The modern era arose out of the Age of Enlightenment or the Age of Reason in the 18th Century. With the rise of modernity came the rejection of absolute truth and Biblical authority. Science and human reason were instead treated as absolutely reliable and authoritative. In the end, the modern ideologies were revealed to expose its many holes and continuous contradictions.
Enter in postmodernism…
If modernity’s most basic goal was to achieve a somewhat certainty in the natural world through the application of the scientific method (along with applying one’s worldviews as stated in True Science), postmodernism had the goal of doubt, uncertainty, and no clear definition of anything. It’s slogan was “question everything since everything is relative.” If you thought a red ‘delicious’ apple was a red fruit you could eat, don’t ask today’s postmodern college student – they believe that your shoelaces could be a red apple if that is what you believe it is. Oh, and I could prove it is a red piece of fruit, tested and retested in the laboratory and classified in a textbook, and the postmodern would still argue that his shoelaces are red apples as was my red apple. In the postmodern mind, there is no wrong – everything is right according to one’s own relative standard.
Postmodernity originated in being applied to art, literary works, and architecture at the end of the World War I era. From the 1960’s through today it was popularized and distinguished (even though in postmodern thinking nothing can be distinguished) by people such as Jacques Derrida, Michael Foucault, Jean-Francois Lyotard, and the philosophy flourished in the academic world. Today, the postmodern thinking is dominant on today’s college campuses in the academic elite (except when applied to tests of course).
Through the 1990’s, this postmodern philosophy crept into our churches through youth ministry and goal-setting pastors who pragmatically approached ministry to be pleasing to the world. Churches began to entertain the masses rather than feed the flock spiritually. The result – a growing superficiality in our churches, a down-grade and loss of confidence in the power of Scripture, the continuous pursuit of fads, and a steady deviation from doctrinal truths are direct results of a postmodern, market-driven approach to church.
If you do not think that your church has been tainted by postmodernism – just sit in any small group Bible study. Have you heard the quote, “What does that verse mean to you?” That is postmodernism in a nutshell.
You determine truth. You are the master of your own truth. You are the captain of your own truth. Truth is how it makes you feel. Truth is synonymous with experience.
However, this thinking could not be further from the truth (no pun intended) and this thinking does not hold water. Truth is exterior to you. Truth is not what you think, truth is not what you believe, truth is not what makes you feel good, truth is truth. If you don’t believe in your heart that a truck can kill you and then you sit in the middle of I-95 and you get hit by a truck – you will die, that is the truth of the law of conservation of energy, which is true regardless of whether you exist or not. The laws of mathematics, physics, biogenesis, chemistry, and logic are all objective ‘transcendent’ truths that were discover, not invented.
So watch out for the postmodern ideologies in your everyday life and be discerning in the young people you meet, Bible studies in your home, even pastors and their approach to ministry in your church. Postmodernism is anti-Christianity, it is anti-truth, and it does not hold water in reality that we live in.
There is only one Way, only one Truth, only one Life, and His name is Jesus.
Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’ (John 14:6)