Why I Repent of Deconstructionism

If you haven’t already heard of deconstructionism from Josh Harris’ shocking Instagram caption where he denounced his faith or from the hoards of church-reared Millennials who are in the “deconstruction” phase, I’ll define it for you:

Deconstruction is popularly known as the phase in which once more traditional Believers step back and re-examine their ideals, often questioning the traditional values they were taught in church.

Now, if this were all that deconstructionism entailed, I believe it would be a blessed thing. Scripture commands us to understand our faith (1 Peter 3:15),  and I believe that many who are deconstructing are truly seeking to do just that.

I am not writing about those people.

I am writing about myself and those who are similar to me. Those who entered their own phase of deconstruction, made their intellect their god and chose to lean on their own understanding as I did.

I’ll preface by admitting that I’ve recently emerged out of a bad slump, to put it simply. Very little mentally, emotionally or spiritually felt right. Some might call it a form of depression or anxiety, and for a while, I thought that’s what it was.

Until someone shook me around and told me to trust in the Lord.

For many deconstructionists, this is an eye-roll-inducing saying. They think trusting in the Lord is the Christian catch-all for sucking it up, discounting our emotions and feigning a false faith. Denying one’s self and one’s humanity is a perceived cornerstone of Christian faith that deconstructionists found much of their criticism on.

I believe that reaction, much like Josh Harris’ recent announcement, is founded in a false preconception that trust implies extra work, extra deprivation and extra intellectual ignorance.

However, I can personally testify that is was only when I truly began to trust the Lord that I began to feel like myself again, and I realized it was not deconstruction I needed to depend on, but the Lord.

I believe that the Christian practice is a difficult one (Mark 8:35) but the belief should be easy. The Bible is filled with Scriptures that, if considered correctly, should fill us with peace.

We know that God’s yoke is easy and his burden is light (Matthew 11:28).

We know that he takes care of the birds of the air and the Lillies of the field, and he cares about us so much more (Matthew 6:28).

We know that he knows our every thought (Psalm 139:2).

We know that he knows what we need even before we ask (Matthew 6:8).

And perhaps most importantly for the deconstructionists, we know that God is not afraid.

He is not afraid of questions because He does not worry as we do. He welcomes honesty because he knows what is troubling us and what we need to get through it.

When I finally exhaled and started to trust, my burdens lifted. No longer did I worry about praying or doing the right thing or praying or doing enough. Instead of my “ceaseless prayers” asking God for help or for him to change something, they have become thankful praises.

A need arises? I thank God that he knows what I need.

Things don’t seem to be working out? I thank God for His will and ask that it be done.

But when I was in the deconstructionist phase, I was distrustful of the Bible and its contents because the movement, for many, has evolved into trying to fit the Bible into our modern-day understandings of culture and society, which no doubt contradict Scriptural ideas in many instances.

Having come out on the other side of an almost year-long deconstruction phase, I want to share my experience in hopes that it encourages us to engage in healthy scrutiny only. Because I believe I was not alone when I began to trust my feelings as fact and lean on my own understanding, two things the Bible cautions us against.

As a human, I am prone to mood swings. I am prone to feeling overwhelmed by external factors out of my control. I am prone to looking to what is happening right now instead of looking at the grand scheme of things.

So when I trust in the Lord who does not waver, who never leaves nor forsakes, I find freedom in His Word which is full of peaceful promises. Deconstructionism never brought me peace or answers. I won’t say that it wasn’t necessary or used because I believe God works all things together for the good of those who love him. But I pray that my soul-searching would be in pursuit produced from humility rather than self-righteousness and that I would let God be my god rather than my own reasoning.

What are your thoughts and experiences concerning deconstructionism? I would love to continue this conversation with you in the comments!

 

 

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5 Comments

  1. Maddie Nutt
    July 29, 2019 / 6:11 pm

    Hmmm. I feel the tension in my own heart as I read this. I’m honored to have had many conversations with you about the ins & outs of the Christian faith, questioning parts that seemed off & looking at things in a new light.

    My intellect has definitely been a god for me & brought more anxiety to my already prone to wander heart. As I reflect my similar year of “deconstruction” (I’m thankful I don’t desire ripping a part any & every thing in this current season), I’ve seen hints of grace as He gently called me into His fold. Knowing my distrust, knowing my hurts, knowing why I wrapped barbed wire around my heart, He led me to moments of still waters & personal messages of peace & unwavering love, despite my constant wavering. I foresee more times of questioning & teary-eyed prayer rants on why things don’t make sense (I’m human), but I’m thankful for being able to look back & see that He’s not surprised or disgusted by me shaking my fist.

    I think this stage is necessary for many, as you said. Unfortunately for those who’ve grown up in the church, we sometimes need to find God for ourselves on the outside. I want to trust that the Holy Spirit has it under control– that even during abandonment of faith, God will still pursue their hearts.

    I love you for writing this & being my friend & loving the Lord with all your heart.

    xoxo

    • karolineott
      Author
      July 30, 2019 / 12:59 pm

      I love you for reading this, commenting and being a judgment-free source of comfort and open-ended humility for many who are navigating their questions. You’re a great example of what it looks like to pursue goodness.

      Thankful we serve a God who is not coincidental!

  2. Anna Geyer
    August 1, 2019 / 1:45 pm

    Once again you’ve hit the mark, Karoline.
    I’ve been in my own slump for what feels like forever, and its likely due to a version of deconstructionism I’ve been living with.
    I don’t think the the church can continue as it is, our generation will be mostly lost if something changes. I think that this extreme deconstructionism is sorta like the Ishmael of our generation; we are trying to make a promise from God (that Christianity is more than church programs) happen without God. Maybe the Isaac will be the birth of communities of people who love Jesus, who don’t put on masks and meet more like New Testament Christians did?
    I don’t know. But I’m thankful for the word deconstructionism is because it’s helping me identify a huge problem in my life right now I didn’t see clearly before. Like, my personal deconstructionism is almost Puritan; I haven’t been able to accept Gods love but I’ve been reasoning it as “Gods amazing love is demonstrated to me through salvation and if I never receive a single thing my heart desires I can’t complain because God is God and owes me nothing. So why would I even hope to be happy, I should just try to be useful to him in this life.” Which sounds fancy but was just a way for me to avoid confronting the wounds I have from the church and my distrust of God’s love, you know? Maybe this deconstructionism is a way for people to take their wounds and sins and rationalize why they shouldn’t let go of them. Maybe it’s just me. I don’t know, there’s a lot to think about.

    • karolineott
      Author
      August 1, 2019 / 2:58 pm

      YOU’VE hit the mark, my friend. Thank you for sharing your sincere and insightful thoughts. It is a lot to think about, but your Ishmael comparison sheds a lot of light. There is a lot of spiritual tension moving in our generation, and I pray it leads to a revival for genuine relationship with God rather than what a lot of us have now, as you described, not being able to accept God’s love as the reason for wallowing in wounds.

  3. Alyssa Nelson
    August 10, 2019 / 12:06 am

    Late to the party heyyyyyy. For me, deconstructing has more entailed what you described in the second paragraph, and has thus allowed me to do what you discussed happening following your “repentance of deconstructionism.” I think this is likely due to the fact that most of what I was deconstructing was shame-based and fire&brimstone, teachings about an angry, vindictive, punitive God. Learning that this is not the God who sent his son so that we may be “freely justified by grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus,” allowed me to feel peace and truly put my faith in God. When learning of this incomparable love, I finally was able to surrender.
    I do not disagree with a single part of your post, I hope it doesn’t come off that way! Just sharing my experience of how God used deconstructionism in my life to show me who He really is, and who I really am to Him. I am curious if there were any beliefs or understandings that did change as a result of this process that you HAVE kept. Was there anything uncovered in the process that actually revealed to you even more why God is worthy of all of our praise? I know people who have completely gone back to their pre-deconstruction understanding of The Word and what they “went back to” was what I “arrived at” post deconstructionism.

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