Recently, I fell down a Christian deconstruction rabbit hole on social media. It was odd because I feel like I have a lot in common with those who are deconstructing their faith, but I don’t feel the need to go to the furthest logical conclusion, as many do. I don’t begrudge them though—they are often moved in that direction because they struggle to find something that many American Christian churches can’t seem to offer. So many of these people are looking for honesty, compassion, and genuine love. They have been told all of their lives that Jesus is the personification of these things. It ends up being doubly painful when they realize that the Jesus they were taught of in their youth disappears when they become adults. Unfortunately, he is replaced by his so-called followers, who seemed to be soaked in unwarranted persecution complexes and vitriol toward anyone who is unlike them. How can we be surprised when people leave the church in search of something nicer? Kinder. More loving. Less painful.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://spectrummagazine.org/views/2023/deconstruction-and-community
Thank-you for this. I decided some years ago that the Holy Spirit (and the rest of the Godhead) works with us individually. Some move faster on some issues; some move faster on others. God is in charge of our journey. If we stopped judging each other and simply did what they inspire us to do–Micah 6:8–we would all be happier. Each one’s path is different and sometimes we can journey together, helping each other along the way.
Sure, Jason, I agree with you, but I, for one, was taught this silly concept repeatedly in my growing up years and beyond. Remember? Our characters must be perfected before Jesus can return, that’s what He’s waiting for! We have to personally “finish the work”. The message was that I was holding God and everybody else hostage due to my lack of… well lack of faith, works, tithes and offerings, door knocking, leaves of autumn literature distribution, etc. etc. These are denominationally baked-in concepts from I’m sure you can guess where. You are right though, there is only so much we can do against the machine. The word “Christian” isn’t so much a great term anymore, so what shall we use? Jesus Freak? Christos person?
I think there’s a big difference in giving room for personal growth, which we’re all at different levels of our walk with God, and allowing anything a person wants, which is many times what articles like this imply. The author doesn’t get into specifics, so we can’t comment on the exact issues. However, words like love and acceptance and judgement and criticism can’t be used effectively without context.
The article implies “love” is being nice to someone. But if someone is in an adulterous relationship is it nice to just let them continue and never try and help them out if it? Jesus was Love personified, but He was clear that the towns that rejected Him would face a worse judgement than Sodom and Gomorrah. He was love but He also said that Peter was speaking for Satan when he tried to disuade Him from the cross. Was that a criticism or love speaking?
These words used without context don’t allow us to analyze the article’s arguments fairly because what I consider love and criticism may be opposite of what the author considers them.
Specifics would help to know exactly what they meant.
I agree we need to love everyone and be patient as we all grow in Christ, but loving also means holding accountable and instructing in righteousness.
If the Bible is as inerrant and infallible as you claim, it is “of a piece”, necessarily complete and utterly compelling.
Thus it doesn’t need you to hold anyone accountable to its mandates nor require your interpretation of its instructions.
Thank you Jason for this wonderful essay. It is especially comforting in light of the angst we who have to deal with the SS lessons are experiencing…such as ‘are we doing enough’, whatever that means.
When I went through the SDA educational system, it was repeated over and over we can NOT trust the word of infallible man; especially from a certain persuasion of the mother ship, if you will.
Today it saddens me to learn of the GC President’s critical thinking in scolding his underlings for not following his dictates. It is suggestive he alone is in touch with the Father’s Will.
Such deluded thinking opens avenues Satan can and will penetrate not only to gain access but to place into bondage the human host who thinks too highly of themselves.
All have fallen far short of the Glory God provides us, if only we would stay focused on our own relationship with the Father & Son through His Holy Spirit; for only then will He reveal the reality of His Will to them who desire to know Him.
It is NOT the Standards of this Church, anymore then it was the strictest Standards of the Pharisees nor of any other Church
—which holds the power to deliver the Eternal Crown of Glory for those who have remained in a faithful relationship with God. And certainly not that of the SDA Pope!
Our only hope of Salvation and Eternal Life is found only with our focus consistently maintained “in Him.”
It saddens me that we have a GC President who has taken on the same authoritarian characteristics as a former US President. The only word that describes this behavior is PRIDE. Pride was the original sin, and when leadership, regardless of what, thinks their opinions carry more weight than the group body, then we have a dictatorship. And…just like the former US President, if anyone crosses him, they suffer extrication. Both presidents have done great damage to the organizations they were to serve.
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