An Introduction to Postmodernity: Where Are We, How Did We Get Here, and Can We Get Home? -- By: Ted Cabal
SBJT 5:2 (Summer 2001) p. 4
An Introduction to Postmodernity:
Where Are We, How Did We Get Here,
and Can We Get Home?
Ted Cabal is professor of philosophy at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Dr. Cabal has served as the Dean of Boyce College, and has also taught at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Dallas Baptist University. He has written articles on philosophy and apologetics, and is currently working on a book on apologetics.
As a student in seminary I had a friend with severe amnesia as the result of a serious bicycle accident. In spite of previous diligent work, he had forgotten large amounts of his seminary studies. And not recognizing his wife, he had to get to know her all over again. His disorientation could have been even worse, but his happy testimony was that he was anchored in still knowing Jesus!
Many of us were also disoriented upon waking one day to find that we no longer recognized the intellectual world around us. Someone informed us that we were now living in postmodern times and had been for some time, but it all seemed so new and unfamiliar. Gratefully, we still knew Jesus, that He is the same forever; but, living as a Christian in the strange new world of postmodernity1 would demand adjustments in our thinking.
Two decades ago we thought we knew what it meant to live as thoughtful Christians in modernity. It entailed active resistance to the manifestations of unbelief that had arisen since the Enlightenment. Modern philosophy, no longer the handmaid of theology, reveled in its newly found autonomy to reason apart from God’s revelation.2 Modern science, no longer seeking to think God’s thoughts after him, boasted that God was unnecessary to understand either the universe or life’s deepest questions.3 Most insidious of all, modern biblical criticism and theology, now sitting in judgement over Scripture rather than under it, became the standard fare for seminarians preparing to feed God’s flock.4 But at least we knew our enemies well, and with the intellectual reinvigoration of evangelicalism in the twentieth century, it appeared that the Lord had raised up a David to meet modernity’s Goliath.5
Where Are We?
But after waking surprised that morning, we now discover the arrival of postmodernity. How different everything looks! Instead of clashing only with a worldview giant (Naturalism) wielding the sword of a strong competing truth claim, much of the world is n...
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