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  • Micah Coate

Foundational Faith and Deconstructionism

Updated: Apr 27

“Therefore, everyone who hears these words of Mine, and acts on them, will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” — Jesus Matthew 7:24

In a feeble attempt to meet today’s many challenges to the Christian faith, I have taught and continue to teach about those fundamental aspects of Christianity that cannot be breached without the whole structure collapsing. From the many gray areas or non-essentials, in Christian doctrine and practice, the fundamentals are those black and white teachings that are incontrovertibly true. In theological vocabulary these are considered to be the dogmatics of Christianity. Knowing, defending, and advancing these are paramount for all of Christendom; these particular doctrines we must be united in. “In the essentials unity, in the non-essentials liberty, and in all things love.” 1


The class and Bible study I have taught on this subject is titled: Foundation Faith And a Primer of the Apologetics Behind It. My first five episodes of the Salvation and Stuff podcast covers this material — you can listen to the trailer for the series here!


As a builder and plumber by trade, the metaphor I used in teaching the class was to make sure they were all aware, whether acknowledged or not, that they have built their own theological house. Knowing this is extremely important as each “house” shapes how one thinks, speaks, and behaves; each place of residence essentially houses one’s worldview. Every house is as different and unique as each person who has built it. Each of our theologies to a degree are personalized as they are constructed from past experiences, influenced by certain teachers, and shaped by our own particular convictions or lack thereof. As such, there are many tolerable freedoms as to how one constructs his own dwelling place. Some are small, large, fancy, or plain. But while there are numerous liberties with the outward appearance of each house, they all have to be built upon a certain foundation in order to be called Christian and in order to remain standing amongst the storms of life.


As Jesus taught in Matthew 7, it is the foundation upon which one’s house is built that is truly indispensable. The substructure must be built upon the rock, or in my metaphorical terms, upon these 5 strata. 2


1. Belief and trust in the historical person of Jesus. 2. Belief and trust in His claims, death, and resurrection. 3. Belief and trust in salvation by God’s grace through faith alone. 4. Belief and trust in the miraculous or supernatural. 5. Belief and trust in the inerrancy of the Scriptures. 3

Besides the caveat regarding the fifth, my contention is that all of these must be believed in and lived out in order to carry the honor of being called a Christian. If one’s theological house is not built upon these 5 substrates, then one still has a house, but it is not a Christian one. Therefore, in the prophetic words of Jesus, it will ultimately suffer a great ruin.

I write all of this not to only advance the core message of Christianity but to caution against an old sort of philosophical methodology under a relatively new name: Christian deconstructionism.


What is Christian deconstructionism? While it has been defined in various ways by various people, in the most generic meaning the definition is in the word itself. It is a dismantling and deconstruction of one’s theological home. In other words, “Deconstruction is a critical dismantling of a person’s understanding of what it means to be an evangelical Christian, and in some cases a refusal to recognize as authorities those perceived as occupying privileged evangelical institutional positions who ‘supposedly speak for God.’” 4


If taken merely as thinking critically, there might very well be some beneficial aspects of Christian deconstructionism. But it seems deconstructionism carries dangerous potential to chip away at the foundational rock supporting every Christian’s theological house. Much like liberal theology’s embrace of modern intellectualism in the 19th century, deconstructionism is not only seeing Christianity in a new light, but seeking to replace the five foundational strata of Christianity itself.


Christian, continue to give attention to your house! Changes due to critical thinking, personal experience, and how we understand worship are nothing new — indeed, some of these changes and upgrades are welcomed to the edifice of your house, but guard the foundation of your home with your life because as your theological house goes, so will you.


But what do you think?


Micah Coate, President and Host of Salvation and Stuff

1. Often attributed to Augustine, this popular saying might have come from Rupertus Meldenius, a German Lutheran theologian of the early seventeenth century.

2. These five are very close to those postulated by evangelicals in response to liberalism’s theology in the 17th century. Fundamentalism and Evangelicalism are historically synonymous terms.

3. This is the only one of the five that one is not required to believe in order to be saved or justified. While someone could technically believe the first four without having faith in the fifth, it is illogical as the first four are built upon the faithful testimony of the Bible. Thus, it is a precarious precipice upon which to stand. From my observation most, but not all, of those who do not believe in inerrancy have a weak belief, if any, in the first four.

4. Jon Bloom, What Does ‘Deconstruction’ Even Mean?, February 15, 2022, Desiring God website: https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/what-does-deconstruction-even-mean, Assessed May 14, 2023.

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