What does the Deconstruction community offer? Ignorance, apparently

deconstructionists progressive christianity Jan 10, 2024

Have you ever wondered why Herod crucified Jesus?


I did, too. Thankfully, Todd came along to teach us all about it.


Todd Vick is a former pastor. He also says he was a Christian for some 30 years before deconstructing. In 2021, about 2 years ago (so this was recent), he published a book called The Reconstructing of Your Mind.


His manuscript made it through his review and the editors at Quoir, which is the only exclusively Progressive Christian publishing company I know of. It's full of deconstructionists, and their authors somehow have all kinds of support from many Progressive Christian and anti-Christian leaders, including David Bentley Hart, Derrick Day, Randal Rauser, Brian Zahnd, and Greg Boyd.


In fact, Dr Brad Jersak, of St Stephen's University, endorsed this book. As did Thomas Jay Oord.


Let's see what this book has to offer...


"Aaron asked everyone to give him all their gold jewelry. I have always wondered how people who had been enslaved for over four hundred years had gold jewelry. Was that standard Egyptian slave accoutrement? “Here, slave, wear these gold earrings while you build our pyramids … ”"

Todd Vick


Yeah, so, for those who don't know, one of my followers took this question back to their home; here's the story:



Two other parents told me that their kids also got the answer right without actually needing to pull up the stories to review: 10 and 13 years old, specifically:

  • "She took a beat and said, wait didn’t they take all that jewelry from the Egyptians when they left!?"
  • "He took a second and was like, “Wait, didn’t the Egyptians give it to them when they left?”"


So.... Apparently, a couple of parents who teach their young kids about the Bible are better at fact-checking than... multiple published authors, including at least one graduate-level university professor?


Let's keep going.


"Following Jesus has nothing to do with saying the right words, memorizing Scripture, attending worship, giving money, witnessing to the lost, or shining your shoes. It is about freely giving love, compassion, and forgiveness to those who don’t deserve it—no matter what it costs."

Todd Vick


.... Wait... I thought Jesus said something about witnessing to the lost? Oh, right, He did:


Matthew 28:16–20 (ESV): Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”


And what about memorizing Scripture? Let's see what Jesus said:

Matthew 22:34–40 (ESV) -But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”


What was Jesus doing there? Something truly magical: quoting Scripture:

Deuteronomy 6:1–9 (ESV) -“Now this is the commandment—the statutes and the rules—that the Lord your God commanded me to teach you, that you may do them in the land to which you are going over, to possess it, that you may fear the Lord your God, you and your son and your son’s son, by keeping all his statutes and his commandments, which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be long. Hear therefore, O Israel, and be careful to do them, that it may go well with you, and that you may multiply greatly, as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey. “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.


Wait, you mean that Jesus said that the greatest commandment was the Shema, one of the most famous Jewish creeds, which specifically talks about putting God's commandments, the scriptures, "on [our] heart[s]"? To teach them to our children, and talk about them all day long?


Let's try some more from Todd's book:


"Romans 6:7 tells us that we are saved from sin and the consequences of sin. Period. There are no prayers to recite; there are no hands to shake; there are no cards to fill out. Jesus took care of everything for us. We are declared not guilty.
You say, Wait a minute! That is universalism! No, it is truth. Jesus said, it is finished (completed, done, ended, closed, mission accomplished). He did not say, it is not quite finished. He does not need to go to the cross again. Romans 6 says that Jesus died once for all. Question: how many is all? Does the sum of all indicate that anyone is left out? Of course, it doesn’t. All means all. Period. Jesus took care of it."

Todd Vick


 So.... we don't have to do anything, right? Absolutely nothing, like.... believe?

John 3:16–18 (ESV): For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

In fact, let's check what Paul says later on in Romans:

Romans 10:8–13 (ESV): But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); 9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. 11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. 13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”


The question of universalism isn't even an issue here: there's a vast difference between "everyone will be saved" and "everyone is already saved and we don't even have to believe in Jesus". Do Todd's endorsers not know this?


Let's keep going.


"[Jesus] was first taken before Herod. Herod didn’t know what to do with him. Technically, Jesus had done nothing wrong. Herod then had Jesus taken before Caiaphas. Caiaphas was not in the proper jurisdiction, so he sent Jesus back to Herod. Again, Herod found no fault.


"Jesus was falsely accused, by the way. None of the accusations were true at all. That didn’t matter to the hostile crowd. If it even appears that you are interfering with the money, you’re done. The people wanted him crucified. For political reasons most likely, Herod ordered that Jesus be flogged and then  crucified. Roman soldiers took him away."

Todd Vick


.... Umm... Is Todd sure about that? Is Brad Jersak sure about that? Derrick Day? Thomas Jay Oord? Did they even read the book before endorsing it?


Let's review the order of events of who held Jesus from the arrest forward:

  •  The Gospel of Matthew: chief priests, Pilate, crucifixion.
  • The Gospel of Mark: chief priests, Pilate, crucifixion.
  • The Gospel of Luke: chief priests, Pilate, Herod, Pilate, crucifixion.
  • The Gospel of John: chief priests, Pilate, crucifixion.

In fact, I just double checked Logos, searching for person:"Herod Antipas", and Herod only shows up in the end of Luke. He's in the beginning of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, but nowhere in the crucifixion stories of Matthew, Mark, or John, and it's only very briefly that he's in the trials at the end of Luke.


Now, to be clear, I do think this was probably, maybe, a mere slip. But it would have taken almost no effort to fact check this before submitting the manuscript. ESPECIALLY in a manuscript about questioning things and not sitting passively on what we've been told to believe.


And anyone else who read it should have thought something sounded off: Herod is involved with the birth of Jesus, and only in a few verses in Luke near the death. Pilate is the most famous Roman in the crucifixion account. I cannot imagine that Brad AND Thomas AND Keith Giles AND everyone else in the review/endorsement process wouldn't have found this extremely strange and said something... Unless they didn't read it or don't actually know Scripture.




"I hope you will allow me the privilege of leading you down a rocky path—the rocky path of our feelings. If you are brave enough, you will experience a release and a refreshing you never thought possible. Jesus invites us to go deep."

Todd Vick


 Yes, Jesus does call us to go deep. Far deeper than our feelings. Jesus calls us to truth.

In fact, while it's relatively easy to find Jesus experiencing feelings in the Bible, it's much harder to find Him actually talking about, or encouraging, pursuing feelings as deep, or even anything similar. Even using Logos: searching for emotions returns nothing, searching for feelings returns 17 verses, none of which sound like what Todd is teaching, and none of which are from Jesus.


Truth, however, returns 134 verses. Guess what truth INTERSECTS speaker:person:Jesus returns? 18 verses. Let's look at them:

  • Luke 4:25 (ESV) -But in truth, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heavens were shut up three years and six months, and a great famine came over all the land,

  • John 4:23 (ESV) -But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.

  • John 4:24 (ESV) -God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

  • John 5:33 (ESV) -You sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth.

  • John 8:32 (ESV) -and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

  • John 8:40 (ESV) -but now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did.

  • John 8:44 (ESV) -You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

  • John 8:45 (ESV) -But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me.

  • John 8:46 (ESV) -Which one of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me?

  • John 17:8 (ESV) -For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me.

  • John 17:17 (ESV) -Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.

  • John 17:18 (ESV) -As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.

  • John 17:19 (ESV) -And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.

  • John 18:37 (ESV) -Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.”


Notice how one of those references is during Pilate's interrogation of Jesus? Pilate, not Herod. Just to be clear.


That's a very different message than Todd, and his network, offers. Continuing on.


"We are never more like Jesus than when we are giving and serving others. John 3:16 says, For God so loved the world, He gave. We should too!"

Todd Vick


Yes, we should give, but Jesus doesn't stop there, does He? What did Jesus give? Why? How should we respond to it? The passage is clear that it's not just that God gave, but it's a very specific thing, to accomplish a very specific purpose. Yes, we should give, but it matters what we give.


John 3:16–21 (ESV) -“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”


Let's hit one more big piece. This one has Keith Giles' fingerprints all over it. And remember, David Bentley Hart defends Keith Giles' translation practices (for now, at least).


[referencing Acts 2:41-45 in The Message]

"Our verse says that all the believers lived in a wonderful harmony. Notice the word all. In the previous chapter I asked the question how much is all? Can you really quantify all? Does all, in fact, literally mean all? We have no reason to doubt that every single believer, numbering around three thousand, were included in the all as well as the wonderful harmony. The word translated here in the Greek is koinonia."

Todd Vick

So, first, Todd used the Message for this reference... STOP!!! Don't get me wrong, I like The Message overall, but since it is a paraphrase, don't use it for translation work. That's a significant part of why this is a disaster.

So, here's the passage Todd is talking about from the translation he chose:

Acts 2:41–45 (MSG): That day about three thousand took him at his word, were baptized and were signed up. They committed themselves to the teaching of the apostles, the life together, the common meal, and the prayers.Everyone around was in awe—all those wonders and signs done through the apostles! And all the believers lived in a wonderful harmony, holding everything in common. They sold whatever they owned and pooled their resources so that each person’s need was met.

And here it is in the ESV, for comparison:

Acts 2:42–45 (ESV): And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need.

Now, κοινωνία is in this text, but not in what Todd's talking about. It actually is the word fellowship in the verses before what Todd highlights regarding all and harmony. Or seemingly life together, if we use The Message.

The harmony appears to relate to the were together from the ESV, which actually comes from επί το αυτό. Κοινά is also in the verse, but it appears to be tied to common.


Don't worry, it keeps getting worse!


So…. Check this out:

“is there actually an English word that truly captures the original meaning of koinonia? It is a word one would never associate with fellowship in the church setting.


Yes, my friend, you read that correctly. The closest word that captures the true essence of koinonia is intercourse. I am not referring to the physical act of having sexual intercourse. Sex is not the only type of intercourse one can have. There is a lesser acknowledged aspect of intercourse, and that is intimacy.”

Todd Vick


So… All these dictionaries and lexicons that don't offer intercourse as a primary definition, translation, or use….

All of them are wrong?

Oh, wait, Keith is the publisher. Yeah, that makes sense now. I'm still waiting for David Bentley Hart to deconstruct Keith's attacks against David's own translation of the Bible, but I doubt that will happen.


Now, to be clear, intercourse is included as a possible word in many of the extended definitions, but clearly isn't listed as the most common or best word. Especially, as seen by the LEB, since fellowship, participation, contribution, and generosity, are the words actually used by translators in the Bible:

  • ESV: participation, fellowship, share/sharing, contribution, part, partnership
  • NIV: participation, fellowship, sharing, partnership, contribution, common sharing, share with others
  • I've also checked NLT, KJV, EOB, RSV, and a variety of other translations.
  • Married, from 3 Mac and not Acts, is the closest to intercourse used by Bible translators.


But that's what happens when you seek after your own translation, when you seek your own ideas, rather than taking the time to learn the languages and understand the subject. 


That's actually partly why I'm currently in a four-year project:

  • Year 1: modern Hebrew
  • Year 2: modern Greek
  • Year 3: biblical Hebrew and Hindi
  • Year 4: koine Greek and Arabic

Hopefully by the end of year four, I'll be able to read in each of the six languages, and in particular in the biblical languages. Hindi is for my Tibetan Book of the Dead (I think it's Hindi, at least; I'll figure that out when I'm ready to learn the language). Arabic is preparation to read my Tajweed Qur'an; I'll be working on classical/Muhammaden Arabic sometime later.






I almost feel sorry for those involved with this product, but I have every reason to believe they consented.

This is what the deconstruction community chooses to endorse and publish...

This is what asking hard questions, deconstruction, supposedly looks like.




I'd like to offer you a better way: apologetics. it's where we read primary sources. it's where we ask hard questions and actually look for answers, rather than letting our feelings rule, and ruin, our lives. It's where we read things we disagree with, even when it's uncomfortable.


Enter my Academy, where we read and discuss things like this. Where we pull up the ancient texts, and work through primary sources. Where we wrestle with challenges and seek the truth.


Come join me.

Great things are coming.