Christian leaders and pastors who lost their faith in Jesus, stopped believing, and others committed suicide
2021, Paul Maxwell “I’m no longer Christian.”
Former ‘Desiring God’ writer Paul Maxwell renounced his faith in Jesus. Maxwell is a high-profile preacher with a Ph.D. in theology at Wheaton and B.A. in Biblical language from Moody.
2020, Jon Steingard “I no longer believe in God.”
Jon Steingard, the Canadian Christian rock band’s lead vocalist, announced on his Instagram, “I no longer believe in God.” He explained it didn’t happen overnight.
One reason Steingard gave up his faith was his support for legalizing same-sex marriage in 2015 and the theory of evolution, which he was an “anti-Christian” stand.
2019, Joshua Harris “I am not a Christian.”
Joshua Harris authored the million-bestseller I Kissed Dating Goodbye in 1997. Ironically, Harris separated from his wife of 20 years in 2019. In the same year, he disowned Jesus.
On July 25, 2019, Harris announced, “I am not a Christian…” He also spoke about what he sees as a destructive relationship between many Christians and his disdain for Trump, who supports Christians.
Marty Sampson, a prolific worship music writer known for his work with Hillsong Worship, Hillsong United, Delirious, and Young & Free, revealed he is losing his faith and believes Christianity is “just another religion.”
2019, Dave Gass “I am walking away from the faith.”
Dave Gass was the lead Pastor at Grace Family Fellowship. “After 40 years of being a devout follower, 20 of those being an evangelical pastor, I am walking away from the faith,” in his now-deleted tweet. Gass apparently left his family.
“When I was in 8th grade and reading Greek mythology… the deity of the Bible and humankind sounded like ancient mythology. That seed of doubt never went away,” he said.
2019, Jarrid Wilson “Jesus doesn’t always cure suicidal thoughts.”
Church leader, author, and mental health advocate, Jarrid Wilson, killed himself on September 9, 2019. He was 30 years old. He pastored at Harvest church in California, Highpoint, and LifePoint Church in Tennessee.
His last tweet was, “Loving Jesus doesn’t always cure suicidal thoughts (depression, PTSD, anxiety)… But offer us companionship and comfort.”
2019, Marty Simpson “Christianity is just another religion.”
2018, Andrew Stoecklein “Severe mental illness.”
The 30 years old vibrant and beloved young pastor preached about depression, then killed himself on August 25, 2018. Andrew Stoecklein was a senior pastor at mega-church Inland Hills Church, Chino, California.
“He had panic attacks two or three times a week.” A psychiatrist diagnosed Stoecklein with depression. Stoecklein has a severe mental illness; he was a great husband and dad, his wife said.
2015, John Gibson “Hopeless shame.”
John Gibson never denounced his faith in Jesus. “My dad reached such a point of hopelessness and despair that he took his own life,” his son Trey said. The professor’s guilt and shame led him to suicide after his name was exposed in the Ashley Madison scandal.
Gibson was a renowned professor at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He had a secret life of sexual addiction, and infidelity, that led to depression.
Former Wheaton College Dean and Christianity Today contributing editor Ed Stetzer called what happened a “significant moment of embarrassment for the Church.” However, Stetzer’s political rhetoric also embarrassed the body of Christ for talking too much about politics.
2014, Isaac Hunter
2013, Ed Montgomery
2013, Teddy Parker
How do you explain Christians falling away from faith or giving up?
- First, the Bible warns us that Satan seeks to kill, steal, and destroy those who bear the image of God. Jesus said that in this world, His disciple would have troubles.
- Secondly, Jesus did not say He will always intervene but assured us that He will never leave or forsake us. “I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace,” Jesus said.
- Thirdly, we will suffer and even doubt our faith, especially when we choose to live in sin. Jesus said, “Be courageous! I have conquered the world.” (John 10:10; John 16:33)
1 John 2:19
“They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. If they were, they would have remained; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.”
Are you a struggling pastor?: If you are a Christian leader who has thought of abandoning faith, join the Clergy Project. It’s an online community of current and former religious professionals.