Dedicated to the devotional, exegetical and philosophical study of theological paradox in Conservative, Thoroughly Biblical, Historically Orthodox, Essentially Reformed theology . . . to the glory of God alone!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Modernism, Postmodernism, and a Biblical Worldview

Note: I haven't posted in a while, I guess I needed a blogging break and took one without even trying to. I've been working and re-working a post called, "Your Doctrine of the Atonement is Too Small - Part 2", and just about baffled myself beyond any recovery with that topic! But that post should be up before long. In the meantime, there's this . . .

Angel of Light 1 Myspace Layout 2.0Some in the Christian community today are overtly embracing "postmodernism." That term is a bit difficult to define, and it apparently means different things to different people (which is almost in itself a definition of the word, ironically. How do you define the idea that there is no such thing as a meaningful definition? If the idea is valid, there may be no point in defining it). Rather than attacking postmodernism itself, I would like to point out an erroneous assumption which leads some Christians to embrace it. 

Many who embrace and defend postmodernism point a condemning finger toward those who criticize it, accusing them of being stuck in the old paradigm of "modernism" and a "foundationalist" worldview. It's as if those are the only choices available. In this way, some postmodernists prove they are just as prone to thinking in terms of a false dichotomy as the next philosopher is. They seem to think it is impossible to have an objective, Biblical worldview that is free (or at least in the process of being freed) from the inescapable errors which arise from contextualization within a social movement. The whole idea presupposes that God is incapable of communicating objective Truth to us, separating our thinking from cultural trappings, and enabling us to see and know an exclusive, unquestionable reality.

The Apostle Paul warned the Colossians to beware man-made philosophy, and embrace God's Truth instead. Let the philosophers fight over abstractions and absurdities. Biblical Christians will hold to THE WORD OF GOD, which points us to the WORD MADE FLESH. Bible believers aren't into modernism, and we certainly aren't into postmodernism, any more than we are into Post-enlightenment Rationalism or Renaissance Idealism, or Neo-Platonism, or Aristotelianism, or any other "-ism" that describes a temporary period of humanity's ongoing descent into the mind-darkening depths of sin. We believe what the Bible says: that man is totally, pervasively depraved, and so his only hope lies in the reliable light of an objective, clear, life-giving revelation from God.

Jesus Christ repeatedly declared, "I tell you the truth," and then He said to His disciples, "You shall KNOW THE TRUTH, and then He said, "I AM the Truth." The underlying assumption of postmodernism is at least as old as Pilate, who looked at the Truth and asked Him, "What is Truth?" He left the decision in the hands of others, washing his own hands in pretended innocence - but he had stared Truth in the face - rejected Truth - and will not escape responsibility for that. Though fallen man suppresses the Truth in unrighteousness, he is without excuse.

Jesus Christ transcends culture. He transcends philosophy. He transcends humanity. But He does not transcend Truth. He IS Truth. Nay, much more, He is THE Truth. "The" is a crucial article of grammar which overthrows any possibility of Christian postmodernism and establishes  the basis for an objectively knowable, definable Biblical worldview. Modernism is not more Biblically accurate than postmodernism. Both fall short of the glory of God. Both represent a departure from divine revelation, though perhaps postmodernism is a step further. It is sad to see fellow believers dredging the deep muck of misguided human speculations when the Word of God rises before us, full of grace and Truth.  Hopefully they will be like Peter, who momentarily denied the Truth but repented quickly. Hopefully they are not like Judas, who wore the name of Christ but sold Truth for something more appealing.

Proverbs 23:23 Buy truth, and do not sell it; buy wisdom, instruction, and understanding.

1 comment:

  1. This goes very well with a Christian ethics class I'm taking right now. Perfect timing!!


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