Cover Image: The Deconstruction of Christianity

The Deconstruction of Christianity

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Member Reviews

Thank you to @netgalley for this #gifted book!*

Title: The Deconstruction of Christianity
Author: Alisa Childers and Tim Barnett
Genre: Nonfiction/Christian Living

Synopsis: “If Christianity is true, the stakes are life and death…We want to identify our motivation here so you know we aren’t writing this book merely with weapons drawn. We are writing it with broken hearts as we watch people walk away from eternal life.” Deconstruction has become a buzz word for both believers and nonbelievers especially on social media over the last few years. Alisa Childers and Tim Barnett dive into this sensitive subject with hearts that are hopeful in helping Christians understand exactly what is going on here. This book defines deconstruction, looks at it from a biblical perspective, and gives practical advice for believers in how to approach this topic in everyday life.

Analysis: As a millennial Christian, this book dives deep into a topic that is close to my heart. Deconstruction feels like a fairly new “explosion” (as the authors call it) that affects so many around us. I loved the clear definitions and Bible principles that Tim and Alisa gave throughout the book. The two have really done their research into this topic and approach it kindly and carefully. The heart behind this book is hope and drawing the ones we love back to the truth. It is eye-opening and speaks to something so relevant for our culture today. I think this is a book that every Christian should read!

Star Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

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“Faithfulness to God comes at a cost. It’s easier to submit to societal opinions than to stand on scriptural truth.”

[Note: if you are less of a reader and prefer podcasts, HERE is a link to one of Childers’ podcasts where she talks about a lot of this information.]

With the same easy to follow arguments and illustrations of her book, Live Your Truth (and Other Lies), Alisa Childers and co-author Tim Barnett expose what’s really happening during deconstruction and remind us of the importance of truth and holding fast to God’s Word.

Childers and Barnett take a nuanced and confusing topic— deconstruction— and bring clarity and distinction. It is clear they were committed to researching this topic within the spheres it operates and heard from the most influential deconstructionists.

They look at the what, why, and who of the whole process with a desire to help us understand the deconstruction community, of which our loved ones may be part, and to know how to stay grounded in biblical conviction with compassion.

They recognize that there are many things out of the scope of this book. They aren’t attempting to address every theological issue deconstructionists put out. (If you are looking for some answers and evidence surrounding specific beliefs, I would direct you to the books listed at the end of the review.)

But what they do address is the pull of the deconstruction movement and their desire for relationships to be restored, both between family and friends, but also between people and the Lord.

I thought this book was very well-researched and written in a firm but loving tone. I highlighted so much!

One reviewer was turned off, saying there was no room for compromise here. I’m not sure exactly what they mean by compromise, but I think this book was written for that very reason. Following Christ requires conviction. If you believe something is true, you don’t compromise that belief for a lie.

Following Christ will put us on the outs from our culture. Romans 12 reminds us to stop conforming to the world— stop compromising. Deconstructors tend to look at culture and their inner moral compass to determine what is right. As Christians we look to God and his Word to form our beliefs, even if those beliefs are condemned by the culture.

Deconstruct or Reform?

They make the important distinction that deconstruction is not the same as reforming. Though there are many different definitions of deconstruction, a fundamental aspect of deconstruction is the rejection of authority, aka the Bible.

“The church isn’t always reforming to keep up with contemporary culture, or to get rid of old, dusty orthodoxy. Rather, it’s always being reformed according to Scripture.”

Asking questions of your faith and your beliefs is a good and healthy thing. We should know why we believe what we believe. Doubts and questions should not be suppressed but brought to light and engaged with. But as Christians we hold up each belief to our authority— the Bible— as we should. (A circular reasoning that is required for any ultimate source of truth and authority.)

“We all have uncritically accepted beliefs, and some of those were true beliefs and some were false beliefs. This is why we need to understand why we believe the things we do.”

But this type of questioning and doubting is not deconstruction. A better word would be reforming. Aligning our beliefs and the things taught to us with God’s Word as the Bereans did in Acts.

Deconstruction, at its core, seeks to undermine Scripture. Reforming, at its core, seeks to understand Scripture.

Simply put, deconstruction:

“is not about trying to make your views match reality. It’s about tearing down doctrines that are morally wrong to you to make them match your own internal conscience, moral compass, true authentic self, or whatever else it’s being called these days.”

‘The Deconstruction of Christianity’ is divided into three parts.
Part One: #Exvangelical

These chapters look at the trending hashtag #exvangelical and how Christians are interacting with the deconstruction process.

Christians have tried to “baptize” the word deconstruction to try to make it ‘fit’ with Christianity. But as Childers and Barnett helpfully point out— not only does that just add to the confusion and miscommunication and appear deceptive to a community that already distrusts Christians, it also ironically plays out the deconstructionist idea that meaning is subjective.

We should let deconstruction mean what it means and interact with it as it claims itself to be, not try to change the word to mean something it doesn’t.

They don’t address or try to defend the term ‘evangelical’ as that word in itself would take an entire book to deal with.

“There are, no doubt, aspects of evangelical culture that need to be reformed.”

But they do acknowledge that the term evangelical has a lot of baggage:

“for many in the #exvangelical community, evangelical is perceived to be synonymous with misogyny, racism, homophobia, and the political support of Donald Trump.”

What is important to note here is that the beliefs of self-identified evangelicals vary tremendously. Almost half don’t believe Jesus is God, 38% don’t believe in objective truth, and over half think God accepts worship from other religions. These all go against biblical beliefs. So what does evangelical really mean?

It’s a big thing to unpack, and one place to start would be the book Gospel People.

It is true that their target audience for this book is Christians rather than deconstructors.

“While the book is primarily written to Christians who are experiencing deconstruction from the outside, we hope to present the topic in a way that is reasonable, accurate, and filled with grace for those experiencing it from the inside.”

Because of the nature of ‘beliefs’ there will be some things that deconstructors won’t like to read. For example, the authors say, “The reality, however, is that in deconstruction, one trades being a servant of Christ for being a slave to sin. It can feel like freedom at first because we love our sin, but it’s a path that leads to destruction.” We believe this because of Romans 6. Someone who does not follow Christ is not easily going to accept or agree that they are a slave to their sin because they don’t believe the Bible.

But the authors reiterate that they are not writing to tear down and criticize people. We need to see each other as image-bearers, God’s creation, and because of that— worthy of dignity and love. They write to tear down arguments in an honest and thorough search for truth. (2 Corinthians 10:4-5)

They don’t say these things to point out the worst in people. They say these things because it’s the gospel message: we are sinners who need a Savior. If we don’t know our disease, we won’t care about a cure.

We all believe something. We all worship something. If God and his Word is not our authority, something else is. Most likely the self. So scrutinize yourself as you do Christianity.

“When it comes to faith, some questions seek answers, and some questions seek exits. There are questions that seek after truth, but other questions seek to avoid truth.”

Part Two: Deconstruction

These chapters talk about the reasons why people have been walking away from Christianity.

Some reviewers have critiqued this book for putting up straw-man arguments, but I would disagree.

The authors are not trying to pin down ‘every deconstructor’ in this book. Each individual’s journey will look different and may be triggered by varying things. People will have different questions, hurts, and frustrations.

Childers and Barnett articulate that what they are trying to engage with are the most common issues and primary grievances prevalent among the most popular or influential voices in the conversation. The voices that the individuals may be listening and relating to.

They cover a lot of ground and everything they bring up is something I have seen expressed by others in multiple places. Each issue or argument may not describe every deconstructor but I think it would be hard to argue that they are misrepresenting the arguments as they quote directly from articles, tweets, and videos with tons of views.

Here Childers and Barnett offer the illustration of a two-level house.

“In this house, facts go downstairs, and preferences go upstairs.”

Most people today relegate religious beliefs to the upstairs. You can’t make objective statements about them.

But the problem is that pretty much all religions make exclusive and objective claims about themselves. They are worldviews and a lens in which you view the big questions of life- where did we come from, why are we here, what is the meaning of life?

“We’re claiming that Christianity is true to reality— it fits the way the world really is. It’s objectively true.”

Jesus says in John 18:37 that he came into the world “to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.”

Jesus was a real, historical man who made exclusive claims about himself and the truth. We have to engage with those in the realm of facts. Either they are true or not true. They can’t be mere preferences.

“Jesus was either raised from the dead, as a historical event in reality, or he wasn’t. If he wasn’t, then Christianity is false. If he was, then Christianity is true for everyone, whether they believe it or not.”

I think that is truly what is at the heart of any conversation regarding deconstruction: What is Truth?

Because deconstruction is rooted in postmodern ideas of rejecting authority and the ability to know anything objective, ‘truth’ becomes individualized. Relative. This is where we get ‘my truth’ and ‘your truth.’ And the idea that no one can tell you what to do, what is right, and what is wrong.

Postmodern thought desires to dismantle authority structures and to group people as either oppressed or oppressors. This is the origin behind claims that Christianity— as a set of beliefs— is a toxic and manipulative power structure seeking to control people.

An honest look at the Bible shows a holy God who must deal with sin in a just way. It shows a God overflowing with mercy, love, grace, forgiveness, and a heart for the marginalized and vulnerable. The entire book tells the story of God redeeming a broken people to himself and offering hope and salvation in a world of sin and evil.

But this mantra of toxic and manipulative authority is fundamental to critical theory and pervasive in much secular thought toward Christianity today, whether people realize or acknowledge it.

[This is fleshed out more in the insightful book Cynical Theories.]

You can’t follow the logic of relativism through everything without lots of problems. There has to be some sort of level of morality and truth for a society to function. Where do those standards come from? Can we really allow popularity, cultural acceptance, and our feelings to dictate those standards?

But there is more going on in deconstruction than just identifying what is true or false. More and more, people are not asking whether or not Christianity is true, they are asking if it’s good.

If this describes you, I would recommend the book Why God Makes Sense in a World that Doesn’t because Gavin Ortlund seeks to answer that question throughout his book and does a really compelling job of showing the beauty and goodness of God and his Word.

So many of deconstructors’ stories involve abuse of some kind from a church body or church leadership. The hurts are real.

Childers and Barnett do not make excuses for the harm done by those claiming the name of Christ. And they advocate for abusers to be held accountable.

Those who hurt and manipulate people do so against the teachings of the Bible, not in accordance with it. People will misuse the Bible and misinterpret the Bible, but that doesn’t make Christianity inherently false. As Christians, our authority is not in the people who wield the Bible, but in God and the words he has given us in Scripture.

“It’s fallen people, not Christianity, who are abusive. Jesus came to set captives free.”

Part 3: #HOPE

These chapters talk about the ways the church can be a safer place for people to feel like they can ask questions. They also challenge churches to offer better answers— meaning admitting when they don’t know or offering thoughtful responses that don’t simply try to shut down questions.

They also offer a process to consider when talking with loved ones who are deconstructing. This process is less about ‘correcting’ their theology as we tend to want to do, but listening and seeking to understand what they are going through and what is concerning them. It involves setting boundaries and respecting their boundaries.

“Many in the deconstruction movement believe Christians are fearful, simpleminded, and reactionary. Be the opposite. Break the stereotype.”

There may be a time to talk about evidence, but it’s important to be able to stay in their life and show them love.

In Neil Shenvi’s book, Why Believe?, he reminds us that “God’s purpose is to change hearts, not merely to change minds.”

There are beliefs that make up Christianity, but at the heart of Christianity is a person— Jesus Christ.

If someone can be argued into faith, they can be argued out of faith. Faith requires a heart change and a realization of their need for a Savior.

Shenvi also said, “Speaking personally, Christianity is the only religion or worldview or philosophy that correctly identifies the disease I know I have and the cure I know I need.”

If a person hasn’t reached that conclusion, no argument in the world really matters.

Childers and Barnett conclude with this:

“Christianity isn’t tidy, and neither is the church. As long as there is a church, there will be church hurt. As long as there is a cursed creation, there will be suffering. As long as there is mystery, there will be unanswered questions. But as long as there is a risen Savior, there is hope. And that’s what I want to leave you.”

And that is the wonderful news of the Gospel! Deconstruction is not new. The Bible tells of many walking away from faith. But God’s plan for redeeming his people cannot be thwarted by a clever hashtag and some earnest tweeters. Jesus is real; his death and resurrection were real; and therefore, hope is real.

Thus, the authors point out the confusion around the word ‘faith.’

Deconstructionists view faith as a blind leap, a belief without evidence.

“Certainly, there are Christians who practice a type of blind faith, but that does not mean that Christianity advocates blind faith.”

The authors remind us that even John the Baptist doubted whether Jesus was the one they’d been waiting for. When confronted with this doubt, Jesus responded by sending the message that “the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them.” (Matt 11:5)

This was evidence for John’s faith; it was not in vain.

“Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, and assurance entails solid reasons to believe something.”

“God has provided enough evidence for those who seek truth but has left enough concealed for those who don’t want to submit to truth… God gives us just enough evidence so that those who want him can have him.”

I highly recommend not only this book, but follow Alisa Childers’ podcast as she talks through all kinds of topics surrounding deconstruction and ‘problems’ with Christianity.

“If Christianity is true, the stakes are life and death. The destination of deconstruction matters.”

Ask to reform.

And pray for those who are deconstructing, that they would see the Lord.

For more quotes and a list of books for further reading, see ORIGINAL REVIEW.

**Received an ARC via NetGalley & Tyndale Publishing in exchange for an honest review**

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This book is a great insight into deconstruction. It helps explain what it is and what it isn't. There was so much I didn't know. I also liked that they included practical advise for anyone that may have someone in the life that is an exvangilical or is in the process of deconstructing.

Thank you Netgalley and Tyndale House Publishers

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This book is definitely for the Christian who has someone in their life who is deconstructing. It's not for a Christian deconstruction or looking at their faith more closely. The authors define deconstructing as someone who is basically leaving the faith. And this book is written for Christians. I think this is a good book for Christians who are having a difficult time with someone in their lives who is questioning their faith and not looking for those answers within the Christian faith but outside of the faith.

This book was a good read but it won't help the deconstructing Christian. So just beware of that before you read.

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For the unfamiliar, deconstruction describes a purposeful journey away from the faith, religion, or organization introduced in one’s family of origin. The authors define it as “a process of rethinking your faith without requiring Scripture as a standard.”

Childers and Barnett explain how social media has made uncovering abuses within the church easier. Religion can hurt individuals, especially high-control religions, or when predators hold key positions in congregations. The church needs to acknowledge the abuses and seek forgiveness—not continue to deny abuse exists.

Someone with a faith crisis might be a good candidate for deconstruction, but having questions about one’s beliefs does not necessarily mean one is in deconstruction. The authors explain the difference as one about sources. A crisis of faith causes a person to dig deep into scripture and examine beliefs under the microscope of the sovereignty of God and the authority of scripture.

Deconstruction uses human feelings, preferences, interpretations of morality, and the self as the highest authority or truth. Evangelicals (or exvangelicals, as they call themselves) make up the majority of deconstructors who speak out in online spaces (blogs, YouTube, podcasts, and social media). Many of them offer to guide fellow deconstructors through the process.

After the authors give a historical overview of deconstruction and explain the difference between a crisis of faith and deconstruction, they give practical advice for Christians who know someone who identifies as an exvangelical or someone going through deconstruction.

First, Christians need to know their beliefs, which requires self-introspection and Bible study. According to the authors, “Good theology is done by thinking deeply about God’s revealed Word, not by assessing the Bible according to the standards of secular culture.” Once we reform our relationship with God and understand the true nature of faith, we will be equipped to react with compassion and wisdom to someone who claims they are deconstructing.

Christians need to discern if the questions deconstructors ask are questions that look for answers or questions that look for exits. With the help of the Holy Spirit, we can help someone find answers to the first type of question. People only looking for an exit are not prepared to find answers. And sometimes we must accept that. We still need to love the person, have compassion for them, and allow them the space to come to their own conclusions (however misguided we may think their conclusions are). Our job is loving, not convicting other people of truth.

This is an excellent resource if you (or someone you love) are experiencing a faith crisis. Maybe you love someone who has already deconstructed, or you just want to know what all the hype is about. This book is for you. The authors use anecdotes (both personal and from prominent Christians who have had a crisis of faith or have deconstructed), the Bible, and a few lessons in rhetoric and reason to help readers gain a thorough understanding of the deconstruction movement and how the church and its members need to respond.

Church leaders, lay workers, and church members would all benefit from reading this book. And anyone in a faith crisis who has started flirting with the #exvangelical and deconstruction movements might find this book enlightening.

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In writing this very important book, Childers & Barnett did the hard work of diving into the trenches of the popular Deconstruction movement, to explain and expose it with grace and compassion. For the audience of Christians who are experiencing Deconstruction from the outside, they tell the HOW, WHAT, and WHO of it. I learned a lot by reading their findings and research on what it is, where it came from, and how it got so popular. Beyond that, they revealed how Deconstruction is something that’s been around for a long time - back to the very first lie of Satan told to Eve: “Did God really say?”

I really appreciated the loving and compassionate tone in approaching a very tough and very sensitive subject. In this love, they strongly stood on the truth of The Word, advocated the importance of Biblical literacy, and highlighted the Scriptural precedent for warning against false teachings. Also in love, they encouraged true believers to REFORM their faith if needed ACCORDING to the Word of God, not their own relative truth (which is what Deconstruction does). Far from ostracizing those who Deconstruct, they call Believers to see them as image bearers who are hurting and doubting.

There is a fair amount of psychology, philosophical analysis, and sociological research, along with tons of direct references to social media postings & memes. I found that they communicated their findings clearly, but some readers may feel bogged down by this.

I highly recommend for any Christian who is seeking to understand the current cultural movement, is seeking to understand the Bible and apologetics more, or is walking alongside someone who is deconstructing.

Thank you to Tyndale House & netgalley for a complimentary ebook in exchange for an honest review. Opinions expressed are completely my own.

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This was such a beast of a book– conceptualizing a complex topic in an understandable way was a feat in and of itself. I commend the authors for tackling it with grace, humbleness, honesty, and authenticity.

One thing that I appreciate about each author individually is their focus on clarity. They strip the word down to its bare bones and take us back to the beginning of where we first began to see it historically– before it was given the trendy name it is known by today.

There were so many wonderful morsels that I had to read over again and chew on, savoring the flavor.

At the start of the novel, the authors state that “All of us…need to ask ourselves an honest question: Where do my beliefs look more like the world than God’s Word?”

We are seeing more and more today how Christians are mirroring the rebellious Israelites and the authors point out why: “The problem is, these Israelites didn’t know their Scriptures. They had false ideas about God because they ignored, or possibly rejected, the primary source they had about God– his Word. Sadly, most Christians don’t know their Scriptures either.”

Even though the Israelites had daily miracles with God that they saw with their own eyes, they still “...deconstructed their view of God and reconstructed a god…”

Many Christians today feel that if only God would “show” us a sign, or audibly “tell” us, or even “prove” his existence, then we would believe and not doubt and so would our lost loved ones– yet the Bible shows us that unfortunately, that is not always the case. Philosopher Peter Kreeft “makes it clear that the evidence for God is not the primary issue…the problem is not with God’s failure to give evidence; the problem is with our failure to accept it.”

So what is deconstruction? Alisa and Tim acknowledge that each story is unique to that individual, but that they all have commonalities. The three basic elements consist of:

A process of deconstruction
A belief being deconstructed
A person deconstructing.

They clarify this further by adding, “In other words, every act of deconstruction has a how, a what, and a who.

So the big question most of us want to know is why? What causes a believer to turn away?

Most of the time it is an unconscious decision that begins when a crisis occurs.

But what if a faith crisis isn’t what leads to deconstruction? What else could it be?

They note that our faith’s foundation is important and mention the parable of the sower who sows seeds on four different kinds of ground.

They state, “So according to Jesus, there will be some who receive the Word and flourish temporarily, then ‘fall away.’ And Jesus tells us why: They don’t have deep roots. Shallow faith can last for a season. But when confronted by a crisis of faith, there’s no foundation to hold it up.”

I like how they explained the separation of truth and opinions into upper story and lower story rooms. I won’t go into all the detail here, but this particular passage stood out to me as it highlights the absurdity of the deconstructionists’ contradictions.

“Once again, we see upper-story thinking rear its relativistic head. One way to expose it is to replace the word deconstruction with something from the lower story, and see if it still works. For example, let’s replace the word deconstruction with the words heart attack, then read the sentence again: ‘A heart attack is a deeply personal and emotional experience and no one else can tell you where it should lead or how you should do it.’

You see the problem.”

They correctly assess that this way of thinking “...assigns religious belief to the upper story, treating truth as a matter of personal preference, and makes the individual the ultimate authority.”

I feel as if I could quote this entire book!

The danger is holding up Christianity to your personal proclivities– not the Word itself. It is actually healthy to examine our faith. They acknowledge that “Every Christian should know what they believe and why they believe it. And this means being open to asking hard questions.

They also clarify the difference between the early reformers of the church, Luther and Calvin: “The Word of God reformed the Church. The purpose of the Reformers was to recover the original, not tear everything down and create something new.”

I like how they mention that C.S. Lewis wrote, ‘You must show that a man is wrong before you start explaining why he is wrong.” This is completely opposite of our cancel culture today!

As such, deconstructionists take our Biblical doctrines and view them in terms of “...power, not truth, and thus deemed ‘toxic.’”

Another wonderful point that I wish were touted on the regular is how “Good theology is done by thinking deeply about God’s revealed Word, not by assessing the Bible according to the standards of secular culture.”

“Put another way, often in the deconstruction explosion, people mistake their own personal faith, which might be full of incorrect beliefs, with the authentic Christian faith.”

This, I believe, is at the crux of deconstruction. If your foundation is based on the shaky ground of “your” truth, it is shifting sand. If you don’t know the true Nature of God, you will fill in the blanks of your personal propensities with disastrous and life-altering consequences.

All is not lost, however. God is always there and He promises to never leave us, nor forsake us. He says to ask and it shall be given, to seek and we will find. As believers on the other side of this, Alisa and Tim have included a powerful prayer to equip us on how to pray for our loved ones.

I believe that this book will become a staple in the Christian resource repertoire, readily available to those of us who are looking for answers, as well as for those who are struggling. The church needs to step up and stop being ignorant, or even worse, lukewarm. Let’s be the salt of the earth again and make the world thirsty to come back to their loving Father.

I would like to thank NetGalley and Tyndale House Publishers for allowing me to read this advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. As a side note, upon reading this ARC, I have ordered a copy of this novel and intend to spread the word far and wide (more than I already have that is).

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Application/Impact: 3
Connection to the book/Enjoyment: 3
Educational Value: 4
Purpose/Originality: 4
Writing: 3
Every point = 0.25 stars, max of 4 per category

Very timely and excellent resource to add to my toolkit. I appreciated the way they approached the topic and the connection to illustrations and real life examples. I didn’t feel condemning at all in tone but a genuine discussion of issues surrounding the ideology of deconstruction. I appreciated how it was written by two authors but I thought the formatting was odd at times. I wish it had been either completely one voice or clean sections they had each written, but that is personal preference. I also felt like some of the illustrations could have been trimmed down a bit, but I often want more “meat” when I pick up a nonfiction. It wasn’t anything new or revolutionary for me, but I appreciated this book and the timely nature as a resource to recommend.

Thank you NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book! I already purchased this to add to my public library where I am a director!

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When I first heard about THE DECONSTRUCTION OF CHRISTIANITY, I was intrigued because I couldn’t imagine what anyone could possibly have against deconstruction—what I understood to be the process of asking honest questions about your faith, examining your beliefs, and reconsidering why you believe what you believe. I don’t (at least not currently) consider myself a “deconstructionist,” as people who go through a deconstruction process are called in this book, but I couldn’t shake my strong curiosity about what kind of case the authors would make against them.

Honestly, they made a better case than I expected. And before I get into this review, I need to be honest about two more things:

I went into this book knowing I might not be the target audience. It's intended for people who are worried about those going through deconstruction, and I haven't been able to see it as a negative even though there are many different places people can land at the end of it.
I was familiar with one of the authors (Childers), and although I’m a Christian too and likely agree with her on many essential Christian tenets, I already knew there was a lot I tended to disagree with her on. Still, I did my best to read this with an open mind.

The way the authors defined deconstruction helped me understand why it's concerning to them. They have a number of concerns and juxtapose the faith they see some people adopting after deconstruction against what they refer to as the truth. The truth just so happens to be the faith tradition THEY align with. Ignoring the multitude of other faith traditions—including the over 200 Christian denominations in the U.S. alone (most of which are also "historical") that all believe THEIR interpretation is the truth—the authors present a compelling argument that paints deconstruction as an enemy to genuine belief and even salvation. I understand and agree with the concept of absolute truth, but asserting that religious beliefs are objective reality is...really something. "God is the source of truth and we are not," they wrote, which is true...for ME.

Reviewing and rating this book was tough because it's a pretty well-presented argument and I believe the authors accomplished what they set out to do. But it's filled with strawman arguments, false equivalencies, misrepresentations of other Christian authors' work, and broad assumptions—too many to get into here. Between the misrepresentations and false comparisons, this book attempted to make complex and nuanced matters black and white. And to them, they probably are. But to many, many other Christians, theological beliefs—especially on second-tier doctrines—are not so cut-and-dried.

THE DECONSTRUCTION OF CHRISTIANITY asserts that "at the heart of the deconstruction explosion is a rejection of biblical authority." This is a wild assumption to make. For some, their deconstruction is a realization that the biblical authority they were previously under is an unchristlike, erroneous version. And everyone's not going to agree on what's unchristlike and erroneous. The book also briefly mentions but glosses over the severe impact Trump's election had in pushing many people toward deconstruction and away from the Church in 2016.

There are "deconstructionists" online who, I agree, draw many false comparisons between toxic church people and Christianity as a whole. I saw THE DECONSTRUCTION OF CHRISTIANITY doing the exact same thing—picking the worst thing they can think of (a heart attack, for example) and comparing it to deconstruction. I don't see this method having the transformative impact they were aiming for.

Still, there were a few things that surprised me and that I appreciated about this book. I'm not out to villainize fellow believers, and there are still people I'd recommend this book to, such as those who want to understand the issues some sects of Christianity take with deconstruction. The authors were clear that they weren't against asking questions, interrogating your beliefs, having doubts, or questioning leadership. It's the "deconstruction explosion" that they take issue with. Based on what they outlined in this book, I get it, but we simply have a fundamental difference in our view and approach. "An examined faith is a healthy faith," they wrote, and at least we can agree on that.

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This is a solid analysis of the deconstruction movement. I've seen it and it really is sweeping across the nation/world. I already have a respect and admiration for Alisa Childers and I was not disappointed by this book. Highly recommend for Christians looking to understand and process what's going on around us.

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In The Deconstruction of Christianity, authors Alisa Childers and Tim Barnett take a critical look at the phenomenon of deconstruction and how it affects one's faith. What is deconstruction? Who does it appeal to? How does it affect or disrupt the lives of those who walk through it? And how can we help our loved ones who are challenged by this dismantling of the Christian faith?

Childer and Barnett systematically walk the reader through the worldview behind deconstruction, giving it both historical and biblical context, as well as arguing its logical fallacies. Deconstruction ultimately argues for individuals to come to their own truth. The Deconstruction of Christianity shows how this is both contradictory and harmful both to those in and out of the church.

I really appreciated how these authors gracious laid out a logical examination of the issue. This book is clearly written from a heart longing to guide and love a lost generation, rather than condemn those who are searching. The Deconstruction of Christianity has not only helped me understand people better, but it's also helped me feel confident that I can discuss deconstruction in a loving and objective manner. This book is best read by those who's loved ones are going through deconstruction or wanting to better understand the issue, not necessarily those currently deconstructing. And it's a slow deep read. I read this one twice before reviewing it as the issues are deep and complex. My copy is full of highlights and notes. This is a resource that I can see myself returning to again and again.

*Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this title from the publisher. All opinions are my own.

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Alisa Childers and Tim Barnett delve into the world of "deconstruction" and take a hard look at what it IS and what it is NOT. "When Christians find themselves struggling with questions about their faith, a better practice is reformation, not deconstruction. Remember, we defined deconstruction as a process of rethinking your faith without requiring Scripture as a standard. By contrast, reformation is the process of correcting mistaken beliefs to make them align with Scripture. The key distinction is the role God's Word plays in the process." Grounded in biblical truth yet gracious and loving in their writing. I appreciated the insights both shared and their heartfelt desire to help those navigating the confusion surrounding "Christian deconstruction".

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“The serpent in the Garden of Eden asked Eve, ‘Did God really say?’ Today, he is asking a different question: ‘Did God really mean?’ Same deceiver; same goal.”

Hearing often of others deconstructing their faith and knowing several personally, The Deconstruction of Christianity was a book that I was thrilled to see being written. It is clear to the reader that this book was exceedingly well researched and written with a heart for this generation, for those struggling with their faith, and for those trying to come alongside them.

One thing that I especially loved about this book is that it’s written without assumptions. The authors aren’t speculating about what deconstruction means to those who are deconstructing. Rather, the authors do well to let the deconstructing individuals share in their own words, through quoting their testimonies directly. While hearing many of these testimonies was difficult and heartbreaking, I really appreciated that the book was written this way.

Not only will this book teach you about what the Deconstruction movement is, it will also help explain why this movement is harmful and how you can respond to it individually and as the Church. The first half of the book is informational, while the second half of the book is very practical.

Though the subject is heavy and there is a lot of information given (theological, historical, and sociological/cultural,) the authors did an excellent job making this book easy and entertaining to read. I already know that this title will make my 2024 favorites list.

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In “The Deconstruction of Christianity,” Alisa Childers and Tim Barnett detail the truth behind the deconstruction movement that has been affecting many. Today’s world leaves us struggling to hold a Christian worldview with its effects on personal relationships with those we care about. This book exists to help those experiencing such challenges, helping us to understand how deconstruction works and better respond to loved ones and friends struggling with doubt or in the thick of deconstruction.

The book consists of three parts:

Part 1 shares how deconstruction shows itself on social media and in homes and churches. Part 2 explores people’s what, how, and why in deconstructing. Part 3 details how to love and help those we care about in the midst of their deconstruction.

I personally have felt unsure of how to converse with people in our current culture as it feels like things have changed so fast and so many have walked away from belief in Christ. This book helped me make sense of so much when it comes to the deconstruction movement. I especially appreciated the practical advice in chapter 12, sharing steps to take and helpful questions to ask ourselves and our loved ones.


“Deconstruction is not about getting your theology right. It’s not about trying to make your views match reality. It’s about tearing down doctrines that are morally wrong to you to make them match your own internal conscience, moral compass, true authentic self, or whatever else it’s being called these days. Yet the goal for all Christians should be to align our beliefs with the Word of God, despite our own personal feelings or beliefs on the topic.”

“In today’s skeptical culture, it’s not a matter of if doubts come, but when they come. So we need to teach Christians to doubt well.”

“Not every question gets a neat-and-tidy answer. That’s because Christianity isn’t tidy. There are formidable objections, difficult concepts, and troubling texts. There will always be some unanswered questions.”

Thank you to Tyndale House and Netgalley for gifting me a copy of this book. I am leaving this review voluntarily and was not required to leave a positive review. All opinions are my own.

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I am hesitant to rate this book with my honest thoughts, knowing full well when I requested it I was not in the target audience. I'll start with the positives: this book is well-written and I can tell the authors feel passionately about the subject matter. They know how to communicate directly with their audience. However, it's abundantly clear from the get-go that it never crossed the authors' minds that this book could be read by anyone walking through any kind of deconstruction. The tone is set from the forward on as condescending and it never recovers. Part of my issue with this book stems from the fact that it villianizes people who have already left the faith without any introspection as to why, other than that the problem must lie with them. Examples that their faith isn't strong enough, they put their trust in fallible humans, or that they've planted their seeds in the rocky soil abound. Whether or not some of the concepts Alisa and Tim write about are compelling or not, why would anyone genuinely struggling with their faith listen to them? Overall, what this book accomplishes in my view is simply more of the same: a way to speak past each other in the conversation about de/reconstruction in Christianity while maintaining our own self-righteousness. I want to believe this was not the intent; that the intent was to project authority. But in my view, they missed the mark. It's simply more confirmation bias for everyone: if you were suspicious of deconstruction, you certainly didn't leave with anything new to ponder. If you were walking through deconstruction and you thought more conservative Christians held you in contempt, you left knowing you were right. This book proves its own point: the reason people do not want to belong to a Christian community, the reason they are leaving the faith is not because they don't have enough faith or they put their faith in fallible people who turned out not to be worthy of it. They are leaving (some of them) because this book reflects what they see as commodified Christianity has become: petty, vindictive, small-minded, fearful. I am frustrated by what seems like the purposeful and willful misunderstanding of this book: a way to circle the wagons, draw clear lines about who is in and who is out, and where God can move. I hope anyone who reads this book with questions and doubts knows there is a large community of believers who do not live by standards of certainty or dogmatic surety, but value these places of wonder and curiosity. Anyway, I really did not like this book. I know it's not for me, and that should be said, but it's only going to serve the purpose of further dividing the body.

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This book is an excellent resource for the deconstruction of the Christian faith vs historical Christianity. It explains where this comes from and why it appeals to some. This read gives great insight into responding to this new movement with truth, wisdom, and love. I cannot recommend this book enough and I love that I got an advanced readers copy!

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This was a hard read.

There is great sadness in watching someone struggle with their faith. And deconstruction, pulling away from what is biblically true, is extremely difficult to see someone go through.

This book is geared toward those who have loved ones deconstructing their faith. It explains what deconstruction is and isn’t and shares the views of those promoting it.

The authors say here:

“For the majority of people from the broader culture in the deconstruction movement, the Bible is seen as a tool of oppression to be rejected, not a standard of truth to be affirmed.”

But this book also encourages the reader to not give up on those who are struggling, to pray, to be patient and to set boundaries. To search the scriptures for the answers to our questions, and to trust God.

If you are interested in knowing more about the movement of deconstruction, you may find this book helpful.

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Alisa and Tim did a fantastic job writing cohesively. They made it clear from the beginning who the audience for this book is and by doing so, set the proper expectations for the reader.

I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to know more about deconstruction or knows anyone currently deconstructing.

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Direct but compassionate, I guarantee this book will become one of *the* definitive guides for Christians as they navigate the heartbreaking, complicated process of deconstruction in the 21st century. Filled with Scripture, data, cultural analysis, and personal anecdotes, the authors do a brilliant and thorough job of not only explaining deconstruction but also showing the truth of the Gospel and how it answers every question, doubt, and query that our difficult and painful lives throw at us. I wholeheartedly recommend this book.

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This book by Alisa Childers and Tim Barnett is a good overview of the Deconstruction movement. They distinguish between deconstruction and discernment. This book is approachable to those wanting to learn more about this subject. They give advice on how to respond to those who state they are deconstructing from Christianity.

I received an ARC ebook from NetGalley and the publisher, Tyndale House Publishers, in exchange for an honest review.

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