Living In Truth: Unmasking The Lies Of Our Postmodern Culture -- By: Pieter de Vries

Journal: Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
Volume: SBJT 19:2 (Summer 2015)
Article: Living In Truth: Unmasking The Lies Of Our Postmodern Culture
Author: Pieter de Vries


Living In Truth: Unmasking The Lies Of Our Postmodern Culture

Pieter de Vries

Pieter de Vries is a part-time lecturer of biblical theology and hermeneutics at the Seminary of the Dutch Reformed Church in the Netherlands, associated with the Free University of Amsterdam. In addition, he serves as the pastor of a local Dutch Reformed Church of Boven-Hardinxveld, Netherlands. He earned his two Ph.D. degrees from the Theological University of Apeldoorn and the University of Amsterdam respectively. Dr. de Vries has published numerous articles covering diverse aspects of Reformed faith and practice including articles on culture and apologetics. He has also written a number of shorter books including John Bunyan on the Order of Salvation (Peter Lang, 1994).

Introduction

Our society is one typified as postmodern: it is a society that has left modernism behind it, at least in part. Modernism had its roots in the Renaissance and attained its full flowering in the Enlightenment. The philosopher Immanuel Kant described the Enlightenment as man’s liberation from the dependency in which he had been holding himself captive. It was the authority of the church—and, indeed, that of Scripture — that Kant had in mind. For the propagators of the Enlightenment, reason and understanding were decisive in everything. Only such truths as were apparent to reason were true. What was authoritative was not what Scripture said, but what reason could accept as true. One of the consequences of this attitude was that biblical events falling outside the ken of natural sciences were dismissed as unhistorical. In this manner of thinking, that which was impossible according to science could never have happened. One could summarize this view as, “That which is impossible with men is impossible with God.”

The Enlightenment — with modernism following in its wake — did, however, still hold to the existence of transcendent truth and transcendent morals. To account for the continuing post-Enlightenment acknowledgement of universal morality, we must bear in mind that even though the Christian faith was no longer the wellspring of Western civilization, the waters that had accumulated in the basin were not drained away overnight. For instance, it long remained an understanding deeply rooted in Western culture that marriage and the family were building-blocks of society.

The transition from modernism to postmodernism has come gradually. In the 1960s and 1970s this shift began to be visible as the question of whether there really was an all-pervading truth or morality was asked increasingly. Unlike modernism, postmodernism answers this question in the negative. Truth is what ...

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