Is Deconstruction the Same as Deconversion? A Few Reflections on Reforming the Church

The last few years have been a rough stretch for the evangelical church. Plagued not only by a complex and intractable health crisis with COVID, the church has also faced an increasingly polarized cultural-political environment as well as numerous internal scandals involving abusive leadership.

Perhaps it is not surprising that this same period of time has seen a rise in so-called cases of deconversion—people who once claimed to be fairly run-of-the-mill evangelicals but then, for whatever reasons, decided this was not the life for them. And they walked away from the faith.

The high-profile cases of deconversion stories are well known: Rob Bell, Rhett and Link, Joshua Harris, etc. …

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Men, Are You Submissive?

Submission.

Of all the words in the Bible, this may be one of the least popular. After all, our cultural moment is not one that values a posture of submission to authorities. On the contrary, our world insists we should challenge and critique those over us.

The classic bumper sticker captures it well: “Question Authority.”

And if submission is already an unpopular concept, it only grows more unpopular in verses like Ephesians 5:22: “Wives submit to your husbands as unto the Lord.” Indeed, this passage (and its counterpart in 1 Pet. 3:1) has been ground zero in the submission wars, both in our churches and the broader …

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College Students: Here Are Some Thoughts On Picking a Good Church

Well, it’s that time of year. Thousands of college students all over the country (and the world) will soon be moving into their dorm room or house, eager to get settled in for the new academic year.

High on the agenda for many students will be discovering the best place for live music, finding the coolest (and cheapest!) restaurants in town, or maybe just scoring tickets to the big football game. But for Christian students there’s another agenda item (or at least their should be): finding a new church home.

Now, there’s lots to be said about how to pick a good church. And top of the list are two …

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The One Critical Thing Missing in Most Sermons

As I continue to do the rounds of podcasts and interviews for my new book, Surviving Religion 101, the same question keeps getting asked:

What can parents (and churches) do to help better prepare their kids for the intellectual challenges of college?

In a prior post, I mentioned this issue and offered one solution to that problem: “Parents and churches need to consider ways to introduce their children, at age-appropriate levels, to non-Christian philosophies, arguments, and criticisms, along with a proper Christian response.”

In other words, we need to break out of the

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What Do You Do When an Abusive Leader Is Allowed to Remain in Ministry?

A couple of weeks ago, I watched with great interest how the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) would handle some particularly tough issues during its annual gathering in Nashville. Like any such gathering, there were things that were encouraging, and there were some things less encouraging.

But, I was particularly encouraged to see the SBC decide to do a real, thorough investigation of how it has handled abuse claims in the past. For those who watched, it was clear that there were many present on the floor of the gathering, mostly women, who had never received justice for the abuse they had endured at the hands of an SBC leader …

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