By: Douglas Groothuis
After publicly questioning his faith, Christian songwriter and worship leader Marty Sampson has renounced it, while expressing love for many Christians.
Sampson earlier said that no one was talking about apologetics, but that he was reading apologists. It was hard to make sense of that. He has given no definitive reason not to follow Christ or any good argument against Christianity. So, instead of analyzing his doubts and apostasy, I will make my own confession.
I was brought to saving faith in Jesus in June of 1976. A friend at the time said that if I became a Christian, I would only associate with Christians, read Christian books, and that I would essentially stop being a thinking person. Was he ever wrong.
Since then I have, in a way, tried to refute Christianity as I have defended it as rational and pertinent to the whole of life. I have studied and written on all the challenges to biblical Christianity–various forms of atheism (Marxism, postmodernism, Darwinism)–and alternative religion (Hinduism, Buddhism, New Age thought, Islam, Baha’i Faith). I have debated and been on panel discussions with New Age people, atheists, and others. I spoken to reams of souls who were doubting a previous Christian faith or pursuing the possibility of following Jesus. I have exposited and preached the gospel for decades in various churches.
I have suffered the cruelties of dementia and chronic illness through plight of my first wife, Rebecca Merrill Groothuis. I found meaning in all of it, the sacred was not quenched by suffering, but purified. I wrote about this in Walking Through Twilight.
I remain a Christian. I am more zealous to know Christ and make him known now that I was a year ago. I’m in. I want to experience what Paul prayed for in Ephesians one and three: to know the fullness of this salvation, to know God better, to know that the power in me is like the power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him at the right hand of God, far above every name that can be named–in this age or in the one to come.
Do I sometimes question God? Yes. Am I sometimes angry at God? Yes. But I know too much to go back. I have worked hard at my worldview and have sought God in every season of life. God is there. He is not silent. Christianity, while not without mysteries, gives us intellectual satisfaction and moral energy. We were made to know, enjoy, and worship our God. Where else can we go? Jesus, the Christ, has the words and works of eternal life. See John 6.