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A BRIEF HISTORY
THE RISE OF THE MODERNIST VIEW
In the years up to the middle of the 18th century, although there were attacks upon the Bible, most people accepted the veracity of the Bible and that the Earth was created about 6,000 years ago. In the 1830’s however, Lyell published his Principles of Geology which he admitted privately was a deliberate attack upon “the Mosaic system”, i.e. the undermining of the Genesis account of the Flood. With the acceptance of the “millions of years” he provided, the door was now open for Darwin to produce in 1859 his Theory of Evolution; the slow, natural development of life over millions of years that did away with any need for God.
About the same time, the Bible was attacked by the Higher Critics, starting in Germany, who claimed that Bible history was totally inaccurate and not confirmed by the latest archaeological and scientific evidence. This was the MODERN view, in which the “indisputable discoveries” of “science”, particularly those that contradicted the Bible, were given wide publicity.
Thus, Modernism dominated the universities and the whole of the educational organisations in this country - and most other advanced nations.
Although these forces managed to push the “scientific” Modernist views into the mainstream wings of the church via the seminaries and into the general public by books and newspapers, nevertheless, the Christian faith survived and still had considerable influence upon society, asserting that God did exist and that he had given us a basic sense of social mores. It seems to me that the next attack was upon the basic thinking of those still holding to the Christian faith – whether it be weak or strong. Thus was born Post-modernism around the 1960’s.
This is a philosophical view of what people think. At basis, it says that we are all bombarded with information received by our five senses. To make coherent sense of it all, we then come to certain conclusions of what life is really all about. The Post Modernists then say – “You are fully entitled to come to the views that you have, bearing in mind your past experiences and influences received. HOWEVER, other people have also come to their own views, and they differ from yours. You, therefore, have no right to claim that your views should be accepted by anyone else. Furthermore, there are no valid overarching theories about life in general (e.g. religious or even scientific/philosophical views), only a wide range of personal views held by individuals.”
This has become the dominant teaching in our universities, seminaries, teacher training schools etc. More seriously it is being promoted by many liberal churches and more disturbing still, by one time sound evangelical churches and organisations. The result is that church services and sermons are simplified (dumbed down?) to attract the ordinary citizen who has never set foot in a church before. The dangers of this direction that the church is now following I deal with later.
It is my firm belief that Post-modernism is a subtle but great threat to the whole of the Evangelical Church because it shifts the whole purpose away from the glory of God and concentrates on satisfying the craving of man for significance, security and peacefulness of heart. The Christian church can ultimately give all these, but God asks man to first humble himself, and then give his life to God; then, and only then, “all these things will be added unto you.” To hold out to an unsuspecting and unthinking populus the promise of a short cut to the great joy and benefits of living the full Christian life by any other means than undergoing the true humility that God requires is to lead them into a false sense of security for which they, and their leaders will, one day, pay for dearly.
How then can this deceptive view be combated? I will be showing that from several different aspects, the whole basis of the theory is deeply flawed, and therefore should be clearly recognised for what it really is; yet another deliberate attack upon the True Evangelical Christian Church by hidden yet powerful forces intent on removing it from the earth. We are well aware who is the real spiritual influence behind all such attacks.
In this article, I will be mainly highlighting the inherent flaws in the theory so that it is destroyed by its own internal inconsistencies. I have made the approach as simple as I can and have deliberately NOT used ANY of the confusing words so frequenly used by philosophers and proponents of Post-modernism. I find that if I read a “technical” word used by any specialist in any field, there is a distinct pause in my thinking while I try to remember precisely what the word actually means. Such pauses can break the whole train of thought which can be difficult enough to follow without any such added complications. I have therefore used well-known words to describe specific viewpoints.
Let me first clarify the subject by defining certain words that are used when this matter is discussed –
MATERIALIST and NATURALIST – One who believes that only the material world exists, there being no spiritual world.
REDUCTIONIST - One who will not accept as true anything beyond his own world-view. This may be "All is matter" and nothing else, or "All is within the mind" and there is nothing outside it.
RATIONALIST - One who believes that reality can be deduced by reason alone. They allow the possibility of a spiritual world.
(A) THE SELF CONTRADICTION OF THE THEORY
The two major tenets of the theory are
(a) that each individual can only come to their own personal viewpoint, and that
(b)“A post-modern philosophy insists that there are no agreed standards by which to judge anything, including cultures, religion, art, music or moral beliefs. It utterly rejects an absolute position on anything and seeks to undermine any assertion which claims to have universal validity.” [Ref 1 Responding to the Post-modern mind. Affinity Table Talk Issue 20 Summer 2007]
Thus Post-Modernism claims that there are NO “assertions that have universal validity”
But this statement is itself claiming to have universal validity!
The whole theory has therefore invalidated itself!
How can it claim there are no overarching theories – except the one that they are making!
The men that are behind Post-Modernism are no fools and are clearly deep thinkers, but I leave the reader to contemplate the arrogance of those who propose a theory that denies all other overarching theories - except its own overarching theory.
This same argument is used against Christian missionaries who seek to convert native tribes to the Christian faith. They are told that they have no authority to try to convert other people to their way of thinking. Yet these critics are themselves trying to convert the Christian to their way of thinking!
This self-contradiction applies not only to Post-modernism, but to all world views (Rationalism, Materialism, etc.) that do not take into account the existence of God. This is all set out in a section entitled “The Irrationality of Rationalism” in Ref. 2.
One might also ask “If you say it is “wrong” for one person to try to alter the views of another, where do you get your ideas of “Right” and “Wrong” from?” There is no such thinking in a purely Materialist world – just non-moral atoms!
(B) THE PROCESS OF THINKING
The Naturalist contends that life has arisen by purely natural forces acting by chance on the material world over millions of years. This gave rise to human beings and their complex thoughts and ideas. They claim that nothing else exists nor are there any other influences upon the thinking of man.
This way of thinking is the predominant attitude of most - or at least many - people these days. Certainly it is the view of life that bombards the ordinary member of the public in the output of the propaganda machine of the mass media. Whilst lip-service might be given to some aspects of the major conventional churches, there is virtually nothing regarding the quite different and deeply-held faith of the many Evangelical churches in the land. Programmes use laughter to ridicule anyone who claims to "know God" or to have had their lives influenced by some external spiritual force or being - such ridicule being aimed only at the Christian faith it should be noted.
(Having said that, many non-Christians will nevertheless admit that they think that "God does exist" - but are extremely vague about what he is like.)
Here then we have the predominant way of thinking that rules many of our institutions and the whole of the scientific establishment. The Materialist uses his mind to think about the life around him, but claims that nothing else exists outside of the known world.
How, then can the Christian counter this attitude? By showing that the very ability of the Materialist TO THINK shows that there IS an external influence at work in his mind!
So let us examine their basic thinking.
1.If naturalism is true, (i.e. there is nothing in the universe except atoms) we should eventually be able to predict every event (by knowing what the atoms will do).
2.If it becomes obvious that there is something OUTSIDE of the Materialist world, then pure materialism would be destroyed. (The importance of this will be considered later.)
3.In the Materialist world, everything is foreordained – even you reading this article now.
This is because all the atoms in the world (and those in our brains) only obey the mechanical laws of action and reaction. It is like billiard balls bouncing off each other and the cushions forever on a frictionless billiard table. Every one of their movements is predictable, and therefore we could (theoretically - if we knew everything about them) work out their paths for all the future.
4.We have many sensations impinging upon us through our five senses by the surrounding world. As we examine this huge input of information, we try to make sense of it.
We all eventually conclude that there is a real world outside of our being and thinking – that we are NOT a single self-contained being entirely isolated with our individual thought processes and reacting to these inputs like machines. There IS a real world outside of us and we realise that we are part of this world that has many other beings like us. This surely is indisputable. BUT, notice what we are doing when we think like this. We are drawing conclusions from all this information and making the deduction that a real world does actually exist. This may seem such a simple and obvious step, yet its significance is profound indeed, and CS Lewis points to this fact that human beings can think and be rational as the root of the major flaw in the thinking of Materialists – which includes the Post Modern view of life.
[I have always had a niggling feeling that this was not abundantly clear as a proof. It later dawned on me that there was a slightly different approach to this subject of thinking which greatly clarified it for me at least – which is as follows.
From the point of view of an animal, he cannot think and philosophise about his existence; he can only think from moment to moment in the present – with some degree of learning to avoid problems in the future. But human beings have the capacity to effectively “stand back” from life and think about the whole of the material life he is living in and even ask himself the questions as “Is there a meaning and a purpose to this life I am living” and “what is this material life really all about?”.
Now notice that all such thinking is surveying the whole of the material world and looking at it FROM THE OUTSIDE OF IT. Now, remember what we said above in para. No. 2. “If it becomes obvious that there is something OUTSIDE of the Materialist world, then pure materialism would be destroyed.”
Now this is precisely what our thinking rationally does, and therefore there is more than pure materialism in this world.
It surely does not take much insight to realise that this ability to think outside of our material existence is something that must come from someone. It cannot come from something, because a thing does not think and cannot therefore give to anyone something that it does not itself possess!
Therefore, this ability to think rationally outside of nature can only come from a superior being, namely God. Thus we have arrived at the very same conclusion that CS Lewis claimed when he said our ability to think rationally is a gift from God. I hope that this helps the reader to understand Lewis’ arguments that continue below.]
5.In a purely materialistic world, the atoms in our brains may make deductions that are beneficial to the organism which will help it to survive; e.g. “avoid fire, predators, cliffs, etc. and you will avoid pain and live longer”. This could be labelled as USEFUL THINKING. Note that it is a purely mechanical (materialistic) process of thinking and is only a response to incoming information. I would consider that this is the level of thinking that animals possess.
6.It may then be proposed that such a method of thinking could develop into a further stage – “If useful, then perhaps a true view of the real world around me.” This could be called RATIONAL (REAL) REASONING, because we would have deduced FACTS about the real world around us.
7.However, this Reasoned form of thinking is of quite a different order of thinking to that at the level of Useful Thinking, because it is deducing as a FACT that the real world exists and that we are part of it. In other words, our relationship with the outside world has changed significantly from merely responding to whatever it throws at us, to one of recognising that we CAN affect not just how we react to it, but that we KNOW how it works and now have the possibility of changing the way that the world works in some way. We have the ability to think about the world RATIONALLY, draw real and valid conclusions from it of how it works, and with this knowledge there is the possibility of modifying its working in some way such that these modifications benefit ourselves - and perhaps others at the same time.
8.It also enables us to think about the world in broad and generalised terms so that we can form LAWS that we find the world always conforms to. We find that fire, boiling water and steam can all burn us, so we can formulate the concept of heat, and can begin to measure how much heat is produced, etc. As CS Lewis commented “Unless human reason is valid, no science can be true.” (Miracles Ch 3).
9.To illustrate the difference between Useful Thinking and Rational Reasoning, imagine a man looking at a car engine and seeing how it works. He is thinking about the car and its workings, BUT his thinking ABOUT the car is completely independent of the car, and the car itself did not bring about his thinking; it was generated entirely by the man himself.
CS Lewis said “But the knowledge is achieved by experiment and the knowledge achieved by them, not by refinement of the response. It is not men with specially good eyes that know about light, but men who have studied the relevant sciences” (Miracles Ch.3)
Now if pure Materialism cannot give rise to Rational Reasoning, it is surely a gift from outside the material world. To the Christian, it is all part of those communicable gifts given to human beings when the Council of the Trinity said "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness."
10.This argument that the human ability to reason cannot arise from a purely materialistic working of the brain has been demonstrated from a quite separate line of argument. In the mind of a materialist he may think “My brain, and therefore all my thoughts about everything, consists only of atoms reacting with each other.” BUT, the mechanical activity of atoms in the brain cannot be said to have any relationship to the real truth of what is going on in the outside world. Therefore, the materialist has no basis for believing that his brain is composed of atoms.
11.This line of reasoning is of course simply a slight expansion of the statement made by Professor Huxley when he said “For if my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain, I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. And hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms.” [J. B. S. Haldane, Possible Worlds (London: Chatto & Windus, 1927), p. 209.]
12.This is so important a point that I will give one further quotation from C.S. Lewis. “If the solar system was brought about by an accidental collision, then the appearance of organic life on this planet was also an accident, and the whole evolution of Man was an accident too. If so, then all our present thoughts are mere accidents—the accidental by-product of the movement of atoms. And this holds for the thoughts of the materialists and astronomers as well as for anyone else’s. But if their thoughts—i.e. of Materialism and Astronomy—are merely accidental by-products, why should we believe them to be true? I see no reason for believing that one accident should be able to give me a correct account of all the other accidents.” C. S. Lewis, God In the Dock (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1970), pp. 52–53.
13.Thus, the material world can only give rise to materialistic thinking, and such thinking can never be an accurate account of the real world in which we live. This leaves us with the only option that this ability to think rationally and in a way relevant to the real world has been given to mankind by some ONE outside of mankind itself. It has to be a person because yet again, inanimate material cannot provide human persons with an attribute that the origin does not itself possess.
14.That human ability to think and reason is actually unique and quite separate from the pure process of thinking itself. CS Lewis makes this clear as follows.
“All arguments about the validity of thought make a tacit, and illegitimate, exception in favour of the bit of thought that you are doing at that moment. It has to be left outside the discussion and simply believed in, in the simple old-fashioned way. Thus the Freudian proves that all thoughts are due to complexes except the thought which constitutes the proof itself. The Marxist proves that all thoughts result from class conditioning - except the thought he is thinking while he says this. It is therefore impossible to begin with any other data whatever and from there find out whether thought is valid. You must do exactly the opposite - you must begin by admitting the self-evidence of logical thought and then believe all other things only insofar as they agree with that. The validity of thought is central: all other things have to be fitted around it as best they can.” (“Miracles”).
15.That our ability to reason is outside of the materialist world and could never come from it alone, is one of the significant flaws of the materialist world view, and CS Lewis majors on this point. There are, however, other arguments that show a purely materialistic world view is actually self-contradictory, in a similar way to that presented above.
(C) POST-MODERNISM CANNOT AUTHENTICATE ITSELF
Goedel’s Theorem. This is a second means of disproving Materialism. It is arrived at by very advanced mathematics that are quite incomprehensible to all except those who are specialists in the subject. What it shows, however, is that no theory relying on simple basic axioms can actually authenticate itself. It can only receive authentication from some external (superior?) source. This subject of authentication applies in fields wider than just mathematics. It gave support to the ability of the human mind to think in a rational manner. One commentator said;
“Moral and political philosophy will be different once reason is allowed to regain its ancient sway”.
Another said “But once reason is acknowledged to have some sway over men's minds, the case is greatly altered. We can do business with reasonable men [knowing that they will also be reasonable to us and give our opinions careful consideration.]” (http://users.ox.ac.uk/~jrlucas/Godel/implic.html)
The argument was that we can examine many different ways of thinking, but reason can be relied upon to reach a good and sensible result. We can see how CS Lewis’ claims, quoted above, about the importance and uniqueness of human reason is confirmed.
How does all this contradict Post-modernism? We must go back to the whole premise of the theory. They propose that only their theorem about human opinions is valid, and upon this construct a series of statements that they ask others to accept as a “final and correct” view of life. But who said that their theory was valid in any way? With what authority do they promote their views. Like Euclidean geometry that is founded upon a few axioms that have to be accepted and the rest will follow, what are the axioms that they base their views on that have to also be accepted without examination? We have already shown the falseness of their claim that each individual’s own thinking and viewpoint is valid only for himself alone. We have shown that the deductions of Rational Reasoning of the human mind can be shared with others and commonly agreed conclusions can be made about the real world that we live in.
(D) IMPRACTICALITY OF POST-MODERNISM
There is a further flaw in the impracticality of applying Post-modernism to everyday life.
There is a test I often use in trying to see whether something is good or bad, or what the results are in the long term. This is to exaggerate a situation and then see what the end result is – any erroneous thinking or logic will often then be shown up clearly. Post-modernism claims that it is a fundamental view that should be applicable in ALL situations where we engage with other people. Let us then see how it fares in a concrete example.
Consider a case in a court of law. A suspect is seen to have a gun, enters a room, a loud bang is heard, witnesses rush in and see a man dead on the floor whilst the suspect is still holding a smoking gun. The court will conclude that the suspect shot the victim, BUT this is only a RATIONAL DEDUCTION drawn from the evidence, because no one saw him actually shoot the man. The court would deduce he shot him and condemn in accordingly. But the Post Modernist should strictly argue that the court would be wrong to condemn a man only on inferences and conclusions personally drawn separately by each member of the jury from the evidence presented.
I therefore suggest that Post Modernists try to persuade the lawyers to accept that no conviction be accepted unless a criminal act was actually witnessed, and that deductions and/or inferences from evidence, no matter how strong they may be should be disallowed in a court. I think that if they were to try to do so, they would be literally “laughed out of court” by the lawyers.
This does raise the whole question of whether their overarching claim of the total universality of their claims and statements should be undergirding the whole of our treatment of life and other people. I would hope that their failure, or at least their lack of attempt, to impose their laws upon the legal system strongly suggest that if it does not apply there, then it clearly has no right to impose itself on any other area of life. Thus, it is perfectly reasonable for human beings to make rational deductions and come to valid conclusions about other human beings and their behaviour.
(E) POST-MODERNISM PRODUCES ANARCHY
It was while I was considering their view that every person’s viewpoint is no more or less valid than any other person’s, that the word “Anarchy” came to my mind.
If their views were applied universally, Stalin’s mass destruction of millions of human beings, for whatever reasons he might give and no matter how repulsive most people would find them, are just as valid as the those of the most humble Christian saint. The absurdity of their claim is obvious, because if it were universally practised, civilisation as we know it would be unworkable. Every man could make the most absurd claims and would theoretically be able to justify them according to their theory.
As the Bible records at one low point in Israel’s history “Every man did what seemed right in his own eyes.”
(F) WHAT SHOULD EVANGELICAL CHURCHES DO?
In the Table Talk article referred to in (A) above, the author proposed that we must keep to the “offence of the Cross”, and quoted Paul’s statement “My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power.” But he then suggested changing the service to appeal to a generation brought up on a Post-Modern culture. This could mean changing services to reach “a sound bite generation” and other significant alterations to their practice.
Here, we are likely to find deep divisions within the Evangelical church; do we “adjust” to accommodate this modern attitude to life by many people, or do we consistently preach the gospel as before?
Let me first say that I do not think that Post-modernism has had anything like the effect upon the ordinary person as philosophers and liberal theologians believe. The ordinary person has never heard of Post-modernism, nor does he know what it claims. What has had a far more obvious effect upon him that has produced a “sound-bite generation” is the mass media, particularly the TV with its glitzy presentations. Compared to them, church services would appear extremely boring and totally irrelevant to real life. So changing services to accommodate the “Post-modern age” is completely misguided. It is NOT Post-modernism that has changed society; the mass media has had a far greater effect at grass roots level than any “high faluting philosophical theories”. Having said that, let us look at this vexed question of whether churches should try to “appeal to the ordinary person” to “get them into the church” (adding under their breath “by hook or by crook”).
It is the experience of most evangelical churches to spend great effort and much money in trying to evangelise the local community. A few may come to one or two services but usually do not stay. Some churches then decide that “they must make the service more attractive and understandable to the outsider”, and change their service format accordingly – presenting, in some cases, what is little more than “entertainment – with a christian gloss”.
In my opinion this shows that their grasp of basic Christian doctrine is badly in error.
They simply do not realise (or have forgotten) that for anyone to become a Christian, they first have to receive from God the power of the Holy Spirit that will enable them to respond to the Gospel call. (Spiritually) “dead” people cannot respond without this gift from God.
Ephesians 2v8 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith and this not from yourselves; it is the gift of God.”
And in our approach to people we read 1 Cor. 2v14 “The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.”
Changing the service to be attractive to people, means that they will be attracted for the wrong reasons! Some may indeed come and a few may stay, but they will be attracted at a very human level, and the total humility required by the “Offence of the Cross” may, unwittingly, be bypassed. One wonders how they will fare at the Great Assize!
I have long felt that it is a wrong approach to this problem by “dumbing down” sermons so that they can be understood by the non-Christians in the congregation. I have always I considered that when the preacher has the Spirit of God within him, he will always communicate himself even to those who may have come to the church for the very first time but do have the beginning of the Spirit within them. They will sense that there is a Spirit of God in the place, and, even though they may not understand much of what is said, they will nevertheless be drawn (irresistibly?) to return again.
This was exactly what happened to me when, having been in the liberal Methodist church for 17 years, I first walked into Coldharbour Evangelical Free Church in January 1974 and for the first time heard the Bible being expounded with conviction.
I was therefore deeply gratified recently to read a comment by Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones saying exactly what I had felt for many years.
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones never seems to have engaged in any of those direct forms of evangelism (door knocking, leaflet distribution, etc.) that are so widely practised in the majority of churches today, yet he has been acknowledged to have been one of the most successful preachers in the conversion of non-Christians and his works are studied by preachers world-wide. This is not to say that these evangelistic activities should in any way be curtailed, but just listen to the following comment that MLJ made. Although it was in answer to a criticism that he did not explain some of the long words that he used in his preaching, it does also confirm the very point that I make above. Incidentally, as well as not explaining the long words he used, his sentences also were much longer than the average preacher or speaker. The following comment was made in his book “Preaching and Preachers” (Hodder 1971 p128) and I give the introductory comments quoted in “The Sacred Anointing” by Tony Sargent (Hodder 1994 p216)
“Lloyd-Jones did, however, have a trained and scholarly mind. Smith is correct and finds support from Macleod that DML-J was sometimes abstruse in his terminology and failed to explain the words he used.
It must be said that in measure Dr Lloyd-Jones was conscious of this. Listen to him as he reasons the issue through:
“I have often had the experience of people who have been converted, and have then gone on and grown in the Church, coming to me some time later and telling me about what happened to them. What they have so often said is, 'When we first came to the Church we really did not understand much of what you were talking about.' I then asked what made them continue coming, and have been told again and again that 'there was something about the whole atmosphere that attracted us, [Sargent’s emphasis – and mine!] and made us feel that it was right. This made us come and we gradually began to find that we were absorbing truth unconsciously. It began to have more and more meaning for us.”
Clearly, by preaching the pure gospel clearly and effectively, and treating people as adults at all times, the Holy Spirit can communicate across the widest of cultures and backgrounds.
This is all in exact accordance with the directive given in Ephesians Ch.4v11-13 which states that the primary purpose of the church is neither evangelism nor worship, but training the members to become mature Christians. As demonstrated above, if you deal with people in a mature way, new and old, they will gradually become mature Christians in all that they do and think.
Of the many Bible passages that refer to the maturing of the church, Hebrews 5v12-14 speaks volumes on this subject –
“(12) In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! (13) Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. (14) But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.”
Thus, the sermon should be geared towards the increasing instruction of the Christians in the congregation to this end. We must give room for the Holy Spirit to work in people’s lives because He can operate in various ways at all levels that are present within the same congregation – as MLJ has demonstrated.
I cannot help wondering if this failure of the evangelical churches to attract the outsider is the generally plodding and lacklustre level of preaching from many pulpits. Where are the ministers who are truly “on fire” to tell others of the infinite, eternal and unchanging attributes of this awesome, glorious yet loving and humble God that has been entrusted to them?
May I therefore appeal to ministers and elders, please do NOT “dumb down” or trivialise the standard of preaching or the form of worship in a vain attempt to attract the outsider. Allow room for the Holy Spirit to work in those who are beginning to feel His stirring in their heart.
After all, Evangelical preachers should be well aware that whilst we are surrounded by this material world and see the terrible results that man's original sin has brought in its wake, that, nevertheless, the REAL battle is a spiritual one, and needs to be fought at a spiritual level with spiritual weapons.
I have seen the effect that a minister has upon people when he is not afraid to challenge them and open the Bible to them, training them at all times to become mature and godly Christians. People are coming and finding their hearts are slowly but surely wonderfully changed - as Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones discovered. I am seeing a church almost full and still growing steadily, simply because the preaching concentrates on "the deep things of God". One new “seeking” visitor who had been to several churches sensed that there was “power” in the church – as I did in 1974!
THE END RESULT OF POST-MODERNISM
It is not difficult to both predict and witness the pernicious results of Post-modernism.
With a basic philosophy that says “all opinions are equal”, anyone who has been given an ability better than the average in any field of human activity – intelligence, music, writing etc. – there will be pressure to conform to the average and not stand out. We can see here the root of the “all must have prizes” syndrome. Potentially top achievers are “dumbed down” because “we must not make the average person feel a failure”.
It is an attack on the educated middle classes who have always been feared by dictatorships. As the majority of Christians are drawn from this group, they are always their first target. Their ultimate aim is to reach the situation clearly described by George Orwell in his frighteningly bleak novel “1984”, where there are only three basic classes – the Elite who are the rulers, the Apparatchiks who do their bidding in controlling the population, and the Prols, who are slaves kept in degrading poverty. We have already seen such a division of society in existence; Stalin produced just such classes during his long reign of terror. We and most other countries are moving in that same direction.
I would repeat that, in my view, Post-modernism is a deliberate attempt by its proponents to undermine the Christian faith, and with that in mind, their “hidden agenda” begins to show through, despite the massive array of “smoke and mirrors” that is thrown up by its perpetrators.
I am conscious of the fact that this article may have little effect upon the powerful forces that have occupied all the leading establishments - universities, seminaries, teacher training colleges etc. They control the broad direction that this country and many others will take. That their form of Christianity is yielding such poor results is understandable because in trying to adopt to “the ways of the world”, they do not realise that such “ways” are totally against the simple and humbling teachings of Christ with its “offence of the Cross”.
Despite this array of intimidating forces, typing away as I am at this moment, I am reminded of David’s outburst against the giant Goliath on seeing him cursing the Israelites, when he exclaimed “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?” I, similarly, feel the same about these wicked - I repeat - wicked men, who dare to oppose the Holy and Awesome God of the Christian faith. I, in my smaller way, know exactly how David felt!
HOW THIS ARTICLE CAME TO BE WRITTEN.
Although raised as a non-Christian, I have always felt that there must be a meaning to life, so when I first joined the Methodist church during my National Service, the padre suggested that I should read CS Lewis’ Mere Christianity. This “blew my mind” and firstly I learned just how deep the Christian faith really was. It also taught me the depth of deceptive pride that is in us all. I was impressed by his close arguments defending the Christian faith.
Many years later I read his Miracles, and I realised that his arguments were far more perceptive and penetrating than those in Mere Christianity, and resolved to try to master them at some stage.
I was so fascinated by Lewis’ arguments that for many years I have wondered whether to go through them and simplify and condense them so that they could be more easily committed to memory. I also read about the pernicious effect of Post-modernism upon the church. Imagine my surprise to find very recently that my Pastor, Don Wilson, had written an award-winning doctoral thesis in 2005 in which he used the arguments of CS Lewis in criticising the Post-modern doctrines.
His thesis had to be written in a very academic style and language, and was certainly not suited for public consumption [Ref 3]. In thinking about this combination of my interest in Lewis’ works, my wanting to simplify his arguments, my concern about Post-modernism and my Pastor’s thesis dealing with both Lewis and Post-modernism, it seemed more than just a strange coincidence. The end result is this article before you now.
1. Responding to the Post-modern mind. Affinity Table Talk Issue 20 Summer 2007
2. “True Science agrees with the Bible” M. Bowden Sovereign Publications. www.mbowden.info/B4trusc3.htm
3. Wilson, Dr. Donald Neil, Doctoral thesis Postmodern Epistemology and the Christian Apologetics of C. S. Lewis. 2005 University of Pretoria. Available on line at Donald Neil Wilson - C. S. Lewis. Or paste the URL below into your browser - http://veritasdomain.wordpress.com/2012/12/14/doctoral-dissertation-online-postmodern-epistemology-and-the-christian-apologetics-of-c-s-lewis/ Malcolm Bowden 2 February 2013. 6577 words
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