Post-modern what? Exactly — you need a bit of background to understand how people claiming to be Christians can deny so much of what the Bible actually says, justifying the contradiction by an infection of post-modern philosophy.
It may sound unimportant, but as the church embraces post-modern philosophy (whether knowing it or not) it’s vital for you to understand the ideas behind the heresy. Rather than debunking each heresy-of-the-week, learn the strange idea behind the heresy, and you’ll easily spot tomorrow’s new fad.
Post-modern philosophy at its core emphasizes experience over logic, feelings over facts, and group-think consensus instead of truth. Thus truth becomes relative (it’s whatever the group thinks at the time) and not absolute.
… it holds realities to be plural and relative, and to be dependent on whom the interested parties are and of what their interests consist. It supports the belief that there is no absolute truth and that the way in which different people perceive the world is subjective.
Perhaps you’ve heard the line “that’s truth for you, but not for me”. That sums up post-modern thought — truth is relative to the person and society, changing as those change.
Of course, 2 plus 2 still equals 4, no matter what you (or the group) think. That by itself should sink the ship of post-modernism, but unfortunately instead of fading out, it’s become a fad as the cancer spreads in the church.
The Post-Modern Connection to Progressive “Christianity”
Progressive theology groups like Sojourners (falsely) claim social justice is integral to the gospel in clear contradiction to the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 15; Sojourners’ Jim Wallis repeatedly states social justice is “at the heart” of the gospel, while Paul says:
Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you … Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures (1 Corinthians 15)
How is it possible to reconcile Jim Wallis’ strange idea with Paul’s clear definition?
- Paul was wrong, neglecting to mention the essence of the gospel.
- Use post-modern dialectic thought claiming Paul’s truth wasn’t absolute.
Either way, you’re not in good company, and Wallis and Sojourners remain on shaky ground (read that: non Biblical). You must make a choice: either the Bible is right, or Jim Wallis is — but they can’t both be correct since they’re contradictory.
Radical progressives peddling bizarre concepts like social justice claim both are right, a classic case of Cognitive Dissonance (holding contradictory ideas simultaneously) — what Orwell called “Doublethink”. If you’re firmly in the no-absolute-truth post-modern camp, you can hold contradictory ideas in spite of common sense (and their conflict with Biblical truth).
Post-Modern Definition of Sin
Bizarre post-modern thought also appears in a relativistic definition of sin:
From time to time, I have been asked in the academic classrooms where I have taught to define what I mean by sin. I always respond by saying, “Sin is what diminishes the humanity of another person and of the self.”
Remember David when he murdered one of his men? What did he say to God in Psalm 51 — “Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight”. No mention of “dehumanizing”, the offense is always against God.
How do these groups contradict the Bible while claiming to accept it as truth? Post-modern dialectic thinking, where no absolutes exist, and truth changes — because it’s relationships over reality, and feelings over facts. As John Loeffler says, we’ve gone from being right to feeling good about being wrong.
In other words, abandoning the truth of the Bible for bizarre philosophy like post-modernism.
The Post-Modern Connection to the Emerging Church
The emerging church fad shares much with post-modern philosophy.
The third kind of emerging postmodernity attracts all the attention. Some have chosen to minister as postmoderns. That is, they embrace the idea that we cannot know absolute truth, or, at least, that we cannot know truth absolutely. They speak of the end of metanarratives and the importance of social location in shaping one’s view of truth.
Notice the post-modernist idea absolute truth doesn’t exist, even in the Bible.
Denying absolute truth? What is the Bible then? Just a paperclip waiting to be twisted into whatever you want. It’s not the inerrant Word of God, just a “guide”.
Where post-modern Philosophy Leads
Does a lack of absolute truth, relative values, and experience over reality sound like Biblical truth? Obviously not.
Progressive Christianity, social justice, post-modern this, emerging that, and so on may hold different views, but they share dialectic post-modern group-think (truth is relative). Ask them their views on the Bible, and they’ll likely tell you it’s God’s Word, but after listening to them for a while you’ll notice they don’t exactly hold to an inspired, inerrant view of the Bible.
You can ask them where (for example) social justice exists — where did Jesus or any New Testament writer say the church should lobby a secular government for forced redistribution? They know it doesn’t exist, thus must rationalize away their bizarre non Biblical ideas, using … surprise! … post-modern value-relativistic philosophy.