Bible and Theology
Withstanding Post-Modernism
Nov 15, 2017

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Today, there is a heartbreaking lack of Biblical literacy—even in the church. Fewer and fewer churches are taking the time to instill in children and adults alike the life-giving instruction of the history, wisdom, poetry, prophecy, and letters of the very Word of God. And it is to our detriment—not only of ourselves and the body of believers but also of our surrounding culture.

Don't let the world undermine the authority of the Word of God in your life—because that's the beginning of trouble.

A man, frustrated with this trend, divulged a story about a young pastor newly appointed at a church who decided to visit some of the Sunday school classes:

The pastor first visited a class of boys and asked them, "Who knocked down the wall of Jericho?"

The boys looked at one another with round, astonished eyes until one piped up and emphatically declared, "I didn't do it!" Then each in turn joined in, "I didn't do it! I wasn't anywhere near it!"

The young pastor was absolutely appalled. He couldn't believe the lack of Biblical knowledge displayed and promptly called a staff meeting where he shared what had taken place that past Sunday. He explained, "I asked this Sunday school class, 'Who knocked down the wall of Jericho?' and no one knew."

The staff sat there, dumbfounded. Finally, an elder replied, "Pastor, listen. It appears that this matter is bothering you, but I have known these boys since they were born. And if they say they do not know, they do not know. I believe them. Let's just get some money out of the repair and maintenance fund and fix the wall and get on with it."

While this tale may garner a chuckle, sadly, more often than not, it is true. While education supposedly has accelerated in the past century, knowledge of the Word of God has decelerated. Our Biblical knowledge is far less than that of our parents and certainly far less than that of our grandparents. We have been catapulted into a culture that denies the Word of God.

And this is a problem.

Post-modern thinking now dominates the air that we breathe, and Christians and their churches need to be resolute in not just identifying this thinking but combatting it with knowledge of and faith in God's Word.

Post-modern thinking proclaims that
(1) The pursuit of Truth is meaningless.
(2) The idea of objective morality is obsolete.  
(3) The concept of authority is out-of-date.

People today think that every opinion is equally right, that what's true for you isn't true for me, that there is no absolute Truth, and so on. Some even disparage the church by accusing Christians of using the authority of the Word of God as a means of controlling people. The absolute commandments of God? That is just your interpretation—one private belief among many—according to prevailing cultural thought. And when you stand up in faith, speaking Truth from the Word of God, the world simply casts aside the Bible, calling it an archaic book that could not possibly have a sovereign claim to determine what constitutes morality.

This reasoning is in the movies that we see. It's in the television shows that you watch. It's in the books that you read. It's in curriculum at school. It's in the halls of academia. It's in the business world. It's in the courts of law. It's in the boardrooms. It's even in some churches today.

We are exposed to post-modern thinking sixteen hours a day. From the moment you wake until the time you sleep, you and I are bombarded with post-modern thinking.

Your mind is being shaped by the media you consume. And if you only consume post-modern media, you will start to think like a post-modern! So, you must guard your mind with some practical disciplines to counteract this influence in your life.

First, read the Bible.

In Romans 12:2, Paul writes, "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." God transforms us in many ways, but reading the Bible is one of the most important. It is a powerful means that God uses to renew our minds so that we can align our wills with His. How can you know God's will if you aren't reading the Bible? Get a reading plan and work your way through the Bible.

Did you know that less than one-fifth of all who call themselves Christians read the Bible daily? When you are bombarded by post-modern thought day in and day out and you come to church on Sunday for just two hours, there is no way on God's earth that those two hours are going to neutralize the impact the post-modern world has on your mind. It cannot work. Sunday is not enough.

The post-modernists think they know better than Jesus, who submitted to, obeyed, and relied on the written Word of God. It is the height of arrogance. In response to the attacks of Satan, Jesus stood firm on God's Word, declaring, "It is written. It is written. It is written." Don't let the world undermine the authority of the Word of God in your life—because that's the beginning of trouble.

Second, be prepared to give an answer.

"Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have," Scripture commands (1 Peter 3:15).

Non-Christians are going to challenge your faith. They will raise objections. They will demand answers. They will want to know why you believe what you believe. You don't have to know the answer to every question. But you should know some answers and know where to go if you don't have answers. If you can't give good reasons for why you believe what you believe, you will start to believe as the post-modern does.

Third, find your value in God.

In today's post-modern, Truth-scorning culture, style is far more important than substance. You can see it on social media. Impression is everything. Appearances are all that matter. Packaging is more important than content. Americans spend millions on plastic surgery every year. Social media makes us scurry to increase our likes, friends, and retweets. We determine our value by the number of online followers we have gained.

Everyone wants respect. Everyone wants to be loved. But, you will never feel loved by increasing your social media presence. You will never be satisfied by getting more likes. In fact, many wind up suffering depression with more time spent on social media. They compare their messy lives to the picture-perfect portrayals of their friends' lives, and this leaves them feeling inadequate and discontent.

You must let God's love for you shape your identity. He loves you through the Bible and His church, so you must build relationships in the church, meeting with your brothers and sisters in Christ to worship and to read and apply His Word to your lives.

Through the Wilderness into the Promised Land

Today's culture pushes you to look to yourself for fulfillment: "Believe in yourself. Follow your dreams. Be true to yourself." If you do not arm yourself with God's Truth and the knowledge of His love and grace for you in Christ, you will fall for these empty and powerless sentiments. Though they seem harmless, they stem from rebellion against God. When you trust in these, you conform to the pattern of the world.

God gives us a choice, not unlike the choice He gave the Israelites. In the desert wilderness, through Moses, God told the Israelites to choose between life and death (see Deuteronomy 1, 30:15-20). Many chose death and were buried in the wilderness, never reaching the Promised Land.

Do not be buried in the post-modern wilderness. But live in the new life that Christ has secured for you. Know and root yourself in the Bible.

It is your compass, your encouragement, and your very own story.