How to become a de-convert
The media loves a former Christian. Recent years have seen well-known former believers rise to prominence. Some are scholars like Bart Ehrman while others are are more folksy celebrities like Rob Bell and Jenn Hatmaker. Now, Mrs. Hatmaker still maintains that she is Christian. The problem is that her Christianity bears little resemblance to that of the Bible and the church's historic confessions. The de-convert's stories are often moving. Sometimes we can identify with and even agree with portions of their experience. But upon careful reflection their reasons for abandoning biblical Christianity are rather dull and unpersuasive.
Michael Kruger has written a piece which is quite helfpul in exposing the flaws of the typical de-conversion story. Of these stories Dr. Kruger writes:
De-conversion stories are designed not to reach non-Christians but to reach Christians. And their purpose is to convince them that their crusty, backwards, outdated, naïve beliefs are no longer worthy of their assent. Whether done privately or publicly, this is when a person simply gives their testimony of how they once thought like you did and have now seen the light.
Through his excellent blog, Dr. Kruger has for years been addressing the reservations, doubts, and outright attacks of well-known skeptics and de-converts. His latest post was prompted by an interview of Jenn Hatmaker by well known de-convert Peter Enns.
This interview has been making the rounds, and I can see why. She’s a friendly, charming and well-spoken woman who is easy to listen to.
And the title of her interview fits this de-conversion theme perfectly: “Changing Your Mind about the Bible: A Survivor’s Guide.” As many know, the main issue Hatmaker changed her mind about is that she now fully affirms the LGBQT lifestyle as consistent with biblical Christianity.
But, Hatmaker’s journey in this interview is not as original as it might first appear. In effect, she simply follows the same basic playbook used by Rob Bell, Bart Ehrman and others. The details may be different, but the overall point is the same.
Dr. Kruger offers five common features of a the de-conversion story. They ring powerfully true...
Step #1: Recount the Negatives of Your Fundamentalist Past
Step #2: Position Yourself as the Offended Party Who Bravely Fought the Establishment
Step #3: Portray Your Opponents as Overly Dogmatic While You Are Just a Seeker
Step #4: Insist Your New Theology is Driven by the Bible and Not a Rejection of It
Step #5: Attack the Character of Your Old Group and Uplift the Character of Your New Group
Dr. Kruger concludes:
In the end, there’s no doubt Hatmaker’s de-conversion story will be persuasive to our postmodern world. And I am sure some will adopt her newfound theology as a result.
But, upon closer examination, it is rife with problems. While claiming to be non-judgmental, she declares the fruit of those who believe in traditional marriage as “rotten.” Despite her insistence that the Bible should be read without certainty, she offers all sorts of dogmatic claims about what the Bible teaches. While claiming her views are due to a deep study of Scripture, she offers only simplistic (and even irresponsible) explanations for the Bible’s condemnation of homosexuality, while disregarding 2000 years of church history.
Yes, we should not settle for pat answers. But, sometimes the Bible does give clear answers. And when it does, we should be willing to listen and receive them.
You can read the entire post HERE.