In a now-deleted Instagram post, Marty Sampson, a member of the popular Christian contemporary music group Hillsong United, wrote that he’s losing his faith in Christianity. He said he was feeling shaken by moral failures of leaders, intellectually uncritical (he feels like science keeps disproving religious claims) and distressed that no one really talks about the hard questions like theodicy and eternity.
He also criticized some of the Bible’s interpretations and pointed out the lack of miracles recorded in Scripture. He said he was looking for truth and listening to leaders of the church, but he was struggling with doubts. He also said he was saddened that his former beliefs are being attacked by people who “hate God.”
Sampson’s post prompted a backlash from evangelical Christian leaders, including Franklin Graham, son of evangelist Billy Graham. Graham accused Sampson and Joshua Harris, a popular Christian author who once promoted evangelical purity culture, of pulling publicity stunts to divert Christians from the Bible’s teachings.
Despite the controversy, Hillsong Church did not deny Sampson’s statement or respond to HuffPost’s request for comment. But in an interview with Relevant Magazine that was published shortly after his Instagram post, Hillsong pastor Brian Houston seemed to distance the church from him. He said that the “happiness and sadness” of Sampson’s story is a reminder that the church needs to teach children apologetics, which are defenses against attacks on the Bible. He also emphasized the importance of parents teaching their children biblical morals, saying that they need to learn to think critically and discern right from wrong.