These are exciting times in which to be alive.
The Church is in a season of transition and transformation. For many, this is a cause for concern. For those who have at least a small grasp on history, there is no problem. In fact, it is a cause for much excitement.
These are, indeed, exciting times in which to be alive.
It has been noted that the Church goes through a major upheaval about every 500 years. Augustine of Hippo turned the Church on its head with his teachings about sin and hell, changing almost everything the Church had believed until his time.
The Great Schism between the Roman church and the Eastern church (Rome & Constantinople) happened around 1054AD. Then there was the Protestant Reformation of the 1500s.
Now, in the 21st century we are once again experiencing a major shift within the Christian Church.
Just as in an earthquake the ground beneath you begins to move causing consternation and a feeling of being unsteady, so, too, this new move of the Holy Spirit is causing many to lose their footing.
This is nothing new for many of us who have lived through the recent changes in the Church during our lifetime. The Second Vatican Council under Pope John XXIII brought changes to the Catholic Church, which upset many people of the time.
Shortly afterward, we experienced the Charismatic Renewal, fueled in large part by the liturgical churches beginning with the Episcopalians and Dennis J. Bennett in California. The Catholics came in around 1967, and the Jesus People movement was birthed shortly thereafter.
These somewhat isolated events have had a profound impact on traditional Christianity so that you will witness hand-raising and clapping even within formerly staid congregations.
However, the Pentecostal movement at the turn of the 20th century and the Charismatic movement mid-century, were but minor tremors compared to the shaking now taking place.
This shaking, according to Hebrews 12:27, is for the purpose of getting rid of that which is not necessary. Any shaking of the Church, though, is always disconcerting, because we have grown comfortable with what we believe.
We must remember, however, that truth in its first form always causes a negative reaction. There is the negative reaction within our own being, because we naturally resist change. There is a negative reaction from those we are close to who think we have gone off the deep end.
These negative reactions are more than just unsettling for many. They are the cause of trauma from which many are finding it difficult to heal.
Understanding is one of the keys to gaining victory over anything debilitating in our life. And understanding what is happening to you can go a long way toward bringing stability to your life.
Many—and you, dear reader, may be one of them—are going through what has been termed a deconstruction. You are in the process of deconstructing (tearing down) what you formerly believed. This, too, can be somewhat traumatic as those things upon which you built your life no longer serve you.
There is nothing wrong with this process, and for many it is a necessary part of their journey. However, there is a danger that lies ahead in which caution is required.
That danger is found in stopping with only the deconstruction process.
Jesus illustrated this.
“When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, but finds none. Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds the house empty, swept, and put in order. Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there, and the last state of that person is worse than the first. So also will it be with this evil generation.”” (Mat 12:43-45)
Notice the condition of the house—empty, swept, and put in order. That is the result of deconstruction by itself. It looks nice. It is clean. Chaos is gone.
But, it is empty.
Nothing has been done to replace that which was removed. It is an empty experience.
When a building is removed from its foundation, that is all that remains—an empty space where once a house stood. Before long, there is an abundance of weeds as debris begins to accumulate.
The same thing occurs with a house. Everything can be removed. The place can be swept. It looks nice and clean; but left alone it will soon become filled with unpleasant things—spiders, dust, mold.
Your theological house is no different.
The Scripture speaks to this in two distinct places.
“…a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;” (Ecc 3:2)
“See, I have set you this day over nations and over kingdoms, to pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant.”” (Jer 1:10)
Ecclesiastes speaks to where you were and what you are doing now. You were in a place where something was planted. You lived that life for a while, maybe even many years. Now it is time to remove what was sown and grown during that time.
Jeremiah speaks to where you are and where you are going. You are tearing down that which no longer serves you, that which is no longer of any value. But, he says you are not to stop there.
It is time to also build and plant.
While many are using and loving the term “deconstruction,” I fear that some will become so focused on that part of the process that they will miss the most important part—the rebuilding of something bigger, greater, newer, more magnificent than before.
Labeling a building as uninhabitable and then tearing it down, only leaves an empty space in the neighborhood.
A wise investor will take the time to rebuild something of value on that empty lot which will benefit the entire community.
May you be such an investor.