Postmodernism and Christianity (Part 8)

We have talked so far about what postmodernism is, what it is good and true about it as well as what is false in it, and how Christianity must respond to those places in the culture that clash with the truth. Is the discussion ended? No. To think that discussion is over when we have raised the problems and then dispensed answers like pills to be swallowed is to misunderstand the issue. Why? There are postmodern Christians.
No, I have not just written an oxymoron. So far we have been talking about postmodernism as something that is “out there,” but that is only one part of it. It is not only something “out there,” but it is something that is also within us. It is the story we have been soaked in and it has soaked into us.
The interaction between Christianity and culture is not such that the gospel pushes out the cultural values in the territory it enters like an invading army pushes out a rebel army in a war. We do not become blank slates and then become Christians; we are still products of our own culture. Instead the gospel redeems and renews whatever it touches, and the task for Christians is for the good in culture to be renewed and that which is false to be redeemed.
Because that is the way Christianity interacts with culture there will be postmodern Christians – people thoroughly influenced by postmodernism, yet deeply committed to Christianity. People influenced by postmodernism will begin to ask unique questions about their faith and understand it in different ways. Parts of Christianity will rub against the grain of postmodern sensibilities; while there will be deep agreement in other areas. There will be a temptation to shave off the rough edges in those places where there is friction.
This is where the challenge comes in. Christianity must be relevant to every culture it is in. By that I mean it must find a way to speak the truth of the gospel in a way that is winsome and understandable to every culture it enters. In other words, there are ways in which Christianity is changeable. However, the gospel is a constellation of truths which are timeless, which means that there are also ways in which Christianity is unchangeable. It is certainly true that you can change Christianity until it is no longer Christianity and adapt the gospel until the gospel is lost.
The central question postmodern Christians must find a Biblical answer to is this: Where is the line drawn by which we can know what is changeable about Christianity and what is unchangeable? The dangers of irrelevancy and the loss of the gospel lurk on either side.
So our discussion of postmodernism and Christianity must shift to the issues that are arising as people are trying to answer this question…

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