Theology's Latest Black Hole

It is hard to look at the new fads in theology and take them all that seriously, considering that there is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9) and that the 21st century is littered with repackaged theories that have failed in centuries before. Postmodernism fits such a category, except like the black holes of the universe, it threatens to swallow up and destroy anything that ventures close enough to come under its gravitational pull; and there are some foolish enough to come under its spell who do not recognize the doom staring them in the face.

That is the concern we have for a system that denies the very existence of absolute Truth. It is the ultimate destination of those who relentlessly have pursued the goal of Relativism in every aspect of our lives and have preached the gospel of Toleration of everything and anything-except Biblical Christianity, of course. It has all the earmarks of rampant Existentialism and offers no more hope than Nihilism. It embraces the subjective spirit of Neo-Orthodoxy and is as reactionary as the antiwar movements of the 60's. On its face, it promises to open wide the door to personal freedoms to a generation that has known more choices than any generation before it and has been taught that the pleasure of the individual is the supreme end of human existence. Remember Peter's words in II Peter 2:18-20:
For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error. While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage. For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.
The promise of liberty, however, has already begun to unravel; and we would do well to give Postmodernism and its prophets wide berth, lest we be overcome again by what we had escaped before by the grace of God.

Those hovering closest to the back hole of Postmodernism seem to be the Evangelicals and Pseudo-Fundamentalists. These are the ones who have politicized the work of the Lord, being driven more by the "Church according to Barna," removing any potentially offensive titles, like Baptist, and pronouncing themselves to be seeker-sensitive. At best, it is a confusing bait-and-switch ploy to bring people in the doors on their terms and send them out with a weak Gospel commercial. At worst, it is the gutting of any substantial preaching about sin, judgment, Hell or the necessity of being born again from above. However, what is not realized is that once they cross the precipice of Postmodernism, not even a weakened Gospel will matter any longer. With the "death" of Absolute Truth, any pretense toward Biblical authority will be irrelevant. Salvation will be come as you please, if necessary at all. Everything will be absorbed into the here and now, with no more need for churches than Liberalism had in the century before.

The truth, however, is that Postmodernism is a failure because it has only served to enlarge the spiritual void in the hearts of men more than any of its theoretical ancestors. It has vainly tried to solve the problems of men by attempting to deny or remove the vital questions of life and eternity, instead of providing truthful and fulfilling answers. The result has been, yea can only be, a nagging hunger for something more and better than the hopeless black hole of Nihilism. I am so glad that we have something far better to offer to any age, anywhere, that will fill that spiritual void.

First, let us understand that Postmodernism is yet another attack upon Biblical Christianity. It is our sworn enemy, not to be coddled nor embraced as friendly or neutral on any terms. Postmodernism has no time for the Biblical supernatural, although it may indulge experimentally into New Age, the occult and Satanism. Its priesthood can be drawn from the ranks of business or secular psychology, and its gospel is self-realization and self-esteem. It is utterly secular and mundane, seeking unity at the expense of any defining doctrine; and it requires that any instruction, religious or otherwise, be culturally relevant and culturally conditioned. At the same time, however, it has been clever enough to adapt religious-sounding language to deceive the people and achieve its anti-Christian goals.

It is a challenge to our steadfastness that we would not be deceived nor discouraged by the impact of Postmodernism. While it makes our outreach more complicated, even challenging, we must remain confident that the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the whole counsel of the Word of God remain the only answers that truly satisfy the needs of the soul. The 1964 presidential race was marked by the campaign slogan of Barry Goldwater: “A choice, not an echo.” While that slogan did not overcome the rising tide of anti-conservatism in that election, it is a noble principle that ought not to be lost in this current battle. One of the current authors on Postmodernism, Gene Edward Veith, Jr, looks to our role in filling the void left by Postmodernism:
"...Christians, if they are to be an alternative to postmodern relativism, need to confess their faith in word and deed...Biblical churches with doctrinal integrity will have a stronger witness than muddled, eager-to-please-everyone congregations that do not stand for anything in particular." (P. 220) He further writes:"The postmodern mind is open to the past...The traditions of the church- including traditional forms of worship-may have more appeal than we realize, especially to a generation that lacks traditions but yearns for them...Churches are right to seek ways to communicate with and appeal to contemporary society. They must remember, however, that while they need to reach out to postmoderns, they dare not leave them where they found them...The church may have to appeal to people's emotions, but it then must teach them how to think Biblically." (P. 227)

Lastly, Veith offers this conclusion:"Throughout its history, the church has always had two options-to go along with the times or to counter them. One could argue that the most vital theological movements in church history have been those which went against the trends of their time." (P. 230)
I think the Apostle Paul already taught us that in Romans 12:2, "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."

Postscript: If you want to read more about Postmodernism, I suggest the following:
1. Postmodern Times: A Christian Guide to Contemporary Thought and Culture, Gene Edward Veith, Jr. Note: If you can’t wade through the first nine chapters, be sure to read the last four.
2. This Little Church Stayed Home: A Faithful Church in Deceptive Times; Gary E. Gilley Note: A book on the subject for the rest of us.

Dr. Charles L. Dear