There have been a rash of popular members of the Christian community that have either apostatized from the faith or are leaning in that direction in recent months. For example, Joshua Harris, author of the Christian bestseller I Kissed Dating Goodbye, first announced a split from his wife and then the following week announced that he was walking away from Christianity. In an Instagram post, Harris stated “I have undergone a massive shift in regard to my faith in Jesus. The popular phrase for this is “deconstruction,” the biblical phrase is “falling away.” By all the measurements that I have for defining a Christian, I am not a Christian. Many people tell me that there is a different way to practice faith and I want to remain open to this, but I’m not there now.” He also posted an apology to the LGBTQ+ community in which he stated “But I specifically want to add to this list now: to the LGBTQ+ community, I want to say that I am sorry for the views that I taught in my books and as a pastor regarding sexuality." This walk away from the faith was shocking to Harris’ former church, Covenant Life in Maryland, which has asked for prayer for Harris that he would return to the faith.
In another occurrence, Marty Sampson, a worship music writer for Hillsong Worship, has also came out and announced that he is struggling with his faith and is close to walking away from Christianity. In a viral post from Sampson, he wrote that he was having difficulty and was “genuinely losing my faith, and it doesn’t bother me.” In the post, he listed several “issues” that he claims no one talks about, including pastors failing, judgmental Christians, supposed contradictions in the Bible, God sending people to Hell, that science has disproven much of the Bible and how Christianity is no longer unique. Sampson is clearly dealing with some tough questions in his spiritual journey and thankfully apologists have worked tirelessly over the generations to give valid and solid Biblical and philosophical answers to many of these issues. In positive news, Sampson has since walked back some of his statements and says “he hasn’t renounced the faith” and is working on finding some of these answers.
People walking away from Christianity should not surprise us for three reasons. First, as the Western world becomes more and more secular, it has become increasingly less popular to be viewed as a Christian in mainstream society. Thus, those that are looking to make a name for themselves in the world are no longer going to see “being a Christian” as socially acceptable and in fact detrimental to their goals. Second, the Western educational system has radically turned against Christianity and turned towards secular humanism. This makes it much more difficulty and confusing for young people to understand and belief their faith when they are constantly being bombarded with these ideas from trusted teachers that have access to them for much of the week.
Finally, apostasy is not a new idea, but is present even in the pages of the New Testament. Judas himself traveled with Jesus for years and yet walked away from Him when it no longer suited his personal interests. Demas, in 2 Timothy 4, who was a traveler with Paul for years, walked away from his faith because he “loved the present world.” Paul even describes a time of great apostasy that will occur in the end times in 2 Thessalonians 2. However, there are many examples in the Bible of individuals who ran away from God for a time and returned to him, such as John Mark and Jonah. God is always willing to take those that run away from Him and restore them to the faith.
Pray- Pray for those that are struggling with their faith and have very real objections that they may find the answers that are available and may return to God even stronger in their faith.