Jon Steingard is a pastor’s son and a musician, singer, and songwriter. He has been the lead singer for the Christian band Hawk Nelson since March 2012.
Now he has made an Instagram announcement that is generating headlines: “After growing up in a Christian home, being a pastor’s kid, playing and singing in a Christian band, and having the word ‘Christian’ in front of most of the things in my life — I am now finding that I no longer believe in God.”
He explained: “The process of getting to that sentence has been several years in the making. It’s more like pulling on the threads of a sweater, and one day discovering that there was no more sweater left.”
I am glad to report that several Christian musicians responded not with criticism or condemnation but with unconditional grace. Tenth Avenue North singer Mike Donehey wrote: “Man, I love that you shared this. You know I’m always around to talk about our belief in God or lack thereof. Love you and always will.” Another added: “To echo so many others here, I have nothing but love in my heart for [you], old friend.”
A foundational problem for the church in our culture
I don’t know any more about Jon Steingard’s faith story than I have read today. I don’t know what issues caused him to come to this decision, whether they are personal, rational, cultural, or relational. My purpose is not to criticize him in any way.
Instead, I’d like to think with you about his statement, “I no longer believe in God,” since it’s a sentiment many share today.
One of C. S. Lewis’ most profound essays was titled “God in the Dock.” (In the British court system, the accused stands in the “dock;” we might change the title to “God on Trial.”)
According to Lewis, “The ancient man approached God (or even the gods) as the accused person approaches his judge. For the modern man, the roles are quite reversed. He is the judge: God is in the dock. He is quite a kindly judge; if God should have a reasonable defense for being the god who permits war, poverty, and disease, he is ready to listen to it. The trial may even end in God’s acquittal. But the important thing is that man is on the bench and God is in the dock.”
The declaration, “I no longer believe in God,” or its opposite, “I believe in God,” identifies God as the object to my subject. I have the right and capacity to choose whether or not I believe in him, just as I can decide whether or not I believe in the internet or marriage.
This kind of relationship describes many people who would disagree with Jon Steingard’s statement but agree with its subject-object assumptions.
This is a foundational problem for the church in our culture.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Jim Denison