Deconstructing is all the rage these days. You can see it on cooking shows. Deconstructed lemon meringue pie or apple crumb cake. You can see it in political speeches and written texts. You can even find deconstruction when it comes to faith.
If you haven’t heard of this latest fad in Christian culture, it’s a focus on untangling beliefs a person has held on to for years to see if it aligns with truth. This can be related to traditions, the way we ‘do’ church, or any number of issues. The dictionary gives us an interesting perspective. Deconstruction: To analyze, typically in order to expose its hidden internal assumptions and contradictions. Yet the second definition is more alarming: To reduce something to its constituent parts in order to reinterpret it. Christian culture has taken this to mean our faith should be dissembled one agonizing piece at a time.
In and of itself, deconstruction isn’t a bad thing. Paul told us to “work out our salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12). God Himself extends an invitation to come to Him and reason through these hard things (Isaiah 1:18). Unfortunately, deconstructing Christianity has led to a shocking number of people walking away from the faith they once claimed to possess, especially among Christian ‘celebrities’.
Is it because God’s Word is not truth? No. Truth needs no defender. Nature, the laws of science, the fulfilling of prophecies—all things ordered by God—remain steadfast. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. I believe it’s more likely that the so-called Christian giants who have walked away have either 1) never been taught critical thinking skills and were confronted with their assumptions in ways they weren’t prepared to handle, or 2) never had true faith in God to begin with.
Here’s my big beef with the whole deconstruction movement: it relies on human reason and emotions to come to a ‘new’ conclusion. Our emotions dip and sway with alarming speed. They have never been reliable or based on truth. “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9) My own moods and emotions dive and waiver based on the amount of caffeine in my house, my hormones, how much sleep I got the night before, and how well my kids behaved during the day. This leads me to the biggest red flag when it comes to Christian Deconstruction: it attempts to make God into the image of man.
If you search for ‘christian deconstruction’ on Youtube, you’ll find endless stories of people who claimed to have deep faith in Christ but walked away after learning something about Him that rocked their world. God’s ways didn’t fit their preconceived notions and assumptions so instead of altering their thoughts to fit truth, they abandoned Him in order to live what they wanted Him to say. They have made themselves into their own god. It has to do with self. Self-indulgence, self-importance, and self-righteousness.
Heather Hawkins summed it up perfectly. “Your faith is about everything He did and created. Not what we did…I don’t understand everything. I’m not the Creator. I don’t know what the end looks like, but He does. The idea of deconstructing something is so self-centered, because it’s saying I have to tear it apart to make it fit my paradigm of thinking and everything I want it to be.”
True faith is about trusting God and His character.
Those who laud the praises of Christian Deconstruction often question the inerrancy of the Bible. They discount the idea of a literal heaven and hell. They confuse evil with suffering, the purpose of church, and the reason for Christ’s sacrifice. They hastily rebuild a counterfeit faith based on what seems reasonable to them. And this new lie offers no hope, no future, and no eternal comfort.
Deconstruction is the proverbial serpent in Eden, hissing one faith-shattering lie into Eve’s ear. “Did God really say that?” When we question God’s goodness and truth, everything else shatters.
So what is the heart of the Deconstruction Faith movement? It’s selfishness. It’s saying, “God and His ways don’t meet my idea of what life and faith should be. God doesn’t meet my standards.” And the result is that we make ourselves out to be the heroes.
For instance, take the story of David and Goliath. Post-modernists ask us to identify the Goliaths in our lives. We are told to identify the “David within us”.
Um, the point of the passage from 1 Samuel 17 is not about how awesome David was, how mean Goliath was, or how awesome we can be if we mimic the little shepherd boy. It’s about God and His power.
Truth faith is humble. It’s realizing God’s ways are higher than our own, even if His ways seem confusing. He sees it all: the big the picture, the minute details and everything in between.
We cannot let Christianity, our families, or church attendance, or our traditions be an idol. When we ‘deconstruct’ our faith, our ideas will collapse if it’s built on sinking sand. True faith is about relationship with our Creator and humbleness in knowing we don’t have the answers. Faith is knowing Him and trusting the One who has proven Himself over and over again.
Take heart, my friend…He cannot fail.