Sometimes the truth hurts. It hurts because we’re forced to confront something about life or about ourselves that’s uncomfortable, maybe even painful. That doesn’t feel good.
Increasingly, though, mainstream culture is veering away from telling hard truths. Especially those that make anyone feel uncomfortable. And for many, emotions have become the path to their subjective, individual understanding of what is true, instead of the other way around.
This trend has increasingly permeated the church, too.
But Skillet frontman John Cooper is having none of it. In a Facebook post on Tuesday that’s since gone viral, Cooper boldly challenges the church to recognize where it, too, is letting feelings interfere with embracing biblical truth.
The impetus for the post, according to CBN News, was the recent announcements of author Joshua Harris (I Kissed Dating Goodbye) and Hillsong worship leader Marty Sampson announcing their movements away from the Christian faith.
Cooper’s lengthy post confronts this trend in the church: “Ok I’m saying it. Because it’s too important not to. What is happening in Christianity? More and more of our outspoken leaders or influencers who were once ‘faces’ of the faith are falling away. And at the same time they are being very vocal and bold about it.” He goes on not only to rebuke those who’ve recently made such announcements, but to dig deeper into the core issue here: the conflict between emotions and truth:
It is time for the church to rediscover the preeminence of the Word. And to value the teaching of the Word. We need to value truth over feeling. Truth over emotion. And what we are seeing now is the result of the church raising up influencers who did not supremely value truth who have led a generation who also do not believe in the supremacy of truth. And now those disavowed leaders are proudly still leading and influencing boldly AWAY from the truth.
Near the end of his emotional post, he exhorts:
Brothers and sisters in the faith all around the world, pastors, teachers, worship leaders, influencers … I implore you, please please in your search for relevancy for the gospel, let us NOT find creative ways to shape Gods word into the image of our culture by stifling inconvenient truths. But rather let us hold on even tighter to the anchor of the living Word of God. For He changes NOT. ‘The grass withers and the flowers fade away, but the word of our God stands forever’ (Isaiah 40:8)
I’m sure that Cooper’s strong, unapologetic words here may step on some toes. In fact, that probably explains why this post (which is worth reading in its entirety) has generated so much response in the last several days. But Cooper’s call for believers to reprioritize truth in our emotional age offers a much-needed corrective.
Reading Cooper’s post, I recalled what the Gospel of John says of Jesus’ incarnation, “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. We observed his glory, the glory as the one and only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).
Jesus came full of grace and truth. How desperately we need both, a truth that John Cooper has powerfully reminded us of here.