How “Post-Modern” Boogie-men Are Dividing the Church

I amazes me how easily we can forget what really is, and replace it with what we think (or wish) it were. As a child I remember looking with growing terror at the boogie-man standing in the corner of my room watching me, I knew it was just a coat hanging from the wall but eventually I had to go turn on the lights to see what it was.

monsters_inc_028

I think the same is true with some Christians and their theology, yet because we are grown-folk we refuse to turn on the lights. There is also another scenario with us adults: sometimes we create the scary image in the corner, because we know if we can get others scared, they will forget what is really there (biblical truth) and in presence of fear we can wield power over people and institutions. I know of “friends” who are very concerned about the theological drift of a local Christian college. Many of them are good, well-intentioned people. However I also believe some of them are seeking power and justification more than the will of our Savior and King. I do not hurl this comment as a slanderous accusation, but as an observation I feel is well documented and demonstrated.

Let me also say why I care about this issue. I have many friends there and I have had great respect for this college. I believe this institution can still do great things for the kingdom. But the issue is much larger than this one school, it is the very way us evangelicals fight and divide over petty issues and do exactly what Jesus warned about in Matthew 23:
“… you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.

One example of replacing what “IS” with what “I THINK IS” is the elevation of “doctrine” over unity. This is part of a protestant belief that “doctrinal purity” is more important than “Christian Unity” One such friend spoke of how the path to destruction comes to an institution “…by watering down its strong doctrinal convictions.” Another wrote disparagingly in a blog as to how some elevate “unity” over doctrinal purity. I wonder if that was a concern for Jesus? If it was, I wonder why he did not pray in Jn 17, “Father, I pray that you will give them all doctrinal purity.” ?

LET ME SAY CLEARLY – I believe there are biblical standards of truth that cannot be compromised. However, I believe too many times we try to include all our doctrinal preferences into the category of “biblical” and use our preferences as the rule for true faith. – and the result is…… ?

I want us to probe this issue, and in my next few posts I want us to consider how Jesus and the apostle Paul supported and even encouraged doctrinal diversity for the sake of unity and the work of the kingdom. Lets try to look at what “IS” and turn on some lights – so we can chase away the boogie-man.

Perhaps post-modernism is not the enemy?

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5 thoughts on “How “Post-Modern” Boogie-men Are Dividing the Church”

  1. weird to read this…I either dreamed about it last night, or just read about it…So major deja-vu happening in my mind.

    So I cannot agree with you more on this. Doctrine is always, and will always be flawed because it is written by humans. No one doctrine can be better than another because they all are imperfect written by those who are imperfect. I too believe that doctrine should NEVER come before unity. I think Christians seem petty and prideful when they judge those of another doctrinal belief as “less than Christan” or “not possibly saved” because they intrpret something a little different. RIDICULOUS!!!

  2. I’m afraid I find your theology a bit skewed. As much as I am a firm believer in unity, I feel we tend to jump in unity too quickly, or even enforce it. Enforced unity is not unity, that would be like putting a band-aid on a leg with an infectious disease and saying it’s healed. Even though the band-aid is covering the infected area it will eventually spread to the rest of the body and instead of chopping off the problem you put the entire body at risk. And I believe it was Paul who told us not to be conformed to this world, but instead discern things that question the relevancy and authority of God. And by doing this we are transformed in knowing the will of God, what is acceptable and perfect.
    Post-modernism tends to miss out on that and instead pushes the problems under a rug. But eventually there are tentacles growing out from under your rug and the next thing you know your dog is missing. We must stand up as Christians against things that make the Bible less relevant or that question Jesus being the only way to salvation. If we step aside and sit on our hands the enemy will set up strongholds wherever he likes. We live in times where things are becoming more black and white, yet so many live in the gray.
    Post-modernism teaches that we cannot know truth, yet Jesus tells us that He is absolute truth. That’s a BIG problem with post-modernism.

  3. Thanks John – Your answer shows a piece of the issue I want us to address, “what-is “post-modernism” ?? ”

    I’m not aware that there is a place creating post-modern dogma – most people that are post-modern (by any definition) don’t know it – they didn’t get a card in the mail, they didn’t join an association – one thing I think we can agree on is that “PM” is a way of thought that defines those who reject the modernism (that arose from the enlightenment period and on) as the ONLY way to define and experience the world around us.

    So do ALL postmodernist reject the idea of any absolute truth – NO –

    The post modern boogie man the church fears is a straw man that has been created by theologians who see that the theologies in which they put their faith no longer communicate to the people of our world – so instead of seeking to better communicate the truth of Jesus – they blame society for their inability to reflect the light of God to a fallen world

    This does not lead us to a “slippery slope” toward apostasy – As long as we cling to the Jesus as revealed in scripture and present in spirit.

    Jesus and the disciples communicated quite well in a world before modernism – narratives and community were central pieces of understanding truth that was personal and transforming – then truth became cold, linear, and external.

    Maybe we can learn how to communicate the gospel in a PM world not by “Howling at the Moon” – but learning from the Lord how to bring good news to the world we are in – not to the one our pet theology was written in…..

    More to come…

  4. HERE ARE SOME RESPONSES THAT WERE POSTED on FACEBOOK

    Brian T (Northwestern MN) wrote
    at 11:18pm on November 25th, 2008

    This is so true, Marque. I also loved your thoughts the other day when you talked about the emphasis of ‘perfect doctrine’ over ‘faith in Jesus.’ Thanks for this post, and remember, I owe you a lunch now…
    Report – Delete

    Amanda F (Northwestern MN) wrote
    at 11:46pm on November 25th, 2008
    Correct me if I am wrong in my understanding on this article, but I am going to attempt to respond.

    I agree that I too have fears that change in the church have been related to a movement known as Post Modernism. That people are afraid that the farther and farther away we get from traditional Christianity the closer we get to hell and the end time. I think Post modernism, though labeled, is something we cannot stop. More and more in today’s church we are finding that traditions were wrapped in discrimination. ( I state this beyond race) We used our traditions to excuse why we thought it was okay not to be in unity, we judged one another only laying our guards down if someone gave into our personal opinions. I have room to speak this way because I too was a victim of this thought and had to fight it away. It is not the change or even the post-modernism way that is single handedly marking the demise of our church’s today. Instead I believe it is our OWN hearts. Our unwillingness to “turn on the lights” to our own garbage. We are so rooted in how we think church should look like that as soon as growth or change happens that is not to our allowing or control we mark it as the work of Satan. Now this is not true in every case I am being exaggerate to make a point. I think Pastor Efrem has said it clearly before. If we only go to church because we see him, if we stop going to sanctuary cause we have no building, cause no choir is singing, no organ is being played then we are not truly coming to church. Church is not a building or a structure that we must apply rules to, to support. Church is people and the unifying of a people who are now family through the blood of the lamb. No more excuses! we have to love one another even if what the other is doing is not what we are used to. If change affects us negatively, we only have ourselves to blame.

    Again, If I have not responded to this note properly, let me know. I feel honored to be able to share my thoughts!

  5. I fear that we are once again caught in the heresy of a false dilemma. Jesus does not want us to decide whether truth or unity is more important. He wants us to be unified in Him, the truth. Someone once asked me at what price would He seek unity? Unity over the truth? I replied, “At the greatest of prices, His very death on the cross.” He died so that we would be unified. He prayed in His final days for our unity. We must not quibble away centuries because Jesus’ desires (prayers) will not be thwarted. But while we try to foil His greatest desire in our vain attempts to “protect” God, many people are dying without knowing the Truth (Jesus) because of our desperation to keep him so pure that no one can even see Him in us.

    This post-modern argument is a vain argument which St. Paul tells us to avoid. We cannot help living after the age of modernism so we are all by default thinking in the era we live in. That does not mean that we don’t need to be careful about false teachings. But we also need to be careful about divisiveness which is named in the lists of things that will also send us to hell. I am more concerned about those who have never been interested in Christ. What do they see when we cannot love the brother whom we can see?

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