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 jump into the longer answer, 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 one’s 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 deconstructing our faith to eliminate toxic religious culture is not only IN the Bible, but 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 it Biblical to deconstruct your faith from the influences of toxic religious culture? 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.
Angela J Herrington, MA, LSCC is a Life and Leadership Coach for Christian Women at AngelaJHerrington.com , founder of Broken Beautiful BOLD online women’s ministry, and Christian feminist activator at WildSacredHoly.com.
Angela is a spunky Gen Xer who creates sacred spaces for vulnerable exploration. Her specialty is helping Christian women untangle themselves from limiting beliefs, toxic religious culture, and all the ways the enemy tries to keep them small. She holds a BA from Indiana Wesleyan and a Masters in Leadership from Wesley Seminary. Her graduate research project focused on leadership development and opportunities for Gen X women in the US church.
Angela and her unique online ministry were featured in Lyz Lenz’s 2019 book God Land: Story of Faith, Loss, and Renewal in Middle America. She also has been published in Hope for Women and HOPE is Now magazines.
Angela is also a Lark’s Song Certified Life Coach who reaches hundreds of thousands of women in 40+ countries each month on Facebook, IG, Twitter, Pinterest, and two blogs. She is Director of Communications for Wesleyan Holiness Women Clergy, a women-led organization dedicated to engaging, empowering, and equipping women to lead in the church.
Angela is also a wife, mom to 6, and proud resident of Marion, Indiana with her family when they’re not traveling the US in their RV.