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Offline ellisadam

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Postmodern/Modern Theology Poll
« on: Mon Mar 06, 2006 - 15:40:47 »
Which statement most closely represents your thinking?  Please explain your answer.  This poll is sort of based on a conversation under in Book Reviews.
AE

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Postmodern/Modern Theology Poll
« on: Mon Mar 06, 2006 - 15:40:47 »

Offline Arkstfan

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« Reply #1 on: Mon Mar 06, 2006 - 15:48:46 »
Modernism and postmodernism are both flawed and one can sit around grousing about their flaws until the cows come home. The model one ought to look at is the Apostle Paul who engaged Greeks using their own system of reasoning and Jews using scripture.

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« Reply #1 on: Mon Mar 06, 2006 - 15:48:46 »

Offline kanham

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« Reply #2 on: Mon Mar 06, 2006 - 16:29:00 »
I voted that both are fundamentally flawed, something I read in Genesis seems to guarantee such, but we must engage our culture. With that said I think it is just as important to understand the need to engage the Modern culture, a lot of people fit that category today and are being ran over by those who want to engage culture.

There is still a modern culture that needs engaged. If PM people want people to tolerate and give up their modernity they should also be willing to give up their post modernity.

Let’s see that happen.

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« Reply #2 on: Mon Mar 06, 2006 - 16:29:00 »

boringoldguy

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Postmodern/Modern Theology Poll
« Reply #3 on: Mon Mar 06, 2006 - 16:44:16 »
I didn't vote because nobody has yet explained to me what post-modernism is.
It seems to me, however,  that the refusal to commit to anything, even a definition,  is an indication that whatever it is,  it won't serve Christians particularly well.

As far as this \"engaging the culture\" business goes,  I think it's mostly just a cop-out.  (I know,  I'm dating myself.)     Our business as Christians is to be witnesses and will quite frequently involve us in challenging our culture.   But I don't really see any of that going on.    What I've seen in the name of post-modernism is mostly compromise and conciliation and \"accepting\" things and being \"open.\"

(Edited to continue my rant)

In particular,  as best I can tell,  \"engaging the culture\"  mostly seems to mean some combination of the following:

1.   Getting a tatoo;
2.   Getting some piece of metal stuck in my face;
3.   Dressing like a slob;
4.   Going to movies that celebrate whatever sexual perversion is fashionable this season;
5.   Listening to some greasy-haired, pasty-faced, malignant-looking post-adolescent who can neither read music nor speak coherently mutter vulgarities and pretending that it's music.
6.   Denying that anything is worth upsetting anybody over,  because, hey, we're all going the same place man, we're just taking different roads.

In short,  I regard postmodernism as a trahison des clercs without parallel since classical times.    Those people who attempt to give this drivel a fig-leaf of academic and philosophical respectability make me want to hurl.

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« Reply #3 on: Mon Mar 06, 2006 - 16:44:16 »

Offline Nevertheless

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Postmodern/Modern Theology Poll
« Reply #4 on: Mon Mar 06, 2006 - 20:39:25 »
BOG :givingkiss:

Quote
As far as this \"engaging the culture\" business goes,  I think it's mostly just a cop-out.  (I know,  I'm dating myself.)     Our business as Christians is to be witnesses and will quite frequently involve us in challenging our culture.   But I don't really see any of that going on.[/b]    What I've seen in the name of post-modernism is mostly compromise and conciliation and \"accepting\" things and being \"open.\"

We also don't have enough Christian leaders challenging fellow Christians.  It's much more popular to tell people that God wants them to be healthy and wealthy than to remind them of Jesus' words, \"If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.\"

ETA:
I voted with the majority because I think every human philosophy is basically flawed.  I also agree that we need to engage our culture, but that doesn't mean become just like those around us.  I don't have to have the same disease as someone in order to be qualified to drive him to the hospital . . .[/color]

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« Reply #4 on: Mon Mar 06, 2006 - 20:39:25 »



Offline johntwayne

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« Reply #5 on: Mon Mar 06, 2006 - 20:45:28 »
A few definitions are in order...

As I understand it modernism was the idea that man, through science and knowledge, could solve his problems.  It failed.

Postmoderism is the resulting state.  We know now that science and knowledge are not going to solve our problems so post-modernism advocates.....

Well, what exactly does it advocate?

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« Reply #5 on: Mon Mar 06, 2006 - 20:45:28 »

Offline david johnson

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« Reply #6 on: Tue Mar 07, 2006 - 04:07:23 »
trust no pomo.  they'll all change their minds, anyway. :D

dj

Offline Skip

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« Reply #7 on: Tue Mar 07, 2006 - 09:18:47 »
In my understanding...

While I'm not entirely sold on Modernism, at least it can define sin, and handle the concepts of Good and Evil. Modernism can handle the concept of an absolute Authority with power to define moral laws (God).

Post-modernism cannot do so. It is limited by the basic concept of tolerance (never condemnation) of the choices of humans. Morality is human-centric, not God-defined.

Offline Arkstfan

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« Reply #8 on: Tue Mar 07, 2006 - 11:21:22 »
Well defining what pomo is comes close to trying to nail jello to the wall.

In general I'd say that most pomo's would contend that you have to discern what is truth to you but that what you deem truth would not bind them to reach the same conclusion.

Modernism says there is no scientific proof that God exists therefore he does not. Which led to some bizarre apologetics trying to \"scientifically\" prove God.

Postmodernism says that you have to discern for yourself based upon your own experience and knowledge and the answer you reach is valid for you.

Whether one likes postmodernism or not, thinks it silly or not, the reality is that it is growing and we better learn how to present the Gospel to those folks. My intuition is that using more spiritual texts such as John's Gospel that there may be many new opportunities given to us.

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« Reply #8 on: Tue Mar 07, 2006 - 11:21:22 »

Offline Lee Freeman

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Re: Postmodern/Modern Theology Poll
« Reply #9 on: Tue Mar 07, 2006 - 17:03:51 »
Does postmodernism go too far? Sure. But there is biblical precedent for "becoming all things to all men whereby I might save some."

Christians standing in their pulpits yelling to non-Christians that they're all going to hell hasn't been much of a solution. Non-Christians see angry Christians on the 700 Club condeming lots of things but hardly ever affirming anything. The secular culture knows us more for what we're against than for what we stand for.

The message doesn't change but the way we present the message is flexible.

Pax vobiscum.

Offline James Rondon

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Re: Postmodern/Modern Theology Poll
« Reply #10 on: Tue Mar 07, 2006 - 18:03:04 »
It seems to me, however,  that the refusal to commit to anything, even a definition,  is an indication that whatever it is,  it won't serve Christians particularly well.

As far as this \"engaging the culture\" business goes,  I think it's mostly just a cop-out.  (I know,  I'm dating myself.)     Our business as Christians is to be witnesses and will quite frequently involve us in challenging our culture.   But I don't really see any of that going on.    What I've seen in the name of post-modernism is mostly compromise and conciliation and \"accepting\" things and being \"open.\"

(Edited to continue my rant)

In particular,  as best I can tell,  \"engaging the culture\"  mostly seems to mean some combination of the following:

1.   Getting a tatoo;
2.   Getting some piece of metal stuck in my face;
3.   Dressing like a slob;
4.   Going to movies that celebrate whatever sexual perversion is fashionable this season;
5.   Listening to some greasy-haired, pasty-faced, malignant-looking post-adolescent who can neither read music nor speak coherently mutter vulgarities and pretending that it's music.
6.   Denying that anything is worth upsetting anybody over,  because, hey, we're all going the same place man, we're just taking different roads.

Agreed.

Offline ellisadam

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Re: Postmodern/Modern Theology Poll
« Reply #11 on: Wed Mar 08, 2006 - 10:45:06 »
Quote
Quote
It seems to me, however,  that the refusal to commit to anything, even a definition,  is an indication that whatever it is,  it won't serve Christians particularly well.

As far as this \"engaging the culture\" business goes,  I think it's mostly just a cop-out.  (I know,  I'm dating myself.)     Our business as Christians is to be witnesses and will quite frequently involve us in challenging our culture.   But I don't really see any of that going on.    What I've seen in the name of post-modernism is mostly compromise and conciliation and \"accepting\" things and being \"open.\"

(Edited to continue my rant)

In particular,  as best I can tell,  \"engaging the culture\"  mostly seems to mean some combination of the following:

1.   Getting a tatoo;
2.   Getting some piece of metal stuck in my face;
3.   Dressing like a slob;
4.   Going to movies that celebrate whatever sexual perversion is fashionable this season;
5.   Listening to some greasy-haired, pasty-faced, malignant-looking post-adolescent who can neither read music nor speak coherently mutter vulgarities and pretending that it's music.
6.   Denying that anything is worth upsetting anybody over,  because, hey, we're all going the same place man, we're just taking different roads.
Agreed.

Engaging the culture is not simply accepting everything that culture has to say and then trying to squeeze the gospel into that (and idea that I can find no one promoting, but many criticizing).  It is, instead, following Paul's advice in 2 Cor 10 where he talks about "tak[ing] every though captive and making it obedient to Christ", (which, if you will look at the context is not talking about controlling your personal thought life) and following the example he modeled in Acts 17 on Mars Hill.  He neither wholly embraced nor flippantly dismissed their culture.  Instead, deconstructed what he had to and uses what he could (even if it meant conveying the message in radically different and even shocking ways).
AE

Offline Dennis

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Re: Postmodern/Modern Theology Poll
« Reply #12 on: Wed Mar 08, 2006 - 11:00:48 »
We all "engage the culture" whether we admit it or not.  Frankly we all conform to it to some extent.  The question is  to what degree we are conformed to it.


Offline Jimbob

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Re: Postmodern/Modern Theology Poll
« Reply #13 on: Wed Mar 08, 2006 - 11:27:52 »
In my understanding...

While I'm not entirely sold on Modernism, at least it can define sin, and handle the concepts of Good and Evil. Modernism can handle the concept of an absolute Authority with power to define moral laws (God).


Right.  It brought us the Theory of Evolution and the survival of the fittest.  It produced the idea that even the "spiritual" is really only the firing of synapses.  As a result, defined all immoral behavior as being a.) biological or b.) psychological. 

Modern thought and rationality has handled sin and truth very well, indeed.

Offline Lee Freeman

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Re: Postmodern/Modern Theology Poll
« Reply #14 on: Wed Mar 08, 2006 - 11:34:23 »
Paul observed the Jewish purity laws out of respect and in order to keep the peace, voluntarily having Timothy circumcized, but would not let Titus be circumcized out of compulsion, and often went to synagogues to preach. And when evangelizing the Greek philosophers on Mars Hill in Athens he did not condemn them as sinful pagans, but commended their religious devotion, yet attempted to get them to see how Christ was the "unknown god" they'd built an altar to and honored in ignorance. On another occasion Paul quoted a pagan Cretan poet. And he told the Romans and Corinthians that all foods were permissable, just not to offend others by what they ate.

Pax.

Offline Lee Freeman

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Re: Postmodern/Modern Theology Poll
« Reply #15 on: Wed Mar 08, 2006 - 11:40:25 »
In my understanding...

While I'm not entirely sold on Modernism, at least it can define sin, and handle the concepts of Good and Evil. Modernism can handle the concept of an absolute Authority with power to define moral laws (God).


Right.  It brought us the Theory of Evolution and the survival of the fittest.  It produced the idea that even the "spiritual" is really only the firing of synapses.  As a result, defined all immoral behavior as being a.) biological or b.) psychological. 

Modern thought and rationality has handled sin and truth very well, indeed.

Indeed, Darwin, Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Freud, and the framers of the Humanist Manifesto-which advocates evolution (man is the highest creature in the universe) and holds that moral absolutes don't exist-all are/were modernists (whether they referred to themselves as such or not), and most of these men are/were atheists.

Pax.
« Last Edit: Wed Mar 08, 2006 - 11:42:03 by Lee Freeman »

Offline Skip

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Re: Postmodern/Modern Theology Poll
« Reply #16 on: Wed Mar 08, 2006 - 11:41:09 »
In my understanding...

While I'm not entirely sold on Modernism, at least it can define sin, and handle the concepts of Good and Evil. Modernism can handle the concept of an absolute Authority with power to define moral laws (God).


Right.  It brought us the Theory of Evolution and the survival of the fittest.  It produced the idea that even the "spiritual" is really only the firing of synapses.  As a result, defined all immoral behavior as being a.) biological or b.) psychological. 

Modern thought and rationality has handled sin and truth very well, indeed.
Stong point.
I should clearly define what I'm talking about rather that allowing my position to be pre-painted as Modernism, and then set up as a Straw Man for Post-modernism to shoot at!

Which actually is a root problem with Post-modernism -- it seems to spring from the premise that Modernism is the enemy, and the Enemy is everywhere.
Thus it seems that Post-modernism a critic of modernism -- nothing more, being itself philosophically empty -- and in fact dependent upon Modernism in a twisted sort of symbiotic relationship!

I get a distinct feeling of a move to "eject the demons" of Modernism with Post-modernism, only to find that new and worse demons are already taking up residence in the house.

Offline Skip

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Re: Postmodern/Modern Theology Poll
« Reply #17 on: Wed Mar 08, 2006 - 11:49:46 »
Adam,
Thanks for your response.
Overall, I get the feeling of Post-modernism creating a super sized Straw Man of Modernism, and that Post-modernism justifies its existence on the basis of a sort of Rebellion against the Empire.

Some observations:
In practical terms "engage" appears to be a euphemism for "tolerate" or "accept" sin. [Edit -- Perhaps it would be more accurate to equate "Engage" to "Deconstruct" (the end result is the same)]
And I will concede that our Western culture most certainly has changed, and has fully embraced hedonism and open deviancy never before tolerated in the West.
On one hand it seems that Post-modernism mostly reacts against what I would call social or societal sins (in keeping with culture), but is generally unable to comprehend moral sins and standards of personal morality and behavior (as culture is unable to comprehend this).
So ISTM that an Emergent Church would typically have a goal of: Bring them to Christ, accept them as a Christian, never mind about sin - it's all forgiven anyway.
It really sounds pretty good, even Christ-like, until one realizes that "Go and sin no more" is entirely absent from Post-modern Christianity -- for it stands in opposition to Modernism, not sin.

IMO, Post-modernism accepts an erroneous premise: The Gospel must be presented in the context of culture.
Even the New Testament tends to disprove this premise -- the New Testament is still the standard, though written to now-dead 2,000-year-old cultures that ran a gamut of various Hebrew sects to philosophical Greeks to idol-worshipping pagans.
One New Testament, many audiences -- But Pomos must admit that this is not possible! For they assert that one must relate to pomos as pomos, moderns as moderns, etc.

"Motivation by exclusion" is, of course, practiced by Paul in 1 & 2 Corinthians -- why should I think that McLaren's idea should trump Paul's inspired writings?
Though I suppose some Pomo has already Deconstructed those passages...

Finally, my concern is that the emerging church is unable to define sin.
And that Post-modernism indiscriminately uses Deconstruction (by causing doubt) to enlarge areas of opinion.

Bottom line:
If Post-modernism cannot justify it's existence standing on it's own, without the whipping-boy of Modernism, then it is entirely empty.
And as I said before, an empty house invites bigger demons.

« Last Edit: Wed Mar 08, 2006 - 12:11:27 by Skip »

Offline ellisadam

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Re: Postmodern/Modern Theology Poll
« Reply #18 on: Wed Mar 08, 2006 - 12:44:08 »
Adam,
Thanks for your response.
Overall, I get the feeling of Post-modernism creating a super sized Straw Man of Modernism, and that Post-modernism justifies its existence on the basis of a sort of Rebellion against the Empire.

Some observations:
In practical terms "engage" appears to be a euphemism for "tolerate" or "accept" sin. [Edit -- Perhaps it would be more accurate to equate "Engage" to "Deconstruct" (the end result is the same)]
And I will concede that our Western culture most certainly has changed, and has fully embraced hedonism and open deviancy never before tolerated in the West.
On one hand it seems that Post-modernism mostly reacts against what I would call social or societal sins (in keeping with culture), but is generally unable to comprehend moral sins and standards of personal morality and behavior (as culture is unable to comprehend this).
So ISTM that an Emergent Church would typically have a goal of: Bring them to Christ, accept them as a Christian, never mind about sin - it's all forgiven anyway.
It really sounds pretty good, even Christ-like, until one realizes that "Go and sin no more" is entirely absent from Post-modern Christianity -- for it stands in opposition to Modernism, not sin.

IMO, Post-modernism accepts an erroneous premise: The Gospel must be presented in the context of culture.
Even the New Testament tends to disprove this premise -- the New Testament is still the standard, though written to now-dead 2,000-year-old cultures that ran a gamut of various Hebrew sects to philosophical Greeks to idol-worshipping pagans.
One New Testament, many audiences -- But Pomos must admit that this is not possible! For they assert that one must relate to pomos as pomos, moderns as moderns, etc.

"Motivation by exclusion" is, of course, practiced by Paul in 1 & 2 Corinthians -- why should I think that McLaren's idea should trump Paul's inspired writings?
Though I suppose some Pomo has already Deconstructed those passages...

Finally, my concern is that the emerging church is unable to define sin.
And that Post-modernism indiscriminately uses Deconstruction (by causing doubt) to enlarge areas of opinion.

Bottom line:
If Post-modernism cannot justify it's existence standing on it's own, without the whipping-boy of Modernism, then it is entirely empty.
And as I said before, an empty house invites bigger demons.


Hey Skip,
Like I said before, I want to go back and add some clarity to that response, which I will probably get to tomorrow.  However, I would like to address a couple of things in your post.  Of course postmodernity defines itself in opposition to modernity.  PM is still in it's embrionic stages, and thus can only define itself in this way.  Modernity was also a reaction to the medieval epistemology and was very had to nail down except in contrast to what came before in it's early stages.  And, IMO, both PM and M cannot be embraced but must be engaged (yes, I believe that modernity must still be engaged too).  If one buys either philosophy lock-stock-and-barrell, then tries to make Christianity fit it's mold, we are left with a pathetic excuse for the Gospel.  Again, I know of no one who is seriously advocating this or being taken seriously when they do.  The problem with this whole conversation (not just on this message board) is one of straw men, and a refusal to actually engage the real issuse at hand or even allow others to. 
Also, you keep referring to the idea that the emerging church doesn't deal with sin.  I would submit that it doesn't deal with sin in the same way that it was dealt with in modernity.  Instead, EC seems to lean more towards encouraging people to live how they were created to live, which is not some arbitrary subjective "I'm ok you're ok" standard, but rather a life in harmony with God, each other, and creation.  Sin, it is believed, can be traced back to the breaking of harmony in any of these areas (see Stanley Grenz's Theology for the Community of God).  The church in modernity  leaned more toward "you messed up and you are in trouble!  Better make it right!" (and did so quite effectively).  The EC leans more toward "Has anyone ever told you how this whole thing was supposed to work and how great it could be if it did?  Has anyone ever told you how much it hurts, not just you, but God, others and creation when you take things in another direction?  Did you know that Jesus is offering the best life (not just afterlife) possible?  Did you know that you can partner with God in his dream for the world?"  I find that it deals with sin quite thoroughly.
AE

Offline Skip

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Re: Postmodern/Modern Theology Poll
« Reply #19 on: Wed Mar 08, 2006 - 14:26:50 »
Hey Skip,
Like I said before, I want to go back and add some clarity to that response, which I will probably get to tomorrow.  However, I would like to address a couple of things in your post.  Of course postmodernity defines itself in opposition to modernity.  PM is still in it's embrionic stages, and thus can only define itself in this way.  Modernity was also a reaction to the medieval epistemology and was very had to nail down except in contrast to what came before in it's early stages.  And, IMO, both PM and M cannot be embraced but must be engaged (yes, I believe that modernity must still be engaged too).  If one buys either philosophy lock-stock-and-barrell, then tries to make Christianity fit it's mold, we are left with a pathetic excuse for the Gospel.  Again, I know of no one who is seriously advocating this or being taken seriously when they do.  The problem with this whole conversation (not just on this message board) is one of straw men, and a refusal to actually engage the real issuse at hand or even allow others to. 
Also, you keep referring to the idea that the emerging church doesn't deal with sin.  I would submit that it doesn't deal with sin in the same way that it was dealt with in modernity.  Instead, EC seems to lean more towards encouraging people to live how they were created to live, which is not some arbitrary subjective "I'm ok you're ok" standard, but rather a life in harmony with God, each other, and creation.  Sin, it is believed, can be traced back to the breaking of harmony in any of these areas (see Stanley Grenz's Theology for the Community of God).  The church in modernity  leaned more toward "you messed up and you are in trouble!  Better make it right!" (and did so quite effectively).  The EC leans more toward "Has anyone ever told you how this whole thing was supposed to work and how great it could be if it did?  Has anyone ever told you how much it hurts, not just you, but God, others and creation when you take things in another direction?  Did you know that Jesus is offering the best life (not just afterlife) possible?  Did you know that you can partner with God in his dream for the world?"  I find that it deals with sin quite thoroughly.
AE
Adam,

Thanks for the response.

I don't really know what you mean, or what your point is, when you say when you say that no one fully embraces Post-modernism. You'll have to expand on that for me as you have time.

If I suspect a problem with my car brakes, I cannot use the car and put off fixing the brakes -- I have to park the car until it's prove roadworthy. In the same way, if one is using Post-modernism in a Christian context, then one cannot simply excuse an idea's weaknesses by saying, "Post-modernism is in it's embryonic stages", and hope that the problems will be addressed later.

Important point:
I did not say that Post-modernism doesn't "deal with" sin.
Rather, Post-modernism doesn't know how to define -- identify -- sin.

Nor do I see your contrast of Modern or Post-modern ability to "deal with" sin as significant.
Is one approach better than the other?
One can see elements of both in the Scriptural record, from gentleness to harshness -- neither is given clear preference by God.
For example, Peter is forgiven of denying Christ, only to become the instrument through which Ananias and Sapphira are struck down for the seemingly minor offense of lying.
Building a case on the basis of aesthetics is fallacious, IMO.

Offline Arkstfan

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Re: Postmodern/Modern Theology Poll
« Reply #20 on: Wed Mar 08, 2006 - 22:35:20 »
Modernism led us to a whole group of "theologians" trying to explain away miracles. Jesus didn't really die on the cross or he did and stayed that way and the "resurrection" was really a rememberance through communion, etc, etc, because "God" can't break the laws of nature.  ???

Postmodernism isn't better than modernism its just another set of problems.

Offline ellisadam

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Re: Postmodern/Modern Theology Poll
« Reply #21 on: Thu Mar 09, 2006 - 12:09:57 »
Hey Skip,
Like I said before, I want to go back and add some clarity to that response, which I will probably get to tomorrow.  However, I would like to address a couple of things in your post.  Of course postmodernity defines itself in opposition to modernity.  PM is still in it's embrionic stages, and thus can only define itself in this way.  Modernity was also a reaction to the medieval epistemology and was very had to nail down except in contrast to what came before in it's early stages.  And, IMO, both PM and M cannot be embraced but must be engaged (yes, I believe that modernity must still be engaged too).  If one buys either philosophy lock-stock-and-barrell, then tries to make Christianity fit it's mold, we are left with a pathetic excuse for the Gospel.  Again, I know of no one who is seriously advocating this or being taken seriously when they do.  The problem with this whole conversation (not just on this message board) is one of straw men, and a refusal to actually engage the real issuse at hand or even allow others to. 
Also, you keep referring to the idea that the emerging church doesn't deal with sin.  I would submit that it doesn't deal with sin in the same way that it was dealt with in modernity.  Instead, EC seems to lean more towards encouraging people to live how they were created to live, which is not some arbitrary subjective "I'm ok you're ok" standard, but rather a life in harmony with God, each other, and creation.  Sin, it is believed, can be traced back to the breaking of harmony in any of these areas (see Stanley Grenz's Theology for the Community of God).  The church in modernity  leaned more toward "you messed up and you are in trouble!  Better make it right!" (and did so quite effectively).  The EC leans more toward "Has anyone ever told you how this whole thing was supposed to work and how great it could be if it did?  Has anyone ever told you how much it hurts, not just you, but God, others and creation when you take things in another direction?  Did you know that Jesus is offering the best life (not just afterlife) possible?  Did you know that you can partner with God in his dream for the world?"  I find that it deals with sin quite thoroughly.
AE
Adam,

Thanks for the response.

I don't really know what you mean, or what your point is, when you say when you say that no one fully embraces Post-modernism. You'll have to expand on that for me as you have time.

If I suspect a problem with my car brakes, I cannot use the car and put off fixing the brakes -- I have to park the car until it's prove roadworthy. In the same way, if one is using Post-modernism in a Christian context, then one cannot simply excuse an idea's weaknesses by saying, "Post-modernism is in it's embryonic stages", and hope that the problems will be addressed later.

Important point:
I did not say that Post-modernism doesn't "deal with" sin.
Rather, Post-modernism doesn't know how to define -- identify -- sin.

Nor do I see your contrast of Modern or Post-modern ability to "deal with" sin as significant.
Is one approach better than the other?
One can see elements of both in the Scriptural record, from gentleness to harshness -- neither is given clear preference by God.
For example, Peter is forgiven of denying Christ, only to become the instrument through which Ananias and Sapphira are struck down for the seemingly minor offense of lying.
Building a case on the basis of aesthetics is fallacious, IMO.

Skip,
Sorry it's taken me so long to get back to this.
First of all, when I say no one is seriously advocating that we fully embrace postmodernity:
a) I am referring to the prominant leaders in the emerging church movement.  It is possible that you might find someone who self identifies as "emergent" who says that we should let postmodernity define Christianity, however I haven't run across them and this isn't being advocated by the leading voices.
b)  by "embrace" I mean letting our Christianity become a slave to the dominant philosophy/epistemology (in our cast postmodernity).  Embracing postmodernity (in my view) would be to hold postmodernity as the "higher truth" and letting it redefine Christianity.   I certainly realize that this is exactly the criticism that many raise against EC, however I in my view it is most certainly not what is being advocated.

As for the Car and Brakes analogy, it just doesn't work for me.  As I mentioned somewhere else, no one is trying to convert anyone to postmodernity.  Postmodernity is a cultural and epistemological shift that is happening on its own.  Some of us feel that we must engage it (much as Paul did on Mars Hill) as a matter of faithfulness to God, the Gospel and our Calling.  This is not to say that those doing ministry and/or living lives of faith in a modern context are wrong, stupid or bad.  Thank God that they are doing that.  (this "Thank God for them" attitude seems to be prevelant among the leading voices in the EC movement).  To use your analogy, though not as you intended, I think many of us would say that "fixing the brakes" is exactly what we are trying to do, though for us the car is the church (note: not Christinity or the Bible)

Also, I did sort of misquote you by implying that you said that PM coudn't "deal with sin".  It was not my intention, and I apologize.  After your correction though, you make this statement:
"Nor do I see your contrast of Modern or Post-modern ability to "deal with" sin as significant.
Is one approach better than the other?
One can see elements of both in the Scriptural record, from gentleness to harshness -- neither is given clear preference by God."
That is a brilliant observation, and may be our key to finding some common ground.  Both are appropriate and both are Biblical.  The key is knowing when and to whom one is apropriate.  Put simply, one tends to communicate better in a modern context and the other tends to communicate better in a postmodern one.  What the EC movement is trying to do is communicate the Gospel into a context that isn't being reached by traditional church structures, methodologies, and epistemology (though those traditional church structures, etc. most certainly still are effective in a large context and great things are being done for the kingdom through them).
Hope this adds at least a little clarity.
AE

Offline Skip

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Re: Postmodern/Modern Theology Poll
« Reply #22 on: Fri Mar 10, 2006 - 08:10:41 »
"Nor do I see your contrast of Modern or Post-modern ability to "deal with" sin as significant.
Is one approach better than the other?
One can see elements of both in the Scriptural record, from gentleness to harshness -- neither is given clear preference by God."
That is a brilliant observation, and may be our key to finding some common ground.  Both are appropriate and both are Biblical.  The key is knowing when and to whom one is apropriate.  Put simply, one tends to communicate better in a modern context and the other tends to communicate better in a postmodern one.  What the EC movement is trying to do is communicate the Gospel into a context that isn't being reached by traditional church structures, methodologies, and epistemology (though those traditional church structures, etc. most certainly still are effective in a large context and great things are being done for the kingdom through them).
Hope this adds at least a little clarity.
AE
Thanks for the reply.

I guess that raises the question of, "Why?"
Why does Post-modernism claim that the response to sin must be narrowed-down to a certain mold for Pomos? That seems entirely arbitrary.

As a non-Pomo, I can see a place for both.

Last off -- a question:
In the view of a Pomo, is every non-Pomo a Modern?
That seems to be a great fallacy of Post-modern Christian thought -- the couching of things disagreeable or controversial (often boiling down to church-doesn't-match-culture) as 'Modern', then Deconstructing it/them.

Often what is called Modern is really traditional or conservative or legalistic, and has been around since antiquity.
For example, I am quite sure that if I paraphrased sections of the Confessions of St. Augustine and posted it for an unsuspecting Pomo to Deconstruct, he would assume it is Modern and Deconstruct it.
« Last Edit: Fri Mar 10, 2006 - 08:14:49 by Skip »

Offline ellisadam

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Re: Postmodern/Modern Theology Poll
« Reply #23 on: Fri Mar 10, 2006 - 11:24:48 »
Quote
Last off -- a question:
In the view of a Pomo, is every non-Pomo a Modern?
That seems to be a great fallacy of Post-modern Christian thought -- the couching of things disagreeable or controversial (often boiling down to church-doesn't-match-culture) as 'Modern', then Deconstructing it/them.

Often what is called Modern is really traditional or conservative or legalistic, and has been around since antiquity.
For example, I am quite sure that if I paraphrased sections of the Confessions of St. Augustine and posted it for an unsuspecting Pomo to Deconstruct, he would assume it is Modern and Deconstruct it.

I am not of the belief that everyone who is not PM is "a Modern".  I'm relatively sure that we each fall on sort of a continuum of these philosophies/epistemologies.  I would even include Medieval or Pre-modern (which I don't like but have also heard used), or Pre-Enlightenment, or Pre-Colonial, or whatever you wish to call it.  Certainly, if we are speaking in a global sense, these views are also still prevalent, though I am quite sure that they "show up" in a North American context as well.  However, what seems to be happening in the North American context is that each successive generation is exhibiting more tendency toward the Postmodern side of the continuum.   What some of us are simply trying to do is reach them without adding the additional step of having to convert them to Modernity in order to be able to convert them to Christianity.  We believe that the Gospel is not dependant on Modernity.  We believe that it can engage postmodern culture, though it certainly will look and sound different.  I know that last sentence freaks some people out, but hear me out before you start gathering stones ;) .  Communicating the same message using a different epistemology is much like communicating the same message in a different language.  Though the same, it will be almost intelligible to those who don't speak the language.  This does NOT mean that those who can't understand (on either "side") are stupid or wrong.  They speak different languages.  We don't think that we have to teach someone Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic in order for them to read the Bible and understand it (sure it would be helpful.) We translate it into English.   We don't think that people have to be converted to a first century Jewish epistemology (or a first century Gentile epistemology) in order to convert to Christianity.  We have historically "translated" the Gospel (following the example of Paul) into the culture we find ourselves in.  We translated it for the Medieval world.  We translated it for the Modern World.  Now some of us are trying to translate it for the Postmodern world.
AE
« Last Edit: Fri Mar 10, 2006 - 11:28:17 by ellisadam »

Offline Skip

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Re: Postmodern/Modern Theology Poll
« Reply #24 on: Fri Mar 10, 2006 - 11:57:38 »
The Emergent / Post-modern premise, then, appears to be that Christian religions as a whole are Modern, and these religions convert persons to Modernism (if necessary) before converting them to Christ.
It would seem that Emergent / Post-modern thought commits a logical fallacy of sweeping generalization right out of the box.

Additionally, Post-modernism is open to the same problem you describe -- if I were in an Emergent Church it is quite likely that I would be exposed to Post-modernism. If I inquired about salvation you would communicate in Emergent language. If I'm not a Pomo -- then you're stuck with the same problem as the Modern; you have to school me in Emergent ideas!

That's actually a major problem with Emergent / Post-modern thought that jumped out at me the very first "Post-modern" Christian book I read -- Post-modern assumptions are build from a worldview that, as I pointed out, is virtually a Western 'market share', and is then projected upon American society in general and to the world at large. Having some background in cultural geography, Post-modernism has all the earmarks of a "niche" idea. I suppose Post-modernism has, and will continue to have, broad appeal in Western intellectual and urban settings, and especially to liberal-thinkers. It seemed that the power of the initial appeal was to struggling Protestant / Evangelical ministers.
Outside of that, the world's culture is way too diverse.

Offline ellisadam

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Re: Postmodern/Modern Theology Poll
« Reply #25 on: Fri Mar 10, 2006 - 12:32:32 »
Skip,
You still seem to be under the impression I am saying (or EC itself is saying) that it is "better" than "traditional" churches or that it's "better" than "modern churches" (or you seem to deny the existence of "modern churches"), or that an "emergent" or "postmodern" Christian is somehow claiming to be "better", "smarter", more "right" or more "enlightened" than you.  I am told that I am a good communicator, especially in these settings, but I have exhausted my resources, talent and ability trying to convince you that no such claim is being made or believed.  I have dealt very specifially with your concerns and questions to the best of my ability.  You have been very gracious by thanking me for responding (which I appreciate.  Civility has often been lacking in discussions such as this one).  However you seem to completely ignore or disregard almost everything I've said and continue to repeat the same points with no acknowledgment that I've dealt with them or even that you've considered what I said and disagree.  I think I'm just going to apologize for not being a better communicator and bow out.  I realize that this may make you think that I just can't deal with your arguments and am unsure of my own position.  I'm going to have to just swallow my pride and let you think that if you wish, though it is certainly not the case.  We aren't covering any new ground.  I'm willing to let others read what we have written and make up their own minds.  I'm willing to let them continue the conversation if they wish (holding out the possibility that I may come back in later if asked to).  For now I'm out of both this thread and the emerging church thread.  May God bless you, my brother.
AE

Offline Skip

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Re: Postmodern/Modern Theology Poll
« Reply #26 on: Fri Mar 10, 2006 - 13:26:14 »
I actually think I see your point; what you and other Pomos are saying fits pretty close to exactly what I expect. The lingo was puzzling at first, but I have found it to be a religious jargon (not unlike the traditional church-isms we all know and love). There is truly nothing new under the sun, and Post-modern Christianity / Emergent Churches are no exception.

I'm also not surprised that it appears, from your Post-modern viewpoint, that I am not accepting your answers. The basic premises of Post-modernism include toleration of a wide range of thought, but not really identifying with any one theology; Jesus Christ being an abstract concept -- any religion's viewpoint is acceptable (generously-speaking). Accepting a truth is restrictive; Post-modernism cannot be so restricted. Behavioral norms are similarly reduced to viewpoints -- no one view trumps another. Your objection that no one really follows pure Post-modernism is of course true by definition within Post-modernism -- anyone can believe anything, and nothing is necessarily wrong (within the limits of culture, which defines the norms of Post-modern morality).

Therefore a Pomo would find Global Warming or Katrina Relief a compelling cause, but live-in lovers and active homosexuality a choice in one's walk with Christ. Another Pomo who held different views would nevertheless tolerate the views of another Christ-follower; not as an erring brother, but one on a different walk in a different place.

It all comes back to the central point: A Pomo cannot define sin, and even if he does, it's his own perception, not to be foisted upon another Christ-follower. Therein lies the core error and twofold danger -- inability to either define sin or to correct an erring brother.

Offline ellisadam

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Re: Postmodern/Modern Theology Poll
« Reply #27 on: Fri Mar 10, 2006 - 14:15:43 »
 ???  lol.  unbelievable.

Offline TRL

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Re: Postmodern/Modern Theology Poll
« Reply #28 on: Fri Mar 10, 2006 - 15:23:02 »
i've been reading the postmodern theology and the emerging church discussions all week.  the two threads are so intertwined that i'll let this post speak to both.

first, let me say that i consider myself part of an emerging church and realize that our ministry is to mostly postmodern people (college town).

second, let me explain my views of the emerging church.  to me, the "emerging church" is a worldview not a specific church or group of churches.  that worldview is missional - meaning that we approach Christian ministry from a missionary's perspective.  let's say i want to be a missionary to china.  it would be to my benifit to learn the chinese culture (it's history, language, entertainemt, etc.) in order to effectively communicate the gospel.  therefore, "emerging churches" realize that since our culture is becoming more postmodern, we too (like missionaries) must communicate the gospel in a postmodern context.  to see this principle in the Bible, see Paul in Acts 17.

third, don't assume that those of us trying to reach postmodern people think the same way postmodern people think.  for example. it is widely known that postmodernism teaches that there are no absolute truths.  don't assume that we also believe that there are no absolute truths.  Nothing could be further from the truth!  take it from Adam and me, we believe in absolute Truth!!!! 

fourth, this "emerging church" worldview is becoming increasingly popular across the whole spectrum of Christianity.  so it is possible you may hear some liberal "emerging church" leader share his thoughts.  again, don't assume everyone who calls themselves "emergent" agrees with him.  we are a much more diverse group of people that many people think.  i'm sure that there are some in the emergent pool who would consider me to be very conservative in my doctrinal and moral convictions.  there are a few "emerging church" people who are weak on sin and doctrine.  there are a few "emergents" who are anti-authority.  but don't label us all!  don't discount the overall goal - to be missionaries in a postmodern world - becasue of a FEW bad apples. 

please comment on these thoughts.

Offline Skip

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Re: Postmodern/Modern Theology Poll
« Reply #29 on: Fri Mar 10, 2006 - 16:52:44 »


TRL,

First off, my view of Post-modernism is primarily shaped by looking into the roots of Post-modernism / Emergent, and the implementation primarily focusing upon McLaren.

I would be interested to read a 'conservative' Pomo viewpoint; particularly the reasoning (definition of sin) and implementation (toleration, or condemnation, or somewhere between?)

Finally, the younger generation has latched on to counter-culture expressions for, well, probably forever. ISTM that the trend continues with Post-modernism; a few spokesmen rally a cause that stirs ministers and appeals to the younger generation.  The question of what is driving Christian Post-modernism is of great interest to me. ISTM that culture is the “driver

Offline Jimbob

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Re: Postmodern/Modern Theology Poll
« Reply #30 on: Fri Mar 24, 2006 - 08:11:19 »
I'm still trying to help Bog out with his boredom, and I figured Skip would enjoy this blog article by a friend of mine.

Offline Skip

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Re: Postmodern/Modern Theology Poll
« Reply #31 on: Fri Mar 24, 2006 - 08:24:50 »
I'm still trying to help Bog out with his boredom, and I figured Skip would enjoy this blog article by a friend of mine.

Thanks, I'll check that out.

boringoldguy

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Re: Postmodern/Modern Theology Poll
« Reply #32 on: Fri Mar 24, 2006 - 08:41:18 »
Thanks jmg

Offline Nevertheless

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Re: Postmodern/Modern Theology Poll
« Reply #33 on: Fri Mar 24, 2006 - 14:44:20 »
Maybe BOG would be less bored if Boris and Natasha showed up.

boringoldguy

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Re: Postmodern/Modern Theology Poll
« Reply #34 on: Fri Mar 24, 2006 - 15:19:48 »
And Fearless Leader.

Also Professor Peabody with his Wayback Machine.