Grammy-winning vocalist Kevin Max, a member of the popular Christian band DC Talk who has released music in multiple genres, revealed over the weekend that he considers himself to be an “exvangelical.”
“Hello, my name is Kevin Max & I’m an #exvangelical,” he tweeted Saturday, sparking a large response from many of his Christian followers.
Some praised the musician’s post claiming they were also exvangelicals, a term that has been used commonly in recent years to describe individuals who no longer identify as evangelicals.
Others on social media stated they had never heard the term, which has been associated with progressive Christians who have left evangelical Christianity due to theological or political reasons in recent years.
In response to a social media user who said Max no longer believed in Jesus, the “Jesus Freak” singer quipped, “Nope, didn’t say that, read text carefully.”
In another post, Max clarified that he still follows “the Universal Christ.”
“I have no idea how many peoples blogs or podcasts are using that announcement for further division, but I’m here for The Grace,” he assured.
The musician added further detail on his Twitter thread.
“For all those people using my post as plug & play for your own hot take or personal discourse, I offer the lyrics to an upcoming song off of my new band @AstronautsSad album ‘Adult Fears’ titled: ‘It’s okay’.... I’m sorry for being obtuse or difficult but it’s a process... love.”
The lyrics to the song read:
“It’s ok to be estranged
From everything that you were taught
And it’s ok
To unpack all the hopeless baggage that you bought
I know the sun it never shines
In the same place twice
And I know that life is better
With a trusted vice
But you will change
When you cave
To the universal Christ....
And it’s ok for you to lose
The shame from all the churches abuse
And it’s ok
For them to see
You don’t believe in man’s inerrancy
I know the sun it never shines
in the place you hide
I know you think its better
Shrouded in secrets and lies
But you’ll change
When you embrace
The glowing universal Christ….”
This year marked the first time since the Gallup organization started tracking data that fewer than 50% of Americans belong to a church or religious organization.
Religious “nones” consist of people who reject all religious affiliation, and some of these people are also known as exvangelicals.
The overall movement is called “deconstruction,” meaning deconstructing one’s faith and leaving the church.
Many who are “deconstructing” have spoken out about their experiences getting hurt by people inside the Church. Others have cited their rejection of biblical teaching on sexuality as the reason they are disassociating.
Max has made a living as a vocalist in bands that promote the Christian message, such as DC Talk alongside bandmates TobyMac and Michael Tait. He also sang for Audio Adrenaline.
Max has been speaking out for some time about his resistance to a particular version of Christianity.
In an interview in December with Decent Christian Talk podcast, Max explained where he is on his journey in deconstructing.
“I like to call it deconstruction, reconstruction,” he said. “Any person that's really changing every day, which we do, you're going to deconstruct or you're going to reconstruct. So it's a combination of both of those things,” he said.
"I've been deconstructing for decades. I've always been progressing, as you can say, and then sometimes I regress. But I think where I'm at right now is I've really gone on a journey to find out what I truly believe in by reading a lot, thinking a lot, keeping my eyes and ears open.”
The musician has always been vocal about his thoughts online. While his comments online have been met with resistance, Max said he’s always been “a believer.”
“But I'm questioning a lot of things, and I've got more questions than answers,” he said.
His beliefs are also reflected in his music.
Max’s album, Radio Teknika, has a song titled, “Jesus I love you but your followers freak me out.”
In the song, he sings: “What do you think when you hear people say your name?/ What do you think when they twist your words & bend them out of shape?/ What do you think when they picket all the gays?/ What do you think of the modern Church and all their different ways?”
"As a member of DC Talk to write a song, ‘Jesus, I love you but your followers freak me out,’ that was great because I meant it!” he said on the podcast.
Max offered advice to others who are in the process of deconstructing.
"When you give in to the fear of 'Oh my gosh, I'm asking questions’ or ‘Oh man, I don't know if I believe in this anymore,’ you're giving in to the same fear that you know kept us from progressing as people for so long,” he maintained.
"The total totalitarian fear that's constant, in my opinion, in a lot of evangelical churches have made people regress over time. I feel like anybody out there going through it, they should just embrace it,” he added. “If they're a believer, they should have these deep conversations with the God they believe in and really struggle with it, talk to Him about it.
"I believe in a God of the universe, and I believe that He can hear me. And that, in itself, is just plain kind of crazy. But if I believe that, then I truly believe that He cares about my progression and asking questions and wanting to know what is real and what isn't real,” he ended. “I don't think the God that I believe in is going to just all of a sudden ignore me because I don't believe every single thing that's written down somewhere.”