Melissa Stewart, one other common “exvangelical” persona on TikTook, grew up in an Independent Fundamental Baptist church in Minnesota. When she married at 18, her pastor used John Piper’s work in premarital counseling classes. She additionally participated in a church group that studied his best-known ebook, “Desiring God,” which argues that pleasure is a necessary piece of the Christian life.

Ms. Stewart is now divorced and in regulation faculty. On TikTok, the place she has about 179,000 followers, she posts about feminism, sexuality and atheism. “To see someone who didn’t just come from that world but came from that family, who has clearly done the work to get out, and is so introspective and gentle and grounded” provides a lot of folks hope, she mentioned in an interview. “If John Piper’s son can deconstruct and get to this place, I can do this, too.”

For others, Mr. Piper’s pedigree is proof that ex-Christians shouldn’t be dismissed as individuals who had been by no means actually dedicated within the first place. “One of the common refrains is that these people were never Christian,” mentioned Blake Chastain, who popularized the time period “exvangelical” when he named his podcast in 2016. “But the people who leave over these issues are the people who took it seriously. They were the youth group kids who were on fire for God.”

Mr. Piper is one of a quantity of youngsters of distinguished conservative Christians who’ve publicly rejected components of their dad and mom’ educating. Jay Bakker, the son of the televangelists Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, is an advocate for L.G.B.T.Q. acceptance within the church. The 5 youngsters of the combative evangelist Rick Joyner lately instructed the Times columnist Nicholas Kristof that they vote Democratic.

Abraham Piper was excommunicated from his father’s church at age 19 after rejecting the religion. “At first I pretended that my reasoning was high-minded and philosophical,” he later wrote in a Christian journal. “But really I just wanted to drink gallons of cheap sangria and sleep around.” Four years later, he returned to the religion, and was welcomed again on the church in what his father has described as a “beautiful restoration service.”

At some level after that, Mr. Piper departed once more — this time, apparently, for good. In his movies, nonetheless, Mr. Piper talks solely vaguely about rising up in and rejecting what he describes as fundamentalism. He by no means mentions his lineage, and he declined to take part on this article. John Piper, too, declined to remark.

In his movies, Abraham Piper repeatedly insists he’s not making an attempt to persuade anybody of something. “Do you know how boring and soul-sucking it is to base your whole life on making sure other people change to become more like you?” he asked his followers in February. It’s not that nothing issues, he added. “But you get to pick what. You decide what matters. Lighten up, get laid, go bowling.”

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