The first people to deconstruct their faith were not young people in America — they weren’t people dissatisfied with American Christianity. The first people to deconstruct their faith were people in the Garden of Eden — they were people dissatisfied with God.
Adam and Eve are the first people to deconstruct their faith.
People deconstruct their faith when they’re dissatisfied with their faith — when they’re dissatisfied with God: and it always ends in disaster.
People who deconstruct their faith destroy their faith, and they destroy their souls.
Deconstruction is essentially just a fancy word for doubt. People who deconstruct their faith are people who doubt their faith. When people say they’re deconstructing their faith, they’re just using a pretentious phrase to say they’re doubting what God says in the Bible.
Actually, it’s worse than that. People who deconstruct their faith are not merely doubting or struggling with their faith: they are dismissing their faith. They are dismissing biblical truth.
Deconstructionism is an approach to critiquing literature and beliefs. People who deconstruct their faith critique the Bible (literature) and beliefs (Christian theology).
Specifically, deconstructionism is a postmodern concept that expands on Nietzsche’s theory that there’s “there is no such thing as facts, just interpretations.”
Therefore people who deconstruct their faith believe there is no such thing as biblical truth, just interpretations — interpretations mostly dominated by supposedly racist, misogynistic, homophobic and transphobic white people who — according to deconstructionists — preach American or Western Christianity as the only correct interpretation or version of Christianity.
In postmodernism, deconstructionism is a strategic approach to critiquing and attacking Western philosophy as an oppressive philosophy designed by Europeans to manipulate people into accepting harmful ideas as truth.
In the same way, people who deconstruct their faith critique and attack (Western) Christianity as an oppressive theology designed by Europeans to manipulate people into accepting harmful ideas as Biblical truth.
This is why deconstructionists tend to call themselves ex-evangelicals instead of ex-Christians. They believe evangelicalism is Western Christianity — not real Christianity.
So just as postmodernists attack Western philosophy, people who deconstruct their faith primarily attack (Western) Christianity.
Deconstructionists believe Christianity — or specifically, Western Christianity — was constructed by ignorant and oppressive white men — not God. Therefore according to them, (Western) Christianity needs to be deconstructed or destroyed.
For that reason, when people say they’re deconstructing their faith, it means they’re critiquing and attacking doctrines they believe have been constructed to harm others — doctrines like the inspiration and inerrancy of the Bible, the divinity and exclusivity of Jesus, complementarianism, Christian sexual ethics, justice and more.
Meaning, when people say they’re deconstructing their faith — they’re simply repeating what Satan said to Eve in the Garden of Eden: “Did God actually say…?”
When Satan said to Eve, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden?'” (Genesis 3:1), he was attempting to deconstruct her faith. He was craftily suggesting Eve had misinterpreted God's words.
Then when Eve said to him God said they shouldn’t eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil or they’ll die — Satan suggested God was oppressing and manipulating Adam and Eve in order to keep them from becoming enlightened or “woke” about his harmful lies about the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Satan said: “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:4-5).
Does that sound familiar? Deconstructionists suggest we Christians do not want other Christians to deconstruct their faith because we don’t want them to become enlightened or woke to Western Christianity’s supposedly harmful interpretations and lies about sexuality, social justice, salvation and Scripture.
Deconstructionists, clearly, haven’t stumbled on a new phenomenon — Satan is the founder of deconstructionism. Adam and Eve became the first people to deconstruct their faith when they became dissatisfied with God’s words and believed Satan’s lies.
Nevertheless, deconstructionists acknowledge they haven’t developed a new concept. Actually, some deconstructionists suggest they are the new version of the Reformers. They claim when the Reformers protested Catholicism, they were deconstructing their faith.
That, of course, is a ridiculous lie. The Reformers didn’t deconstruct Christianity, they did the opposite. They didn’t reject the authority of the Bible — they returned to the authority of the Bible.
People who deconstruct their faith conform to this world. People who reform their faith, however, are transformed by the renewal of their mind by discerning the will of God (Romans 12: 2).
A Reforming faith trusts in Scripture alone. However, a deconstructing faith distrusts Scripture.
The people deconstructing their faith are nothing like the Reformers from the 1500s. However, they are a lot like Rob Bell and the emerging church from 15 years ago.
A little over 15 years ago in 2005, Rob Bell published his book, Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith. In the book, Rob Bell said:
“It’s possible to make the Bible say whatever we want to, isn’t it? … The moment God is figured out with nice neat lines and definitions, we are no longer dealing with God … What’s disturbing, then, is when people talk more about hell after this life than they do about hell here and now. As a Christian I want to do what I can to resist Hell coming to earth: Poverty, injustice, suffering — they’re all hells on earth and as Christians we oppose them with all of our energies.”
At the time, young Christians weren’t deconstructing their faith on TikTok. They were deconstructing their faith through the emerging church, a postmodern movement led by people like Rob Bell and Brian McLaren.
But the connections between the emerging church and the people deconstructing their faith today are less interesting than the connections between the evangelical movements that attracted young people to the emerging church and attract young people to deconstruct their faith today.
Just as the seeker-sensitive movement made many professing Christians vulnerable to the emerging church 15 years ago, the social justice movement today is making many professing Christians vulnerable to deconstructing their faith.
The evangelical seeker-sensitive movement attempted to attract young people to churches by elevating culture over Scripture. However, elevating culture over Scripture eventually introduced many young Christians to postmodernism and the emerging church.
In the same way, the evangelical social justice movement today attempts to attract many people to churches by elevating our culture’s positions on racism and justice over Scripture. Naturally, that is introducing postmodernism and deconstructionism to Christians.
It’s interesting, some of the evangelical leaders preaching critical race theory — race-centric postmodernism — are some of the evangelical leaders warning Christians against deconstructionism.
I’m grateful they’re warning people against deconstruction. However, their lack of self-awareness is frustrating. You can’t tell a generation of young people in churches that Christians have it all wrong on racism and justice and then expect them to not believe you.
Evangelical leaders who preach postmodernism shouldn’t be surprised when their listeners respond with deconstructionism.
For years, some evangelical leaders have suggested the Bible isn’t sufficient to address racism and justice — they’ve suggested (Western) Christianity and white Christians are racist, but they apparently didn’t expect anyone to believe them.
I know several people — including Reformed Christians — who deconstructed their faith and became apostates after they embraced critical race theory. And many of us have become familiar with stories of influential Christians deconstructing their faith. Some of these influential Christians were Christian rappers who have recently deconstructed their faith and denounced Biblical Christianity. One of these rappers actually released a song on deconstructionism.
When I mentioned on social media earlier this week that I was writing an article on the connections between critical race theory and deconstructionism, one person replied saying some evangelical leaders’ reactions to the George Floyd incident last year prompted him to flirt with deconstructionism. He said:
“I myself did start to deconstruct my faith due to getting heavily mixed signals about how to approach racism and anti-racism in the wake of the tragic George Floyd case.”
Preaching critical race theory while warning against deconstructionism is like preaching the Gospel while warning against repentance.
It’s absurd. Just as repentance is the appropriate response to the Gospel, deconstructionism is the appropriate response to postmodern ideologies like critical race theory.
If you do not want people to act like postmodernists, do not preach postmodernism.
Nevertheless, some of you might be struggling believers who are tempted to deconstruct your faith. You might be tempted to believe Western Christianity is constructed by Europeans. But that’s not true. Western Christianity is identical to Christianity all over the world.
I grew up in African churches. And I assure you, just as Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever — He’s the same for Western Christians, African Christians and all Christians around the world.
Christianity — real Christianity — is the same in West Africa as it is in North America. In fact, there’s no such thing as Western Christianity or African Christianity. There aren’t different kinds of Christ, so there aren’t different kinds of Christianity.
Around the world, real Christians preach the same Gospel in different languages (Revelation 7:9-10).
So do not deconstruct your faith, depend on grace — depend on the grace of God. Deconstructing your faith will not save you from the penalty or pain of your sins. Only the justifying death and resurrection of Jesus Christ — received by persevering faith can do that.
Adam and Eve deconstructed their faith, and it resulted in disaster. If you deconstruct your faith, it will result in disaster for you too. So do not deconstruct your faith. Instead, ask God to decrease your doubts and increase your faith. Say to Christ what one person said to him many years ago, “I believe, help my unbelief! (Mark 9:24)."
Originally published at Slow to Write.
Samuel Sey is a Ghanaian-Canadian who lives in Brampton, a city just outside of Toronto. He is committed to addressing racial, cultural, and political issues with biblical theology, and always attempts to be quick to listen and slow to speak.