A popular Christian singer-songwriter surprised both bandmates and fans by revealing he’s spent the past few years experiencing a crisis of faith.
In a nine-page Instagram post last week, Jonathan Steingard of Canada’s Hawk Nelson said he is “now finding that I no longer believe in God.”
“I was raised to believe that the Bible was the perfect Word of God,” the 36-year-old wrote. “Sure, it was written by human beings, but those people were divinely inspired ― and we can consider the words they wrote to be the Word of God.”
Steingard added, “Suffice it to say that when I began to believe that the Bible was simply a book written by people as flawed and imperfect as I am ― that was when my belief in God truly began to unravel.”
Steingard, who has been struggling with depression, said he’d received “incredible love and support” from family members, “even though I know this grieves them.”
By renouncing his faith, he’s also stepping down as frontman of Hawk Nelson. He felt compelled to share the news with fans now, when the band isn’t performing concerts or recording new music.
“Stepping away from belief in God has felt like a loss in some ways ― but it’s felt like freedom in others,” Steingard said. “I am not sure how much this will rock the boat. I don’t know if this will surprise anyone. But it doesn’t matter. What matters is that I’ve finally worked up the courage to tell my story. To share my deepest truth. And that feels like freedom too.”
Steingard joined Hawk Nelson in 2004 as a guitarist. He replaced former member Jason Dunn as the band’s lead singer in 2012.
Since then, the band has released three albums, including 2018’s “Miracles,” and shifted its musical focus from pop-punk to modern rock.
Steingard’s declaration comes less than a year after Marty Sampson of the Christian music collective Hillsong said his faith had been on “incredibly shaky ground.”
“I adore you Christians. I love you SO MUCH,” Sampson wrote at the time. “That’s all. It was amazing being one of you, but I’m not any more.”
On Wednesday, the remaining members of Hawk Nelson ― Daniel Biro, Micah Kuiper and David Niacaris ― responded to Steingard with an emotional Instagram post of their own.
“Our mission as Hawk Nelson has always been to inspire and encourage all people with the truth that God is FOR them and not against them,” the band wrote. “In that message’s most simple and purest form, that THEY matter. … God is still FOR Jon & he still matters.”