Guest Post by Michael Miller: Postmodern Push-back
Mike Miller and I share a lot in common. We’re both licensed and practicing funeral directors in the Commonwealth. We both love Jesus. And we both sort of felt called to the funeral business. We both look so good in suits that we can turn straight men gay.
He is married to a brunette … just like me. And both of our wives are awesome! We’re both Eagles fans, too.
But, our views of God are slightly different. He’s reformed and I’m not. I like the incarnational model and he’s skeptical of it. He’s also taller than me and slightly funnier. Mike’s so cool that he invented the term “winning” which Charlie Sheen then proceeded to steal.
When I saw that Mike gave an impassioned response to my article on Postmodernity and the Church Fathers, I asked him if he’d like to have the floor. So, it’s with a great deal of excitement that my first guest post on my blog is from my good friend, fellow undertaker and brother in Christ!
As I write this, I don’t want to be misinterpreted or misunderstood. I am an evangelical Christian. I am essentially reformed with a charismatic view of worship and understanding of the Holy Spirit and His work, both subjects which I am continually studying.
More than ever there is a great deal of emphasis placed on the need to make Christianity and the Church more relevant and attractive to younger generations. Churches of all denominations spend a lot of money trying to figure out how to get young people to come. Enter Postmodernism and the Emergent Church. At the onset, I want to make a distinction between the emerging church and the emergent church. I am not out to call into question those in leadership that preach in distressed skinny jeans, un-tucked flannel shirts, and Chuck Taylor’s, spend way too much time in Starbucks and have couches and bean bag chairs in their places of worship; as long as there is sound doctrine and the gospel message is being presented clearly.
In an iceberg issue, I am merely going to use my fingernail to scratch the top of this glacial mass. My belief is that the leaders of the Emergent Church, Emergent Village, etc. are going down a dangerous and slippery slope in order to be attractive to a postmodern generation.
It seems evident that certain historic Bible doctrines, which are essential to Christianity are being called into question or even dismissed by men that fill leadership roles in the Emergent movement (e.g. doctrine of real hell, exclusivity, Jesus’ primary reason for coming to earth, etc.) A clear example of this would be the controversial forth coming book by Rob Bell “Love Wins.”
I will be cautious going down this road because I haven’t read the book, but based on the publisher’s comments and the promo video that is out, it seems like Mr. Bell has taken long strides in the direction of Universalism. Many are pegging him a heretic, others have said his beliefs place him outside of the Christian faith. I will hold my tongue until I have read the book and have drawn my own conclusions. However, in a recent sermon defending his church Mars Hill, Bell said this from the pulpit in regards to his how his congregation should react or respond to such harsh criticism, “We are trying to live out Historic, Orthodox, Christian Faith.” I’m no scholar, just a regular guy who sins a lot, but to me Universalism, or even shades of it, fall way out of line with Historic, Orthodox, Christian Faith.
At its core, Postmodernism is about that which is pragmatic, relational, and non-offensive. It is skeptical of, or even denies the existence of absolute truth. My belief is that staying true to the offensive gospel of Jesus Christ and the solid doctrinal teaching of that truth from the pulpit, using scripture to reason and inform is absolutely necessary. These principles are then carried out in community-minded small groups, where the truths of scripture are applied in a relational manner. This leads to healthy, God-glorifying relationships in, and the expansion of, the local church. I have experienced this first-hand in my own church.
Is it so important that we bring the masses into an environment where the truth is secondary to subjective feelings and mystical ideas about God and where the Bible is deconstructed; or should the focus be on sound, Christ-centered, Cross-centered Bible doctrines emphasizing our need for a savior, even though it may turn many away? God always has and always will be faithful to his bride the Church. Let’s be faithful to His Word in our mission to defend the gospel, pursue the lost and grow His church for His glory.
Matthew 24: 4-5
2 Timothy 4:3 Psalm 1: 1-6