Jon Steingard, lead singer of the Christian rock band Hawk Nelson, has renounced his faith and says he doesn't believe in God anymore. Several Christian leaders and music artists have responded to Steingard's announcement with a hope that he will keep searching for spiritual truth.
Steingard, the son of a pastor, made the announcement on Instagram last week, saying he was "terrified to post this" but felt it was time to be honest.
"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 wrote.
Hawk Nelson was originally formed in 2000 with frontman Jason Dunn. In 2012, Steingard took Dunn's place as lead vocalist, and the Canadian rock band began showcasing more overtly Christian themes and lyrics in its songs. The band is no longer creating new music. But even as Steingard sang the faith-filled lyrics in years past, he felt somewhat uneasy.
He says this process of losing his faith "has been several years in the making" and "didn't happen overnight or all of a sudden." He describes one defining moment of this transition when he was talking with his father-in-law, a believer, about biblical commands he thought were oppressive to women. His father-in-law said Steingard needed to look at the original Greek because modern translations could be flawed. When Steingard asked his father-in-law if that meant the original Greek could be flawed as well, his father-in-law responded, "Well, if you believe that, what do you have left?"
"I said, 'Exactly,'" Steingard recalls. "Once I found that I didn't believe the Bible was the perfect Word of God—it didn't take long to realize that I was no longer sure he was there at all. That thought terrified me. It sent me into a tailspin. The implications of that idea were absolutely massive. I began to ask myself, 'What now?' Over the past year, I've occasionally mentioned publicly my struggles with depression. This is what really kicked that off."
While, Steingard says he is "open" to the idea that God is there—and would prefer that He was—he feels he needs to be honest about where he stands right now with his faith.
"I know my parents pray that God reveals himself to me," he writes. "If he's there, I hope he does."
Steingard's announcement drew thousands of responses. Among them were several prominent Christian leaders and music artists, including Jeremy Camp, who wrote: "Love you bro. Always will."
Tenth Avenue North's Mike Donehey responded: "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."
Donehey's fellow band member also offered a response: "Love you Jon. I miss being around your joyful presence. The next time I'm in San Diego I'm hunting you down and hugging you and bro-ing it out. I'm here for you and love you."
Read Steingard's full post here:
View this post on Instagram
I've been terrified to post this for a while - but it feels like it's time for me to be honest. I hope this is not the end of the conversation, but the beginning. I hope this is encouraging to people who might feel the same but are as afraid to speak as I am. I want to be open. I want to be transparent with you all - and also open to having my heart changed in the future. I am not looking for a debate at all - just a chance to share my story in the hopes some good can come from it. I love you all.
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