From deconstruction to reconstruction

Church bulletin:

Apparently, deconstructing faith is all the rage. It has become something of a pastime for Christians to deconstruct (re-examine) their faith and as a consequence give it up. They claim to discover that doctrines such as Biblical authority, creation, sin, the person and work of Christ, etc. do not stand up to serious scrutiny. The deconstructing process also draws upon the hypocrisy, judgmentalism and abuse all too often found in the church.

The internet has no shortage of deconstructors eager to share their journey and encourage others along the same path. Decontructors range from the rank and file to well-known people, some of whom were engaged in public ministry. The stories are all the same – they embraced reason and found happiness. A few thoughts.

Faith will be tested. That is the lesson of the parable of the soils (Matt 13:1-23). Seeds are sown among weeds and rocks, begin to grow but then falter. The fledgling plants are choked by the weeds and those in the rocks have no depth and are withered by the sun. Christ explains that the seed of truth is choked by the cares of life and burned up by opposition if it doesn’t have depth. How much deconstruction is actually the result of people consumed by the affairs & sins of the world, too afraid to stand for truth when faced with opposition? In the end faith proves to be inconvenient rather than irrational. Perhaps Demas was the first deconstructor (2 Tim 4:10). Superficially held beliefs will most often crumble, so-called deconstructing then legitimises the turnaround.

Faith leaves room for uncertainty. The most mature faith will co-exist with questions and doubt. God has no intention of answering every question and that is reflected in the Bible. God’s Word provides us with what we need to know, not what we want to know. There is enough there to have intelligent faith, and at the same time, God leaves the door open for people to excuse their unbelief. The cry of the man with the demoniac child will be the cry of all those who genuinely possess faith – Lord I believe, help my unbelief (Mark 9:24). Converted people want stronger faith, unconverted people are glad when they find grounds to dismiss faith.

Faith must be nurtured. Faith is not a static intellectual ascent to a set of propositions. It is a living dynamic which can be strong and weak, healthy and unhealthy. Believers are therefore responsible to cultivate their faith through the truth, prayer, the Lord’s Supper and fellowship. The apostles prayed “increase our faith” and Christ taught them some faith increasing lessons (Luke 17:5-10). We are exhorted to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18). The author to the Hebrews warns us to not neglect our salvation (Heb 2:1-4). Faith that is healthy and growing will never be cast away. Faith that is left to itself and in the end peters out or burns up, is not the real deal – it is nominal belief without spiritual life.

Deconstruction in terms of ridding oneself of doctrinal baggage is a good thing – we all pick unhelpful and even damaging teaching. Sometimes, Christians need to revisit the basic tenets of belief and declutter the cupboards in their mind. Call this deconstruction if you will, but when sincerely undertaken it leads to reconstruction. It produces a healthy, clearer, more robust faith – like pulling down a poorly laid foundation and replacing it with a solid one. The deconstruction espoused on the internet blogs is nothing more than an attempt to legitimise apostasy. If deconstructors find happiness, it is happiness in an empty and pointless existence.