Postmodernism

<<denying absolutes of truth>>

Rising to prominence in the 1960's (following the modernism period that challenged traditional convictions) this belief system affirms no absolute truth, especially in matters of spirituality. It is humanity’s futile attempt to understand human life without the aid of God’s revelation. 

In this contemporary way of seeing life and faith, the traditional, rigid concepts of truth and belief (as revealed in the Bible) are discarded in favour of individual freedom to choose one’s own values. All previous expressions of certainty have been dismissed, with the systematic destruction of all such truth by skepticism. Ideas are discussed and debated without an authoritative and definitive “Thus says

God’s standards are to be              obeyed, not ignored

the Lord” on essential matters of doctrine, such as the inspiration and authority of Scripture, the exclusivity of Christ as the only way of salvation, the Lordship of Christ and a clear understanding of the true gospel. It is “Everyone doing what is right in their own [opinion]” by ignoring or rejecting the basic fundamental teachings of the Christian faith as revealed in the Bible (Jdg 17:6; Prov 12:15, 21:2). Though a relatively modern attitude its roots go far back into history. Even a sizeable portion of the NT epistles endeavoured to combat various doctrinal errors, that were creeping into the churches.

This alternative postmodern approach is rebellion against divine revelation as it elevates human reason and opinion above the truth and authority of God’s Word, choosing to adopt a pluralistic viewpoint that says no faith or religion can claim to be true and another false.  However, absolute truth does exist and consequences exist for believing what is wrong. The elements of postmodernism – God is no longer

Absolute truth does exist –                       it's found in Jesus

the focus, man is now the centre, there are no absolutes – closely resemble those of the New Age Movement, which encompasses the post-Christian teachings that feeling and opinion are paramount. Such a belief system is opposed to genuine faith and biblical Christianity. Rationality (reason through sound logic) is not condemned in Scripture, and one truth can be analyzed and compared to another truth without its influence being diminished. Faith is not irrational and as believers, we should employ clear, logical thinking that allows freedom for personal views within the boundaries established in Scripture.

As a consequence, corruption, compromise and New Age ideas have emerged. These credit human beings (rather than God) with creating, improving, and reshaping their environment with the aid of scientific knowledge, technology and practical experimentation. Personal experience becomes more highly valued than reason, the outward greater than the inward, and truth becomes relative to the changing world-view, yet the mistaken view is all ‘good living’ people will enter heaven. Sometimes the proponents of modernism claim to be Christian, having ‘a form of godliness’, yet they deny one or more fundamentals of the Christian faith. Unfortunately, they are deceived, and unless their spiritual eyes are opened, they respond in repentance and accept Christ they will perish. They are making shipwreck of their faith as they turn to worthless myths instead of living according to God's commands (Jer 7:23; 1 Tim 1:18,19; 2 Tim 4:4).

It is to such people the solemn warning of Jesus is given – not everyone who calls Him “Lord” will enter heaven, but only those who do His will and remain faithful to His teaching will have the privilege (Mt 7:21-27). The advice of Scripture is to examine ourselves to see if we are truly in the faith (2 Cor 13:5). Our eternal destiny is at stake. If a person rejects the truth, they become deceived and slip into error,

Man doesn't have the right to          formulate his own beliefs

then heresy – believing and teaching what is contrary to sound doctrine. “The time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires…They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths”, exchanging the words of God for a lie (Rom 1:25; 2 Tim 4:3). However, we will be judged by the truth, not by what we have interpreted it to be.

Church leaders, who should be guardians of the truth, will experience the greater penalty if they misrepresent the Bible's message and lead people astray (Mt 5:19; Jas 3:1). The Israelites were instructed not to add to the commands of God, nor subtract from them, only to obey them (Deut 4:1,2, 12:32). The book of Revelation closes with a similar warning about tampering with its message (Rev 22:18,19). Jesus said, “False prophets will appear and deceive many people” (Mt 24:11). God views diluting His Word as a serious offence – people’s eternal destiny is at stake. The personal responsibility of each believer is to live and share the Word of God – the divine blueprint for our lives. This must be taken seriously because “Corrupt teaching will spread like gangrene” (2 Tim 2:15-17). Paul said, “What you have heard from me, keep as a pattern of sound teaching…” (2 Tim 1:13). A pattern is a reference point. Can it be said of us, “You speak and teach what is right, you do not show partiality but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth” (Lk 20:21). Without clear guidelines humanity goes their own individualistic way, but the Word of God says, “Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil” (Prov 3:7, 16:2).

Being free of restraint is not true freedom. We need the security of boundaries and guidelines. Otherwise, confusion encourages doubt, questioning and disregard of borders established for our protection, leaving us drifting into adopting a seeming plausible substitute, yet one that progressively wanders from accuracy. We should be in submission to Godly leaders, yet aware they are not infallible from error. Our hearts always need to be open and responsive to the Holy Spirit. It is not our right to choose what we believe; rather it is our responsibility to obey – when we know the truth we are responsible to walk in it. We will be judged by how we have lived in relation to the Word, which has the ability to judge the thoughts and attitudes of the heart (Jn 12:48; Heb 4:12). Whatever undermines or detracts from the authority of the Bible and the fundamental truths contained in it, is not of God. The Bible is God’s instruction manual to us which, with the Holy Spirit’s help, will lead us into all truth; for us to experience heaven it must be read and obeyed. God’s Word remains constant, its message and values never change.

Postmodernism's rejection of absolute truth causes many people to reject the Bible. Christians believe God is the only source of absolute spiritual truth. Jesus Christ proclaimed Himself to be the Truth: "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (Jn 14:6). Not only do postmodernists deny Christ's claim to be the truth, but they also dismiss His statement that He is

The Bible, not human ideas,                         is to be our guide

the only way to heaven. Today Christianity is ridiculed as arrogant or intolerant by those who say there are 'many paths to heaven'. This view that all religions are equally valid is called pluralism.

In postmodernism, all religion, including Christianity, is reduced to the level of opinion. Christianity asserts that it is unique and that it does matter what we believe; claiming sin exists and has consequences.

See also: Bible (inerrancy), cheap gospel, Christianity, doctrine, error, false teaching, foundation, foundation truths, humanism, modernism, New Age, non-negotiable, opinionspluralism, post-Christian, progressive Christianity, reason, situational ethics, truth.

 


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