You Are Bringing Strange Things to Our Ears: Christian Apologetics for a Postmodern Age -- By: R. Albert Mohler, Jr.

Journal: Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
Volume: SBJT 05:1 (Spring 2001)
Article: You Are Bringing Strange Things to Our Ears: Christian Apologetics for a Postmodern Age
Author: R. Albert Mohler, Jr.


You Are Bringing Strange Things to Our Ears:
Christian Apologetics for a Postmodern Age

R. Albert Mohler, Jr.

R. Albert Mohler, Jr. is President and Professor of Christian Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is the author of numerous scholarly articles and has edited and contributed to important volumes on theology and culture. Dr. Mohler’s writing is regularly featured in World magazine and Religion News Service.

Introduction

We are called to serve the cause of Christ at one of the crucial turning points in human history. The generations now living have witnessed an explosion of knowledge, the collapse of distance, and the rising and falling of empires. Cultures and societies have been radically transformed. Expansive wealth has brought great material comfort, but the most basic structures of society are undermined. Families are fractured, lawlessness abounds, violence invades, and the media bring a constant stream of chaos into our lives.

Most souls are homeless, and the reality of truth is itself denied. Postmodern Americans accept meaning as a replacement for truth and exchange worldviews as quickly as they try on new clothes.

This is a very strange time to proclaim and defend the Christian faith. Evangelism is difficult in an age when most persons think that their most basic problems are rooted in a lack of self-esteem and when personal choice is the all-determining reality of the marketplace. The task of apologetics is complicated by the postmodern condition. How do you defend the faith to persons unwilling to make any judgment concerning truth?

In a very real sense, the defense of the faith has fallen on hard times. The liberal churches and denominations have so accommodated themselves to modernity that there is virtually nothing left to defend, except perhaps the Golden Rule. Postmodernism has been a great gift to the liberal churches, for it has given them new ways to sound like they are saying something, without running the risk of offending anyone.

Evangelicals seem perplexed by the postmodern condition. Some see postmodernism as a new opportunity—the death of Enlightenment rationality. Others, myself included, see postmodernism as modernity dressed up for a new millennium. In any case, the apologetic task is stranger than it used to be.

We can think back to the glory days when apologetic giants walked the earth. The early church had Apologists and theologians such as Athanasius and Augustine, Irenaeus and Cyprian, Ambrose of Milan and Anselm of Canterbury, Tertullian and Chrysostom. We remember the medieval Catholics such as Thomas Aquinas, and surely the Reformers; Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, and Knox. In our own nation, we t...

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