When Renee Walks Away: On “De-conversion Stories”

The latest “I once was ‘found’, then I headed for the exit door” tale making the rounds among the Christian internet world is that of George Perdikis, one of the founder of Christian pop band, the Newsboys. Whether it’s stories like that of Bob DylanFrankSchaefferKaty Perry, or countless others over the last 2,000 years who have elected to walk away from orthodox Christianity, we who stay may have one or both of these responses:

(1) We may chalk it up either apostasy or a belief that the leaver was never truly saved in the first place. The chalk you use will depend in large part whether you’re in the “once saved, always saved” camp or the “only the elect will be saved” camp. This unending debate about whether it is possible to “de-convert” rages on in some Christian college dorms at 2 a.m. For the purposes of this post, let’s just leave it at “Salvation belongs to God”. In any case, those who were once a part of us aren’t with us any longer. We try to find holes in their conversion stories to demonstrate the way in which incomplete, immature, or improper* belief led these Reborn Renees to walk away.

(2) We sorrow. When we look around us at the church, we see problems everywhere we turn. Sometimes, it makes it very hard to see Jesus in the midst of it all. When we read not only the stories of Walk Away Renees, but of those who’ve been deeply wounded but are still hanging on, usually in another corner of Christendom – the person with childhood spent among the fundies now attending a liberal mainline church or the former Catholic now a happy member of an Assembly of God – we ache and wonder how a Church who sometimes behaves like a UFC fighter remotely resembles the pure, spotless Bride described here.

I tend to go immediately to the latter. (No surprise if you’ve been a reader of this blog.) In some cases…[Read more]

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