It seems like we hear a new story every week. Some prominent preacher, musician, or Christian celebrity has walked away from the Christian faith. I’m not talking about those whose wicked actions deny the faith they profess (people like Ravi Zacharias or Carl Lentz). I’m talking about prominent Christians who openly walk away from the faith once for all delivered to the saints. These people often talk about the “deconstruction” of what they once believed, and there seems to be a never ending stream of “deconstructing” Christians.
There have been plenty of takes on these very public stories. There have been plenty of takes that blame the church (our lack of discipleship, our entertainment culture, our political hypocrisy, etc). There have been plenty of takes that dive into debates about the security of the believer, “once-saved-always-saved,” and the possibility of falling away.
Despite all that’s been written about these deconstruction stories, I have to admit that it’s hard for me to process these high-profile deconstructions. It’s hard to hear these stories. It’s hard to understand how these people could just walk away from something they seemingly believed with so much conviction.
What’s even harder is knowing people personally who walk away from the Christian faith in some form of “deconstruction.” Your experience is probably no different than mine. I could tell you about real people I really know and really love – not celebrities, but pastors, family members, friends, and mentors – who have just walked away.
I don’t have all the answers to these stories, and I’m not sure how to process the high-profile deconstructions or the personal deconstructions. However, when I think about the people I know who have walked away from the Christian faith, and when I hear the frequent stories about Christian celebrities who have gone through some process of deconstruction, I find myself thinking about these truths:
- There really is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9). Judas deconstructed. Demas Deconstructed. Christians walk away from the faith (1 John 2:19).
- The internet and social media make it much easier for those who walk away to share their stories with the world – or for reporters to share their stories with the world.
- There appears to be a growing “market” for those who have deconstructed. Social media has created a platform and an opportunity for these people to retain or create a “name” for themselves.
- As someone who has not deconstructed, these stories really are chilling. They are absolutely horrifying, and I pray I never get used to reading about people who walk away.
- Some churches are not answering questions that the world is asking, and some churches are focusing more on entertainment than actually making mature disciples.
- The hypocrisy of the church is a real, damning issue. Those who hold to orthodox belief while engaging in (secret) sin or condoning sin are harming the church in serious ways.
- Jesus himself said that false prophets would come, lawlessness would increase, and the love of many will grow cold. He called for his people to endure to the end (Matthew 24:9-14).