||2014-07-12 13:34:59, 조회 : 1,823, 추천 : 351
| Hello to another beautiful day to continue our study of God’s covenant. We will be continuing by going over chapter 10, Covenant Living in a Postmodern World. As per usual, the author starts off this chapter with verses coming from 1 Peter 4:1-2. |
“Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, that he longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.”
The author also provides, specifically for this chapter, a Postmodern Creed:
I believe in Matter the Indestructible Source,
Fount and Substance of the great Cosmos,
And in Chance, it’s ultimate correlative, our Governor,
Which was conceived by nothing,
Appeared from nothing,
Was deified by frightened men,
Then, cast aside, was dropped and buried,
And descended into ignorance.
Yet in the Enlightened Time it rose again
And ascended to prominence and rule, indivisibly bound
To Matter the Indestructible Source.
From there Chance will come to judge and destroy life and hope.
I believe in Whatever Works for Me,
The freedom of self,
The brotherhood of the like-minded,
The impossibility of sin,
The destruction of the body,
And the coming age of cold and dark.
The author starts off by telling us of a “survey” he did towards a young couple. They looked very dark, in the sense that they were wearing black leather jackets and kind of looks punk-rock style. He asks them a couple questions regarding about God and Jesus and about His Word, the Bible. However, these couples were detached, self-absorbed, giddy, and were indifferent towards the whole questions. This couple are the banners of post-modernism, which is a declaration of the despair of this modern age.
But what this does call upon, to this generation of God’s covenant people, is to serve Him in His Kingdom and through His church. But that will not be quite possible unless we understand the nature of the postmodern outlook. When we know what we’re up against, then we are able to help our contemporaries find a secure and happy home within the framework of God’s covenant and the family of His People. As we come forth from the worship of God to prosecute our mission in a postmodern world, we must make certain that we understand what we are going up against.
So we will be looking at the broad factors of postmodern thinking, explain some of its primary characteristics, and then outline some of its effects on our way of life. Then we will look at a comparison of the gospel of postmodernism with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Lastly, we will make some observations concerning what uniqueness and make our calling and convictions clear to a postmodern generation.
First, we begin with a definition. Postmodernism is a multifaceted and loosely organized response to the perceived failure of the modernist ideal, which promotes radical individualism characterized by passion and pragmatism. And now we will be dissecting this definition.
The first part, postmodernism is a multifaceted and loosely organized. This part is referring to the society, for the most part, teaching us to be whatever we want to be. However, this threatens to destroy everything that is good and wholesome and worth working for because it eliminates the “truth of yesterday” and is pretty much telling you to follow whatever it is you want to follow.
Second part, postmodernism is the response to the perceived failure of the modernist ideal. To the postmodern mind, the modern age seems to be of something of a failure. So what do they perceive? They have four aspects to it.
First is their idea of progression. These people believe that society and the nations are on an ever-improving path for all. All the advancements of science and technology and such, they believe it to be a preparation for their utopian vision. But it is really weird of them to think of it as such because they don’t really care for the future. The thinking of postmodern people is that we live one day at a time, and the main point of each day is not progress but peace in the present.
The second idea is postmodernists rebel against the depersonalization that the modernist idea of progress brought with it. The postmodernist celebrate individuality, unbounded choice, and complete livery of conscience, pretty much going against the modern age.
Third, postmodernism reacts against the tyranny, injustice, and oppression that are the inevitable byproducts of a progressive outlook and a massified society. All forms are to be rejected in favor of the free and unfettered individual who has been liberated to find his or her own way in life without fear of having to please any one.
The fourth idea is that the postmodernists reject the primacy of place given to reason, science, and tradition as the best ways of coming to know what is best for ourselves and our society. They promote passion and pragmatism as central to making one’s way of life. Anything that is believed must have a measure of truth to it. They encourage a view of the truth, where there are many ways of knowing to discover the path that works for them, and then to find that path to happiness and peace. Postmodernist hope to give everyone freedom from modernist restraints to find their own way in life. They want to give a world defined by their own passions and governed by a commitment to “do whatever works for you.”
Now we will be looking at 5 brief characteristics of the postmodern ideology.
The first foundation of the postmodern ideal is radical individualism. Each individual is a law unto himself and must be allowed to live his existence out of his fondest hopes and dreams. All while keeping in mind the constraints of living in society and the individualist prerogatives of everyone one. Since there is no absolute truth, you say what is true and so you do whatever you want. So if their happiness requires of them to lie, cheat, steal, or kill, then they will feel quite justified in doing so.
The second characteristic is that postmodernism promotes a deconstructivist view of truth. Put simply, nothing is what it seems; everything is what you make it. It is telling us to find our own meaning in the words or deeds with which we must deal each day. Even individual words have no specific meaning, and you can take it to whatever you want it to mean.
The third characteristic is that postmodernism prescribes a kind of pragmatic relativism as the guide to personal and social ethics. This means that each of us is free to do whatever we want, as long as we make sure that whatever we do does not stop our ability to keep doing whatever we want. The fourth idea, also seeds of the third. It is the idea that we should consort with others who also find meaning in life by doing whatever we want to do. To find our way of life and find others who see to it the same way. The idea is having a group power with no guide to society, it is up to the smaller groups to create their own lives and how they want to live it.
The final characteristic is what we call sensuality or the primacy of feelings. This is an appeal for such things as sincerity, passion, intensity and so forth as our only and primary guide to life. The saying goes, “just go with your gut feeling.” And we should not allow for others to define or restrain how we may feel.
These five characteristics, individualism, deconstruction, pragmatism, group power, and sensuality, are certainly not the whole post modernism, but they lie somewhere near the main core of it. Postmodernism seeks for confusion in the world, denying truths as we may have known it. It clouds the issue of what is ethically allowed in society, destroying traditional ethics and values and making every person a law on themselves. In that process, postmodernism tries to deny the authority of tradition, putting in doubt the guidance of the truths we may have been told. Similarly, postmodernism looks down upon notions of beauty and goodness, telling everyone to define themselves and see to it how they wish to view it as. Yet as discouraging postmodernism can be, there is much to be learned from it as well.
Especially for us covenant people, unless we understand the times in which we are living, we will NOT be prepared to take appropriate actions that will allow for us to continue to grow in Christ.
Now we can compare the message of postmodernism to the Good News of Jesus Christ. That way we can see the clear difference in the two. We will be approaching this comparison on five points: the foundation principle, the concept of the ultimate, the understanding of the chief end of life, the means to that end, and the end of all things.
First, the foundational principle. For the covenant people, our standing point is that God is speaking to us in His Word. God has revealed Himself in His Word, the Bible, and that we are called to being the whole of our lives under the guiding light of Scripture. We stand on the Word of God and bring every aspect of our lives under it for teaching, correction, and training in righteousness. Although we cannot prove that God is speaking to us in His Word, the Bible has many good and remarkable credentials to its divine origin, and we believe that the holy Spirit of God confirms His voice to us as we approach the study of Scripture in faith.
The postmodernist’s standing point is similar to ours, in the sense, that they also take on a faith perspective. They believe, although it isn’t proven, that they must take their stand in life on passionate pragmatism, believing in their gut instincts, and seeking the best way to actualize their personal lives. Their faith is in themselves, while ours is in God.
Second, the question of the ultimate. For us of the covenant community, God is the ultimate. There is nothing beyond Him and nothing like Him, and everything that exists is completely dependant upon Him. He alone is the ultimate, and everything that is finds its meaning and purpose in His light. For the postmodernist, their ultimate is themselves. They live to define themselves, promote themselves, actualize themselves, help themselves, and celebrate themselves. They cannot think of anything more ultimate than fulfilling whatever he wants to do.
The third point is the chief end of life. Obviously, if we have some idea of the ultimate, then we will naturally have an understanding of the chief end of life, and it will be related to that ultimate. For the members of the covenant community, the chief end of life is to know, and glorify God. To delight in God and to seek Him. For the members of the covenant community, the chief end of life consists of this. For the postmodernist the chief end in life is to know and glorify themselves, which is saying the same thing that we said, but a different ultimate. However, the problem with this point is that the postmodernist will face many conflicts with it. They will soon be able to realize that their views won’t be able to be put on everyone else, and rather they can easily be challenged by someone else who might have the opposite view on life.
The fourth, the means to the end. The fourth point of comparison gets us to the heart of the matter. This means how we hope to realize this chief end of life. The members of the covenant community will easily go to God and he will be able to accomplish the chief ends of life. But this can be a problem of a sort for postmodernist. They will be only able to see their schedule and see limitation on fulfilling their chief end. But two things can be sought out by their reaction: one, we can help them see the inadequacy and uncertainty of his scheme, and second, we can point out to him that those who are in Christ are able to overcome all obstacles that may be in the way.
The last characteristic is the end of all things. This we will definitely have an upper hand, we will say, in excitement, that we will look towards the new heaven and new earth. However, the postmodernist will feel gloomy, for they see that at the end, nothing will occur for them in their ideology. While Christians see the ending of all things with hope, they see it as a wishful thinking.
Unfortunately, there is an occurrence happening with the contemporary Christian churches. They feel that they have to change in order for the people to come to them and in so they are making a man-centered church. This way of thinking and organizing is a HUGE mistake. We can see throughout the Scripture God telling us to be different from the worldly people, not Him telling us to change to our environments. We shouldn’t be catering to man’s wishes, but fulfilling God’s. There are a few things that must be laid out as we are carrying out our covenant calling in the postmodern world.
First, we need and must become more devoted in our approach to life. We must cultivate a more devotional way of living. Our daily lives must be more evidently grounded in God and His truth, and we must be more involved with Him in all our activities. A more devotional life is a life more intensely focused on God at all times. It comes from a frequent exercise of spiritual discipline; is evident in our plans and priorities; and comes to expression in our way of common activities. There must be no misleading thought for the postmodernist to believe when viewing a Christian covenant person.
Second, we must begin to cultivate a more missional outlook on life. We need to present ourselves as a people with a mission. Being blessed of God, we should strive with all our might to serve as his representatives as well as being the bridge to the rest of the world. Every action that we are committing, it should be glorifying God and bringing His rule to bear in our lives. We must begin to see that each one of us have been assigned a mission in which we are to labor as God’s people and work as pleasing God.
Third, we must learn to be more rational. That is, we must take the initiative in getting to know others, taking a keen interest in them, bringing them into our lives, and letting them know by every possible means that we love them as people made in the image of God. We should seek out new people and show ourselves as genuinely concerned about them. Our mission field starts with the path we are going daily. Our mission fields are filled with people we see all the time, many of them we do not know at all, and some only by their name. This situation, we have an opportunity to show the love of Christ and to shine like lights as we do so. Here, we must pray for the gift of hospitality, or generosity. We must develop our speaking skills and listening skills and study to be encouraging and comforting to people in every way we can.
Fourth, we need to become more ministerial, that is, more committed to serving others according to their needs. As spoken, our mission is to make Christ known to our neighbors. In order to do that we must have to get to know them, too let them see that we are genuine and sincere by nothing but love. And when we do so, we begin to view their needs in life. Then we can begin to encourage them and show them the love of Christ all at the same time, seeking to tell them about His love in the gospel.
Fifth, our churches need to become more communal. Jesus tells us that we must labor to maintain our oneness in the body of Christ, for this would be the key to our being able to persuade people. This is no minor task, we would have to work hard to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of pace. We must find ways of spending more time together, making visible our oneness in Christ and learning to delight to service Him together. However, when we don’t, we shouldn’t be surprised when the world turns away from us, for we are not providing the very thing that attracts them, unity in Christ. If we could begin to concentrate more on developing our unity as members of the body of Christ, we begin to see our postmodern friends responding to us more favorably.
Sixth, when we do capture the attention of our postmodern contemporaries, we need to become more liturgical. We are not helping the cause of Christ by bringing our worship of God by dumbing it down. We must not lead our postmodern contemporaries to believe that God is just like them. They need to see Him in His majesty and power; to know that He is our King and Judge; to experience His love, but to tremble in the presence of His holiness as well. They are looking for something more to their lives, something greater than themselves. And when we show them that, we will allow for it to be far more effective than what we are currently doing in drawing our postmodern contemporaries to Christ.
Lastly, in order to be effective the church, as well as members, must become more eschatological in our approach to life. Eschatology meaning the part of theology concerned with death, judgment, and the final destiny of the soul and of humankind. We need to develop a radically different outlook on our lives, one grounded in the conviction of God’s kingdom, and that we shall be called to give to them.
The postmodern age allows for the church of Christ to have a lot of opportunity to make its message clear to the watching world. Let us work hard, in the love of Christ, to get to know the people around us and to serve them out of a unique context of our relationship with God.
To conclude, I hope that you have been able to see the importance of postmodernism when applied to God’s Covenant. Moreover, I hope that you will be able to apply this to yourself and really be able to start your mission in the postmodern age. Also, please put time aside, roughly 40 minutes to listen to this debate between Dr. Ravi Zacharias and Dr. John Lennox against what Dr. Stephen Hawkings says in his recent book. We're on the topic of postmodernism and I listening to this will also assist you in arming one self. The video can be played from the home page, or the link is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EREhY_Okl2M#t=1304. Thank you!
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