Preaching & Postmodernism Part 1

There are many happenings within our culture that falls under the banner of postmodernism and it’s something I think is important for us to talk about within the Body of Christ because the radical relativism in our culture is a direct challenge to the Christian Gospel.

Albert Mohler Jr in giving a definition of postmodernism suggests, “We might best describe postmodernism as a mood (rather than a movement or a methodology) that sets itself apart from the certainties of the modern age.” (He is not Silent pg116)

Postmodernism argues that truth is socially constructed, plural and innacessible to universal reason. But Christianity says that truth is established by God, known to us through God’s self-revelation in Scripture, it’s eternal, fixed and universal.

There are 5 key elements to why postmodernism is what it is, that we need to be aware of:

  1. Death of the Metanarrative – The Gospel is the ultimate metanarrative (Universal truth). Since postmodernists believe truth is socially constructed then absolute truth must be resisted at all costs. Christianity has at the core the metanarrative of redemption. The Biblical account includes creation, the fall of mankind, the redemption of sinners through the substitutionary work of Christ and finally the promise of eternal destiny with God forever in glory as well as the eternal punishment of the unsaved.
  2. Demise of the TextIf the great metanarratives are dead then the great texts behind these metanarratives must be dead as well, including the bible. Because the Bible represents a threat to the rise of the feminist, liberation, homosexual and other like-interest groups then the the bible’s truths must be deconstructed to fit their ideology. Albert Mohler says, “The Bible too is subjected to radical interpretation, often with little or no regard for the plain meaning of the text or the clear intention of the human author. Texts that are not pleasing to the postmodern mind are rejected as oppressive, patriarchal, heterosexist, homophobic, or deformed by some other political or ideological bias. The authority of the text is denied in the name of liberation, and the most fanciful and ridiculous interpretations are celebrated as “affirming” and thus “authentic”.
  3. Dominion of Therapy – Categories such as ‘sin’ are rejected as oppressive and harmful to self-esteem so preachers don’t talk about sin in such a way that will convict people to acknowledge their sin. More and more preachers are hoping their therapeutic approach to ministry will enable people to feel so good about themselves that they will want to sign up to wholeness without passing through the twin towers of repentance and redemption.
  4. Decline of Authority – Doctrines, traditions, creeds, and confessions – all these are to be rejected and charged with limiting self-expression and representing oppressive authority. Preachers are tolerated so long as we don’t inject divine authority and claims of absolute truth into our sermons. Preachers have to be more like Dr Phil then the Apostle Paul.
  5. Displacement of Morality – In postmodernism everything is permitted and alternative lifestyles are celebrated. There is a reversal of morals which sees homosexuality as liberation and homophobia a ‘sin’.

How is the Gospel Preacher to respond to the challenges of postmodernism? Check out tomorrows blog on the role of Bible preaching in a postmodern environment.

Lead the Change!

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3 Responses to “Preaching & Postmodernism Part 1”

  1. Jared Grant Says:

    Great blog mate…

    If our dictrines about God are set in stone where is the place for mystery and awe?

    Is a self revealing God still revealling himself?

    • Corey Turner Says:

      Thanks Jared for the question:

      Deut 4:2; 12:32; Prov 30:5-6 and Rev 22:18-19 outline that the canon of Scripture is closed. We have no need for any new book of the bible or extra knowledge because we already have all we need for faith and godliness. If there were some knowledge we desperately needed, God would not have waited some 2,000 years to reveal it while his people sat in the darkness of partial knowledge.

      There is certainly mystery and awe to how God works but he will not violate his word. Jesus said, “Heaven and earth will pass away but my word will remain forever.” The doctrine of revelation teaches us that God has disclosed himself and without him doing so, we would be hopelessly ignorant and lost. God is still revealing himself to people today but his revelation will not violate the canon of Scripture which has been given to us in complete form.

      2 Timothy 3:16 tells us, “All scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, rebuke, correction and for training in righteousness that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” We have everything we need in the word of God as the foundation of our faith. Paul said in 1 Cor 2:2 that he decided to know nothing among the Corinthians except Christ and him crucified (Gospel). Paul stuck with the Gospel and he models to us what we should do to…and when we preach the gospel, signs and wonders will accompany.

      Corey

  2. Jared Grant Says:

    Can we embrace awe and mystery as A means to preach the Gospel?

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