Trap 4: Deconstructionism
June 26th 2017
Deconstructionism is a word used to label the steady flow of negative opinions expressed concerning Western institutions, beliefs, and values in order to tear down the old certainties upon which Western Culture was founded. In theological terms, the deconstructionist approach to interpreting the Bible comes out of postmodernism and is simply another denial of the existence of absolute truth. Within Western academia and media today, deconstructionism finds a home within the continual tearing down of the values in which Western civilization is based upon, with the intent of making everything within Western civilization secular in nature.
From the arena of academia, let’s take a look at an example pervasive within the average American college campus of the 21st-century. Alexis de Tocqueville was a French diplomat, political scientist, and historian. He was best known for authoring a book titled, “Democracy in America”. de Tocqueville gave us the term “American Exceptionalism”. The book “Democracy in America” is 992 pages long. The version of “Democracy in America” taught in colleges today is sub-titled “Abridged for the Modern-Reader” and it leaves out close to every mention of marriage, family, and faith – the true backbone to American history.
Democracy in America is truly a great depiction of America at its best. The author of the abridged version deleted half of the actual descriptive information written by de Tocqueville. This was obviously the act of a revisionist in an attempt to remove religious and family traditions from the history of America. For example, the author removed such phrases from the original as:
"There is certainly no country in the world where the tie of marriage is more respected than in America or where conjugal happiness is more highly or worthily appreciated"
For many decades, the spirit of religion and the spirit of freedom marched in intimate unity and they reigned in common over the country known as the United States of America. That fact was obvious to de Tocqueville. Within this five-part-series, we’ve explored the systematic effort that has been underway for some time now to transform America into something that it was not intended to be. Under the umbrella statement that “A Society Must Know Its History,” we’ve explored the topics of post-structuralism, modernism, academic-collectivism, and now deconstructionism. What we are losing sight of is that America successfully combined the notions of Christianity and the pursuit of liberty so intimately within the average American’s mind that it was impossible to make them conceive of one without the other. That, unfortunately, is no longer the case.
Deconstructionism is a steady flow of negatives that work to chip away at what historically has been the very essence of what is good about America. This is why people, in our current age, feel like they need to travel around the world to apologize for the history of America.
On several occasions, President Barrack Hussein Obama sought to apologize for the actions of the country he was president of while addressing foreign audiences. A common theme that ran through Obama's statements was the idea that America must atone for its past policies, whether it was America's application of the war against Islamic terrorism or for its overall foreign policy. At the core of his message was the concept that the U.S. was a flawed nation that must seek redemption by apologizing for its past sins.
Like other philosophies that come out of postmodernism, deconstructionism celebrates human autonomy and determines truth by the intellect of man. Therefore, according to the postmodern thinker, all truth is relative and there is no such thing as absolute truth. At the heart of postmodernism and deconstructionist thought is the sin of pride. When it comes to the Bible, the deconstructionist liberal-theologian thinks that he can discover a personal or social motivation behind what Scripture says and therefore can determine what is “really being said.” The deconstructionist is only limited in his interpretation of any given passage by his own imagination. To the deconstructionist there is no right or wrong interpretation, and the meaning of the text becomes whatever the reader wants it to be.
With a constant stream of negativity displayed within academia and media when it comes to Western values, society, and history, what must the Christian recognize and embrace in order to avoid this trap?
- Instead of spending time debating deconstructionism or other postmodern theories, we should concentrate on exalting Christ and emphasizing the sufficiency and authority of Scripture.
- The deconstructionist approach to Scripture fails to recognize the fundamental truth that the Bible is God’s objective communication to mankind and that the meaning of any passage comes from God.
- Romans 12:21 – “…overcome evil with good.”
- Teach history by telling the good, the bad, and the ugly. Today, we don’t teach the good as much as we used to.
- As noted throughout this series, rely upon source documents for your facts.
- Be willing to do your homework – in today’s day and age it will require you to put extra effort into your research.
- Relentlessly pursue the truth:
- Psalm 31:5 – “Into thine hand I commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, O LORD God of truth.”
- Psalm 146:5-6 – “Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the LORD his God: Which made heaven, and earth, the sea, and all that therein is: which keepeth truth for ever:”
- When one thinks about how fundamentally flawed deconstructionist thinking is, one is reminded of 1 Corinthians 3:19: “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.”
In concluding our five-part-series it is best for us to remember what the apostle Paul tells us in Romans 1:21-22. These verses wonderfully encapsulate how the Christian is to view the postmodern influence and those who are advocating for it:
“Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,”