For many people, the boys at the Bad Christian Podcast have been out of the limelight for the last few years, being much more prominent in the mid-2010’s when their proclivity to curse openly during their show and defending a routine dropping of the f-bomb was still somewhat novel for protesting Christians, with Mark Driscoll having grown of it by then.
The show, which comprised of Emery Bandmates Toby Morrell, Matt Carter and their friend, pastor and former Emery bassist Joey Svendsen, (now since gone) was fresh air for some who were burned out by the burning out of the emergent church a few years before. With their straightforward and unfiltered dialogue and discussion, as well as their willingness to question why Christians believe what they believe, it was a natural home for many.
But the deconstruction of their faith and the constant prodding and poking of theological foundations had consequences, and now five years later, they’ve been torn to shreds.
They released an interview they had with the Provoke and Inspire Podcast, and we were given clarity on exactly how far they’ve gone, describing “the journey of learning to let go of things that seem very important and unlearning the behaviors and patterns that we had been programmed with by our families cultures and choices.”
One big change is that one of their primary co-hosts, pastor Joey Svendsen has left the show. He struggled with mental health issues, a spiraling depression, and disagreements over how the show could proceed with that reality, and now he’s gone.
He has his own podcast now, “Pastor with no Answers” where he delves more into his progressive beliefs, such as his support of same-sex marriage, his belief that there is no eternal hell, his loss of belief in the sufficiency and infallibility of the scriptures, promotes aged Emerging church mainstays like Brian McLaren, and demonstrate that his shows namesake holds true.
For Bad Christian, however, Toby and Matt likewise explain that their views have changed and they’ve become “less certain” over time. Note that these quotes have been lightly edited for clarity.
“At this point I’m comfortable saying that I’m sure I’m some kind of relativist and it would probably make you more comfortable to think of it as “but do you believe in absolute truth?” And I’d just go with “no.”
Acknowledging that “we might just be like the culture and do what we want to do.” he explains:
One of the things I don’t want to do anymore is try to stop sin. What I want to do is to start seeing what things actually are and then I can realize if it’s good or bad for me.
Because his belief are ever-changing and contradicting themselves, he never has any confidence in them, and he’s ok with that “I can’t act like I know my morals are on the right track” and that because he knows he’s just going to violate them anyway, using pornography as an example, “I try not to think about morals, is a goal of mine, to try to not worry about those.”
Matt explains how “morals are a low-resolution tool for achieving desired behavior outcomes for myself” and using sex outside of marriage as an example, he explains how “I don’t believe my morals are right or wrong anyway. Like I don’t need to know which ones are the right or wrong ones. Like I just don’t have that view. “
When the host calls his belief system “a bit naive” Matt responds that his new perspective is that “it only works if it’s working for me now” and that the other way just didn’t work out so he’s trying a new system, explaining that his deconstruction means that “I’m going to have different words for what is definitions of what sin is, or what it means that God has a moral system.”
“That’s the thing that really bummed me out. Morals and saying ‘God told me not to do that so I won’t do it’ didn’t work for me. Like I still did things and then I just felt really bad about it.”
When the interviewer asks Matt how he sees scripture and whether or not it is infallible and authoritative, he says that he’s getting a lot closer to Thomas Jefferson on that one, the past president who famously created a bible where he cut out all the miraculous parts of it, and is moving in that direction heavily. He praises the efforts of the process of Jefferson to make the scriptures work for him, and says he is “interested in more types of scripture now”, which he acknowledges makes him “more of a pluralist.”
He says of the bible “I do not know if it should be the supreme authority of a human’s life….as authority is something that is earned.”
While it has earned a spot in his own life, he clarifies “I would never push that on someone else.”
Both hosts describe how they haven’t been to church in over a year, and Toby explains that they don’t take their kids to church because don’t want their kids introduced to the biblical historical Christian orthodoxy- “I wouldn’t want to do that to them” especially because it doesn’t line up with who they think God is or what they believe.
Toby offers that “I could see us in the future moving away from Christianity” and notes that all his family believes they are lost.
The show essentially ends with this bleak quote, which encapsulates the whole episode. The interviewer pushes a bit into the purpose of proselyting and sharing the gospel, and the boys respond poorly to it, challenging the belief that anyone really needs Jesus or why he’s needed to live a fulfilled life, comparing a Christian life vs non-Christian life.
You’re saying “Jesus is real” and so having that knowledge and that he lived and died and rose again gives you something that maybe the person that doesn’t believe that has, but I’m saying take morals out of it. Say you’re equally as moral people, I don’t know what more you have except for you have something you really believe in.
So that’s great for you, and it’s awesome for you, and it helps shape your life, but the person who doesn’t believe that has everything as well and you’re both going to die and figure it out when you die anyway.
I don’t know, like proselytizing the world and sharing Jesus seems more to me like a sales scheme to get more people on my team as opposed to, I’m not really offering them anything, except for maybe an afterlife.
I might get to say ‘hey, there might be an afterlife’ but no one really knows, I mean, no matter what no one’s been able to really prove that. When you’re dead you’re gone, so there isn’t really anything more, so your belief would be for you then.”
Pray for Matt, Toby and Joey. Nothing that you’ve just read should give you any confidence that they are believers. These are lost souls headed to hell, and only God can save them.
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