Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Myth of Postmodernism

All the rage since the 1990’s regarding cultural analysis has been the birth of postmodernism. Books have been written and sermons have been preached ad nauseam about how Christians can minister effectively in a postmodern culture. The call was to transform the church’s methodology. We were to let go of systematic, expository preaching and replace it with stories if the Church was to be effective; so says the postmodern prophets of the emergent church.

I think that William Lane Craig was right when he said that the idea of a postmodern culture is one of Satan’s most brilliant achievements. The first attempt to dethrone God’s truth took place in the Garden and Satan has attempted similar feats throughout human history.The development of the postmodern myth is yet another attempt.

The stage of history, what we recognize as modernism, is the stage that precedes postmodernism. Modernism finds its genesis in the Enlightenment which carries with it a commitment to objective truth apart from God that could be accessed by reason alone. This commitment is coupled with another commitment, namely an epistemology rooted in science. Therefore, to minister effectively in this culture one had to logically and systmatically proclaim God's truth.

Postmodernism was supposedly a decisive move away from modernism. It was thought by many that the Western world now had adopted a new paradigm that believed that “all apparent realities are only social constructs, as they are subject to change inherent to time and place.” While this might be partly true, it certainly doesn’t tell the whole truth. You see, true postmodernism is philosophically unsustainable. People still have to use things like reason and logic to arrive at conclusions. This is precisely why we must not give in to the call to acquiesce to a relativistic bent. Craig believes that if the Church endorses this “suicidal course of action, the consequences for the church in the next generation will be catastrophic. Christianity will be reduced to but another voice in a cacophony of competing voices, each sharing its own narrative and none commending itself as the objective truth about reality...” (p. 18-19). May we not succumb to the move towards relativism and humbly live out and proclaim God’s truth.

Wikipedia Postmodernism


  1. “What are the evidences of the Gospel today?” I was stunned by that great question asked by a young man at breakfast as we were discussing Jesus’ sending out of the 72 in Luke 10. Jesus commanded His disciples to go out, with no resources, heal the sick, and proclaim “The Kingdom of God has come near you.” All throughout Jesus’ ministry, and the ministry of the Apostles in the book of Acts, God’s power always accompanied the Gospel of Christ as evidences of its truth and authority. These signs and wonders, demonstrations of God’s power, validated the proclamation of truth. Jesus, Himself intended this to be so. When He healed the paralytic in Gethsemane (Matt. 9), He equated His authority to forgive sins, the very essence of the Gospel, with physical healing.

    So what are the evidences of the authority of the Gospel of Christ today? Why is there so much debate over the very existence of God, a question that would have been unthinkable in the first century and is in many of our present mission fields? We live in a society today where our systems of government, systems of education, systems of justice, etc., have been placed in the box of naturalism. But before we get too indignant about this, have we not placed the Church of Christ in the same box?
    We scoff at those who attempt to explain away the miracles found in the Bible, including the resurrection, in natural terms. But how much of what the church does today can only be explained in supernatural terms. When asked what most impressed him about the church in America, a visiting Chinese pastor stated that he was impressed with how much the church in America could accomplish without God.

    We as the church have amassed great resources and in many cases have become content to proclaim the truth of God without demonstrating the power of God. Are we seeking to fulfill the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18 ff , Luke 24:46-48, and Acts 1:8 of proclaiming the Gospel to all nations without obeying the great commandment found in Luke 24:49 and Acts 1:8 to wait until we have been clothed with power from on high? “We see these things all the time” said a young lady from Ghana speaking of physical healings and the manifestation of the presence of God she had seen in worship services in her country, worship services that might extend for hours.

    God manifests His power in many ways. These include not just physical healings and other miracles, but also radically transformed lives, even those who would submit to martyrdom rather than renounce Christ. This is what I long for, hunger and thirst for, the consuming fire of God, the power of the Holy Spirit that transforms me and validates the truth of the Gospel I seek to proclaim. The nations will only be won when the proclamation of radical truth is accompanied by the manifestation of radically transformed lives and demonstrations of God’s manifest power through Christ’s Bride, the Church (Eph 3:10). This will only happen as we individually and corporately seek Him in desperation and repentance and seek revival through prayer.

    I was encouraged recently by a friend who is a pastor in Jamaica. After attending a prayer conference with us in Atlanta he said he believes that God is beginning to do some great things through the church in America. Hallelujah and Amen!

  2. Dave, I would concur. We need the power of the Spirit manifested by transformed lives as well as the power of God working through believers to be effective.

    Truth with the Spirit leads to legalism. The Spirit without truth leads to fanaticism. We need redeemed people, empowered by the Spirit to proclaim God's message to the world. Well said brother!

  3. I meant to say truth without the Spirit.