In a new interview with the "Trevor Talks" podcast, John Cooper, the frontman and bassist for the Grammy-nominated Christian rock band SKILLET, spoke about how a promoter on a mainstream tour bluntly told him once to "stop talking about Jesus" if he wanted to one day be in one of the biggest rock groups in the world. "I shouldn't say it was an ultimatum, because it's not that he had the power to give me all those dreams," John explained (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET). "But he did say that. He was, like, 'Look, this is what I believe. This is what a lot of people are saying. We think you could be the next biggest band in the world.' Now, look, I don't believe that I could have been the biggest band in the world, but that's what he was saying. [He said] 'But you need to stop talking about Jesus so much.'"
Cooper, who recently recently released his debut book, "Awake & Alive To Truth (Finding Truth In The Chaos Of A Relativistic World)", continued: "What was really confusing about the conversation, and I shared this in the book, is that he wasn't saying, 'Hey, John, deny Christ.' He wasn't saying, 'Deny your faith. Don't ever talk about Jesus.' He was just saying, 'Stop talking about it so much. Don't do Christian shows. Don't do Christian interviews. When someone asks you what a song is about, don't start saying, 'It's about my faith in Jesus.'
"At the time, we had a song called 'Hero'. People would ask me on these mainstream interviews, 'So, who is your hero?' And they'd expect me to say whatever, and I'd say, 'My hero is Jesus Christ,' and I would explain it. And he was saying, 'Stop doing that, because it's hurting your fan base.' But then he added a twist on it, and he said, 'If you think about it, John, you can do more for your faith by listening to my advice, because as you stop talking about Jesus and as your audience grows, imagine what you can do for the poor if you become rich and famous. Imagine the influence you could have if you become rich and famous,' and yada yada yada. So that was the only aspect of what he said — there is some truth to that; there is an element of truth to what he's saying. And I did think, 'Okay, I need to weigh this. Is God actually using this secular person? Is he actually speaking through this secular, unsaved person? God can do that, right?' So, I thought about it for a few hours, and I talked to my wife about it. I was, like, 'This is what he said. It just doesn't feel right to me.' And my wife was, like, 'No. It doesn't feel right to me.' And God made it so abundantly clear that even though there is an element of truth, maybe there is an element of prudence, it's not the Lord's wisdom. It might be a little bit of earthly prudence, but that is not the Lord's wisdom. And that was a defining moment for me — not because I was considering denying my faith or never talking about Christ, but it did make me think, 'Could I be smarter about this?' So it was a good time for us to put our feet down on the ground and say, 'No. We absolutely know who we are.'
"To not talk about Jesus, then there's no point to SKILLET," Cooper added. "That's the entire point of me playing music, is to share my faith in Christ. That's all that it is.
"The Bible said, the disciples said, 'How can we be silent of everything we've seen and heard?' That's what the disciples said. 'How can we not tell the world what we've seen with this man Jesus that he died and rose from the dead and he did miracles and he healed the sick, and he even told somebody that he forgave their sins? How can we be silent about this?' And you know what? No way are we gonna be silent about Jesus. So, it was a defining moment. And I wrote about that. And certainly we've become even more vocal as the years have progressed."
This past March, Cooper told the "Undaunted.Life: A Man's Podcast" that it was perfectly fine for Christians to play rock music. "I would say that music is created not by the Devil; [it is] created by the Lord," he said. "All things were created by God. So instead of thinking that the Devil owns a genre of music, I would say capture that music and bring it back into subjection under the lordship of Christ."
"Awake & Alive To Truth (Finding Truth In The Chaos Of A Relativistic World)" "tackles the reigning philosophies of our day of post-modernism, relativism, and the popular view of the goodness of man-and combats these viewpoints by standing on the absolute truth of the Word Of God," according to the book's official description.
In various interviews over the years, Cooper has said that he "always had faith in God" and that his mother was a "Jesus fanatic." He also claimed that he was willing to put his career on the line to take a stand for Christ.