Russell Moore: Here's how Christians should respond to 'deconversion' stories | 10/22/2019 | Staff
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My heart is full of gratitude. I wish you could see all the messages people sent me after the announcement of my divorce. They are expressions of love though they are saddened or even strongly disapprove of the decision.⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ I am learning that no group has the market cornered on grace. This week I’ve received grace from Christians, atheists, evangelicals, exvangelicals, straight people, LGBTQ people, and everyone in-between. Of course there have also been strong words of rebuke from religious people. While not always pleasant, I know they are seeking to love me. (There have also been spiteful, hateful comments that angered and hurt me.)⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ The information that was left out of our announcement is that I have undergone a massive shift in regard to my faith in Jesus. The popular phrase for this is “deconstruction,” the biblical phrase is “falling away.” By all the measurements that I have for defining a Christian, I am not a Christian. Many people tell me that there is a different way to practice faith and I want to remain open to this, but I’m not there now.⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ Martin Luther said that the entire life of believers should be repentance. There’s beauty in that sentiment regardless of your view of God. I have lived in repentance for the past several years—repenting of my self-righteousness, my fear-based approach to life, the teaching of my books, my views of women in the church, and my approach to parenting to name a few. But I specifically want to add to this list now: to the LGBTQ+ community, I want to say that I am sorry for the views that I taught in my books and as a pastor regarding sexuality. I regret standing against marriage equality, for not affirming you and your place in the church, and for any ways that my writing and speaking contributed to a culture of exclusion and bigotry. I hope you can forgive me.⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ To my Christians friends, I am grateful for your prayers. Don’t take it personally if I don’t immediately return calls. I can’t join in your mourning. I don’t view this moment negatively. I feel very much alive, and awake, and surprisingly hopeful. I believe with my sister Julian that, “All shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.”

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Russell Moore has weighed in on the recent bout of prominent Christian leaders publicly abandoning their faith and revealed why Christians should respond with “compassion and mercy” and not “judgment” in such instances.

Video - Website - Oct - Moore - President

In a video posted to his website on Oct. 15, Moore, the president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, said when someone publicly deconverts, the first response is often “shock” “as though Christianity is some sort of a tribe or village or a political party.”

“‘You were supposed to be with ‘with us’ and you’ve walked away,’” Moore explained. “I’ve gotten angry about that, and sometimes shocked. 'How could this happen?'”

Way - Bible - Speaks - Bible - Example

“Well, if you think about the way the Bible speaks of this, the Bible gives us example after example of this happening,” he said. “Jesus talks about this repeatedly. The book of Acts shows us this repeatedly. The Apostle Paul talks about this as well. So that sense of shock and anger really isn’t one that’s appropriate for a Christian”

Another problem some Christians have is “showing mercy toward that person,” Moore said, adding that it’s “easier” to show mercy to those who are clearly “lost,” like “tax collectors and prostitutes.”

Someone - Church - Evangelism - Campus - Ministry

“But when you’re dealing with someone who maybe used to sing hymns next to me in church, or used to do evangelism with me in campus ministry, or preached a message right before me, something like that, then I tend not to have that same sort of mercy,” he admitted.

But in most cases of deconversion, there is a “great deal of pain,” Moore stressed.

Somebody - Life - God - Somebody

“Maybe it’s somebody who has been through suffering in their life and can’t understand where God is in all of that,” he said. “Maybe it is somebody who just kept drifting further and further away...
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