Deconstruction: The New Gnosticism

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   Deconstructivism is a genre of postmodern architecture that was first popularized in the 1980s. It is classified by buildings or sculptures that appear to be fragmented. Structures built in this style have an absence of symmetry, lack continuity, and have an obvious absence of harmony. A cursory glance at such buildings may give the impression that the building is about to topple over. Deconstruction has also long been associated with philosophy and literary theory and criticism. 

   Sadly, it is now being applied to a growing movement of once-professing born again believers. Alisa Childers, author of “Another Gospel?” defines deconstruction as, “the process through everything you’ve ever believed about God and Jesus — the Bible, Christianity, all of the doctrines, all of the history — everything you thought about it, and you’re sort of rethinking everything.”

   Don’t get me wrong — as long as the Church is in the hands of sinners, there will always be a place to ask difficult questions about the origins of our theology and religious traditions. Without asking hard questions, spiritual entropy will take over, and we will only spiral downward into deeper and deeper pits of apostacy, errancy, and false teaching. Asking questions is not the problem — but glomming onto wrong answers and heralding them as dogma is. 

   I went through a horrifically painful, frightening season of deconstruction back in 2013 in the aftermath of my mother’s death from cancer. I went spiraling down YouTube rabbit holes, I wept, I threw books across the room, I withdrew from Christian friends and fellowship, I stopped attending church altogether, I investigated other belief systems, I shook my head at brainwashed pastors, and shook my fist at tainted seminaries. But at the same time, I clung to Jesus. I stripped off the rose-colored veneer of the “Church” and I dug into the Bible like never before — exploring the culture, context, language, history, and geography of each passage. I, like these other very-public Christian figures falling prey to deconstructionism, realized that the Church was inconsistent and unreliable on a lot of things. But, unlike those who are abandoning their faith as a result, the fractures and failures of the Church only re-affirmed for me that Jesus is 100% consistent and reliable on everything.

   There should be nothing controversial about deconstruction, in and of itself. A tree is known by its fruit. If we put every single thing we believe to be true about God and the Bible through a Refiner’s Fire, the dross will burn away and leave us with a renewed and unshakable faith. We will come out of the fires of deconstruction wanting to be more like Jesus. But if we come out of the fires of deconstruction, abandoning our faith, and wanting to be more like the world — rest assured, we took a few wrong turns along the way. 

   Many believers are awaking to the fact that the Gospel Jesus preached is not the same Gospel being preached in a lot of progressive, post-modern, liberal, and nominal Christian churches — and this is indeed cause for alarm. But why is this leading to a rejection of Jesus Christ, rather than a rejection of the oft-fallible teachings of the Church? 

   Perhaps part of this question lies in Matthew 24:11-12, “…and many false prophets will arise and mislead many. Because of the multiplication of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold.” 

   “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.”   --2 Thessalonians 2:3.

   The Greek word used for “falling away” in 1 Thessalonians 2:3 is Greek Strong’s #646, (ἀποστασία) apostasia, which is where we get the English word apostacy. 

   It is heartbreaking when anti-testimonies from Josh Harris, Kevin Max, Derek Webb, David Bazen, Bart Ehrman, Michael Gungor, and Marty Sampson (to name a few) come across our newsfeeds — heartbreaking, yes; but surprising? Well, not really, considering this phenomenon is well-documented in Scripture as a precursor to the end times. After all, it isn’t atheists who “fall away” from Jesus — but believers. 

   I empathize with those who are walking the deconstruction path — especially those who have public ministries such as pastors, authors, and Christian music artists. They are asking legitimate questions such as, “Why do the roots of so many of our Christian traditions originate with the Catholic Church, the edicts of popes, secular kings, politics, Sumerian gods, and ancient sun cults such as Mithraism, with little to no biblical support?” 

   The solution is not to shame or gag those who ask such questions. The solution is to come up with the Scriptural roots of our religious traditions, and if none are to be found, abandon the tradition, not the faith.

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