Wednesday, March 11, 2020
POSTMODERNISM AND A NEW "BACK TO THE BIBLE" REFORMATION
We live in a postmodern world where any concept of objective truth and reality has been rejected. Not only have the postmodernists rejected the Biblical worldview on which Western civilization was founded, they have rejected the modern Enlightenment worldview that exalted “reason” as the path for discovering truth.
The Postmodernist Creates His Own Truth
For the postmodernist, truth and reality are not to be discovered, they are to be created. Therefore, if biology tells me I am a man, I do not have to accept it. I can self-identify as a woman because I am free to create my own truth system and my own reality.
Is this not the lie the serpent presented to our first parents? If they would reject God’s command, they themselves would be as gods, knowing [determining] good and evil. (Genesis 3:1-4). In other words, they could create their own moral and ethical system apart from God. Sadly, this same destructive belief system is being taught in schools throughout America.
Postmodernism is obviously very “I” or ego centered. Even science and biology must be rejected to accommodate “my” feelings and desires. Truth and reality is what “I” decide it to be and the rest of the world is obligated to accept and accommodate me in my pursuit of self-fulfillment.
This rejection of objective truth is also leading to religious syncretism, which is the combining of different belief systems. Students of mine at a Christian University visited a Buddhist temple as part of their assignment for a class on world religions. They were greeted by a man who introduced himself as a “Christian Buddhist.”
A headline in the Dallas Morning News reads, “One Part Jesus, Two Parts Buddha.” The writer goes on to explain that a popular trend in America is for people to concoct their own personal religion by borrowing what they like from various religions.
When postmodern thinking seeps into the church, we see a loss of any emphasis on consecration, commitment, and sacrifice. The call of Jesus to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him is seldom if ever heard (Luke 9:23-24). The emphasis, instead, is on “me” and my feelings and how I can have feel-good experiences with God apart from the call to repentance and holy living.
The postmodern way of thinking leads to confusion, and will ultimately destroy individuals, families, churches and entire societies. This is why we must have a “Back to the Bible” Reformation.
The Bible Has Shaped World History
The Bible is a book infused with life and power. It provided the intellectual and moral foundation for Western Civilization and for America. A ten-year study to determine where America’s founders got their ideas for the nation’s founding documents discovered that they quote the Bible far more than any other source. And in a December 1982 article in Newsweek entitled “How the Bible Made America,” the authors state,
For centuries [the Bible] has exerted an unrivaled influence on American culture, politics and social life. Now historians are discovering that the Bible, perhaps even more than the Constitution, is our founding document: the source of the powerful myth of the United States as a special, sacred nation, a people called by God to establish a model of society, a beacon to the world.
The great church historian, Philip Schaff, said, “Every true progress in church history is conditioned by a new and deeper study of the Scriptures.” Indeed, virtually all the great revivals of Christian history have begun with a new and in-depth study of God’s word.
For example, the great Methodist revival that transformed 18th century England, began with John and Charles Wesley, George Whitefield, and others at Oxford University studying the Greek New Testament each evening from 6–9 p.m. John Wesley judged every manifestation and revelation by the word of God and once declared, “Let me be a man of One Book.”
Jonathan Edwards, who ignited the Great Awakening in New England, was known to study the Bible for many hours each day. At the height of the Awakening he said that there was “no book so delightful as the Bible.” He went on to say, “Some, by reason of their love to God’s word, at times have been wonderfully delighted and affected at the sight of a Bible."
George Whitefield who spread the Awakening up and down the eastern seaboard, was also a man of One Book. After being born again through the ministry of the Wesleys at Oxford, he experienced an insatiable hunger for God’s word, and wrote,
My mind now being more open and enlarged, I began to read the Holy Scriptures on my knees, laying aside all other books, and praying over, if possible, every line and every word.
Whitefield’s sermons, which he preached to thousands in the open air, were Bible based. He always began with a Biblical passage, such as the Ten Virgins or the Healing of Blind Bartimaeus, and then elaborated and made application of those passages to his audience.
Charles Finney the 19th century “Prince of Revivalists” was consumed with God’s word. He tells how during his preparation for the ministry, and struggling with traditional theology, he turned to the Bible, which he read on his knees. He wrote.
Often when I would leave Mr. Gale, I would go to my room and spend a long time on my knees over my Bible. Indeed, I read my Bible on my knees a great deal during those days. I had nowhere to go but directly to the Bible.
The modern Pentecostal-Charismatic revival began in a Bible school in Topeka Kansas in 1901. The students at Bethel Bible College were focused on studying various Biblical doctrines including the baptism in the Holy Spirit, and out of their study came a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
We Must Learn to “Think Biblically”
When, in later life, Martin Luther was asked how he, a simple monk and professor, was able to have such an impact on the church and empire, he replied,
I simply taught, preached, wrote God’s word; otherwise, I did nothing. The Word so weakened the papacy that never a prince or emperor did such damage to it. I did nothing. The Word did it all.
We have some great singing, musical and artistic ministries in the church today, but unless we recover an emphasis on God’s word and regain a Biblical worldview, we will have failed in our mission and this generation will be lost.
This article is derived from the Preface of Think Biblically, a teaching manual/study guide available from Dr. Eddie Hyatt's website at www.eddiehyatt.com/bookstore.html. Dr. Hyatt is teaching this "Think Biblically" course each Tuesday evening and the live stream can be accessed from his website and his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/dreddiehyatt.