John Cooper on Apostasy

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John Cooper on Apostasy

Post by zak89 » Mon Aug 26, 2019 1:05 pm

Hey, I’m still alive! 8)

I saw the recent “John Cooper” thread on the Petra forum so I assume many folks may have already seen this link, but just in case... the Skillet frontman has some choice words regarding the recent spat of popular Christian “influencers” (his term) who’ve announced their departure from the faith.

A few excerpts (the entire post is well worth reading):
“We must STOP making worship leaders and thought leaders or influencers or cool people or “relevant” people the most influential people in Christendom. (And yes that includes people like me!) I’ve been saying for 20 years(and seemed probably quite judgmental to some of my peers) that we are in a dangerous place when the church is looking to 20 year old worship singers as our source of truth. We now have a church culture that learns who God is from singing modern praise songs rather than from the teachings of the Word.

...there is a common thread running through these leaders/influencers that basically says that “no one else is talking about the REAL stuff.” This is just flatly false. I just read today in a renown worship leader’s statement, “How could a God of love send people to hell? No one talks about it.” As if he is the first person to ask this? Brother, you are not that unique. The church has wrestled with this for 1500 years. Literally. Everybody talks about it. Children talk about it in Sunday school. There’s like a billion books written on the topic. Just because you don’t get the answer you want doesn’t mean that we are unwilling to wrestle with it. We wrestle with scripture until we are transformed by the renewing of our minds.

...

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.

...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)”
https://cogentchristianity.com/2019/08/ ... n-leaders/
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Re: John Cooper on Apostasy

Post by George Harrison » Mon Aug 26, 2019 4:39 pm

Hello Zak, it's been a long time. I agree with John... Basing your faith on what some hip 20-something says is ridiculous. Most of these people probably never were saved in the beginning, maybe they only did it for the money and prestige, or perhaps they genuinely lost their faith.
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Re: John Cooper on Apostasy

Post by Diehardpetrafan:) » Mon Aug 26, 2019 6:48 pm

This was good. I agree, like the song Reckless Love, people really need to rethink that song. Christian music now just isn't the same. It's twisted too I understand. :roll:
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Re: John Cooper on Apostasy

Post by George Harrison » Mon Aug 26, 2019 7:34 pm

This is true:
“I have a few specific thoughts and rebuttals to statements made by recently disavowed church influencers…first of all, I am stunned that the seemingly most important thing for these leaders who have lost their faith is to make such a bold new stance. Basically saying, “I’ve been living and preaching boldly something for 20 years and led generations of people with my teachings and now I no longer believe it..therefore I’m going to boldly and loudly tell people it was all wrong while I boldly and loudly lead people in to my next truth.”

Reckless love is not a bad song, only problem is God isn't really reckless. Perhaps the writers misunderstood the Bible verse they based the song on.
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Re: John Cooper on Apostasy

Post by Dan » Tue Aug 27, 2019 9:36 am

That was a good read.

I feel guilty about this, my wife and I arrive at church late so we don't have to endure the praise and worship "performance" before the sermon.

Anyone else feel this way?
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Re: John Cooper on Apostasy

Post by Diehardpetrafan:) » Tue Aug 27, 2019 1:21 pm

Haha, I know what you mean, my parents get to church late a lot :lol: I understand about the 'performance' although it's nothing too huge in my church but I have seen the ones that are like that😉
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Re: John Cooper on Apostasy

Post by zak89 » Tue Aug 27, 2019 2:46 pm

A few thoughts I have, after a few days mulling over John Cooper's post.

First, there is an interesting tension (which John acknowledges, both in the post and in a follow-up interview with CBN) between John's musical ventures (particularly Skillet) and the ideals for which John himself argues. Essentially, he's indicting the church for valuing entertainment over edification, and doing as an entertainer. I have to think that this is something John/Skillet are grappling with behind the scenes. That being said, I think all Christians would agree that God is the ultimate creator of music, and music always carries an element of entertainment. I actually do think that there is a rightful place for "art" and beauty in the Christian worldview (though I think that the standards for such work would differ from the mainstream). Were we in a "Twilight Zone" where Christians were enraptured with plumbing (to use the much overused analogy) over Biblical studies, I think it would be proper for Christian plumbers everywhere to wield their wrenches and use their newfound starpower to call the church back to its ultimate foundation, without necessarily repudiating the pipe-swinging profession entirely.

So I commend John for being clear-eyed about the "imbalance" (as he said in the CBN interview) in the church regarding the very profession he believes God has called him to. While I could say that Skillet (and other groups) aren't exactly "helping" the situation with their stagecraft and artistic ambiguity, ultimately the problem is from the grassroots - individual Christians who choose to patronize shows and programs that entertain first, edify second (if at all). If Skillet is part of the problem, I think it's as a symptom, not the cause. And the fact that someone like John Cooper recognizes and calls out these misplaced priorities may just serve as a wakeup call for at least some bedazzled believers.

Secondly, I think John Cooper is right on regarding the core of the problem: a lack of respect and, I might add, awe at the written revelation of God. The superficiality with which we often regard the Bible is, I think, nearly scandalous. Let alone the river of blood that has been shed to preserve and bring us the Scriptures we have today, and in a plethora of understandable translations, I think few of us Christians truly grasp the wonder that the Almightly condescended to bring us His own thoughts in a form that we can read and understand. The best Christian art - as well as anything else of value that a Christian offers the world - flows from hearts and minds that are gripped and transformed by God's own thoughts - instead, many believers never benefit from the richness of Scripture, and are fed a skimmed-milk diet of loosely Biblical platitudes and Hallmark card slogans. Christians rightly understand the mystery and weight of the incarnation of Christ - the Word made flesh - but I think we sometimes lose sight of the equally (I believe) miraculous provision of the written Word. Where Christ revealed God's heart, the Bible reveals God's mind - and we cannot serve the Lord our God with all of our own hearts and minds if we don't have an intimate connection to both the living and the written Word of God.

It's true one can know the Scripture in a purely academic sense, without any relationship with Jesus - that's a tragic reality in many educational institutions, in fact. But it's also equally true that being "in love with Jesus" while remaining ignorant of what God actually said - and this seems to me to be where many Christians lie. And so they glom onto charismatic leaders and authors, entertainers and performers, seeking some sort of direction where their "relationship with Jesus" seems to provide none. These leaders are then elevated to platforms and given authority they were never prepared to have, and - inevitably, it seems - they eventually fall. I think this is at the heart of John's message, especially in this excerpt towards the end:
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...

…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)
Amen, and amen. Skillet may not yet be my cup 'o tea, but I am heartened to hear from a brother-in-Christ who, whatever his faults, "has his head screwed on straight", as an elderly ultra-conservative friend of mine said (regarding the Facebook post) - and more importantly, understands the rightful order of God's revelation and our submission to it as His church.
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Re: John Cooper on Apostasy

Post by Diehardpetrafan:) » Tue Aug 27, 2019 7:08 pm

Wow, man I could not have said it better myself :shock: I think that this is what I was looking for in an explanation of Christian culture today, whether in music, or something else. One thing that I love about Petra's (and others, such as Whitecross) lyrics is that I find scripture in all of their songs. Or I will be reading and think "hey, that's in so-&-so's song" and I write it next to the verse. Skillet isn't exactly my cup of tea either but I feel the same as you about his right thoughts. Thank you, I love reading things when they express my thoughts when I cannot. This is the problem with a lot of Christians today, and we do need a "Wake Up Call" 8)
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Re: John Cooper on Apostasy

Post by George Harrison » Tue Aug 27, 2019 9:05 pm

Diehardpetrafan:) wrote:
Tue Aug 27, 2019 7:08 pm
Wow, man I could not have said it better myself :shock: I think that this is what I was looking for in an explanation of Christian culture today, whether in music, or something else. One thing that I love about Petra's (and others, such as Whitecross) lyrics is that I find scripture in all of their songs. Or I will be reading and think "hey, that's in so-&-so's song" and I write it next to the verse. Skillet isn't exactly my cup of tea either but I feel the same as you about his right thoughts. Thank you, I love reading things when they express my thoughts when I cannot. This is the problem with a lot of Christians today, and we do need a "Wake Up Call" 8)
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Re: John Cooper on Apostasy

Post by George Harrison » Tue Aug 27, 2019 9:10 pm

Dan wrote:
Tue Aug 27, 2019 9:36 am
That was a good read.

I feel guilty about this, my wife and I arrive at church late so we don't have to endure the praise and worship "performance" before the sermon.

Anyone else feel this way?
Dan, I think I know what you mean. I just don't like it that all the songs sound the same, it's not that I have anything against worshipping... That's extremely important, I only wish the music appealed to me more. Maybe that's my fault though🤷‍♂️. I suppose it doesn't matter how much you enjoy the music though; that's not exactly the point of praise and worship.
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Re: John Cooper on Apostasy

Post by Diehardpetrafan:) » Wed Aug 28, 2019 10:08 am

George that's exactly how I feel, the songs found the same and it's stuff I don't know/listen to (probably cause it's all stuff from now, or hymns but there's nothing wrong with hymns) but I need to remember that that's not what it's about :roll: :roll:
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Re: John Cooper on Apostasy

Post by Dan » Thu Aug 29, 2019 11:31 am

George Harrison wrote:
Tue Aug 27, 2019 9:10 pm
Dan wrote:
Tue Aug 27, 2019 9:36 am
That was a good read.

I feel guilty about this, my wife and I arrive at church late so we don't have to endure the praise and worship "performance" before the sermon.

Anyone else feel this way?
Dan, I think I know what you mean. I just don't like it that all the songs sound the same, it's not that I have anything against worshipping... That's extremely important, I only wish the music appealed to me more. Maybe that's my fault though🤷‍♂️. I suppose it doesn't matter how much you enjoy the music though; that's not exactly the point of praise and worship.
Yep same, I wouldn't say the music is all bad... it's that our church has a "lead singer" and his mic is turned up all the way, it is painful. The applause at the end of each song is for the singer out of pity, not God.
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Re: John Cooper on Apostasy

Post by George Harrison » Thu Aug 29, 2019 6:22 pm

Dan wrote:
Thu Aug 29, 2019 11:31 am
George Harrison wrote:
Tue Aug 27, 2019 9:10 pm
Dan wrote:
Tue Aug 27, 2019 9:36 am
That was a good read.

I feel guilty about this, my wife and I arrive at church late so we don't have to endure the praise and worship "performance" before the sermon.

Anyone else feel this way?
Dan, I think I know what you mean. I just don't like it that all the songs sound the same, it's not that I have anything against worshipping... That's extremely important, I only wish the music appealed to me more. Maybe that's my fault though🤷‍♂️. I suppose it doesn't matter how much you enjoy the music though; that's not exactly the point of praise and worship.
Yep same, I wouldn't say the music is all bad... it's that our church has a "lead singer" and his mic is turned up all the way, it is painful. The applause at the end of each song is for the singer out of pity, not God.
Ouch :shock: Those who can't sing well, should sing quietly
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Re: John Cooper on Apostasy

Post by Diehardpetrafan:) » Thu Aug 29, 2019 7:40 pm

Oof, well, maybe suggest singing yourself? :lol:
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Re: John Cooper on Apostasy

Post by Dan » Fri Aug 30, 2019 8:26 pm

I would rather no one dominate the mic in worship at church. Actually I would rather there be no mic on singers.
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