The deconstructionists have a point: everything created is a construct. They err, however, in their identification of the constructor and the nature of the construct. It is not we but God who is the constructor. He constructed, as it were, creation according to his nature, which is what it is. Thus, reality as we know it is not arbitrary and meaningless nor can it be deconstructed as the Late-Moderns imagine. God is. There was when deconstructionists were not. There will be when deconstructionists will not be. The same is not true God (Exod 3:14). He will deconstruct them before they can deconstruct him.
I’m not sure if Christian deconstructionism is a thing. We might prefer to call the deconstruction of wrong social constructs “reconstruction” or “using Biblical discernment.”
But whatever we call it, I remember Michael Reeves preaching on Judges 6 and he defined “theology” as “smashing the idols of the world.” It is not meant to lessen the idea that the church is the bride of Christ when we also say that she is His army.
Recently near my house there was a billboard that said “Stop eating meat. They die for your cruel and dirty habit.” I was a vegetarian for 2 years, and my wife was a vegetarian for 12 years. I sympathize. But still. If Derrida’s term “deconstruction” was coined to challenge the assumptions of western culture, don’t we sympathize a bit?
At our (PCA) church last fall the congregation was led to corporately confess the guilt of the sin of slavery on behalf of America. I think ethnic based slavery is wrong. But I’m interested in how that confession during Sabbath worship subverts the meaning both of the Confession of Sin and of the Assurance of Pardon.
If it seems strange for me to try to salvage something Christian in term “deconstruction,” let me show you that Derrida and I are operating on the same axis: Derrida was undermining and exposing western metaphysics because he was concerned that they were “logocentric.” I’m undermining and exposing western metaphysics because I’m concerned that they are NOT “logocentric.”
One touchpoint for these ideas is Michael Hannon’s “Against Heterosexuality” in First Things. I heard about this through the work of Rosaria Butterfield. In it, Hannon — a Christian! — uses Foucault to argue that Christians should deconstruct orientation category identification.
In some senses everything is a construct. But Christians have a special duty to deconstruct idols that violate God’s constructs. This is something that only Christians can do. It requires the Law, the Gospel, and the baptism of the Holy Spirit. And it’s missional.
I think this underestimates the deconstructionist project rather significantly, hence this post. If everything is a construct, then nothing can be salvaged. It all has to go. This is how they came to support pedophilia.
They are radical nominalists, with whom there is no negotiating.
The Bible is not nominalist, nor is the Christian faith. There is a relation between the sign and the thing signified. That relation is not purely nominal or arbitrary. Even God acts according to his own nature.
I understand the impulse to find common cause with their criticism of Modernity but it is a Trojan horse.
We need to pronounce a pox on both their houses.
I appreciate that classic deconstructionist views are not consistent with the Christian faith. We are not nominalists because we do not deny the relationship between every sign and the things signified. This is why I’m open to calling our use of Biblical discernment something different, such as “reconstruction.”
I had been thinking that when the construction suggests that reality is arbitrary, the Christian could deconstruct that. Examples might include gay marriage, the Federal Vision, casual sex, moral therapeutic deism, etc
As a Biblical model other than Gideon, we might think about Exodus 32 when Moses dismantles the golden calf. Maybe we could say that the relationship between the sign (the calf) and the signified (worship of the LORD) was false so Moses deconstructed it. Your suggestion of putting a pox on their house reminds me that Moses ground the calf into powder and made them drink it.
I was encouraged by your point that God will deconstruct the deconstructionists, using their own tools against them as in Psalm 35:8. Perhaps God will use Christians to do this.