In the clip, Cooper can be heard saying, “It’s time that we declare war against this deconstruction Christian movement—and I’ll tell you what—I don’t even like calling it deconstruction Christian [movement], because there is nothing Christian about it. It is a false religion! It is a whole other religion.”
Webb’s comment on his post read, “Angry and judgmental gods make people angry and judgmental.”
DC Talk’s Kevin Max, who says he’s been deconstructing for decades, made the comment, “…angry neck beards & anti-deconstruction podcasts…”
One of Webb’s commenters accused Winter Jam of seeking to indoctrinate young people, saying, “He’s traveling around on the Winter Jam tour where thousands of young people become indoctrinated. Then they become disillusioned in their early 20s and deconstruct shortly after.” Webb responded, “Yep.”
Christian rock band Hawk Nelson’s former lead singer Jon Steingard retweeted Webb’s video with a message directed toward Cooper, saying, “Hey @johnlcooper – you and I go way back. I’d love to have a respectful conversation about this, and hear you out if you’d be open to the same. I’ve seen you talk about people like me, but haven’t seen you talk with people like me anywhere publicly (pls correct me if I’m wrong).”
In a follow-up post, Steingard wrote, “John is currently on Winter Jam (which I’ve done 3x), and is speaking in front of ~20,000 people a night. Some in attendance might have questions about their faith, some might be LGBTQ+, afraid to come out. John may not realize it, but he’s declaring war on those kids too.”
Steingard announced in May 2020 that he no longer believes in God.
“After growing up in a Christian home, being a pastor’s kid, playing and singing in a Christian band, and having the word ‘Christian’ in front of most of the things in my life—I am now finding that I no longer believe in God,” Steingard posted on social media.
Hawk Nelson’s former singer told Matthew West during a podcast interview that he still prays, sharing that it sounds like, “God, I don’t know if you’re there. If you’re not there, then what I’m doing right now isn’t harming anything. But if you are there, then, if you can hear what I’m doing right now and talking to you, can you show up in my life?”
Steingard explained to West that he believes it is healthy for Christians to share their doubts with each other, saying, “I think all the healthiest Christian communities I know are communities where questions are welcomed and where doubts can be processed openly, and there’s no shame associated with it.”
Steingard Clarifies His Statements
ChurchLeaders reached out to Steingard and asked him to clarify his Twitter statements he directed to Cooper.
Steingard graciously replied, saying, “John and I have toured together, so while we’re not close friends, we do know each other personally. This is why I hoped he might be open to a respectful conversation about the ‘deconstruction Christian movement’ he referenced in his comments in the video that’s circulating the internet.”
“It seems that he’s referencing the wave of people departing evangelical Christian circles and re-examining their beliefs in the process. Some of these departures have made news, including Marty Sampson, Josh Harris, and myself,” Steingard said, expressing that he had never heard deconstruction phrased that way before.