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Reconstructing Christianity Instead of Deconstructing – Dena … – Crosswalk.com

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Deconstructing Christianity.
It seems to be all the rage these days, outspoken individuals raised in the church who are sharing their stories. Telling of how they have left the faith. Discussing the disappointments of unanswered prayers. Sharing how they have been disillusioned by their upbringing.
I listen intently, inquisitively. Many of these individuals have faced difficult trials, felt abandoned by the Church, other Christians, even God. They are wrestling with their faith in light of life, trying to understand how faith fits into reality.
I’ve been there. When I learned of my husband’s affair and eventually landed in divorce court, I was very disillusioned. I contemplated–even tried–to walk away from the faith of my youth. How could a good God allow me suffer such incredible pain and betrayal when I had been devoted and faithful to Him? How could He “reward” my commitment to Him with a husband–whom He told me to marry–who would walk away and destroy our family?
I understand why people walk away from the faith disillusioned. I understand how difficult it is to make sense of your faith when life crumbles around you. I understand how difficult it is to keep the faith in the midst of the chaos of life.
And yet, here I am. My faith is stronger than ever. I have walked through the fire–and kept my faith long enough to see God restore everything I lost and more.
I didn’t deconstruct my faith; I reconstructed my faith.
What did I learn?
I knew God was big. Powerful. Amazing. But, I honestly had God in a box. I would have never said it, but I thought I understood God. I thought I had Him all figured out. He would never act in unexpected ways.
My box was a Baptist box. You know the one. It is the Word of God–with all of the rules we as Baptists put on God. We would never admit it, but we tell God He can no longer use the gift of tongues. We ensure He knows the Word of God is the final authority, and we leave little (if any) room for the Holy Spirit to work.
What I discovered is that God is God. I don’t get to decide how He works; He is the final authority, and He often confounds man.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9
I know we read throughout scripture that trials make us more like God, but how many of us have actually walked through a trial and looked back to thank God for the pain? Do we really consider it joy when we face trials?
I can’t even start to explain how much I gained in my life through the trials of life. I am not even the same person I was fifteen years ago–and I like who I am today far better than I did in those early days! God took my life, changed my heart, showed me who I was in the depths of my being.
And it wasn’t pretty.
Today, because of what I walked through, I have the privilege of encouraging others, of using my circumstances to help others walking through similar situations. I have friends around the globe I would have never met if I hadn’t experienced the pain. My life is far richer because of the pain I have endured.
God uses our pain to give us purpose and passion–if we will let Him. We have to trust Him with our lives and our pain, and believe He will work all things for our good (Romans 8:28).
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. James 1:2-3
Few people will argue this point. I have to add a “but” to the statement, though.
While the Bible is absolute truth, the final authority on life, we often hold our interpretations of scripture as a source of absolute truth. Sorry, but when we are talking about interpretations, we are dealing with human explanations–not the inerrant Word of God.
Have you ever had a Bible teacher tell you something you knew was wrong? I remember as a kid in Sunday School learning the story of Moses. I said something about Moses having a sister, and my Sunday School teacher said we didn’t know if Moses had a sister. Umm. Sorry. Let’s go back to Exodus 2. Moses definitely had a sister.
That may be a simple example, but what other interpretations do we hold up as inerrant? Divorce and remarriage. There are multiple interpretations of the scriptures discussing divorce and remarriage, and yet each faction clings to their interpretation as an absolute.
Or what about women in ministry? Hot topic right now, especially in the Baptist church. Does scripture truly prohibit women from teaching? Strange that He calls some of us women to ministry.
We need to look to those who have studied scripture intensely, but we also need to ask the Holy Spirit to illuminate scripture. We must examine the texts in their entirety, understand the cultural specifics, and measure it all against the character of God. We might be surprised where we are elevating human interpretations to the place of the infallible Word of God.
Can I just say that many so-called Christians, myself included, can be truly terrible reflections of Christ. We are blinded by pride. We fail to extend the grace God commanded us. We think we know everything about God. We have a form of godliness but deny its power (2 Timothy 3:5).
It’s essential that we put our focus on God, not other Christians. We must recognize we are flawed humans who fail at living God’s way.
We are so blessed here in America! We are so blessed that we think God must act in an American way. We would never admit we have a healthy, wealthy, wise theology, but our lives and our beliefs say otherwise.
We think because we love God, He is obligated to bless us, to keep us from any type of trial. We think because we love God, we should never suffer. We think because we love God, our lives should be easy. We would never say these things, but we definitely live our lives this way.
We would do well to take a page from the books of our friends around the world, our Christian brothers and sisters in countries that don’t allow Christianity. The Chinese underground church that hides their Bibles. The Christians in Muslim countries that are murdered for their faith. Crazy how Christianity thrives in those countries, and yet here we are apathetic.
I am so thankful for our freedoms, but I wonder how our faith would thrive if we faced the persecution others do, if we could rid ourselves of our Americanized version of faith.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
I can’t even start to tell you how many “unanswered” prayers I have prayed! I prayed my husband would repent. I prayed we would have a thriving marriage.  I prayed for our finances. I prayed, and I prayed some more.
Guess what? My husband didn’t repent–but there were many I had known for years who did. Our marriage ended–but God allowed Roy to come into my life. I prayed for our finances, and God blessed my finances. Every prayer I prayed was answered; the answers just didn’t look the way I expected them to. Can we go back to the beginning when we talked about putting God in a box?
Oh, friends! I pray you give God a chance, look to Him and not those who claim to represent Christ. Get so close to the Father that you see His heart, His goodness, and His grace. Let Him pull you close in the midst of your trials so He can change you from the inside out. Nothing can compare to an intimate relationship with the Father!
Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. Psalm 34:8
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/beerphotographer 

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Written by: Christianity Today

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