Friday, January 09, 2004

An Interesting Week...

I ruffled some feathers this week and it was definitely a learning experience for me. Many thanks to Joe at Evangelical Outpost for his supportive words, both here on site, and by e-mail. You help keep me focused Joe! In thinking about the two major issues I wrote on this week, I came to the realization that they were, in a way, connected. The issue of the meaning of Proverbs and the issue of Post Modern Christianity have to do, in some part, with relativism. Interpretation of the Bible (and of any literary document, for that matter) has become a relativistic act hasn't it? Yo! Wendy? Listen up... I'm not accusing you of doing that! (Let's be clear at the start here) No. My concerns about relativistic interpretation centers around the narcissistic worldview prevalent in our culture. Indeed, if you read Walt Russell's Playing With Fire: How the Bible Ignites Change in Your Soul, you will quickly see that he is also concerned with the relativistic way in which we in the church tend to read the Bible. How many times have you heard the question, after scripture is read, "What does this verse mean, to you?" How many sermons have you heard in which the story of Jesus calming the storm was used to convey the idea that Jesus can calm the storms in your life? Or how many worship songs do we sing that contain multiple entries of the word "I"? The list is, unfortunately, very long. And this is how I see the tie between our self-centered and lazy interpretive skills, and the Post Modern Worldview. We have fostered a relativistic mentality within our churches. When we ask what a verse means to us, are we really that different from the deconstructionists who refer to our country's founding document as a "Living Constitution?" So, should we really be that surprised at the relativism displayed by Post Modern Christians (by the way, I'm starting to think that the phrase "Post Modern Christian" is a contradiction in terms)? Should I have been surprised at the lack of appreciation for the rules of logic and the overwhelming concern for personal feelings that I ran into after my posts on the emergent church? I think it all boils down to one thing. Truth. By its very nature, Truth must be unique. Yet so many confessing Christians would not agree with that statement. I'm in the process of reading The Revenge of Conscience: Politics and the Fall of Man by J. Budziszewski. So far, it's excellent. Budziszewski, now a Christian, is a reformed Nihilist. He writes from experience and he writes to the 21st century person. Francis Schaeffer once said that if he had only 1 hour to speak with a "modern man" that, because of this "modern man's" relativistic worldview, he would have to take the first 50 minutes to explain why he needed to be saved. Only then would he be able to spend a coherent 10 minutes actually delivering the Gospel. Schaeffer understood the problem well.

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