Hillsong worship leader clarifies he hasn't renounced faith, but it's on 'incredibly shaky ground'
Marty Sampson, the worship music writer who recently revealed he is “genuinely losing” his faith, clarified that while he hasn’t “renounced” his Christianity, it’s nevertheless on “incredibly shaky ground.”
Sampson, known for penning lyrics for Hillsong Worship, Hillsong United, Delirious and Young & Free, responded through Facebook comments to a Christian Post op-ed titled “Reaching out to a Hillsong leader who is renouncing his faith." In it, columnist Michael Brown said he prays Sampson “would have the integrity of heart to seek the truth earnestly, with humility and passion, and that all others with questions will put those questions on the table.”
After emphasizing he truly wants answers to his questions, Sampson admitted he’s “struggling with many parts of the belief system that seem so incoherent with common human morality.”
“If most of humankind had a choice, would we not rid the world of the scourge of cancer? Or sickness and disease? Why doesn’t God do such a thing? Of course there is an answer to this question, but the majority of a typical Christian’s life is not spent considering these things,” he wrote. “Questions such as these remain in the too hard basket.”
The artist, who has been with the worship team at Hillsong since he was 16, clarified he wouldn’t say he has “renounced” his faith but would say “it’s on incredibly shaky ground.”
“I have and continue to analyze the arguments of prominent Christian apologists and biblical scholars, and am open minded enough to consider the arguments of atheist debaters and debaters from other religions,” he continued. “If the truth is true, it will remain so regardless of my understanding of it. If I search it out, surely it will become even more clearly seen as the truth that it is. Examining a diamond more closer reveals the quality of the diamond. As I am still breathing, I am still learning.”
Despite his long history with Hillsong Church, Sampson emphasized his thoughts are his own and do not represent any church, adding, “If anything all I have ever received from Hillsong is support and the opportunity to follow my own mind, and they have always taught what I perceive to be sound Pentecostal doctrine.”
“You cannot have well-educated opinions without educating yourself well,” he concluded. “This is a window into my thought processes at the present time.”
Sampson made headlines this week after announcing in a since-deleted post on Instagram, “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.”
"Why is the Bible full of contradictions? No one talks about it. How can God be love yet send four billion people to a place, all ‘coz they don’t believe? No one talks about it," he wrote.
The "All I Need Is You” writer said he’s “not in” anymore and desires “genuine truth."
"Not the ‘I just believe it’ kind of truth.Science keeps piercing the truth of every religion. Lots of things help people change their lives, not just one version of God. Got so much more to say, but for me, I keeping it real. Unfollow if you want, I’ve never been about living my life for others.”
“All I know is what’s true to me right now, and Christianity just seems to me like another religion at this point,” he concluded.
In his CP op-ed, Brown challenged Sampson’s claims that “no one” is talking about challenges to the Christian faith, discussing difficult intellectual issues, or engaging the apparent contradictions or interpretative problems in the Bible.
He also encouraged Sampson, “Don’t be afraid to ask your honest questions and to follow the truth where it leads.”
“I’ve done that for the last 47+ years, being challenged by rabbis from my earliest days as a believer and having done all my academic studies in secular institutions. As a result, I love the Lord with all my heart and with all my mind. He is the God of truth, and His Word is truth,” Brown wrote.
“So, don’t be afraid to ask your honest questions and to follow the truth where it leads. Just don’t do it superficially, and be sure to seek God first and foremost. And let’s pray for Marty’s repentance, restoration, and more.”
Responding to a comment on whether he really is seeking answers or is just making excuses, Sampson said, "I really do want answers. I don’t want judgement. If it comes however, who am I to judge?"
Sampson has both written and sang worship songs with various Hillsong legends from Darlene Zschech to Joel Houston and Brooke Ligertwood. Some of his most recent popular songs include “Forever" and “Came to My Rescue."