What really happened to John James of the Newsboys

I, like so many Newsboys fans, was really disappointed years ago when they announced that lead singer John James was leaving the band.  At the time, the public was told that he was leaving for a preaching ministry in Australia.  Well, that wasn’t exactly the truth.  In fact, it was apparently a flat-out lie.

On the stage, John James was enjoying incredible fame and success, but behind the scenes, his life had fallen apart.  I came across this article as it was mentioned in the YouTube comments for the video that’s in my previous post.  It’s a great read.  In the interview, James gives an extremely honest account of his hard fall, the near destruction of his life, and the subsequent work of restoration God has done in his life in the years since.  It’s powerful.

It kind of makes you sick or maybe ticks you off to realize the money-making machine the Christian music industry has become.  It’s amazing the pressure that puts on artists like John James to keep hidden problems of the magnitude of those he was having.  We have that problem throughout the Church, though.  Right Ted Haggard, and all the rest of us who have hidden sin at one time or another because of the shame that confessing it would bring?  I have a lot of respect for John James for coming clean and sharing the truth about what happened and the powerful testimony of what God has done in his life.

11 thoughts on “What really happened to John James of the Newsboys

  1. Heather

    John James just visited my church tonight and gave his testimony! WOW! Not too many dry eyes in church. What an amazing testimony and it really hit home for alot of people. I have ALOT of respect for him and love that he is open and honest about his past. Alot of people gave their lives to Christ tonight thanks to his honesty and sharing his life…..

  2. Jim

    Heather, I was also at that service in Melbourne, FL and I must say even though the altars were “packed” I was not impressed with Mr. James. First, let me explain before anyone jumps me. I am a Christian and love the Lord. I believe that Christ took the form of a man and died for my sins. I also believe that the Holy Spirit draws men to Christ. During Mr. James testimony he bold face lied multiple times. 1) The Newsboys NEVER won a Grammy Award. They’ve been nominated multiple times (which is very cool) but have never won one. Mr. James stated that he has won a Grammy several times in his testimony. 2) He said he left the band to heal is marriage and once it failed he turned to drugs and alcohol. From everything I have read he was kicked out of the band for drug and alcohol abuse. Now thank God the band recognized the issue and tried to help him. And thank God he is using his life to help others. But…..

    Why lie at all? I mean seriously if he used the words “Grammy Award Nominated” vs. “Grammy Award Winner” then the altars still would have been packed. Why not just tell us that he was addicted to drugs and alcohol before he was dismissed from the band? Once again the people would have still came to Christ. The truth is the truth and a white lie is still a lie. God doesn’t need us to sensationalize his greatness. I wish Mr. James the best success in all his endeavors and hope history doesn’t repeat itself. Mr. James has an incredible testimony but maybe a little to incredible.

  3. Matt Norman

    Jim. While I certainly understand the bit about the Grammys, I’m not sure how you can question a person’s motivation. Maybe he was already into drugs and alcohol, maybe he was actually kicked out of the band only those closely involved know the truth. But, regardless of the circumstances you don’t know any more than I do what HIS motivations were when he was seperated from the band. In that moment whos to say that his primary concern wasn’t healing his marriage.

  4. Jim


    I am not questioning he motivation. I believe his motivation is to win people to Christ. I was at the service and although I think “altar calls” are a bit overrated I saw a lot of people step out to make public commitments to Christ.

    My issue is simply just tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. A white lie is still a lie, right? Just because a person is born again doesn’t mean they don’t struggle with narcissism.

    Please read my post rationally. I wish Mr. James the best in his ministry and hope that his testimony will continue to touch lives. I was not impressed with the “exaggerations” but that is something God will deal with.

    Take Care,

  5. Sherry

    Jim, Perhaps you misheard? While they were only nominated for Grammy awards, they did win two Dove awards in 1994.

  6. Jim

    @ Sherry, sorry for the late reply, but he specifically stated they won grammy awards. Again, I am not anti-Mr. James or anything. I just watched a lot of people “oohing and ahhhhing” about things that were blatant lies. The saddest thing is he didn’t need to.

    Regardless, continued success to everyone. May we all see though the eyes of truth and denounce any falsehood regardless of who it comes from.

    All the best,

  7. Janice Stamper

    I have heard him speak. I guess I was more interested in the redemption of a broken life than award details. But thanks for pointing that out. Maybe all the young people he touched will want to rethink submitting their life to God because he was wrong about his rewards. Hopefully someone more worthy will come along and straighten them out.

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