By Dr. Shelton Smith
Guest Writer (Editor of Sword of the Lord)
In recent months there has been a rash of well-known professing Christians who have announced that they were “deconstructing” their Christian faith.* The term was new, but what it described is not new at all.
Several of these individuals have been entertainers. One was a contemporary Christian music personality. One was the “lead” pastor of one of these new-breed, newly branded “contemporary” churches.
They are people who at some previous point in their lives had decided they would be Christians. What they believed and what they had been taught about salvation and other scriptural subjects is not at all clear. What is clear is that they said they were Christians, and for a time they identified themselves that way.
New Testament Examples Provide Precedent
Yes, in the New Testament era of the first century, the Bible gives us several examples of individuals who seem similar to these “deconstructionist” folks.
- John 6:66: “From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.”
Basically, disciples are learners They are students. The word disciple may be applied to a true Christian, or it may be describing someone who is tagging along with the Christian crowd but without a faith commitment that is heartfelt. In other words, it is a somewhat ambiguous term that does not fully define who or what the person is.
Some think the ceremony of baptism or taking communion will make them Christians, but it never does. They are doing Christian things, but they are not yet converted. So even though they are not genuinely converted, they conform to Christian ways for a while; but without the transforming work of Christ in them, they weary of it all after a time.
- Matthew 7:26, 27: “And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.”
Some people are not wise even when they have the information they need. They may have heard the Gospel and other Bible truths, but they “construct” their faith on their own ideas (sand) rather than submitting to the Lord on His terms. What they build may look like what the wise man built, but there is a difference. The difference is the foundation. If the foundation is flawed, then it will fail (deconstruct) when the pressures of life get intense.
- Luke 6:46: “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?”
Yes, there are people who will appear gracious and say “Lord, Lord”; but they, in reality, are not “in Christ.” They try to sound like Christians, but they are not.
Others of us may be impressed (fooled) by what they say, but they will not be able to keep up the charade long-term.
The “Deconstruction” Myth
They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. (1 John 2:19)
Here in the Word of God we are given a synopsis of the “deconstruction” scenario. In brief, when a person decides to “deconstruct” (reverse his faith), he is actually revealing what he has had hidden from us. He was not one of us any of the time, or he would have “continued with us.”
When a genuine conversion occurs, the Lord regenerates us (gives us a new life) and births us into the family of God.
The Bible says then that we are “saved” (John 3:17), “born again” (vs. 3), “justified” (Romans 5:9), “redeemed” (Galatians 4:4-5), “a new creature” (2 Corinthians 5:17); and thus we are “the children of God” (Galatians 3:26) and we have “everlasting life” (John 3:16, 36).
Consequently, we cannot just arbitrarily say that we “don’t want to be a Christian anymore.” To make such a statement would be an indictment that the person was never saved and has been a phony from the start.
I’ve heard it said that “a faith that fizzles before the finish had a flaw in it from the first.” You can be sure of that because being a real Christian is not now, nor has it ever been, a matter of conforming to the Christian culture. A real Christian is one who has a genuine conversion where God puts a new, God-given life in him. Therefore,
Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me. But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.” (John 10:25-29)
The “Deconstruction” Matters
There are several “matters” with this, all of which “matter” a great deal.
- The idea of “deconstructing” one’s relationship with God is a notion predicated on a false premise. The passages noted above do not match up with the “deconstruction” idea; thus the idea is wrong.
- Men who think they can turn God on and off like a light switch do not have a firm grip on either the matter of salvation or the scenario of the Christian life.
- Men who build their own “sand castles” (ideas, terms, relationships) based on their unscriptural, self-generated philosophy have set themselves up for failure from the start. Despite their appearances of religion, they are not saved any of the time.
- The eternal security of the Christ-bought (Galatians 4:4-5), Holy Spirit-caught (John 14:25; 5:26; 16:9-11), blood-washed (1 Peter 1:18, 19) and spiritually reborn (vs. 23) sons and daughters of the living God is a solid, supernatural, scriptural reality.
- If a person can call a press conference, as some of these celebrity “Christians” have done, and announce that he is renouncing his Christian faith and“deconstructing” his Christian identity, he is a fool who has been and is now fooling himself. He does not know Christ, nor has he known Him. It is religion that he has had, but it is a religion without redemption and without regeneration.
- The crux of this whole “deconstruction” news flash is this: Personal experience must be governed by and judged by the authority of Scripture. When one’s personal experience does not line up with Scripture, the experience is a lie and a sham. If one allows his personal experience to overshadow Scripture, then he is headed into a cul-de-sac (dead-end street) that will not get him anywhere.
To keep from falling into a treacherous trap of Satan, Scripture must always be given priority over personal experience.
- And, finally, in these matters of faith you cannot “deconstruct” something which was never “constructed” in the first place. If what you have is genuine conversion, you didn’t “construct” it; God did.
Remember, Jesus saves us; we do not save ourselves. Furthermore, whatever God “constructs,” we would be very foolish to think that we could “deconstruct.”
Since these “deconstruction” announcements have made national news a number of times this past year, I felt it was time to deal with them.
When people get themselves caught in a snare such as this, I would love to help them. In order to help, however, it is necessary to spell out the facts from a scriptural perspective.
If we have an open discussion on this or any other subject, it must be with an open Bible on the table in front of us.
In a word, this “deconstruction” issue is a false narrative. From top to bottom, side to side, north, south, east and west, at the stroke of midnight and in the heat of the noonday sun, it is a classic case of a satanically inspired falsehood.
I hope my brief essay will help to “deconstruct” any credibility the “deconstructionists”have garnered to themselves.
Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers. (Titus 1:9)
For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar. (Romans 3:3-4)
This article is from an article in The Sword of the Lord newspaper; it is used with permission. Dr. Shelton Smith is the editor of the Sword of the Lord. The website is: http://www.swordofthelord.com.
*LT Editor’s note: Over the years, Lighthouse Trails has reported on some of these “deconstruction” stories. For example, in 2021, Kevin Max of the popular music group DC Talk made a public announcement saying, “I’ve been deconstructing/Reconstructing/progressing/whatever you wish to call it for decades” and said he was now an “exvangelical.” Max stated that he is now following the “universal christ” (https://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=33806). In 2019, Josh Harris (the author of the highly popular book, I Kissed Dating Goodbye) came out publicly, stating: “I have undergone a massive shift in regard to my faith in Jesus. The popular phrase for this is ‘deconstruction,’ the biblical phrase is ‘falling away.’ By all the measurements that I have for defining a Christian, I am not a Christian. . . . to the LGBTQ+ community, I want to say that I am sorry for the views that I taught in my books and as a pastor regarding sexuality. I regret standing against marriage equality, for not affirming you and your place in the church” (https://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=30549).
In view of these and many stories like them, Dr. Shelton’s article reminds us about the simplicity in Christ and the power of the Gospel, and the need for both in today’s world.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. (Romans 1:16)
(photo from bigstockphoto.com; used with permission)