It starts with an understanding of how our culture attacks the truth, specifically exclusive Biblical truth.
Textual critics assume that every literary text contains contradictions. These flaws arise because everyone belongs to multiple social groups with differing attitudes and opinions. Writers merely reveal the beliefs of their associations. Therefore, authors express a conflicting variety of ideas in their writings, i. e., contradictions, formed from their various social sympathies. (01)
The literary critic examines a text to identify the suspected conflicts within the text, a process called deconstructionism. Currently, most if not all cultures follow this process in their interpretations of the Bible. Thus, according to unbelieving literary critics, every Biblical text includes contradictions: a mixture of thoughts, outlooks, and views.
Sadly, the professing church embraces this approach, too. In fact, Bible study materials, teachers, and study leaders repeatedly encourage this error with their unaware, misguided suggestion to boost group participation: “What does this text mean to you?”
This approach fails to distinguish between the interpretation of the meaning of the text and its application in life. Before applying any text to life’s circumstances, one must first interpret its meaning. Then, the correct explanation of a text may have many applications.
Such confusion leads to the errors which the methods of Biblical criticism create.
Errors of Biblical Deconstructionism
At first blush, you might respond, “Why does it matter? At least we have people studying the Bible.” It does matter and leads to unintended yet significant results in the understanding of God and the Bible, God’s message to people. It puts
The following list identifies some of the consequences of Biblical deconstructionism, the criticism of Biblical texts prevalent in most cultures today. A brief summary for each one follows it.
- All Biblical texts contain multiple “truths.” Some longer texts may in fact declare more than one truth, but they do not contradict each other. Literary critics of the Bible propose that all Biblical texts do contain more than one truth, which contradict each other. This gives rise to the error of “your truth and my truth” vs. the exclusive truth which the Bible text proclaims.
- It eliminates the infallibility of the Bible. Since every text contains contradictions, all texts, especially Biblical texts, become imperfect.
- It refuses to acknowledge the Holy Spirit’s inspiration of the Bible. They view it simply as a book written by human authors.
- Those who deconstruct the Bible discard the inerrancy of the Bible. They believe it contains scores of errors, especially the texts that they do not like.
- It rejects the role of the Holy Spirit in the illumination of the Bible. Jesus received the Holy Spirit from the Father Whom He sent to indwell believers and reveal the truth to them. (02)
- Unbelievers do not have the Holy Spirit to aid them in discovery of the truth, therefore Biblical truth(s) appears foolish to them. (03) They cannot comprehend the meaning of God’s word and thus interpret it according to their darkened minds.
- It removes the force of Biblical texts and rejects their importance and influence upon beliefs and actions.
- It discards the meaning of any text. The multitude of meanings that arise from using the question, “What does this text mean to you?” makes all meanings equal and valid. Therefore, no text provides any absolute authority or truth. No ultimate objective interpretation exists for any Biblical text.
- It gives rise to the fallacy, “Doctrine doesn’t matter.” The belief and practice of this form of literary criticism, deconstructionism, when applied to the Bible, permits any one to eliminate any Biblical doctrine with a new one.
- Humans, then, become the judge of truth, which permits everyone to do what is right in their own eyes.
Ultimately, it makes the Bible a book of cultural stories instead of God’s self-revelation and word to mankind. Without question, all of these consequences exist not just in the world but also in the worldwide professing Church today.
An Illustration of Its Application
In his significant book, Time For Truth, Os Guiness clarified the conflicts over truth claims in cultures today. He lamented the loss of objective, absolute, and independent truth. He commented that cultures today describe all claims of truth as relative and open to interpretation. (04)
According to common beliefs, these statements of truth arise only from social influences. These declarations, mere human resolutions, reveal only the beliefs of these communities, which establish and empower them as “truth.” (05)
Guiness used a simple, common example from baseball that illustrates this conflict in our day. (06)
- Umpire #1: “There’s balls and there’s strikes. I call them the way they are.”
- Umpire #2: “There’s balls and there’s strikes. I call them the way I see them.”
- Umpire #3: “There’s balls and there’s strikes. They ain’t nothing ‘till I call them.”
Umpire #1 illustrates the traditional view of truth: objective, independent, and discovered. Umpire #2 demonstrates the moderate relativism of our day: truth depends upon the view of each person who sees it and open to each person’s interpretation. Umpire #3 reflects radical relativism: truth that results from personal creation. (07)
Umpire #1 shows the Church’s traditional and accurate position on Biblical truth. Umpire #2 mirrors the common slant on truth today. Umpire #3 illustrates the more radical sections of societies now.
Modern societies attack (deconstruct) the Bible like all other truth claims with questions that arise from the opinions depicted by Umpires #2 and #3. (08)
- “Is the truth claim actually true?”
- “Whose truth is it?”
- “Which power stands to gain by it?”
In this way, cultures attempt to prove the creation of “truth” and its basis exclusively within a given group, whose “truth” surpasses no others. (09) Therefore, Biblical truth MAY apply to a certain religious segment(s) of society, but it does not reveal objective, absolute, independent truth for everyone.
Cultures use this form of literary criticism (deconstructionism) to nullify Biblical truth and restrict its use only to a part of whole society. Since they believe that all claims of truth arise solely from within a certain subpart(s) of society, they restrict the application of these statements of truth only to those who propose them. In this way, these Biblical critics (deconstructionists) exclude Biblical truth declarations from universal acceptance. No universal truth claims exist, they say.
However, deconstructionism contains within it the seeds of its own destruction. Those who criticize literary texts, especially the Bible, demand universal approval for their statements of truth and their descriptions of the nature of truth.
Conversely, those advocating deconstructionism refuse to restrict their truth claims only to their separate entities. But, they, too, must apply to their truth assertions the same demands that they place upon everyone else’s declarations.
Then, according to their own definitions, their claims become relative, open to interpretation, and dependent upon and restricted to their crowd(s) that promotes them.
Only the Bible delivers objective, independent, absolute truth. Followers of Christ need not blush in shame over their reliance upon it nor upon their proclamation of it. It gives the self-revelation of God and His life giving word to mankind. It alone describes the truth of mankind’s sinful condition and humanity’s need of reconciliation with God.
God’s word pronounces the means of that reconciliation for sinners like you and me: personal trust in God’s provision for us in Jesus Christ, the savior of everyone who trusts Him. I pray that God by His Holy Spirit will enable you to trust His provision in Christ for you as He has enabled me to trust Him.
- Pearcey, Nancy. “Hegel’s Deity: How Evolution Gave Us Postmodernism, Deconstructionism, and Political Correctness.” Available at this link: http://www.evolutionnews.org/2015/03/hegels_deity_ho094761.html (Accessed 4.28/15)
- John 16.13.
- 1 Corinthians 2.11-14.
- Guiness, Os. Time For Truth. Baker Books, Grand Rapids, MI 49516; 2000. P. 10.
- Guiness, Ibid. p. 10-11.
- Guiness, Ibid. p. 11.
- Guiness, Ibid. p. 11.
- Guiness, Ibid. p. 11.
- Guiness, Ibid. p. 11.
- I want to recognize the contribution of many discussions that I had with Dr. James Grier whose comments and notes on these issues greatly influenced me.