Sinner’s Creed may not be the best choice of read for someone looking to swap stories of rock ‘n roll lore at a local bar while AC/DC blasts from the back, but it may be the best memoir written by an artist—one whose entire life journey was torn between his calling and compulsions, music and the meaning of pleasing God, and at last finding peace in between. It also makes the perfect book to leave at that bar, because Scott Stapp’s chronicle of his life describes the manic swings between his highs and lows as part of Creed, both in excess, but utterly free of excuses. The truth and power between the pages provoke more emotion and self-examination than a Sunday Salvation Army sermon, yet both end with the same theme: the power of love, human and Divine.
Much like the lyrics of Creed’s songs, Stapp’s prose evokes the work of a craftsman, placing words carefully and with purpose, without any fluff or ruffle, daring a reader not to turn the page, and forces reflection on his own personal failings and choices. In the space of a single line plus one word, he conveys the power of addiction against will, “I drove by a bar. I didn’t want to stop. I did want to stop. I stopped.” His journey to finding surrender as the only way to peace in sobriety and his spiritual life is even more compelling than any of the familiar choruses he has written. His sincerity and jubilant spirit dances across the pages devoted to his wife, children, and extended family, who lives out the meaning of unconditional love throughout his bouts of depression self-inflicted injury. The love story they share is inspiring and real on every level.
Equally real is Scott Stapp’s passion for his art and authentic faith. Throughout the pages of Sinner’s Creed he reveals his ongoing dialogues with God, as he attempts to reconcile the patriarch of his upbringing, his absent biological father, and the heady world of rock ‘n roll with a God of love, mercy, and making new starts. Listen to all the lyrics of “What’s This Life For,” and read through to the final pages of this raw and riveting book, and you will find a man who may have made his distance from God at points, but never forgot his name or his covenant. In an era of what some call “consumer Christianity,” made to leave everyone warm and fuzzy, Stapp’s story is a refreshing assurance that real relationship with God is possible in the real world.