what he believed:
"I've decided to think about my 'beliefs' in terms of how I live rather than what my unconscious assumptions are. Because there are lots of people that have all sorts of beautiful 'beliefs' that live really awful lives. If I'm on the side of a road bleeding, I don't care if the priest or the Levite have beautiful 'beliefs' about the poor and the hurting … Give me the Samaritan. The heretic. The outsider who may have the 'wrong' 'beliefs' in words and concepts but actually lives out the right beliefs by stopping and helping me. That's the kind of belief I'm interested in at this point," he noted.
"What do I believe? Look at my life. That's what I believe. And that's the kind of belief I'm interested in for my friends as well. I don't care so much about what their words and unconscious assumptions are (even though that can make for some enjoyable pub conversation). I care about what kind of lives they live. Do they believe IN the underdog, or do they BELIEVE in the underdog? Do they believe in loving their neighbor or do they believe by loving their neighbor?" he continued.
"So you believe in God? So what. You believe Jesus was the Son of God that will someday come again to reconcile all things? Big deal. So do most serial killers," he said before ending the post with James, chapter 2:
What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, "Go in peace; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds."
Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.
You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless?
Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness," and he was called God's friend. You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.
In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.
In 2006, after serving as worship leaders at a large church for six years, Michael and Lisa quit that job and began meeting with friends in their home to form a church called Bloom "to learn how to live as the church in a new and more meaningful way."
"Bloom Church is a group of people in Denver Colorado who love Jesus. We're not so big on some of the things that are often done in Jesus' name, but Jesus... we think that he is the hope of the world. Our quest is to take Jesus - his life, his teaching, his death, his resurrection - more seriously than we take any other thing. That's pretty much how we understand what the word 'Christian' means," explains the church's website.
"At Bloom we have tied ourselves to the story of God found in Jesus, which makes us decidedly Christian, but we gladly welcome anybody among us regardless of gender, creed, race, sexual orientation, or any other division that we humans like to divide ourselves into. Our hope is that everyone who wanders into our community will taste the Kingdom and come to love and embrace Jesus and his story too," it continued.