The moral and spiritual decline you and I are witnessing today (postmodernism) is rooted in a rejection of Judeo-Christian values and assumptions dating back to the Reformation and Enlightenment Periods; values and assumptions that fostered the Industrial Revolution and the Information Age. Some of those assumptions were the inevitably of progress, the invincibility of science, the desirability of democracy and the unquestioned rights of the individual. 1
The net result of the current decline is the loss of confidence in, and rejection of objective truth, values, authority, and the structures that gave them to us, such as institutions of learning, the government, churches, parental authority. From the postmoderns perspective, it was these established values and institutions that taught us the so-called inevitability of progress, the invincibility of science, the superiority of democracy, and the unquestioned rights of the individual; values they believe that resulted in the depletion of natural resources, environmental pollution, the fear of global warming, and the increasing disparity between the worlds rich and poor. 1 Uncoupled from societys centuries old foundation, the postmodern is left to fend for himself as he chooses to determine truth, subjected only to his own interpretation and judgment. Is it any wonder that common among postmoderns is a spirit of pessimism and cynicism as they attempt to decide what is real, and what can be trusted?
How do their values play out in daily life? 2
- They choose to believe that each individuals beliefs, values, lifestyles, and claims to truth are equal.
- They wholeheartedly approve of others beliefs or lifestyle choices.
- They believe that we have no right to judge another persons views or behavior.
- They accept the idea that everyone has the right to do what he or she believes is best for himself or herself.
From a Biblical perspective, what will be some of the long term effects of postmodernism?
Rejection of authority that will result in societal chaos: When people do not accept Divine Guidance, they run wild… In those days there was no king in Israel. People did whatever they felt like doing. (Pro. 29:18 NLT; Jud. 17:6)
Unbridled actions that will lead to unintended consequences: There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to deathBe happy, young man, while you are young, and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth. Follow the ways of your heart and whatever your eyes see, but know that for all these things God will bring you to judgmentDon’t be misled: No one makes a fool of God. What a person plants, he will harvest. The person who plants selfishness, ignoring the needs of othersignoring God! harvests a crop of weeds. All he’ll have to show for his life is weeds! But the one who plants in response to God, letting God’s Spirit do the growth work in him, harvests a crop of real life, eternal life (Pro. 16:25; Ecc. 11:9; Gal. 6:7,8 Msg)
How am I as a follower of Christ to relate to, and influence the postmodern person?
- Understand that many are looking for spirituality, wherever they can find it. Many are painfully aware of the emptiness and purposelessness of their lives.
- Realize that most postmoderns hunger for relationships that are real and meaningful.
- Be aware that many postmoderns are looking for authenticity, and will embrace people who possess it.
- Know that if postmoderns are to accept the truth of the Gospel, it will probably happen over a sustained period of time as they observe the Gospel lived out. That is, conversion will probably be process driven, rather than event driven.
Question: Are you indisputably committed to a biblical world view and lifestyle, regardless of the shifting values and mores of society? At whatever the cost? Because cost you it will. When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?" (Psa. 11:3) (See Psa. 60:1-3; 78:60-64; Isa. 24:1-12; 2 Tim. 2:19)
Dont let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould, but let God re-mould your minds from within, so that you may prove in practice that the plan of God for you is good, meets all his demands, and moves toward the goal of true maturity. (Rom. 12:2 Philips Translation) (See Exo.. 23:2; Deu. 18:9-14; Jn. 15:19; 17:14; Eph. 2:2; 4:17-20)
1 Toward a Theological Understanding of Postmodernism, Daniel J. Adams
2 Adapted from The Last Christian Generation, Josh McDowell, Key Green Books, Holiday FL, 22, 23