Lecrae Urges Christians to Deconstruct in ‘Healthy’ vs. ‘Dangerous’ Ways

By Josh Shepherd
lecrae deconstruction deconstruct
On July 2, 2022, Lecrae performs at a music festival in Manchester, England. (Photo via Facebook / Tristan Griffiths / AllThingsWhere)

Christian rap artist Lecrae has reignited debate about deconstructing faith, tweeting on Wednesday that one type is “healthy” but “the other is dangerous.”

 “One type of deconstruction actually involves using scriptures to deconstruct unhealthy ideas and practices,” Lecrae said. “Christ himself did this by deconstructing the Pharisees interpretation of scripture. ‘You have heard it said but I say…’ using Scripture to challenge things. Healthy.”

He contrasted this with millennials “using culture to challenge scripture.” He explained: “This often leads to culture taking precedence over scripture & sadly people begin to deconstruct themselves out of the faith. We begin to question the Bible because it doesn’t line up w/ culture. Unhealthy.”

The Atlanta-based artist, whose full name is Lecrae Moore, added that the result of his own deconstruction has been positive.

“A lot of Christians are afraid of ‘Deconstruction,’” Lecrae tweeted. “I’ve personally gone thru it . . . (and) My faith is stronger than ever.”

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Lecrae’s comments sparked both praise and pushback from Christian leaders and public figures.

“Co-sign,” said Esau McCaulley, associate professor of New Testament at Wheaton College and a New York Times contributing columnist. Similarly, religion professor Matt Friedman of Kingswood University stated, “I found Lecrae’s take on this helpful. Maybe you will, too.”

However, Danté Stewart, an author and Sojourners contributor on race, religion and politics, called Lecrae’s comments “problematic in many ways.” He tweeted: “Lecrae positions his deconstruction as ‘healthy’ and others as dangerous—reproducing the same type of theological and power dynamic he believes he got away from.”

In a statement to The Roys Report, Bible teacher and author Lina Abujamra responded that she commends Lecrae “for his boldness in admitting his recent struggle.”

Abujamra, whose recent book Fractured Faith recounts her own deconstruction journey, added: “Anytime anyone who has deconstructed lands back on the truth of God’s word, their thoughts and opinions are discounted and they are accused of not understanding the power dynamics at play in deconstruction.”

She concluded: “By definition, truth is absolute. Those who have critiqued Lecrae of being too binary in his breakdown of deconstruction are ignoring the very essence of truth.”

Years-long journey of ‘losing religion, finding faith’

Lecrae, who has won two Grammy Awards for his rap albums, has spoken often of his own deconstruction over the past five years. In a 2017 interview, he termed the process as “turning (his) back on white evangelicalism.”

In January, the rap artist—whose most recent album is entitled No Church In A Whilenoted he lost a tour date at a Christian-affiliated venue after criticism of “gentrified, politicized, culturally exclusive” church culture.

Lecrae tweeted that he relates to those who’ve experienced church hurt, racism, and abuse of power.

“So people look OUTSIDE of God for answers and find themselves being thrown around by every wind and wave of doctrine,” he stated. “I’ve been here. When God & morality are out of the picture you now have license to make decisions that can wreck your marriage, family, mental health, & body.”

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Book cover – I Am Restored (Courtesy: Zondervan)

While the thread did not provide specifics, Lecrae’s book I Am Restored: How I Lost My Religion But Found My Faith, released October 2020, provides further context.

In his memoir, Lecrae recounts dealing with years of “depression and trauma”—and how people responded. “I would share my heart with transparency in interviews and at concerts,” he wrote. “Every time I was vulnerable, I would be hit with backlash that left me bitter.”

The husband and father of three confessed that trying to “find normalcy” in family life didn’t work. He wrote: “I would numb myself from it all with alcohol or pills.”

He recounts how a post-concert party in July 2019 with “people drinking past their limits” made him realize he’d strayed from his purpose.

Lecrae writes that a process of confession, professional counseling, and months-long sabbatical brought him to “a place of healing.”

“I haven’t arrived in life, but I have arrived in Jesus’s presence,” he writes in a closing chapter. “I’m with him wherever I go . . . God healed me in the midst of my trauma.”

Last December, Lecrae shared about his faith and deconstruction in an in-depth interview.

Freelance journalist Josh Shepherd writes on faith, culture, and public policy for several media outlets. He and his wife live in the Washington, D.C. area with their two children.

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6 thoughts on “Lecrae Urges Christians to Deconstruct in ‘Healthy’ vs. ‘Dangerous’ Ways”

  1. Good heavens! All Christians journey to God. Why this big deal about “deconstruction” when learning about one’s faith is something all believers are apt to do anyway? Good heavens, every believer has to journey through separating his faith from culture, self, denomination. It’s a journey towards the Scriptures or away from it and it is the same old issue of Scripture versus the world, the flesh, and the devil. Using a big word like “deconstruction” only shows how indoctrinated these folks were into American-style Christianity. Their sudden realization that they were following a cultural trend with its denominational or traditional ways of seeing Scripture only proves to me that they never ever studied Scripture with only their minds and the Holy Spirit alone.

  2. Deconstructing is more and more a part of current and future human occurring and being. Collective life is characterised by constant and increasing change. The impulse to deconstructing stems from that collective circumstance. Reconstructing is a sibling impulse arising from the consequences of deconstructing. None of this new, its simply that the metabolism of it is quicker and ever-quickening. More and more of human occurring involves active processes of deconstructing and reconstructing. Individual and collective processes of deconstructing and reconstructing. All of us are now tending to go through personal changing and being subject to change in our wider context. What Lecrae is calling out as “culture” and it deemed negative, is arguably others going through what he is going through and it deemed positive. In resisting and denying those others to protect and sustain his “faith”, it seems to me that he is so delimiting deconstructing and reconstructing, so as to not understand its fullness. Here Lecrae seems not to be deconstructing the faith of Pharisees, but rather keeping himself out of the very immersion in human occurring that Jesus exemplifies. Always remembering that the Christian scriptures now relied on, did not exist at the time of Jesus’s ministry.

  3. I think we need to ditch this much overused word, “deconstruction” as not being helpful, instructive, or even biblical!

  4. The fact that Lecrae has gone through this and come back to the foundation of God’s Word is nothing short of miraculous. It was purchased at the cross, which made the Holy Spirit’s indwelling in Lecrae and all Christians possible.

  5. Neil Cameron (One Salient Oversight)

    I went through a painful period of deconstruction about 20 years ago when my faith was tested in an abusive Christian work environment.

    What tested my faith was the reality that there were many within the Christian church who are happy to use their positions of power to permanently harm someone.

    And when I cried to God for help, help was not immediately forthcoming. Christians did not ring me up to comfort me or to intervene in the situation. Lies were spread about my actions. I was left jobless with a sick wife and a newborn baby and a sense of overwhelming failure.

    In retrospect, God did sustain me in this time through his Word, through some Christians at my church who knew what I was going through. Through family.

    I am stronger in my faith now than I was then – age and maturity do that – and I can see now how being a victim of abuse has helped me to empathise with such people today. It has also helped me to cut through the “culture war” garbage that has so badly infected the modern church: I see that the work of satan to destroy the church is not primarily from outside forces, but from within.

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