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Newsboys Co-Founder Gains New Attention for His Turn Away From Christianity, But That's Not the Whole Story

( [email protected] ) Jan 27, 2015 08:37 PM EST
When Newsboys co-founder George Perdikis described his journey away from Christianity in a blog post last week, many were shocked that the Christian band's image was being tainted after enjoying newfound success following the release of their hit song on the God's Not Dead soundtrack. But there are many details in this "Christian-turned-Atheist" story that many other news outlets aren't mentioning.
George Perdikis has turned away from Christianity to become atheist. Photo: Patheos/George Perdikis

When Newsboys co-founder George Perdikis described his journey away from Christianity in a blog post last week, many were shocked that the Christian band's image was being tainted after enjoying newfound success following the release of their hit song on the God's Not Dead soundtrack. But there are many details in this "Christian-turned-Atheist" story that many other news outlets aren't mentioning.

For one, Newsboys wasn't always considered a Christian band. Founded in 1985 by Perdikis and Peter Furler, the Australian act started out as a cover band but turned into a Christian rock band at the advice of Furler's parents who were fundamentalist Christians who believed that "the only acceptable form of music was the kind that worshipped God."

As Perdikis describes in his blog post at Patheos that sparked the new attention, the band started getting noticed and recorded their first album in 1987. Perdikis co-wrote the first two Newsboys albums and toured with them until 1990.

But that's where the second missed point comes in. While Perdikis was a founding member, he hasn't had contact with the band in over 20 years, according to David Wagner, Newsboys' co-manager since 1996.

Perdikis officially renounced Christianity in 2007, so that's not news in itself, but the recent resurgence in the band's popularity has offered Perdikis the opportunity to tell his story to a larger audience.

He describes his turn from the Lord as something that started when he began studying cosmology in 1992. "I soon found myself fascinated by the works of Carl Sagan, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Lawrence Krauss, Brian Cox, and Richard Dawkins," he wrote. "I learned so much and was blown away by all the amazing scientific discoveries and facts. When my marriage dissolved in 2003, I turned my attention to human psychology."

But Perdikis didn't stop at his own story as his claims against the rest of the band members and Christians in general escalated. "The Christian music scene is populated by many people who act as though they have a direct hotline to a God who supplies them with the answers to the Universe," he wrote. "There seems to be more ego and narcissism amongst Christian musicians than their secular counterparts."

"The truth is - from someone who knows what went on then and what goes on now - the Newsboys aren't as holy as they profess," he continued. "Instead of wearing a mask of "righteousness," they should acknowledge that they are struggling as much as everyone else."

Another point missed in the telling of this story is that none of the original members are still with the band. Perdikis, Furler, John James, and Sean Taylor have all gone their separate ways, and the band is currently made up of former DC Talk vocalist Michael Tait, drummer Duncan Phillips, guitarist Jody Davis, and keyboardist Jeff Frankenstein.

Keeping these facts in mind, Michael Brown of Charisma News wrote a thought-provoking piece on Perdikis' turn from Christianity, describing his beliefs on how Perdikis may not have even been saved in the first place.

"I always give the benefit of the doubt and believe the best about people whom I don't know personally, and so, if a person claims to know the Lord, I'll take them at their word unless there is proof to the contrary. In the same way, if a band claims to be Christian, I'll assume they are," Brown said.

"At the same time, I'm aware of claims that only 1 in 10 'Christian' bands [are] really Christian, while others within the industry have told me that they witnessed lots of drug use, drinking and immorality among the 'Christian' performers."

But Brown brings up an excellent point through all of this: "Rather than attacking him as if he somehow sinned against us, we should be praying for his restoration and asking why it is that so many are falling away."

We reached out to the Newsboys' co-manager, David Wagner, for comment, but have not yet received an answer.