Pastors Who Lost Faith in Jesus

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.

Despite writing several Christian books, he announced in 2021 on his Instagram that he was no longer a Christian. He also said, “… it feels really good. I’m really happy.”

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.”

Marty Sampson is an addition to the long list of scandals that hit the dark-themed church of Hillsong. Sampson is known for writing music in Hillsong Worship and United, Delirious, and Young & Free.

On August 10, 2019, he posted on Instagram: “Time for some real talk … I’m genuinely losing my faith … and it doesn’t bother me.” He also said that 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?

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

- Advertisement -


  1. I’ve lost all faith in prayer. After a false arrest and imprisonment for 10 months for crimes I did not commit, I felt that God abandoned me. The trauma from that experience made me terrified to ever pray again. If God can’t or won’t justify an innocent man falsely charged, I felt that it was best to never pray. Praying gets one’s hopes up. I can’t deal with more unanswered prayers.

    • Dear Jim,
      I’m very sorry for your false imprisonment. I just can’t imagine what you’ve experienced. I don’t know what else I can say.

      I agree with you 100%. Currently, I’m in a situation that has no end (going on 25 years). There was a lot of ebb and flow of high hopes that turned into despair all the while observing God answer others’ prayers. It’s absolute cruelty. Evangelicals would pounce on my pain with verses and with zero compassion. My personal experience throughout my life has been that my prayers were like a rug that God pulled out from under me and I was left crying in despair. I think, the Bible has good guidelines for, overall, living but I just cannot pray anymore. Too. Painful.

      • I think the mistake we make as believers is that we assume that God is going to fix things in our lives. He often allows troubles and suffering to persist in our lives. The greatest apostles and believers have died horrible deaths and lived lives of being persecuted and mocked. Whatever happens to us in this life, we still have the choice to be faithful to the end, to be a witness for Jesus, whether it is from a prison or not. This life is but a drop of water in an ocean. Eternity is what we are preparing for.

    • Remember Jesus was also an innocent man, falsely accused of wrong doing, brought to trial, found guilty and was sentenced to a horrible death. Remember he too felt abandoned by God, Matthew 27:46.
      If anyone understands your pain, Jesus does.

  2. Don’t despair. Joseph was imprisoned for 13 years.Peter and Paul were imprisoned too. David was being pursued by Saul.

  3. Jim, please don’t be afraid – Prayer is a conversation that you have with Jesus Christ – He knows how you feel – He was wrongly accused – He was wrongly punished – He was disbelieved countless times – Yet because of His tremendous Love and compassion He has He became our Kinsman Redeemer – There are no easy answers but there is ONE who knows you and understands you completely and extends His hand 24/7

  4. Many stop believing after a scandal
    Or major destruction. I personally believe it’s because they never believed to begin with.

    • That’s horsecrap! How dare you add insult to injury. You won’t appreciate someone else saying that to you during your darkest hour. But someone will, because that’s how sanctimoniously cruel many christians are.

  5. Yes … even in birth (I was told in later years)
    I wasn’t going to make it. I have not been successful like other family members. I’ve been shot accidently, paralyzed twice and failed at 98 per cent of my endeavors so far. But I know the Lord Jesus and his Love for me when he hung on the cross. What he has taught me in the valleys of life have bolstered up my faith in Him and in eternity. He stood me up and got me going again. Nothing matters overall in terms of personal failure. Turn to him if you need Him, but if its done and in the past then ask Him to help you move on. It only matters that which you have in him. It’s time especially in these days to release it all to him. No struggle. Let it be and rest in him. Just ask and then rest. He knows in advance, but invite Him in …He is listening. Refuse to lean on your own understanding.Proverbs 3:5 A deep dive into the Word and the Spirit of Life (Romans) in our current times is the path to peace. The Lord does not sin and he does not make mistakes. That’s why you are so important to him. You are not a mistake or a failure. You are resilient…but only in Him. Put the past behind and draw near. The time is here. It has arrived.
    The blood of Christ has taken care of your forgiveness and the death of Christ will bring victory over your struggle in whatever sin is raising your mind and heart. The Holy Spirit was given to us to take care of this stand down. The Battle is the Lord’s….

  6. I am one of those who left the faith. I encourage all that read this to have a real discussion with those who have left. There can be lots of reasons, but it isn’t normally because “they loved their sin too much”. It also isn’t because “they were never real Christians”. For me it was as real as it gets. Have a discussion. If you want to keep others from leaving, it is best that you at least understand the real reasons that people do and not the strawmen you shoot at.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Follow us on social media!

Follow us on social media!