When Marty Sampson, prominent writer and worship leader for Hillsong, announced this past week that he was struggling with his Christian faith because he wanted “genuine truth,” it was a compelling reminder to reinvigorate my own relationship with God.
Searching for truth within Christianity — without a deep, personal relationship with God — will only confuse and dissatisfy us.
Sampson said his specific reasons for leaving Christianity were the failure of preachers, the lack of miracles, and the contradictions in the Bible.
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But should failures, miracles, or contradictions ever be the basis for our faith or lack thereof?
If so, who can we ever fully trust?
Worship leaders need theological training. Marty Sampson of @Hillsong posting about leaving the Christian faith breaks my heart.
God loves Marty and will continue to pursue him. I pray this is not the end of the story. https://t.co/TdsxtGxFNL
— Adrian Tijerina (@AG_Tijerina) August 11, 2019
Hillsong's Marty Sampson left Christianity … but what he said when he announced his departure suggests that he was badly catechized and badly formed. This is not just a pop Evangelicalism problem, but something all Christians today have to face. More: https://t.co/XoStM6r7dL
— Rod Dreher (@roddreher) August 13, 2019
Life is full of contradictions and people who fail us. Even if our greatest faith is in ourselves, well — we are also full of contradictions.
And we very often fail ourselves.
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God knows this. That’s why Jesus died. He paid the ultimate sacrifice. He is the only one worthy of our deepest faith. No one else is — not even us.
He is the only one who never fails us. When we pursue a relationship with Him, we experience the kind of faith that is worth having.
I completely understand where Sampson is coming from — I’ve been there. I was disenchanted by Christianity at one time because I had intellectualized it — and I had failed to fall in love with God. The result was predictable. As the Apostle Paul has written: “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14).
So I walked away. I was disenchanted by my failure to understand the things of God because His truth is impossible to know — without knowing Him.
In the end, I thank God. Why?
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He did not stop pursuing me.
His goodness drew me back to Him. And I was so amazed by it that I committed to getting to know Him.
The deeper I go, the more He reveals His truth.
I can’t describe the experience better than Paul does: “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him — these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words, not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual” (1 Corinthians 2:9-13).
Faith in God should be based upon a relationship with Him.
Within it, He reveals truth that anchors us so deeply we never want to live without Him.
It is within our vital relationship with God that His Word comes alive, His wisdom abounds within us, and we see “what no eye has seen nor any heart has imagined.”