In my work, I see more and more Jesus-loving women separating the foundation of their faith from church toxicity. In the process, they usually ask: is deconstructing your faith biblical?
The short answer is: (spoiler alert) Yes!
Before we answer the question “Is deconstructing your faith biblical?”, we should probably define deconstruction, just in case it’s a new concept. I meet a lot of women who are in the process of deconstructing their faith, but have never heard that term.
Deconstructing your faith is simply breaking down all the components that make up our faith, and taking a really deep look at what is truly from God, and releasing ourselves from holding what isn’t from God as gospel. (You can read an entire post about what deconstruction is here.)
So now that we know what deconstructing is, we can have a more detailed discussion about where it shows up in the Bible. The good news (see what I did there? LOL) is that Jesus is a perfect example of how to deconstruct your faith.
Here’s how He did it:
1. Jesus didn’t reject faith. He embraced it and studied it thoroughly.
2. He questioned and challenged everything, from the inside. Jesus began teasing out the good from the bad, and calling out the toxic beliefs He saw in His faith.
3. He never turned His back on God. This is what makes this deconstructing rather than completely walking away from one’s faith. He did not create a new religion that replaced Judaism. Instead, He revealed the next step in the long and winding history of the Israelites. Some refused to move forward, which is what splintered it into two different religions.
4. He attributed the bad stuff to the people’s translation of God’s will, rather than God’s actual will. So instead of abandoning God and/or Judaism as as whole, Jesus went straight to the people who were perpetuating falsehoods.
5. He was totally out and open about what He stood for (and what He didn’t). Then, Jesus began teaching people how they can follow the same path.
This is exactly what we do during deconstruction!
Jesus didn’t come to preserve the existing religious status quo from outside pressures (which is what the religious leaders of the time expected the Messiah to do). He came to deconstruct the Jewish perspective of God from the throes of legalism, patriarchy, nationalism, and all the other ungodly things that they were.
Isn’t it mind blowing that not only is deconstructing your faith Biblical, it’s the actual point of the New Testament? We have hundreds of pages of text from several different authors documenting Jesus’ living example of how to unbind a sacred and very personal relationship with the Creator of the Universe from the patriarchy and toxic religious culture added by misguided humans.
So is deconstructing your faith biblical? Absolutely.
Go ahead…. Do what Jesus did and break free from legalism, patriarchy, nationalism, and all the other toxic, manmade things that have become so prevalent in the church.
Hey there friend! I’m Angela J Herrington, MA, LSCC and I’m a Faith Deconstruction coach who provides soul care for people who are untangling from toxic religion.
As a certified life coach and seminary-trained online pastor, I have a lot of experience helping people connect with God. But this is also a very personal journey for me.
For the last decade, I’ve been on my own journey to break free from learned smallness and step into wild sacred holy womanhood. Long story short, after finding faith in my early 30’s I began to realize that what I was hearing from the church about women didn’t always line up with what God was telling me. I loved God but realized the church was teaching some really toxic stuff.
So this Enneagram 8, first born, Gen Xer started deconstructing. I questioned and challenged everything I thought I knew about faith, gender, and myself.
It was messy and took a lot of work to sort it out. Therapy. Coaching. Bodywork. Spiritual healing. Conferences and retreats. And even a couple of college degrees.
You name it…I tried it.
But the thing that made the biggest difference was the presence and support of wise people who helped me up when I didn’t know where else to turn.
That’s why in September 2021, I created and hosted The Deconstructing Faith Summit. I gathered 20 phenomenal deconstruction experts to share their expertise and hosted over 1100 attendees in the week-long virtual event. Those who attended realized they weren’t alone, had a safe space to ask questions, learned dozens of strategies to help them deconstruct, and released tons of pent-up emotions they didn’t even know they were carrying around.
We laughed, we cried, and we danced, but the best part was…We did it together.
It was AMAZING and it was just the beginning.
So now, I’m doubling down on my commitment to create an inclusive support system for people, like you, who are longing to get away from toxic religion and cultivate a nourishing spiritual life.