Minority Report

I find myself wondering how long the church is going to play in the fields of social theory. It seems that one has to have a degree in sociology to share the gospel effectively. I know it seems terribly out of fashion but I am unimpressed and unconvinced by those who belabor the importance of knowing our "postmodern" culture.

Don't misunderstand. We ought to know our times. But c'mon! We act as if we are the first generation of Christians to live at time when it is challenging to communicate the Gospel. The fact is, the experts cannot even agree about what postmodernism truly is. Meanwhile, I'm sure some smart guy is already crafting a term to describe the next generation. Then the cycle will begin again. Certain evangelical leaders will create the next cottage industry by having all the necessary insights to ensure we don't become irrelevant. And pastors like myself will buy the books, attend the lectures and hope we get it right.

In a recent article posted on Ref21 Carl Trueman offers a very helpful minority report on the current fascination of the church with cultural relevance.

Dr. Trueman writes:
As this postmodern ethos has bled into Christian theology, a similar theological disempowerment has become evident. What began as a healthy concern to contextualize theology led in many cases to theologies where the particulars of context (whether geographical, social, political, ethnic, gender, sexual orientation etc. etc.) effectively trumped the universal horizon of scripture. The perfect storm of anarchic postmodern philosophies, identity politics, hyperspecialisation and fragmentation of the theological discipline, fear of cultural irrelevance, and the eclectic mindset of the consumer have combined to create a situation where the particular rules, messiness is in, and the church is little more than a cacophony of competing voices (or, to use the trendy and pretentious terminology, `dissonant vocalities'). On every corner, huckster theologians who have made their careers out of creating this mess are selling you the problem as if it is the solution, and theology now abounds with Orwellian newspeak: chaos is order; contradiction is consistency; valueless trivia is vital truth. And the Christian culture vultures are at
the cutting-edge of this, with their focus on the particular and the peripheral rather than the universal and the central. Kids' stuff - teenflicks and sex and the internet - holds centre stage in so much Christian cultural conversation, perhaps a sign of the West's obsession with all things adolescent, perhaps a sign of the permanent adolescence of many of the interlocutors. And let's face it, no-one ever loses in today's evangelical market by backing the peripheral rather than the central, or by overestimating the triviality of the tastes of the Western Christian consumer. Is a
Christian bookstore going to make money selling a book on the Incarnation or on prayer, or one on Christian approaches to body image, or The Simpsons, or how to improve your sex life?
Read the entire article HERE.