The Early Deconstruction Era
Hey Salty Lady
Many will remember what seemed to be Oprah’s shift from Christian to spiritual, decades ago. According to her, she was a faithful attender of church in the 80s, believing, agreeing, and receiving until she heard a message preached on the jealousy of God. In her words, that didn’t feel right to her. And whatever rift or drift began. I’m not going to exhaust this point because you can google and find every pastor’s/seminarian’s/pundit’s response. I don’t know where Oprah ended up on religion, but I know lack of context led her there.
Too many Christ-followers arrive at a sticky/tricky part of Scripture that makes them feel confronted, confused, or uncomfortable. Rather than pray about it, wrestle with it, study it for further context… OR, now hear me out, abide in the hard tension you don’t understand, but trust anyway because there is an eternity of faithfulness to all of mankind to consider—they add “exvangelical” to their bio and move to the cool kids’ table to deconstruct and trade boho hats.
It couldn’t possibly be that there was a language barrier or literary style to consider? No way it was incorrectly presented or there were gaps in one’s knowledge of ancient near eastern tribal cultures? And we’re sure it’s not hurt feelings, flesh, sin, social pressure, or circumstances coloring the interpretation? Seriously? No, you’re right then, it’s probably the Bible that’s wrong. You found it. You found the err in inerrant. This whole time the world was waiting on you, the revelator Sean. Thank you.
Humility. Only a fool of the highest order would look on God, The Word Made Flesh, The Spirit Our Guide, and the Word given to man and scoff. The wise however, know this: There are difficult matters of faith, substance, spirit, and Scripture that we don’t understand and can’t understand apart from God revealing them to us. “I don’t know or understand right now, but I trust Him,” is not the insufficient answer of a child. It is the honest and honoring answer of a Servant, who knows their Master is good.
There are a lot of legitimate questions about what we believe. Not all are meant as personal affront or attack. Don’t avoid these questions. Answer them. Your God will stand up to any question. His Son will stand up to any criticism. His Word will stand up to any argument. This “deconstruction” movement does not intend to resurrect or rebuild anything. This is not honest questions or wrestling with hard implications. It is not checking foundations or fortifying understanding. It is abandonment, apostasy, and a shame.
Can you imagine the greater force for good Oprah would be if one single person around her had explained how and why we have a jealous God? But instead that became the place where all spiritual truth collapsed—at a point of truth that should have been beautiful and comforting. What a waste.
To the deconstructor whose catalyst was hurt from the Body or misrepresentation of the Word, get alone with HIM and no other, and be restored in His goodness and grace. To the deconstructor who simply found life more alluring, sin more savory, or faithfulness a source of fatigue and frustration and thus denounced Christ in authenticity or authority, REPENT. You stand on dangerous ground. More dangerous still if you led others in the same way. Repent, and then spend more time with missionaries and martyrs.
Godlier men have spent literal lifetimes in speculation, study, and service to our Risen King, and with lives laid on altars of fire and flesh given up to the bellies of beasts, they have still found gasping breath and gut enough to declare, “It is all true! My Lord was only ever good and is good to me even in this dreadful hour.” All because they could not recant what they had seen with their own eyes.
There is a day coming, where we will need to have the courage required of remnants, the clarity found before cross and sword, and the emphatic faith of the truly suffering. Those ways and words need to be hidden in our hearts now so they may ring in our ears then to drown out the crowd, the cost, or the comfort that could be bought with our silence or submission.
What do you believe? Why do you believe it? In whom is your faith found? Know it. Understand it. Articulate it. How can we not see the reality and urgency of discipling our children to this end—a professing and confessing faith in the Christ worthy of every word and wound?