Now-faithless singer a lesson on feel-good sermons, shallow theology

Friday, May 29, 2020
Billy Davis, Steve Jordahl (

Jon SteingardAfter a popular Christian singer renounced his faith after years of questioning his beliefs, youth ministers are getting some tough-love advice: Teens deserve good answers for tough questions. 

Last week, after struggling for years over the reliability of the Bible, Hawk Nelson lead singer Jonathan Steingard (pictured at left) announced on Instagram he no longer believes that God exists.

"When I began to believe that the Bible was simply a book written by people as flawed and imperfect as I am, that was when my belief in God truly began to unravel,” he wrote, which is a curious observation considering the Bible never hides, for example, that King David committed adultery and murder, and a young Paul hunted down and arrested the first generation of believers. 

“Once I found that I didn't believe the Bible was the perfect Word of God,” Steingard, 36, further wrote, “it didn't take long to realize that I was no longer sure if He was there at all."

Hawk Nelson, known for songs such as "Sold Out," "Drops in the Ocean" and "Words," formed in 2000. The band was nominated for a Grammy in 2009 and numerous Dove Awards, too.

Steingard, who moved from lead guitarist to lead vocalist in 2012, co-wrote numerous songs since joining the band in 2004. He is cited as the sole writer for the single "Sold Out" that proclaims:

In a world full of followers, I'll be a leader
In a world full of doubters, I'll be a believer
I'm stepping out without a hesitation
Because the battle's already been won


Author and speaker Alex McFarland, who regularly speaks to teens through his Truth for a New Generation ministry, lays much of the blame on less-than-rigorous discipleship in youth ministries. It is not enough, he says, to tell questioning young people that the Bible is true --- without explaining why that is so.

Steingard’s story also caught the attention of Wretched Radio host Todd Friel. He was more blunt on his radio program about the shallowness of youth ministries that want to draw teens with entertainment but offer little more than that.

“The world offers fun,” Friel told his audience. “The church should be offering truth and a foundation.”

Friel also read from Steingard’s social media post that the singer-songwriter questioned why an “all-loving God” allows evil in the world, which pastors and Christian apologists know is not an uncommon question.

Book of Genesis“[Steingard] never heard the answer to this?” Friel asked with a sigh. “I would prefer he said, I do not accept the Christian explanation for this. I’d prefer that but that’s not the way it was presented.”

The issue of good and evil in the world, which Friel called a “biggie” topic considering its importance, has been debated and discussed by religious leaders and thinkers for thousands of years, he said. But he went on to ask if the topic has ever reached the ears of church youths.

“We've got to help people of all ages, and especially young people,” McFarland warns, “understand that being a Christian doesn't mean the subtraction of all of life's struggles. In fact, some of the people who struggle the most are people that are the most committed to Christ.”


Reading further into Steingard’s lengthy confession, Friel told his audience the longtime singer-songwriter, who grew up as a pastor’s kid, also questioned why Jesus died for the sins of mankind. It appears that Steingard lived his life “entertained and entertaining,” Friel warned, but still doesn’t know the truth of the gospel.

“And when he dies in his sins, if he hasn’t repented and trusted Jesus, he’s going to hell,” Friel told youth ministers. “And so will a lot of the kids in your youth group.”


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