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Church Leaders Confessing They Are No Longer Christians

Updated on August 30, 2019
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Margaret Minnicks, an ordained minister and Bible teacher, is used to giving advice about life.


Two well-known former Christian leaders recently admitted they have been struggling with doubt. They also confessed they have abandoned their faith and gave up being a Christian. They posted their decision on social media to share with their many followers that they are no longer Christians.

Joshua Harris, a Former Church Pastor

Joshua Harris made headlines when he announced that he is no longer a Christian. He is the author of the best-selling 1997 book, I Kissed Dating Goodbye about Christians and dating. He was only 21 years old at the time when he advised millennials about a biblically-based Christian approach to dating and relationships.

In 2018, Harris disavowed what he had written in his book and discontinued its publication. He apologized to people who said that they had been hurt by his teachings. He admitted that what he said in the book "contributed to a culture of exclusion and bigotry."


At the age of 30, Harris became pastor of Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, Maryland. He was the lead pastor for 11 years from 2004 to 2015. In January 2015, he resigned from that role because he had a strong desire to broaden his views. In July 2019, he separated from his wife and abandoned his faith and leadership as a Christian.

Harris revealed in an Instagram post that he has left Christianity altogether. He didn't beat around the bush. He posted, "I have undergone a massive shift in regard to my faith in Jesus. By all measurements that I have for defining a Christian, I am not a Christian."


Marty Sampson, a Former Worship Leader

Weeks after Harris posted that he is no longer a Christian, Australian worship leader Marty Sampson said he was struggling with his faith. The 40-year-old worship leader at the Hillsong Church in Sydney had been writing music for Australia's Hillsong ministry since 1998.

His confession shocked the Christian community when he said, "I am genuinely losing my faith, and it doesn't bother me." He said he has doubts about the Christian faith when it comes to the existence of hell and why a good God allows evil and suffering in the world. Sampson concluded that he still loves Christians, but he is no longer one of them.

Since he renounced Christianity, the musician has been posting memes scrutinizing Christianity on social media.

Michael Gungor, a musician who started his career making Christian music, admitted in 2014 that he no longer believed in the Bible and he left his evangelical Christian roots

Gungor complimented Sampson in a tweet by saying he is not alone with his doubts. In fact, he called Sampson's doubts “beautiful.” He indicated that Sampson is brave and authentic and has not hidden his doubts like so many others in the religious spotlight do.

Reactions from Church Leaders

The public confessions of Harris and Sampson quickly went viral online which led to various reactions from many church leaders.

John Cooper

John Cooper is the leader of the Christian rock band "Skillet." He says we must value truth over feelings. In an interview with CBN News, Cooper put emphasis on staying true to God's word. He added that the church should invade culture with the truth about God and all things relating to Him. Instead, church leaders are allowing the culture to invade the church.

Dan Backens

Dan Backens is the pastor of New Life Church in Virginia Beach, Virginia. He believes there is a lack of biblical discipleship in the church. He says the songs young Christians hear are shaping their theology, but it is not deep enough to maintain faith in this secular age.

Dr. Corne Bekker

Dr. Corne Bekker is a professor of theology at Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia. He indicates that people should become mature in the Christian faith before they are allowed to be on a platform to influence others.

He was referring to Joshua Harris who wrote his book when he was only 21. Now he has discontinued publication because he realizes that some of the information he provided did not line up with the word of God.

Franklin Graham

Franklin Graham, son of the late evangelist Billy Graham, accused Harris and Sampson of pulling publicity stunts and trying to draw Christians away from the Bible’s teachings. Graham is concerned that they made their decision public so others can follow in their footsteps.

Ken Ham

Ken Ham is the biblical literalist best known for building a replica of Noah’s ark in Kentucky. Ham tweeted that Sampson’s doubts are a reminder to the church and parents that they need to teach apologetics to counter today’s attacks on God’s word.

Jonathan Martin

Jonathan Martin, an evangelical pastor from Oklahoma, defended Sampson and others on social media who are struggling with their faith. Martin tweeted that he is "tired of hearing people berating others for leaving a faith system that was handed to them that was already rotting and full of maggots.”

Prediction in Bible

Harris and Sampson are examples that prove what is said in 1 Timothy 4:1 that in the last days there will be a falling away. Even those who once professed to have a strong faith are struggling and willing to give up Christianity.

The fulfillment of 1 Timothy 4:1 is coming to pass. More and more people will give up their faith unless the church does more than it is doing in some areas. "The Spirit clearly says that in the latter times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons."

My Views About This Situation

Having been in church most of my life, I believe some churches are not doing a good job helping people grow spiritually. Some church leaders are more concerned with secular things than spiritual things. They seem to focus more on programs than teaching people how to bear fruit. Spirituality is lacking among many Christians who sit in some churches Sunday after Sunday and still do not demonstrate any spiritual growth.

There is no accountability in some churches among leaders and laypeople. They do as they please and make up their own rules as they go along. Nothing seems to be sacred any longer among some Christians. The church's mission should be to become a church that Jesus is coming back for, one without a spot or wrinkle.

It should be a wakeup call for the church when its people have doubts, struggle with their faith and give up on Christianity.


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