Christian rocker John Cooper is calling on Christians and churches to teach the "true gospel" of man's sinfulness in light of another well-known believer, Kevin Max of DC Talk, announcing he's deconstructing his faith.
Cooper, the frontman for the award-winning band Skillet, made the comments this week on his podcast Cooper Stuff and urged Christians to pray for Kevin Max, who, along with Michael Tait and TobyMac, formed the trio that comprised DC Talk.
"It's sad. It's heartbreaking. But we need to be fortified," Cooper said of Kevin Max and others who deconstruct. "... We pray that God brings them back into the faith – that He brings them back into repentance. That should be our heart. That's certainly my heart for people who go through these things."
Kevin Max, in a series of social media posts, said he was an "exvangelical."
"I've been deconstructing / Reconstructing / progressing / whatever you wish to call it for decades, I've been in the outsider/misfit/seeker club for a long time now…Thank you for welcoming me in, but I've always been here," Kevin Max wrote.
Cooper, who helped form Skillet more than two decades ago, said Kevin Max's announcement was "not a huge shock" to him.
"I've met him four or five times. I've always remained unconvinced that he was born again. I don't get the feeling that I'm the only one that felt that way," Cooper said. "That's not me being a jerk. That's just me being like, 'I'm not really sure that he's born again – that he's really in this and understands what's going on.' But that's not up to me to decide. Salvation belongs to the Lord. ... You notice things with your eyes, right?"
Cooper then pivoted to what Christians – and Christian families – can do to ensure they persevere in the faith.
The church, Cooper said, has not "done the best job of sharing the true gospel."
"And here's what I mean," he said. "If you ask most churchgoers, 'What's the gospel?' They say, 'The Gospel is that Jesus is God. He died on a cross for your sins, to pay the penalty of your guilt and sin, and He rose from the dead. And if you repent, if you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, you repent for your sins, you'll be born again.
"... [But] the huge element that we're missing there – and I'm guilty of this, too – … [is] repentance," Cooper said. "The huge element that we are missing from telling people the Gospel is: Why do you even need to be saved? Why do you need to believe in this Jesus who died on a cross? ... We're not telling people that you are a sinner, and you are going to pay for your sins for eternity if you do not trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, which is why Jesus suffered for your sins."
Cooper then read a passage from his book, Awake and Alive to Truth, about original sin.
"In short, because of our original state of sin, we cannot do anything but displease God. We cannot win Him over with our good deeds because even those are tainted," Cooper read. "In fact, the only reason that we do not constantly act as thoroughly depraved as possible is because of God's common grace that restrains us from our very worst leanings and intentions."
Cooper quoted theologian Louis Berkhof as writing, "In his sinful state, the whole man is the object of God's displeasure."
"We don't say these things a lot. Why? Because they are not very popular," Cooper said. "I posit to you that most everyone that is deconstructed does not believe in original sin.
"... We are a constant offense to the holiness of God because He is so very different than us," Cooper added.
Two decades ago, Cooper said, he himself did not "understand how much darkness there was in me."
"Christianity is based on something that we do not like to say, which is this: You are not a good person. I am not a good person. We are wretched. And we are an offense to God because we have rebelled against Him and His ways and His righteousness because we want to be our own gods," Cooper said. "... And Jesus Christ came to earth to die a substitutionary atonement, which means that He died in your place, and in my place to suffer the penalty of that sin."
Cooper concluded his podcast by again encouraging Christians to pray for Kevin Max and others like him.
"Pray for these people that are deconstructing – pray for them to be brought back into repentance. For some of these people, probably brought into repentance, truthfully – no judgment – probably for the first time. I don't believe that most ... really truly believed [and] they never truly repented. We need to pray for them that they would repent for their sins and be born again and made brand new by the grace of God in the blood of Jesus Christ."
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Ethan Miller/Staff
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.