Has anyone ever confided in you, “I’m deconstructing”? Maybe you don’t know the phrase, but you know the phenomenon when yet another social-media post announces departure from the Christian faith. The cause could be sex, race, politics, social justice, science, hell, or all of the above. For many, Christianity is becoming implausible, even impossible to believe. 

It might be tempting to leave the church in order to find answers, but the new book Before You Lose Your Faith: Deconstructing Doubt in the Church (The Gospel Coalition) argues that church should be the best place to deal with doubts. Deconstructing need not end in unbelief. In fact, deconstructing can be the road toward reconstructing—building up a more mature, robust faith that grapples honestly with the deepest questions of life.

One of the key concepts of the book is offering disenculturation as an alternative to deconstruction.

“The thing I want to do is grab a hammer and just smash the thing to bits. That’s the temptation,” Jay Kim said in this week’s episode of Gospelbound. “But disenculturation is a much more meticulous and precise process. Rather than the hammer, we take the chisel so that we don’t destroy the stuff of substance, we leave the remnants of true Christian beautiful orthodox faith in place while doing the important work of meticulously slowly, within community, chiseling away at all the excess that doesn’t need to be there and probably shouldn’t be there.”

Kim explained that since we stand on the shoulders of giants over 2,000 years of church history, we know the basic contours of the faith that we must not discard. And with these essentials in place, we can work through details that owe more to our place and time than the faith once and for all delivered to the saints. Karen Swallow Prior, another contributor to the book, added that our digital age gives us access to a global village to demonstrate other expressions of Christianity that show what’s necessary and what’s incidental to the practice of our faith. 

At the end of deconstruction is a question: Who is Jesus?

“Jesus is my bet, Jesus is my gambit, Jesus is good,” Derek Rishmawy said. “He’s better, he’s holier, he’s more beautiful, he’s kinder, he’s more gracious, he’s more gentle, he’s wiser than any of the select answers I might come up with.”

He is our ultimate hope, even when it feels like we’re falling away from faith.

Editors’ note: 

This episode of Gospelbound is sponsored by The Good Book Company, publisher of Brave by Faith by Alistair Begg. More information at thegoodbook.com.