Apologetic To Postmodernism: General Revelation And The Fifth Gospel -- By: Ronald B. Mayers

Journal: Journal of Christian Apologetics
Volume: JCA 02:1 (Summer 1998)
Article: Apologetic To Postmodernism: General Revelation And The Fifth Gospel
Author: Ronald B. Mayers


Apologetic To Postmodernism:
General Revelation And The Fifth Gospel

Ronald B. Mayers*

Introduction

Debate rages today within Christian apologetics as to whether this is, a la Dickens, “the best of times” or “the worst of times.” Contributing to this confusion is the ambiguity as to what is the current cultural and intellectual climate - modernity, ultra-modernity, or postmodernity. If the new intellec-tual milieu is one of rejecting individual autonomy, scientism reflected in radical empiricism, and a raw naturalism, Christian apologetics obviously sees this as the “best of times.” If, on the other hand, the contemporary Zeitgeist is one of absolute relativism, denying any possibility of objective truth as each community’s metanarrative is “true” since truth is simply what one believes to be true as reality is not perceived, but constructed via one’s individual and social context, then this is certainly “the worst of times.” Both of these perspectives have legitimate insights, but while the loss of individualism and empiricism of modernity may open doors for the Christian gospel, the multiplicity of acceptable world-views that leaves in place independent and mutually exclusive realities cannot be reconciled with the biblical worldview of God and creation — be it nature or man. Modernity accepted objective truth, though it was unsure of its identity until meta-physical naturalism became dominant in the twentieth century. Call it ultra-modernity, or postmodernism, absolute relativism reigns and truth is really “truth for me.”

Millard Erickson suggests four possible Christian approaches to a radical postmodern understanding.1 The first approach might be to deconstruct the water, but this simply will not work as the Christian cannot abandon the objectivity of truth, a referential understanding of language, a

* Ronald B. Mayers is Professor of Philosophy at Cornerstone College, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

correspondence theory of truth, the existence of metanarratives, and the presence of some universal qualities of human nature. I agree. Thus the second path is to use a deconstructed rope. This means that a propositional approach must be replaced by a narrative approach. While it is true that the relativity of knowledge does not deny the objectivity of truth, I question whether narrative rope is a hopeful apologetic approach. As Albert Mohler states:

Christians must not be unaware that the postmodern incredulity toward metanarratives extends to the Christian truth claims as well. Postmodernism’s ardent denial of absolute truth extends to the t...

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