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And He Himself gave some to be....evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ...
- Ephesians 4:11-12

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Location: The Hill Country of Texas

Pastor - Providence Reformed Baptist Church
Director - TIME in the Word Ministries

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Defining Worldviews - Post Modernism

TIME in the Word - Daily Devotional
Together for Inspiration, Motivation, and Encouragement

Verse of the Day - Proverbs 21:2
Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, But the LORD weighs the hearts.

Daily Scripture Reading - Galatians 4

Puritan Catechism
Question #15 - Did all mankind fall in Adam's first transgression?
Answer - All mankind descending from him by ordinary generation, sinned in him, and fell with him in his first transgression (1 Cor. 15:22; Rom. 5:12).

Devotional Thoughts
After seeing this progression (or digression as the case seems to be) through the worldviews that started with Deism and has brought us to Eastern Pantheistic Monism, we have watched as through the last several hundred years mankind has worked diligently at repressing the knowledge of God, denying natural revelation as His glory is seen and declared throughout creation, spurning special revelation through the Word of God, and even replacing the creation for the Creator in their thinking. Each of these systems though has presented humanity with new issues and problems to work through, holes in the grid so to speak. And each new system is born out of trying to perfect the system before it.

So where has that gotten us? We have travelled from the 1600s to the late 1900s and now that we have indeed entered the "new millennium" where are we when it comes to the cutting edge of worldviews? Well, since we have now passed "modernism" and the modern age, we have arrived at Postmodernism. What is that you ask? Well, let's take a look, shall we?

Postmodernism

Where did the boundaries go? That is the question we must ask now that the dominant grid through which relaity is viewed is Postmodernism. As each system had problems, each deficient in some way and answering the meaningful questions, we have seen that the systems began to make even the questions irrelevant. All is meaningless except for the meaning that we give it! And what of Eastern thought? While is has pervaded our society in the West, there are still problems. The biggest though is that slowly but surely each of these worldviews has knocked off a little more truth and a little of the residue of a Theistic worldview (which we will discuss tomorrow). With each new system we move further and further away from God, to the point now that it is proclaimed by philosophers that God is dead! He died and is decomposing. Meaning of course that mankind is finally evolving to the point where we see no need for God.

If we have no need for God, then there is not a God is there? For many, life has become centered on what "I" want. Meet my needs. Even preaching (poor preaching I might add) these days is said to be aimed at meeting "felt needs." It is all about ME. And for me to feel good and have a great self esteem and to reach my potential, I simply cannot endure the thought that there is a God of any kind. To believe in God is to believe I must be accountable or attempt to appease that God. And so, God is dead! We are free to do as we like!

Once we are rid of God then the next step is to declare that there is no such thing as absolute truth. Get that? It is the foundation of Postmodernism. There is no such thing as absolute truth. As several pastors and theologians have noted then, that makes defining Postmodernism difficult! It declares absolutely as truth that there is no absolute truth!! The truth is that Postmodernism as a worldview does not even like the idea of having a worldview! Are you dizzy yet? Cause it only gets better from here.

If we have a grid through which we view reality then that grid represents our version of the truth, and if there is no absolute truth then who is to say our grid is right?

The result is that from a Postmodern mindset, everything is equally valid. Your truth, my truth, your story, my story, your beliefs, my beliefs - it is all equal. One is not more true that the other, one is not above the other, all are equal. And we must learn to tolerate all equally! So whatever you believe is equal to what I believe and the only sin in this worldview is the sin of trying to impose what you believe onto me! If we try to engage people and change their minds, then we are in essence saying that our belief is more valid than theirs. But, all is equal, so there is nothing to prove!

So Postmodernism says that there is no ultimate reality that we can know, no ultimate meaning, that we cannot know what is real and what is not, and so we must make our own meaning - but we cannot ever think that our meaning is right and others meaning is wrong. Since we cannot know what is real and what is not, reality is unknowalble, then how could we ever assume that our version of reality is better than anyone else's?

Again, Dr. Duncan gives us some foundation stones for understanding this system:

The Pre-Modern thinker, for instance, looked at the world and said, “It’s our job as humans to create a just society based on a just God.”

The Modern thinker came along and said, “No,no,no! We don’t need to have a just God to have a just society. What we need is universal human reason, and that can create a just society. In fact, it can create a more just society than those societies that people tried to base on God.”

So the Pre-Modern thinker says, “Our job is to create a just society based on a just God.” The Modern thinker says, “No,no,no! Our job is to create a just society based on universal human reason.”

Then, the Postmodern thinker comes along, and he says, “Justice? There is no justice. All you can do is speak justice into being. You create justice out of your own head, and with your own words. What is justice?”

To summarize then, Postmodernism tells us that there is no absolute truth. All stories are equally valid and equally invalid. It is fine for you to believe that story, but don’t impose it on anybody else. Truth is whatever we can get our community to agree on. Ethics are simply a social construct. Morality is whatever we decide it is.

Truth then is an illusion. We can't know truth, or ultimate meaning, or reality. So we make due on our own in a world based on tolerance. Whatever you say is true is true for you. But since there is no absolute truth, it cannot be true for anyone else.

Do you hear a little of the Word Faith crowd in here? Speak your reality into being! Speak words of faith and think positive thoughts and what you think will become reality! The Word Faith movement replaces the absolute truth of the gospel with Postmodern thought!!

And if all truth is equally valid then how do we determine right and wrong? What might be right for you is wrong for me! So how do we know which is really right and which is really wrong? Well, neither is right and neither is wrong. This leads to the idea that we should have no laws, for we should all be completely free to do whatever we want for our own pleasure.

How quickly could the world destory itself with that philosophy?

This grid through which we view life now leads us to taking our kids to soccer games where no score is kept, no one loses, no one wins, and everybody gets a trophy. We would not want to hurt or offend anyone, so we make everybody winners no matter how they competed or who scored how many goals.

It is also taking root in education, where some schools are not grading papers any longer. Grades make those who perform at the "low end" of the class feel inferior. And if they think 2+2=5 then we should affirm them for making the effort to define their own reality!!!

In the university then the goal of the professor is to prove to you that there is no truth, there is nothing absolute to be learned. It is all relative. And Dr. Duncan does a superb job of telling us what the impact of Postmodern thought is on religion and on education. He writes in Postmodernism Goes to College:

1. First of all, it asserts that all religions boil down to the same thing. Now, don’t try and confuse somebody with the facts on this. You know, it doesn’t matter whether you can show that a Muslim does not in fact have the same doctrinal beliefs and commitments that an evangelical Christian has. The assumption will be made on the part of the Postmodernist that all religions boil down to the same thing.

2. Secondly, what’s true for you may not be true for me.

3. Thirdly, all religious systems, followed sincerely, lead to the same spiritual reality. Woe unto you if you suggest that the sincere believer of another religious system is not going to end up with the same eternal reward that you expect for yourself.

4. Fourth, no religious assertions can claim to be true, and all of them are subject to revision.

5. Fifth, truth claims are simply linguistic constructs, and they are derived from our own presuppositions. They’re not based on anything real. They don’t derive from something transcendent. They basically come from our language, and they are derived from the things that we have already presupposed about the world. In other words, truth is our own personal grid imposed upon the world. It’s not something discovered in the world that forms the way that we look at the world.

6. And sixth, religious assertions are good insofar as they help people live in harmony. So you can believe what you want, as long as it leads to harmony. That’s why, in almost all of the cases of your students in university, going into university this year, going into orientation courses, one of the key things that will be beat into their heads is their moral judgments and their truth claims are perfectly fine, as long as they impose them on no one else.


And the most frightening aspect of Postmodernism is not that it is being widely embraced by the secular world. No. It is that there are whole new segments of the "church" that are emerging with this worldview rooted in their foundation! How does that work? Check the articles I link below for further study to examine the issues surrounding the so called Emerging or Emergent Church and how it has melded Christianity with Postmodern thought and ended up being neither a church nor doctrinally sound when it comes to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The Bible

The Biblical response though seemingly simple is difficult to impart because those who genuinely hold to Postmodernism will say that what the Bible says it true for us, and what they believe is true for them, and all "truth" is equally valid and should be able to live in harmony and peace! It is almost irritating. But the dsad fact is that most who hold to a Postmodern worldview fail in one aspect of their worldview - they tolerate everything just fine until it comes to Christianity! Have you noticed that? All truth is equally as valid except Christian truth derived from Holy Scripture. That, they say, must be purged from society!

But how does the Bible answer Postmodern thought? Let's let the Scripture speak for itself (it is, after all, alive and active!):

Truth
God's Word is absolutely true and absolute truth!

2 Timothy 3:16-17 - All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

John 10:35 - ...the Scripture cannot be broken...

Acts 17:11 - ...they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.

Proverbs 30:5 - Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him.

Hebrews 4:12 - For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Sin, Right, and Wrong
Is there a difference between right and wrong?

Psalm 19:8 - The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart;The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes;

Psalm 119:175 - I know, O LORD, that Your judgments are right

Proverbs 4:11 - I have taught you in the way of wisdom; I have led you in right paths.

Proverbs 12:5 - The thoughts of the righteous are right, But the counsels of the wicked are deceitful.

Proverbs 21:8 - The way of a guilty man is perverse; But as for the pure, his work is right.

Relative Truth
Are all "truth claims" equal?

Proverbs 12:15 - The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, But he who heeds counsel is wise.

Proverbs 14:9, 12 - Fools mock at sin, But among the upright there is favor. There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.

Proverbs 21:2 - Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, But the LORD weighs the hearts.

Psalm 119:11 - Your word I have hidden in my heart,That I might not sin against You.

Romans 5:12 - Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned—

Romans 14:23 - ...for whatever is not from faith is sin.

Good and Evil
Is there a difference? What if we confuse the two?

Psalm 37:27 - Depart from evil, and do good;And dwell forevermore.

Isaiah 5:20 - Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

Amos 5:14-15 - Seek good and not evil, That you may live; So the LORD God of hosts will be with you, As you have spoken. Hate evil, love good; Establish justice in the gate. It may be that the LORD God of hosts Will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.

Romans 12:9 - Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.

Simply put, Postmodernists, especially in the church, need to have their worldview informed by their faith (Heb 11:3) instead of having their faith informed by their worldview.


Links for Further Study
This week I will be providing links that you can use to study each daily topic in more detail if you have the desire and the time!

I have given this set of links before and while it is rather extensive in scope it deals in some detail with all that is being presented to the church by this so-called emergent movement that has blended the Bible with Postmodernism. The results? Simply put - flee! Stay away! They are destroying the gospel and if not stopped will cripple the evangelical church in the West.

Emergent Links from Pastor Way's Blog

To sum up, what can we say about the emerging/emergent church?

A new fad driven by a post-modern worldview, equipped with an extremely low view of Scripture, a wrong view of God, a high view of self (and self-esteem enhanced through personal "experiences"), a low view of sin, and an ecumenical attitude of cooperation in spiritual experiences and pursuits with non-Christians and pseudo-Christian cults. In short, Evangelist Leonard Ravenhill said it best years and years ago when he described this kind of movement as having "humanized God, deified man, and minimized sin."

Bible Reading For Further Study

Recommended Songs for Worship

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