A Look at Postmodernism—Part 7

Postmodernists believe in the “power and poverty” of language, and that leads to subjectivity. Again this is in clear refuation of the modernist belief that reason will reach an objective, verifiable truth.

But to avoid the modernist concept of the evolving Genius or Superman which leads to elitist individuality, the postmodernist sees the subjectivism of the community not of individuals: “Subjectivity for the postmodernist, then, is not individualiastic; it is corporate, reflecting a community’s model of truth”
(How Postmodernism Serves (My) Faith, Crystal Downing, IVP, 2006).

While deconstruction acknowledges the existence of objective truth “our knowledge of those truths is always implicated by the models that shape our subject positions.”

Downing goes on to explain the concept of “situatedness” that causes a person to interpret what he sees from his own experience. Her example is what a 17th century New Yorker might have said about his city compared to what a 21st century observer would have said. The difference is in their situation.

And then this:

Christians need to think more earnestly about the cultural construction of knowledge, remembering that followers of Christ in one era used the Bible to “reasonably” argue [against women’s rights] while equally earnest disciples in the next used different verses to “reasonably” argue the opposite.
– p.154

Never mind that her New York City model is flawed because the city actually did change and any accurate reports should reflect those differences. Here’s the crux of the problem as it applies to looking at Scripture.

As I mentioned in a comment recently, some people USE the Bible—as if it was a catalogue of ideas they can rifle through, picking out the ones that support their own beliefs while ignoring or twisting the ones that might shed a different light on whatever the subject might be.

This was never God’s intention. His Word is His revelation of Himself, His work, His ways. We are to learn of Him and how He engaged with people throughout time, how He promised a Messiah and fulfilled that promise.

How Messiah disappointed the expectations of the people in His day because they were looking for a temporal conqueror to ease their lives, heal them, give them the power and independence they craved.

How instead, He came to yield up His life. To pay long term for those who would in turn yield back to Him.

In other words, the Bible is to inform our very lives. It is to color how we see the world.

That the Bible has been misused by people claiming the name of Jesus in no way changes the reality that it does reveal Truth. This is Unchanging Truth—it is about Immutable God. This is authoritative Truth—it is given by Sovereign God.

To infer that the problem is reason or language or the cultural construction of knowledge rather than the misuse of Scripture is missing the trees for the forest.

Published in: on September 12, 2006 at 10:32 am  Comments (4)  
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