“Beneficial Versus Harmful “Deconstruction””
By Gardner Hall
“Deconstruction” is a big issue in the Evangelical world as millions leave the religion of their parents to become unbelievers or at least to take on a radically different form of faith.
A beneficial form of “deconstruction” is inherent in the concept of restoration. Jesus wanted the Pharisees to “deconstruct” their false system of faith and replace it with His true system (Matt. 23:23). Hezekiah and Josiah wanted Judah to deconstruct their idolatry to follow Yahweh (2 Chron. 29,30, 34,35). However, many types of “deconstruction” are obviously harmful.
What is the difference between the beneficial and the harmful?
1. The beneficial comes from a careful study of God’s word. The harmful comes from ingesting heavy doses of worldly wisdom and faddish worldly philosophy.
2. The beneficial is motivated by a deep and sacrificial love of God. The harmful is motivated by rebellion or resentment against those who are perceived to be “too strict” or traditional.
3. The beneficial is careful to retain whatever truth may have been in the “old religion.” The harmful has a “throw-out-the-baby-with-the-bathwater” mentality. An example – A sincere young person may discard the sarcastic, belittling style that some brethren have in dealing with those with homosexual tendencies, even as he accepts the fact that homosexuality is sinful. A harmful “deconstructionist” will try to find a way to justify homosexuality in spite of the scriptures.
4. The beneficial “deconstructionist” is careful to avoid the carnality that increasingly dominates the world. The harmful almost always rationalizes carnal practice and often makes fun of those who are careful in their dress and entertainment choices.
5. Beneficial deconstruction brings one closer to God. God’s word still reigns supreme. Although the harmful deconstructionist may claim loudly to feel closer to God, the truth of the matter is that he is increasingly distant from Biblical principles. Feelings triumph over the Word.
Sometimes traditional brethren criticize those who are beneficially “deconstructing” harmful human traditions to “reconstruct” themselves closer to God’s pattern. However, beneficial deconstructionists aren’t the enemy. We need to be careful to distinguish between them and those who are harmful.