Earlier this year, my brother told me about Alisa Childers, who recently wrote a book about Christian apologetics. Not only that, she was a former member of the contemporary Christian music group ZOEgirl back in the early 2000s and she was married to someone with whom we attended college.
After I read her best-selling book Another Gospel? I was intrigued because the book addressed so many of the views about progressive Christianity that I had recently been contemplating. The book was honest, thoughtful, and well-researched. Not only that, her weekly podcasts are gaining a reputation for her because she is educated and considerate, all while steadfastly sharing her truth. How did a former ZOEgirl become an expert in historic Christian theology? I was fortunate to get to interview her to learn her story.
Childers was born in 1975 to Karen and Chuck Girard in California. Following a stint as a rocker, Girard’s father got saved in the 1960s during the renowned Jesus Movement. In 1970, he was a founding member of Love Song, the first Christian rock band to find popularity in the United States.
Childers was one of four girls who grew up in the charismatic Foursquare denomination in California. She studied gymnastics and piano, and she and her family would regularly sing in churches.
ZOEgirl (consisting of Chrissy Conway-Katina, Alisa Girard-Childers, and Kristin Swinford-Schweain) came to be because a record label was looking for a Christian version of the Spice Girls.
Childers explains, “ZOEgirl was a prefabricated girls” group. We did not know each other. I was the first one hired and moved to Nashville in 1999. We were searching for the other two or three to complete the group. Through personal connections, we met Chrissy and Kirsten. Before pop star Pink went solo, Chrissy was in a band with her. Right when Pink put out a solo record, Chrissy got saved at a Harvest Crusade and we had a mutual friend and that’s how we met her.”
ZOEgirl was signed to Sparrow Records from 1999 to 2006 and released their debut single, “I Believe,” in 2000. This song and their self-titled debut album ZOEgirl helped them become Sparrow’s fastest-selling artist of all time.
During the time, the now-podcast host married the band’s drummer, Mike Childers, and the two settled in Nashville where Mike Childers continued in his music career after ZOEgirl disbanded.
In 2009, as they were starting their family, they were looking for a church home. They found one that had a charismatic vibe similar to what Alisa Childers was used to. But they did not realize that the pastor was a progressive pastor who had already deconstructed himself and hoped to propel his congregation into deconstruction so he could convert them to progressive Christianity.
This caused Alisa Childers to experience a profound doubt about her faith in her mid-30s. She began to investigate her faith intellectually. Those questions and doubts lead her to research the historical Christianity of the Bible and early church fathers. She took seminary classes and read everything she could get her hands on. This began her journey from unreasoned doubt into a vibrant, rational, and informed faith. As she explains her reconstruction process in her book, she discovers much evidence for the traditional Christian faith that she and many before her had followed.
She was also featured in the contemplative film American Gospel: Christ Crucified.
Alisa Childers confirms, “Everything I am doing now is not anything I ever saw for myself. In 2016 I started a blog. I went to three days of training for apologists. In my mind, this three-day training was just going to be the end cap to my apologetics phase. By then I was settled in my own faith and I wanted to meet some of the people who had really helped me. I was celebrating that phase of my life. But while I was there, they encouraged me to start a public ministry. That’s when I started my blog. It started from there. People asked me to start a podcast. Then I had a blog post go viral with millions of views. That’s when the literary agents and the publishing houses started asking me if I wanted to write a book. I thought, ‘If I’m ever going to do it, I should probably just do it. So kicking and screaming, I decided to write Another Gospel?”
In less than two years, the book is already ranked #15 in Amazon’s category of Christian Social Issues. Additionally, it has 91 percent 5-star reviews.
On September 20, a six-week participant’s guide for Another Gospel? is coming out for small group study curriculum which comes with a DVD experience.
Alisa Childers explains, “Small groups can walk through the material that’s in Another Gospel? and they can do that through the guidance of the DVDs.”
She continues, “Initially we weren’t going to make curriculum but so many people have asked for it so it’s finally coming out. I’m hoping small groups and churches can use it to interact with progressive Christianity.
In October of this year, Childers is releasing her next book, Live Your Truth and Other Lies: Exposing Popular Deceptions That Make Us Anxious, Exhausted, and Self-Obsessed, which you can pre-order.
“This book is probably the book that people were looking for when my initial blog post went viral. However, I knew that I wanted my first book to be about my experience with progressive Christianity. This next book deals with the cultural slogans that we see coming out of the self-help, new-age, progressive Christian platforms that are telling people to live their truth and that they are in control of their own destiny. All of these are built on the lie that humans are inherently good. Political streams have diverged on the question of whether or not humans are inherently good.”
Alisa Childers believes that humans are inherently sinful and they need to be saved and reconciled to God. Her upcoming book Live Your Truth and Other Lies: Exposing Popular Deceptions That Make Us Anxious, Exhausted, and Self-Obsessed explains why she believes this.
She adds, “It puts such a burden on people to be the solution to their own problems. It’s a heavy burden to bear. That’s why I think Christianity and the gospel is not just the best answer to that problem, it’s the most emotionally satisfying and compelling answer to all that brokenness.”
In the meantime, Alisa Childers is a mother of two school-aged children. She does not have time to tour the country extensively and participate in debates. But now she chooses to focus on leading the conversation as best she can via her books, and with limited speaking engagements.
In conclusion, she states, “My main goal is to interact with ideas, not demean people. I’m treating their material as fairly as I would like mine to be treated. My loyalty is to Christ first.”
In today’s world of information overload, anyone at any time can determine what anyone thinks about anything. You can always find someone who completely agrees or disagree with you on any subject.
If your faith needs a confidence booster, as mine did, pick up a copy of Another Gospel? It just may be the catalyst you need to get back on track.
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