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Preston and Jackie Hill Perry on How to Respond When Friends Leave Christianity

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Composite image. Screenshots from YouTube / @With The Perrys

How should we respond when people we love decide they no longer believe in Christianity? This is a question that Preston Perry and Jackie Hill Perry addressed on the June 28 episode of their podcast, “30 Minutes with the Perrys.”

“They went to church with you,” said Jackie Hill Perry. “They went to Bible study with you. They might have had a ministry. They worship, they lift their hands. Yet they end up falling away, which is disorienting because you have memories of them doing the same thing that you did as a Christian. But the question has to be asked: Did the seed sink into the soil?”

Preston Perry and Jackie Hill Perry on Friends Leaving the Faith

Deconstruction is a much-discussed topic among evangelicals at present, possibly as a result of the high-profile evangelical leaders who have publicly renounced Christianity within the past few years. Among them are author and speaker Josh Harris, former Desiring God writer Paul Maxwell, former Hawk Nelson frontman Jon Steingard, Good Mythical Morning’s Rhett & Link, and former Hillsong worship leader Marty Sampson. DC Talk’s Kevin Max has said he has been deconstructing his faith “for decades,” but still follows “the Universal Christ.”

Some Christians see deconstruction as a dangerous trend. Skillet’s lead singer, John Cooper, has said, “Everyone that I know who has left Christianity in the last five years began with what he or she described as ‘deconstructing my faith.’ It is an epidemic that some still refuse to acknowledge.”

RELATED: Deconstructing Deconstructionism: Phil Vischer, John Cooper Spar Via Podcast

It is worth noting that people use the word “deconstruct” in different ways. Some use it to mean totally abandoning Christianity, while others use it to describe critically evaluating their beliefs in order to reject lies they have accepted and to build a firm foundation on the truth. 

At the beginning of their conversation, Jackie Hill Perry and Preston Perry acknowledged what seems to be a prevalence of people “leaving the faith.” Preston explained “leaving the faith” as what happens when people publicly say they have repented of their sins and are following and serving Jesus, but later say they were completely wrong about that decision. 

“You know what, I think in recent years I’ve experienced this more,” said Jackie, “whether in my own relationships or honestly, just like on Twitter and Facebook…It’s interesting to me because I’m always really intrigued by what motivated them to do that.”

The Perrys spent some time at the beginning and the end of their podcast discussing the reasons why people abandon Christianity. Some people leave because they are disillusioned with the church, while others have been persuaded by different beliefs. Some reject Christianity because they see it as oppressive and believe they will not be able to be their true selves if they serve Jesus.