“Deconstruction” has become a buzzword among evangelical Christians of a certain type. Christian singers, writers and other cultural figures talk about their own process of deconstruction. Deconversion or liberalization of “Christian celebrities” is nothing new. It can be an effective way to get an extra 15 minutes of fame when someone’s career needs a boost.
Sometimes, as in the case of I kissed dating goodbye author Joshua Harris, “deconstruction” ends in a complete loss of faith, followed in his case by a failed attempt to earn money through a deconstruction course to help others in their apostasy. At other times, the process of deconstruction results in a faith that resembles the surrounding culture far more than anything the apostles would recognize as “the faith which was handed down to the saints once for all” (Jude 1:3 ). Whether deconstruction results in apostasy or theological liberalism, it is always a shift from a superficially more biblical position to a less biblical perspective.
What causes “deconstruction” and how do you build a faith that cannot be deconstructed?
As Christians, we should first and foremost look to the scriptures to see what God has to say about how our faith should be built. We read that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Job 28:28; Psalm 111:10; Proverbs 1:7, 9:10, 15:33) – meaning that our faith not only impacts what we believe Godheaven and morality, but it touches every aspect of our lives, from what we wear to who we marry to how we examine the claims of competing belief systems.
God gave us his Word, the Bible, not to tell us everything we need to know, as if a single book could contain all the details of calculus, quantum physics and botany, but to give us the key to help us understand any conceivable topic we might study. When we understand that God created the universe and us and that the world he created “very good” fell into sin, we can reconcile what our conscience tells us should be of the often “very bad” reality of life in a fallen world. And when we understand that God participated in a campaign of salvation in Christ that will encompass all of creation in the new heavens and the new earth, we can find our place in this order.
The parable of the house built on rock versus the house built on sand applies here (Matthew 7:24-27).
The parable of the house built on rock versus the house built on sand applies here (Matthew 7:24-27). If our faith is based on a mature belief and understanding of God‘s Word, it will withstand the challenges we face in life. If we only situate ourselves in Christianity because it has been the easiest up to a point, as soon as something else becomes easier, our faith will crumble like the house built on sand.
It may be surprising to hear that some aspects of deconstruction are the result of the good instinct to push aside mere human tradition. When a certain thing becomes the “Christian way of doing things” unrelated to any biblical reasoning, as Christians we should reject human traditions. This is exactly what Jesus did when he completely rejected the self-righteous “tradition of men” that had eclipsed and even contradicted the law of Moses (Mark 7:8).
Where the deconstructors go wrong is that they are using human experience rather than the Word of God to assess whether something should be kept or discarded. When a best friend “reveals” their gayness or you hear the story of a trans influencer who presents the fight against gender dysphoria in a sympathetic way, it’s easy to get swayed and start wonder if the Bible’s statements about gender and marriage are really relevant in today’s world. When someone who professes a different religion appears to be in many ways moral and a “good person”, it can be difficult to maintain that even that “good person” will go to hell unless they repent and put his faith in her. Jesus Christ for salvation. If we don’t have an overarching theology that will allow us to reconcile these things, it becomes more likely that we reject the Bibletotally teaches.
Deconstruction almost always ranges from a superficially biblical position without a mature grounding in biblical truth (e.g., affirming biblical marriage without the theology that underpins it and allows us to defend it) to acceptance of the cultural norm ( like same-sex marriage) with an overt and vocal rejection of the earlier view.
Was Luther a deconstructionist?
Some deconstructors look to history for deconstruction precedent, and many cite Martin Luther. After all, he started out as a devout Augustinian monk and ended up being one of the main reformers who founded Protestantism. But when we look at Luther, we see many essential differences.
Luther was a Roman Catholic at a time when overtly superstitious practices like relics and indulgences defrauded ordinary people, who, for example, might have to pay to free their deceased relatives from purgatory. The Roman Catholic Church was a den of sexual immorality, even in the highest branches. In other words, Luther was not troubled by a supposed teaching of Scripture, but by superstition and immorality in direct contradiction to Scripture.
Luther also appealed directly to the clear teaching of Scripture when addressing the sinful practices of the Roman Catholic Church. church. When asked to withdraw his teaching at the Diet of Worms, he replied:
I cannot submit my faith either to the pope or to the council, because it is clear that they have fallen into error and even into inconsistency with themselves. If therefore I am not convinced by proofs drawn from Holy Scripture, or by compelling reasons, if I am not satisfied with the text itself which I have quoted, and if my judgment is not thus submitted to the word of God, I cannot and will not retract anything; for it can neither be safe nor honest for a Christian to speak against his conscience. I stand here. I can not do otherwise. God help me. Amen.1
Rather than come to an agreement with the surrounding culture, Luther had to be kidnapped by his friends and held in Wartburg Castle to prevent his assassination. In contrast, most “deconstruction” journeys end by walking to the beat of what’s fashionable and “woke.” No one ever seems to deconstruct in a way that ends up being banned on Twitter.
No one ever seems to deconstruct in a way that ends up being banned on Twitter.
The limits of Luther’s reform were determined by the Scriptures. This is why he opposed the Zwickau prophets who claimed a direct inspiration which nullified Scripture and the radical reformers. Although there are areas where one may disagree with Luther interpretation of Scripture, what Luther believed was clearly taught by Scripture was in the foreground. Modern deconstructors have no such relationship to Scripture.
Finally, deconstruction is fundamentally a postmodern phenomenon, so identifying Luther as a deconstructionist is by definition anachronistic and inconsistent with how Luther himself viewed his movement out of Roman Catholicism.
A faith that can be deconstructed is not worth having
If you listen to a person’s “deconversion” story, the description of faith you will find there is not solid. Often the faith that is destroyed is a naïve, misinformed version of “Sunday School” that has neither explanatory power nor substance. So when the Christian is faced with difficult questions or personal suffering, or even feels uncomfortable “judging” someone else’s unbiblical choices, her faith crumbles because she has not been built on the foundation of Scripture.
Deconstructed people often present themselves as more enlightened, but that’s only because their old faith was no faith at all; it was just a pointless, blind acceptance of what someone else was teaching them.
Deconstructed people often present themselves as more enlightened, but that’s only because their old faith was no faith at all; it was just a pointless, blind acceptance of what someone else was teaching them. It never became their own faith – it never matured into something that had the substance to stand up to the slightest challenge.
Build on bedrock
A common denominator in most accounts of deconstruction is an appalling ahistorical ignorance of both Bible and Christians’ interaction with Scripture throughout Church the story. They sincerely believe that we are today grappling with questions that no one thought of when the bubonic plague killed a third of the European population, or when Christians opposed wild animals in Roman arenas, or when that they were going through a horrible “War to End All Wars” only to live through another one less than a generation later. Everything we’re going through today, someone’s been through worse for 2,000 years of church history, and wrote about it!
Many people have written about how the training that many young people receive in Sunday school and youth groups is frankly incomplete and unable to meet even the basic challenges of an atheist college professor in first grade. year. When the Christian group your child listens to comes out in favor of trans pronouns, or the author of the Christian book you gave them comes out rejecting that message and telling them why they shouldn’t believe it anymore, do you given enough foundation to withstand this? These forums actually provide a great opportunity to discuss these issues and help lay the foundation for a faith that will withstand the challenges they will inevitably face. AiG wants to partner with other believers and help them navigate the constant barrage of Christian faith and the Bible. We have many resources to help you, from rich Sunday school curricula to pamphlets on social issues to books dealing with supposed biblical contradictions. We recommend that you read them yourself, then lovingly pass them on to others who need answers. And don’t forget to pray for those who have “deconstructed” and those who are influenced by it.