A few days ago, a 35-second clip from a sermon Matt Chandler gave in August, wherein he described Christian deconstruction as something today’s culture views as “sexy,” stirred controversy among deconstructionists. On Tuesday, Chandler briefly responded to that controversy.
Chandler’s viral clip was taken from a 47-minute sermon he preached to The Village Church this past August, titled “The Depth of the Gospel,” which focused on answering the question “Are you a Christian?”
During the clip, Chandler said, “You and I are in a day and age where deconstruction and the turning away from and leaving the faith has become some sort of sexy thing to do. I contend that if you ever experience the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ, actually—that that’s really impossible to deconstruct from. But if all you ever understand Christianity to be is a moral code, then I totally get it.”
The clip was cut right before Chandler told the congregation, “And if you find yourself in that spot, I’m telling you, I love you right now, and we’ll sit down with you and you don’t have to punt on this thing. You might not have ever tried it.”
Matt Chandler Responds
While Chandler isn’t an avid social media user, he chose to post a short message on Instagram to clarify his deconstruction comment.
“A few close friends have reached out to ask me to clarify a few points on the sermon clips where I mention deconstruction that are going around,” Chandler wrote. “Their concern was that some are thinking I am saying things I don’t actually believe.”
Chandler explained what he meant when he used the term deconstruction in his sermon, saying, “It seems there are as many definitions of deconstruction as there are people going through what John of the Cross called ‘the dark night of the soul’ or even wrestling through significant and real church hurt. When I use the term I am using it in the vein of its father, French philosopher Derrida who believed that the meaning of a text was unknowable and therefore truth was not really knowable.”
“Deconstruction doesn’t mean doubt or theological wrestle or struggling through church hurt,” Chandler continued. “I have the deepest empathy and compassion for those who find themselves wading in those waters. I certainly don’t want to make things harder for anyone in those seasons and struggles. I’ve journeyed through all three of those spaces in my 30 years of following after Jesus. If that’s where you are I think you’re going to get to the other side and see Jesus as more beautiful than you previously imagined…that’s the way I’m praying.”