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DECONSTRUCTING OUR FAITH?

Have you heard of The Deconstruction Movement? I have only recently become aware of it and it concerns me greatly! Our present day culture is riddled with all sorts of ungodliness, societal poison and serious attacks on traditional, even Biblical, values and beliefs. I believe we as believers must become aware of what The Deconstruction Movement is, what it means for us today and to recognize its bad and good qualities.

A definition of this movement is in order. It involves a variety of beliefs, efforts and objectives. It is known by serveral names: Faith Deconstruction, The Deconstruction Movement, Deconstructing Faith, Exvangelical Movement, or simply Deconstruction. By description, it is a phenomenon within American Evangellcalism in which Christians are taught and urged to rethink their faith and discard previously held beliefs, sometimes to the point of no longer identifying as believers. It goes beyond rethinking faith to embracing the re-evaluation of faith, critically scruitizing faith and what has been taught to us by Christian parents, teachers, pastors and other Christian leaders. Author and apologist, Alisa Childers, who recently wrote a book on this subject, defines faith deconstruction as "the process of systematically dissecting and often rejecting the beliefs you grew up with". (Her book is: The Deconstruction Of Christianity: What It Is, Why It's Destructive, And How To Respond)

Childers says there are some legitimate issues at the core of deconstruction, noting spiritual abuse, legalism during people's childhoods, or even some individual's quest to find ways to shed themselves of "bad ideas" while being able to hold on to the "good ones". To be candid, my wife and I can certainly relate to dissecting a few "ideas" passed on to us in our early years that we since have discarded. A few of these are: playing baseball at a Sunday School Picnic on Sunday was a sin; going to a theater was sinful; any form of dancing was also a sin; even wearing a wedding ring was considered a sin in my parents' day.

However, my personal concern about this "movement" is what standard is being used to identify the "bad ideas" and the "good ideas". Some might say the standard is relative. That is unwise and it is actually unbiblical. For a standard to be relative simply means, it is what I want or say it to be. In most cases, the result of relativism is denying that there is an absolute standard, which is The Word of God - The Bible! The absence of an absolute standard means there is no absolute truth; it then becomes MY TRUTH. Truth is whatever I perceive it to be.

Deconstruction of faith also includes a critical analysis of the Bible, theology, the teachings found in the Scriptures and even the teachings of Jesus. Theologians refer to this critical evaluation as "higher criticism". It leads to the dissection of the Scriptures, breaking the Bible down, re-inventing its teachings and re-interpreting its meaning. It renders the application of Biblical teachings to our lives relative and therefore meaningless.

The practice of deconstruction often leads to a dismantling of one's faith by casting doubt on one central tenant of orthodoxy after another until the core of a person's faith has become hollow. The substitutes for genuine Christian faith gained through deconstruction are agnosticism, atheism and paganism.

Let me give a prime example. Not long ago, the following headline appeared in The Christian Post: "Joshua Harris Offers Deconstruction Class On Christianity For $275." In the 1990s Harris was one of the most popular and influential names among evangelicals for his widely successful book: I Kissed Dating Goodbye. The book was a call to the younger generation to live their lives in sexual purity and abstinence before marriage. He was instrumental in launching the "Purity Movement'. My personal caution here is: while sexual purity and abstinence before marriage is certainly a Biblical truth, the practice of purchasing a "purity ring" and making a public vow would not, in and of itself, bring about the desired result. Only a heart committed to living according to Biblical principles would do that! Harris became highly recognized by many as a moral role model and example for youth to follow. He would go on to pastor a large church.

Now, get this! Thie same Josh Harris is now predominately known for denying the faith he once professed in Christ. He disavowed everything he wrote in his book. He experienced a deeply divisive scandal at his church and even divorced his wife.

Joshua Harris has told of his rejection of his once-held Christian faith. He has denied Christianity and become a secular humanist chaplain at a public university campus. Now, he is a strong and influential proponent of the "Deconstructing Faith Movement".

Generally adopted and toxic phrases have emerged and solidified from the Deconstruction Philosophy. Such phrases include: "Do what feels good", "make yourself happy", "you deserve it", "focus on yourself", "it only matters what you want", and "follow your heart".

There is a real problem with all of the above and similar sayings; they, at least in part contribute greatly to the societal poison that is characteristic of our current culture. They are non-biblical and spiritually dangerous. For example, take the term "follow your heart". The Bible says: "The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, who can understand it?" (Jeremiah 17:9) Further, the Prophet Jeremiah records that God says: "I the LORD search the heart and test the mind, to give to every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds." (Jeremiah 17:10) The Bible is clear: "There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to (spiritual) death". (Proverbs 14:12-16; and 16:25) Also, "Everyone did what was right in his own eyes". (Judges 21:25) They did what was right in their own eyes because there was no one to restrain them. Solomon said this: "Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and depart from evil." (Proverbs 3:7) Rather, "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. . . ." (Proverbs 3:5)

I say, based on God's Word, it is dangerously and spiritually poisonous to "follow your heart". The phrase seems to be gaining in popularity as well as in life itself. It is used in families, in conversations, in counseling rooms, from some pulpits, from parents, teachers and leaders. It is used in both secular and Christian settings. Even a current television streaming program receiving significant acclaim in the Christian community uses phrases like "follow your heart; it will tell you what to do". So many of these ideas and phrases sound good, plausible, wholesome and even religious or Christian. Let's beware, we could be deceived, believing a lie rather than the truth. The only antidote to being deceived by religious lies is to be grounded in God's Word and meditate on its truth day and night! (See Psalm, Chapter One) Couple Bible study with consistent prayer to cultivate discernment.

In closing, let me be clear that there is real value in searching the Scriptures, evaluating our faith based on what the Bible teaches. We need to make sure that what we hear, read, and what we believe is anchored firmly in God's Word! We must be like the Berean Christians. ". . .they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so." (Acts 17:11) Practicing Scriptural discernment is the order of our times! Christians must make the faith their own, not relying on upbringing, sermons, books, YouTube videos and teachings they have been exposed to. Being there is a multitude of false teachings and false teachers running rampant in these critical days we live in, and in the midst of an ungodly and hostile culture, we must obey God's Word: "Dear friends, do not believe every spirit (every teaching or teacher), but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets (teachers) have gone out into the world." (I John 4:1 - NIV) We are admonished or commanded: "Do not remove the ancient landmarks that your fathers have set." (Proverbs 22:28) This is a warning to us from God not to discard the Biblically based boundaries set by prior generations. Before one takes down a fence, it's important to know WHY it was put up in the first place!


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God has blessed me with a long and fruitful ministry! I have over 40 years in pastoral ministry, retreat speaking, Evangelism, teaching and Christian Radio broadcasting.

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