Skillet lead singer John Cooper says society is "lying to" young people by telling them they're fine the way they are when Scripture offers a radically different message centered on the truth of mankind's sinfulness and the restoring power of Jesus.
The frontman for the award-winning crossover band made the comments during a stop in Peoria, Ill., for Winter Jam, the Christian concert series that features multiple acts. The 39-city tour concludes on March 27.
"You are being lied to every single day," Cooper said, addressing young people in the audience. "You get on social media, you're being lied to. You watch any news, you are definitely being lied to. You listen to politicians, you're being lied to you. Hollywood is lying to you. Influencers are lying to you.
"... Society is telling all of our young people, 'You're good just the way you are.' But the Bible says actually, there's a big problem with the way that you are because every single one of us has sinned and fallen short of the glory of God," he added. "You are not OK, but Jesus made a way for you to be restored. That's the great news."
Cooper recently released a book, Awake and Alive, that examines modern worldviews, such as relativism, in light of Scripture.
If fame and fortune brought true happiness, Cooper said, then the lives of celebrities would not be "so screwed up."
"If they are so happy, I want to know why they are committing suicide in the largest, highest rates in American history. I want to know why they're so depressed," Cooper said. "I want to know why they are so anxiety-ridden. I want to know why they change sexual partners every single week. … They think they are finding freedom by liberating themselves from God. And I feel bad for them. Because they don't even know that they are slaves."
Cooper added: "There is no such thing as freedom outside of Jesus Christ."
"Lots and lots of young people are starting to say, 'Maybe this isn't working. Maybe there is an answer that I can build my life upon.' Yes, there is an answer. His name is Jesus Christ. … There is a generation of young people asking the right questions. And it's time for you young folks to tell all these social media people and influencers, it's time to tell them, 'We are not listening anymore.'"
The Skillet frontman also addressed the trend of celebrity Christians walking away from the faith.
"They're telling you: 'This is what you have to do – you have to find true happiness in your heart. That's the only reason you're alive. And the only way to find true happiness is to divorce yourself from Jesus Christ. The only way to find happiness is to divorce yourself from the Bible.' Now, some of these deconstructing Christians, they think they've found a third way. They will tell our young people, 'You don't have to divorce yourself from Jesus, just divorce yourself from the Bible.'
"And I'm here to tell you tonight," Cooper said, "there is no such thing as loving Jesus but not loving His Word.
The world, Cooper said, needs "a generation of Christians not afraid to call Jesus Lord, a generation of Christians not afraid to call Him Savior."
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Ethan Miller/Staff
Video courtesy: ©Michael Foust
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.