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21 Responses

  1. Terry says:

    I’ll bite: How I “deconstructed”:

    About 10 years ago I was at work sitting at my iMac, but my mind was on eschatology. I was thinking about “The Late Great Planet Earth” and the “Left Behind” films, when it hit me that even if that HAD been God’s original plan, He was now obligated to do something else. Hal Lindsey and Tim LaHaye had screwed up God’s plans by making books and movies that spelled it all out too specifically. I busted out laughing, with no way to explain to co-workers what was so funny. The first leg of my belief system collapsed.

    Not long after that, I was lying in bed and couldn’t get to sleep. My mind drifted toward my father who died in 1986. He’d lived a life avoiding any kind of religious affiliation. The man was in hell right now for sure. He’d been in hell for almost 30 years… and with a billion-trillion years still to go! And after that – another billion trillion years. And after that… that’s when my own mind (or something) interrupted and said “you don’t actually believe that do you?” Nope.

    With that the deconstruction was on.

  2. Michael says:

    Terry,

    Thanks.

    My deconstruction started when I realized that I couldn’t trust the people that had taught me to tell the truth about anything…so everything was open for inspection.

    Still inspecting…but my faith in Jesus is strong.

  3. The New Victor says:

    I was all into TLGPE in the ’80s as a teen. Much later, I stopped reading the LaHaye books at maybe 6… seemed like Evangelical revenge porn. Lindsey turned off my teen age mind back in the day with I think his book about Angels and about how he expected many crowns of righteousness would be heaped upon him once he reached heaven. In current parlance 35 years later I’d say, “Narc much?” What happened to working out your faith with much fear and trembling? I’ll shame myself here for missing that mark… the kids still have faith, but I’ve been lazy finding a new church home after abandoning CC.

  4. Mark says:

    I grew up in an IFB church – saw ‘Left Behind’ as a young kid on a New Years Eve night at our Baptist church in Orange County, CA. As I became a more complete believer in and disciple of Jesus I grew very accustomed and I guess comfortable with that eschatological view. As a newly married and father one night I kind of stumbled upon Chuck Smith teaching through 1 John on their KWVE. For many years I attended / learned from different Calvary Chapel pastor teachers. I would hear / read of the other eschatological views, but was really only taught about the one they believe is the correct one. Now a lot of years since those years I decided to read and listen for myself in much detail about the other views / opinions regarding eschatology. I’m around a lot of Anglicans here in Sydney, Australia now, and I became more familiar with what seems to be their 1, maybe 2 opinion(s) of it all. And I specifically started listening to a friend who grew up in the same IFB church who was now of the ‘preterist’ opinion. I read a lot about that, and kind of got their point; but for a variety of reasons it just didn’t sit well with me that it all (Revelation) had already occurred. That’s probably not exactly how they view Revelation. But then another friend here in Sydney, a pastor, who was very into Jacob Prasch, shared his opinion of eschatology, pretty much Jesus will return in the middle of much of what’s described in Revelation, I think soon after the 6th seal. I greatly appreciated reading through his ‘Harpazo’. I think it’s been good for me to really try to figure things out, or come up with my theology a bit more on my own than just listening to what someone is telling me they believe. I also spent a decent amount of time in the middle of my Calvary Chapel days being influenced by Calvin’s disciples. Some young kids from CURE showed up to our CC in HB and it really impacted the church I think in a negative way. But I started reading the Sprouls and Packers and others and was about waste deep in all their opinions, and honestly felt like I was drowning, so confused. I remember one day, I think led by HS, where I closed a book by Sproul that I had been reading where he kind of made fun of the concept of receiving Jesus, and I had already been so confused with their opinion that I’m so dead that I can’t believe in Jesus unless he regenerates me first. It was after I moved on from all that, that I then came upon the obvious conclusion to their opinions – some are predestined / elected to salvation, plenty of others are predestined / elected to damnation before they are born. Anyway, there’s a lot more of a history in there that really did my head in. Since then I’ve come across what I guess has been called ‘Traditionalism’ or ‘Provisionism’ (I think). I’ve appreciated their answers to some of those Calvinist’ proof-texts that I still wasn’t very clear on. That’s some of my deconstruction. But in all reality, I’ve been more focused on trying to live like a Christian since I believed like a Christian – not doing what I know I shouldn’t be doing, doing what I know I should be doing, etc – deconstruction and construction there. A LONG ONE I KNOW!

  5. Terry says:

    All –

    Twice in 2 Cor 12, Paul says “I do not know, God knows”. What a glorious relief to not have to figure it all out. Calvinism or Arminianism? God’s business. The Day of the Lord? On God’s calendar. My father’s afterlife? God knows.

    Sure, I have opinions about these things. But unlike Fundamentalism, I actually am allowed to grow in my understanding! I have lot left days behind me than ahead of me on this planet… I get to admit I was wrong and change my views even more. And I’m looking forward to it.

  6. Muff Potter says:

    I hold to the tenets of The Apostle’s Creed as non-negotiable parameters up-front and on the table.
    The rest of the stuff?
    I pick and choose as I see fit with the dictates of my conscience.
    For example, I now reject the doctrine of PSA (penal substitutionary atonement).

  7. JD says:

    Anyone hear this one?
    That the white, red, black and green horses in Revelation 6 represent the colors of the flags of the Arab nations surrounding Israel?

  8. Terry says:

    JD – That’s a new one on me.

    “Who is blind but my servant, and deaf like the messenger I send? Who is blind like the one in covenant with me, blind like the servant of the LORD?” – Isaiah 42:19

  9. WenatcheeTheHatchet says:

    JD, thankfully, no, I’ve never heard anything that silly before.
    The New Victor, Crawford Gribben has a remarkably readable and funny book called
    Writing the Rapture: Prophecy Fiction in Evangelical Americ
    https://academic.oup.com/book/1695

    It’s a tour of End Times novels from the 1880s period up through to Left Behind. Though Gribben is Scottish Reformed (and has written some hefty books on the evolution of millennialism in trans-Atlantic Protestantism in general and the Puritan era in particular) this book is not so dauntingly specialized. Writing the Rapture concludes that the genre of End Times novels reflect the dreads and biases of well-heeled Anglo-American males thinking society is going to seed. He had a brutally funny observation that in the antebellum South most ministers were postmillennialists and then after the Confederacy lost the American Civil War, lo and behold, a bunch of those clergy became premillennialists while the triumphant North stuck to their postmillennialism and viewed it as justification for further American expansion. I do identify as a Calvinist but providentially my exposure to Calvinist and Reformed theology was mediated by my Native American half of my ancestry from the PNW. The theobros who act as if all good “Reformed” theology only comes from New England Puritans, the American South, and a highly selective reading of the early 20th century neo-Calvinists annoy me the more I learn how rich and varied the Reformed traditions can actually be. I’m not saying people need to be Reformed, but it has been a helpful port of call for me as I moved away from the Pentecostalism of my youth (not that I”m getting rid of any of my Gordon Fee books and I’m not planning to ever become a cessationist).

  10. JD says:

    How about this one?
    That the Father will be the one sitting in judgment on the great white throne in Revelation 20:11.

  11. Jean says:

    JD,
    Do you have a point to make?

  12. Mark says:

    Terry, but in my (I think humble and experienced) opinion I think it does a soul, mind real good to try to figure out if Calvin & his disciples opinions are correct because as he even referred to – they’re kind of horrible, horrendous (my paraphrase) that he actually predestined many to be damned before they were born, and even causes some to think they are elect / saved / when actually they are not, that he predetermines / causes every minute detail on earth to occur or not occur because that’s their definition of sovereign, thinking he does this all for his glory. I’m with him on that – I think it’s horrible and even a horrible interpretation of scripture. I’m not really wanting to get into a debate on those opinions, just thinking that we’re not meant to just leave it to ‘God knows’, and we don’t need to know. I was caught in a really bad rip off San Clemente Beach (Ca) many years ago, nearly drowned. It’s how I now picture my life when I was kind of attracted to Calvin’s disciples’ opinions – I nearly drowned, nearly deconstructed myself away from even wanting to try to have a personal relationship with God. I’m new here; so I don’t yet know if there is a way to reply to things – maybe I need to request an account. I’m just entering my name / email each time I leave a comment.

  13. Michael says:

    Mark,

    Your post is the answer to “tell me you’ve never read Calvin”…

  14. Michael says:

    I’m a former Calvinist …I don’t hold tightly to the “doctrines of grace”.

    Having said that…Calvin (and the theologians associated with him) were brilliant men who loved God with their hearts and minds.

    Simply damning their theology without understanding its underpinnings and biblical strength is not something I will accept.

    Since you’re new here…you need to know my mentors were Steve Brown and Dr. J.I. Packer…and if you can find a better example of Christian integrity and humility…by all means follow them.

  15. Mark says:

    Michael, I am not completely sure what you meant by that. I’m not a scholar of Calvin’s opinions; but yes, I read through his Institutes, and some of his other commentaries. But I was primarily influenced by those who had probably spent a lot more time with him than I did. A friend I used to play basketball with in high school challenged me to actually read him instead of all those that have all their commentaries on Tulip, and just quote his comments. I did. Actually I found him easier to read than Mr. Arminius. And I don’t consider myself really one of his disciples either.

  16. Mark says:

    Yes, it’s probably why I was so influenced and attracted to what they said / wrote. I completed Ligionier’s Systematic Theology (I forget what it was actually titled). The primary teacher was Dr. J.I. Packer. I don’t doubt their good / Godly Christian character. And maybe I shouldn’t have gotten so intense with my words regarding it. I usually find little positive results when I’m sometimes led into a discussion regarding this, I think usually the opposite.

  17. Michael says:

    I’m not interested in the Calvinist/Arminian dispute…both camps have an inadequate doctrine of the Incarnation.

    However, Calvin’s main doctrine was union with Christ…and I have profited greatly from his thought.

  18. JD says:

    Jean,
    For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment unto the Son
    John 5:22

    I wish we were doing the same.

  19. JD says:

    I also wish I could spell better 🧐

  20. Pineapple Head says:

    I haven’t had to deconstruct much because I’ve always approached my Christianity with a bit of a minimalist mindset. I like my doctrinal statements very short. Just the true essentials. I’m also fairly skeptical by nature, so any extreme views quickly get processed and most times spit out.

  21. Mark says:

    and I was kind of just sharing some of my ‘deconstruction’ journey – maybe shared tmd – sorry if I irritated any of you. It really hasn’t been a Calvinism vs Arminianism dispute for me. I just wanted a lot more clarity on Scripture that some of them get so hyper and I think incorrect about. I’m now much more comfortable with the corporate view of all that.

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