You might have heard about a Christian rock singer named Jon Steingard, who has told us all that he doesn’t believe in God anymore. Mr Steingard was the frontman of Christian rock group Hawk Nelson. Now he has decided to leave the group and start another career. He will probably work as a secular entertainer.
Jon Steingard is the son of a pastor, and it is probably fair to say he was raised to believe. He moved from a Christian home, where church was the center of his life, to Christian entertainment, where he had to be turned on for Jesus every time he walked onto a stage.
Now he says that he is not an atheist. He doesn’t have a problem with God existing, he just doesn’t believe. The crisis is in him. This is a big story with the secular media because many people in that industry don’t want us to believe. They like to tell us about someone they describe as a devout Christian, who doesn’t believe anymore.
So, what should we do with this story?
I think we should start by thanking Jon Steingard for his honesty. It is normal for everyone to doubt and to be afraid, sometimes. For believers, the Bible is filled with “fear not” warnings. We are told to not be afraid, and not to doubt, because that is what we do. From the Bible, we are redirected by someone who wants better things for us.
“He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deuteronomy 31:8)
I am not a PK, a preacher’s kid, and I am glad for that. I am also not an entertainer; you don’t want to hear me sing. And I never want to act like I have it all together, because I don’t. I do my best to trust God, who has it all together. I believe my father in heaven loves me, and sometimes I don’t know why.
I am living a new life that I don’t deserve.
There is a church near us that I like to attend when I can. We usually drive a longer distance, to another good church. The church near us has a big new building, built for Christian entertainers, when they come to our city. Sometimes, the parking lot is full, and we can hear the rock vibrations from the car. In the building, the sound levels can be higher than ninety decibels. I have worked in safety, and your ears should not be exposed to sound over eighty decibels without hearing protection. You could be permanently injured. This might seem rude, but I put my fingers in my ears.
And don’t put large stereo speakers in the back seat of your car and turn up the bass to an intense level. Those vibrations can damage the retinas of your eyes; really. I know, that’s probably a seventies thing for you, and I’m off the topic, but churches sometimes risk our health because of the intensity of their worship experience.
When that church near us is not rocking, it’s a great place for a Christian. I get taught, and encouraged, and redirected, every time I go there. If I could talk to the leaders, I would like to ask them about that line they can’t cross, where ‘worship’ becomes performance and entertainment. The Christians in that church are ordinary people who need to grow in their new life. Most of us grow better when we are not on a stage inspiring the faith of thousands of screaming fans. That intensity does not inspire growth in me.
OK, I don’t have screaming fans to entertain, but we all know that we live our real lives in ordinary places, and that is where we grow in our faith.
You might know these words “When Cephas [Peter] came to Antioch, I had to openly oppose him because he was completely wrong.” (Galatians 2:11) Those are two of the greatest Christians, Peter and Paul, and they had a big argument, at least once. Yikes. It wasn’t all Praise-Jesus worship services in those days. We could say they were balanced.
I hope that Jon Steingard can find his way back to the father who loves him, and I hope he can find a place where he can grow, away from the intensity of performance and entertainment.
He is our brother.
But now, this is what the Lord says, he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.” (Isaiah 43: 1 to 3)