Eros Spirituality Vs. Agape Faith by David F. Wells – Excellent!
The philosophical nature of Postmodern thought can essentially be described as this:
“In postmodernism the intellect is replaced by will, reason by emotion, and morality by relativism. Reality is nothing more than a social construct; truth equals power. Your identity comes from a group. Postmodernism is characterized by fragmentation, indeterminacy, and a distrust of all universalizing (worldviews) and power structures (the establishment). It is a worldview that denies all worldviews (“stories”). In a nutshell, postmodernism says there are no universal truths valid for all people. Instead, individuals are locked into the limited perspective of their own race, gender or ethnic group. It is Nietzsche in full bloom. (CIM)”
(Quote from Monergism.com – Postmodernism)
So if this is true of postmodern thought, how in the world can this possibly jive with the absolutes presented to us within Scripture? Well, it can’t. And that’s why the Emerging church in particular is doomed to fail in its endeavor. It does indeed have legitimate beefs with the modern day church, and is itself a revolt against many of the problems that I also see within the church. But it has swung out to another extreme. In order to reach the postmodern culture of our time, the Emerging church has adopted postmodern thought as a way to make Christianity more palatable, but this is just not possible. “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:18) If we are preaching the Gospel in its true Scriptural light, why would the word of the cross be folly to those who are perishing unless they deny the truthfulness of what is stated (thus implying the word of the cross is true)? But if we are preaching a relativistic Gospel (and thus a false Gospel) what truth is there to deny? What is faith in Christ except that you are stating His Gospel is indeed true? And so how can relativism be reconciled with the Gospel? It cannot.
Postmodern thought states that there are no absolute truths, and yet the Bible is the entire unfolding of God’s absolute truth. These two approaches to the world and man cannot be reconciled. One is divine, the other is secular and worldly, self-focused. Postmodernism/Relativism is just another philosophy of the age spun out by the world to deny the true God. So why would we want to adopt thinking along these lines? Paul warned the Colossians not to be taken captive by any philosophy or empty deceit in Colossians 2:8. Speaking of absolute truths within Scripture, Jesus said in John 14:6, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” There are no other alternatives.
Truth is not dependent on the individual or what he perceives as reality, a notion that makes self the center of the universe. No individual defines for himself what is right or wrong. They may think they do, but they will think differently when standing before the judgment seat of the eternal God. But rather truth is based on God, who He is, and what He’s done. God defines reality, He alone defines what is true, because He is truth. And He defines right and wrong. For an individual to say “I define my own truth,” is the same as saying he is his own god. We are saved by Grace alone through Faith alone in Christ alone. There can be no “other” way. If someone denies this truth, then so be it, he must answer to God. But there are not multiple ways to God, as if truth were based in the individual. In speaking to the Jews, Peter states in Acts 4:11-12, “This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
In adopting the current philosophy of the age, the Emerging church is self-contradictory in that the very thing it wants to offer, namely salvation through faith in Christ and hope of eternal life in Him, is the very thing it cannot successfully offer, because to offer the Gospel is to imply the truthfulness of it. And as believers, we cannot waiver on the truth of the Gospel. The Gospel is not relative truth, it is absolute.
So what’s the answer to addressing our postmodern culture? A full, unbridled recovery of the Scriptural Gospel within the church, that we may bring it to our culture and that many may be saved through the “foolishness of what we preach,” by the power of God alone. (1 Corinthians 1:18-24) We must reaffirm all of the truths of the Gospel within Scripture, lest the church become even less effective in its witness to our culture than it already has. The answer to the problems the Emerging church sees within the larger evangelical church is not to adopt another secular philosophy in its place, but rather go back to the core of our faith, Christ and Him crucified, and corporately state the doctrinal truths of Scripture. We must return to the Gospel, and by the power of God exhibited through the cross of Christ, not be swayed by the empty deception and philosophy of the world that will not cease to rise and fall until all things are made new by God.
We must stand firm for the cause of the Gospel, for the truthfulness of it, in order that God’s name would be glorified, and that many would be made sons of the living God, by the power of God through the cross. If the church in any way adopts the ways of the world, how can it possibly be effective in its witness for Christ? We must not adopt a dead, fleshly, worldly way of thinking, but rather preach Christ, Him crucified and risen for sinners that have infinitely offended Him, and through that message the power of God through the Holy Spirit can transform the most hostile of sinners.
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