For the last thirty years, influential Christian rap group The Cross Movement’s Brady “Phanatik” Goodwin has traveled the world preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. This week, Goodwin announced he no longer believes what he wholeheartedly used to preach.
Goodwin has authored five books, holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biblical and Christian Service from Lancaster Bible College, a Master’s degree from the Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, and has taught apologetics, Biblical studies, and cultural engagement at the Center for Urban Theological Studies, located in Philadelphia.
The Cross Movement is a two time Grammy Award nominee and has been recognized by many artists for setting the blueprint for mixing deep theological lyrics with hip-hop beats. Some have even called them the pioneers and trailblazers for today’s artists. They have collaborated with Lecrae, Trip Lee, Tedashii, Flame and others.
On January 17, 2022, Goodwin released a 24-minute video on his Facebook page addressing rumors that he had left Christianity. “Please, brace yourself as I share from my heart about my journey,” Goodwin wrote. “I love and care about you, and how this will impact many of you, but do try to hear me in the midst of it all.”
“I recently sent a letter to the church [I’ve attended for the last four or five years] withdrawing my membership from the church,” Goodwin said.
He explained that the letter was “heavy,” because not only did he say he was withdrawing his membership, but made clear that he was removing his membership from the universal church, in other words denouncing Christianity all together.
“I really can’t ‘Amen’ what I used to ‘Amen,” Goodwin emotionally said. The rapper admitted that it wasn’t easy to get the words out to explain how he was feeling, but reassured those watching that he was alright.
“My struggle is there’s a world of people who are going to be crushed [and] who are going to be let down and disappointed and hurt and saddened by hearing this,” he said.
Goodwin paused to gather himself before telling his fans that he is “denouncing the Christian faith I have believed, professed, proclaimed, and defended for the last thirty years of my life.”
Goodwin shared that doubts started to surface for him in 2014, saying, “It just so happens to be that I was in seminary at the time. I had done Bible college [earlier] and had came through unscathed for the most part.” After Bible college, Goodwin still believed the Bible to be trustworthy.
But Goodwin doesn’t blame going to seminary for him walking away from the faith, saying, “No one in the class that I graduated with came out thinking the way that I came out thinking,” He reiterated that he wanted to make sure people didn’t use his story to say going to seminary is a bad thing.
“Seminary gave many of my classmates all the more reason to believe,” Goodwin clarified. “Seminary taught me to ask better, more penetrating questions. The aim was to teach me to do apologetics. I had been doing apologetics for twenty-five years on the streets dealing with Hebrew Israelites and Five Percenters and Right Knowledge Malachi York.”
“As I began to teach more in secular academia,” Goodwin continued, “I knew that my faith was going to run into more academic questions and so to prepare for those more academic questions I went to a place that existed to train people to do that (Westminster Theological Seminary). I knew that would be a great training for where I was headed in the secular academia.”