ARE YOU A POST-MODERN CHRISTIAN IN A POSTMODERN CHURCH?
“Post modernism is characterized by characterized by intellectual relativism, a chaos
of mind. Postmodernism is not just moral relativism. It’s much worse than that –
it’s absolute relativism, a relativism of truth. What may be true for you isn’t true for me.
Modernism replaced God with human reason; now postmodernism replaces
reason with raw feeling.”
—Philip Ryken, City on a Hill, 2003
Christianity in America has been inundated with, and is perhaps mostly influenced now, by the postmodern, post-truth philosophy and culture that is now destroying America. Churches and individual Christians now think and operate on a “There’s your truth and then, there’s my truth” basis; and an “If it feels good do it” kind of truth. This is the philosophy of those who have “changed the truth of God into a lie” (Rom. 1:25a).
Where Most of the Blame Belongs
There’s little mystery involved in why American Christianity is in the condition it’s in. Most of the blame for this belongs to preachers; preachers, who, as much as anyone else, have ceased to recognize the authority of the Word of God, and have taken a pragmatic – “whatever works to build and keep a crowd” – approach to preaching and pastoring.
Of course there is no room for preaching and teaching relative to biblically defined holiness in today’s pragmatic, “whatever works to build and keep a crowd” approach to soul winning and discipleship. Preaching and teaching that encourages practical holiness and sound, scripturally based, separation from the world militates against the aims and agendas of “whatever works to build and keep a crowd” church growth enthusiasts. This, in spite of what the Bible says in hundreds and hundreds of passages like the following:
“He hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy
and without blame before him in love:”
“Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:”
"But as He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;
Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.
—”1 Pet. 15, 16
Label it Legalism
Personal sanctification and practical holiness is now whatever preachers say it is, and what professed Christians decide to believe it is. They’ve adopted the tried and proven mechanism of labeling to simply dismiss and discredit any inconvenient truth that challenges or threatens to expose the falseness of their aims and agendas. They have simply labeled the whole concept of personal sanctification as “legalism.” Never mind that “legalism” is a term that has historically referred to the idea that people are saved by their own works, and that ithas nothing to do with Bible teaching relative to practical, progressive, personal sanctification.
Today’s “If it feels good do it” crowd of professed Christians and “whatever works to build and keep a crowd” gaggle of preachers have simply labeled all teaching and belief in practical holiness as legalism. And, Wa-La! great numbers of self-centered, spiritually shallow and silly-minded people have bought into this lie lock, stock and barrel.
Ridicule, Mockery and Scorn for Holiness Teaching
The postmodern, post-truth “set” of modern day Christians and culturally conformed preachers have adopted another tried and proven technique for discrediting and dispensing with any opposing position; here's how they respond to the biblical concept of practical holiness: They ridicule it over and over, again and again. They mimic the snarky, sarcastic, think-they’re-cute, liberal political pundits, Hollywood comedians and late night show hosts who repeatedly make fun of traditional American values, morality and simple goodness.
Are there biblical principles that speak authoritatively to every aspect of a Christian’s lifestyle? And are there Christians who believe in, appreciate, and try to abide by them? Then, laugh at, mock and ridicule them. Talk about how old fashioned, wrong and hurtful this "holier-than-thou," "legalism" is to the cause of Christ. Flaunt the worldliness of your own lifestyle; flaunt it in your “worship” services. Show the poor ignorant rest of us how truly spiritual Christians live, and how really successful churches operate. Ridicule is a popular and oftentimes potent weapon for destroying someone else’s position on anything; and there's seems to be no limit to how much postmodern Christians are willing to use it.
America’s postmodern, post-truth. post-Christian culture is a perfect fit for preachers and churches whose aim is to do “whatever works to build and keep a crowd.” They aren’t going to let any obstructionist truth in God’s Word get in the way of what they feel they need to do or not do, or preach or not preach, to build and keep a crowd. Such biblical concepts as personal sanctification and practical holiness don’t lend themselves to the expansion and multiplication of church “campuses.”
Are you a postmodern “Christian” in a postmodern “church”? If so, one, possibly two, things are necessary, even spiritually critical, for you. The first is, that you examine yourself whether ye be in the faith” (2 Cor. 13:5); that is, “make your calling and election sure” (2 Pet. 1:10); that is, make sure whether or not you have really been saved. The second thing necessary, whether you know you are saved, know you are not saved, or are not sure whether or not you are saved, is that you get out of your postmodern church as quickly as you can. Get into a church that really preaches and teaches and believes in following the plain teachings of the Word of God in all matters of doctrine and lifestyle.