Mark Farnham, a Fundamentalist Christian, is associate professor and coordinator of pastoral and pre-seminary majors at Lancaster Bible College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Yesterday, Farnham wrote an article for Sharper Iron titled Ten Reasons Christians Are Deconstructing Their Faith.
Farnham ignorantly stated:
- They have experienced some hurt, trauma, or abuse at the hands of professing Christians, churches, and/or pastors.
- They have spent too much time reading, listening, watching, and talking to people espousing weak theology, heresy, and the hiss of the serpent asking, “Did God really say?”
- They have wittingly or unwittingly absorbed and adopted naturalistic, atheistic, and hedonistic assumptions and presuppositions and then critiqued the Bible in light of those. As a result they find the Bible objectionable, ludicrous, or repugnant.
- They have tired of the scorn, ridicule, and pressure of the unbelieving world, and find it easier to abandon the faith to just get along.
- They had deeply-felt expectations for life and what God would do, and when disappointed, could not bear the thought of worshiping the God they feel has let them down.
- They have misunderstood and misinterpreted the Bible’s revelation about the character and actions of God, and have come to believe that they are more moral than God, and now stand in condemnation of God’s character and his actions in the pages of Scripture.
- They grew up in legalistic churches and families where an abundance of man-made rules were added to the gospel and to God’s moral law. At some point they tired of these oppressive environments and could not separate true Christianity from the legalism, and so left the faith.
- They fed on liberal social justice and incipient Marxism, and found the Bible’s acceptance of inequality because of the curse of sin and the Bible’s call to suffering wanting according to their new belief system that salvation is deliverance from inequality.
- They simply no longer wished to be bound to the biblical ethic, most often related to the Bible’s clear restriction of sexual activity to one man and one woman in a monogamous covenant of marriage. They wanted to have sex and not feel guilty about it.
- They were never true believers to begin with. They are apostates who posed as Christians, very convincingly and for a long time. 1 John 2:19–22 “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.  But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge.” (ESV)
Let me translate. Evangelicals who deconstruct/deconvert:
- They have been hurt
- They spent too much time reading the wrong books and blogs and listening to the wrong podcasts (“wrong” means anything that doesn’t conform to Farnham’s peculiar Fundamentalist beliefs)
- They have a worldly worldview
- They are tired of being “persecuted” by the world
- They feel let down by God
- They misunderstand the Bible
- They grew up in legalistic churches and could not separate legalism from True Christianity® (says a Fundamentalist with a straight face)
- They embraced “liberal” political beliefs
- They want to fuck anyone they want
- They were never True Christians®
Absent from Farnham’s screed is any interaction with people who have actually deconstructed/deconverted. No need. Farnham “knows” why people walk/run away from Christianity. Instead of presenting a careful, thoughtful, nuanced look at why people leave the faith, Farnham chooses to build a “these people are weak, ignorant, shallow, selfish, lustful, never-were-Christians” strawman. Anything but accepting the stories of people at face value.
Other Posts About Deconversion
Bruce Gerencser, 64, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 43 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.
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