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The Perils of Postmodernism

When we look objectively at the actions and reactions of social activists throughout the world, one principle becomes clear: perceptions and emotions are often prevailing over truth and reality.  Being keenly aware of this, many individuals and institutions which are seeking power and control exploit those who build their worldview around perceptions and emotions.  This exploitation used to occur primarily through organised protests but has now moved to the online world where a simple video (whether factual or fake) has the ability to whip people into a frenzy.    

 

Commonly attributed to Napoleon Bonaparte is the assertion that history is the version of past events that people have decided to agree upon.  Anybody who holds to this view is therefore claiming that historical accounts are subjective and shaped by the collective consensus of individuals, rather than historical fact.  This introduces the idea that history is not an objective record of events but rather has been interpreted and influenced (somewhat subjectively) by various perspectives, biases and agendas.  Therefore, since those who recorded the original events are no longer around, it is claimed that either mankind accepts their record as true (if verified by numerous sources) or reject their record as false (if unverified and contrary to modern biases).  

 

In our age, when discussing worldview, there are two main categories – man-centered reality and God-centered reality.  In a man-centered reality, we find innumerable philosophical viewpoints which seek to answer questions around truth.  One of those viewpoints – postmodernism – asserts that reality is not fixed and stable but rather a social construct created through language, knowledge systems and power structures.  As a result, when it comes to truth, it proposes that there is no grand narrative or single truth, but rather there are multiple interpretations and perspectives.  In many ways, this leads postmodernists to reject thinking based on objectivity and reason.  Sadly, this means that in the mind of a postmodernist, there is no real valid way to measure truth from error, acceptable from unacceptable or right from wrong.  The end result is that, according to postmodernism, all beliefs and perspectives are determined to be equally valid.  This has not led to great social cohesion, as some may have hoped, but to deep and lasting division within our communities.

 

So, what is the major problem with postmodernism?  Fundamentally, it comes down to how truth is treated.  Since the postmodernist does not believe that truth is knowable with certainty, they must uphold a different virtue as part of their vision.  That virtue, as we are all too familiar with, is tolerance.  Or, at least, their view of tolerance, which really means they will only peacefully coexist with those who hold a relativistic worldview (ie. those who believe there is no universal truth and that truth is relative only to the person directly involved – your truth/my truth etc.).  This is why postmodernists completely reject any association with Christians.  Since we embrace a Biblical worldview based on the absolute truth of the Scriptures, postmodernists react by rejecting our beliefs outright on the basis that they insist truth cannot be definitively known.

 

As believers, we must affirm that truth is not only knowable, truth is part of the very character of God.  Consider these passages:-

 

  • Exodus 34:6:  And the Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth. 

  • Psalm 86:15:  But You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth.

  • Deuteronomy 32:4:  He is the Rock, His work is perfect; for all His ways are justice, a God of truth and without injustice; righteous and upright is He.  

  • Psalm 31:5:  Into Your hand I commit my spirit; You have redeemed me, O Lord God of truth.

  • Psalm 96:13:  For He is coming, for He is coming to judge the earth.  He shall judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with His truth.

  • John 18:37:  You say rightly that I am a king.  For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth.  Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.    

 

But, dear reader, we also know that there are principalities, powers and people who actively oppose the truth.  Consider these two well-known passages:-

 

  • John 8:44:  You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do.  He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him.  When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. 

  • Romans 1:18:  For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them.

 

People love the truth when it shines warmly on them but hate it when it rebukes them.  That is why people hate the Word of God – it reveals the true character and darkness of man and his sin.  It also explains why people are so intent on suppressing and perverting the truth of God in this age –it rebukes the vile sins that the world embraces.  But this is a serious matter.  To reject and rebel against the truth of God results in darkness, folly, sin, judgement, and the wrath of God.  Wicked men and women have invited judgement upon themselves because they have dealt flippantly with the truth, forsaking it in favour of earthly riches and power.

 

But God has not left us without hope.  He has gone to great lengths to share His truth with mankind.  In fact, God’s truth has been given to us in a threefold way:-

 

  • His Word is truth.  John 17:17:  Sanctify them by Your truth.  Your word is truth.

  • His Son is truth.  John 14:6:  I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No man comes to the Father except through Me.

  • His Spirit is truth.  1 John 5:6: And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is truth.


What wonderful news: despite the lies of the enemy, truth is attainable!  The Bible which we hold in our hands is the precepts of truth; Jesus who purchased our redemption is the Person of truth and the Holy Spirit who dwells within the believer is the power of truth!  But in this stage of church history, truth is being forsaken because many church leaders want the approval of the world.  So, the church is being manipulated to give up its power and authority in order to adopt a philosophy that is unbiblical, unholy and quite frankly, unwelcome. 

 

We should not have churches that prefer theories over truth; social justice over Scripture; progress over power; play over prayer; speculation over salvation; and feelings over faith.  What the pulpits prioritise, the people will pursue.  It is time that our pulpits once again prioritise God’s truth.   

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