Ministry from modern to postmodern times

Modern times

Modernity is often associated with authority, certainty and optimism (1700’s to 1980). In the modern era, science became the predominate source for truth and reality. Religion and the morality based on it were arbitrarily demoted to a subjective realm.

Star Trek ‘s Spock exemplifies the modern mind. Spock was completely rational, always using logic to solve the problems encountered by the crew of the Enterprise. The impression viewers got was that, “our problems can be solved by the application of rational expertise” (Grenz). The spirit of modernity is also equated with a spirit of progress.

Postmodern times

In the postmodern era, there is no single defining source for truth and reality beyond individual preference.

Postmodernity is characterized by the rejection of objective truth – anything that claims to speak with univocal authority and any form of global cultural narrative (master-narrative or grand-narrative) that gives universal meaning.

God is warmly welcomed in the postmodern world as long as he doesn’t try to play God. Tolerance has become so important that no exception is tolerated. An attitude that “celebrates the demise of King Reason,” the “Independent Ego,” “Absolute Truth,”and any “totalizing meta-narratives”(Christian Scholar’s Review Winter 1996).

Postmodernism is often associated with diversity, plurality, and skepticism. It feeds off a gnawing pessimism from two of the bloodiest wars of history, and assortment of totalitarian schemes which have consumed the lives of millions.

Ministry – a vision of resident aliens 

It is good to be willing to innovate and adapt to the times for the sake of the gospel but, “when sociological reality is taken as the given to which church strategy and tactics must adjust, the church is in danger of becoming market-driven in an attempt to create a particularly attractive religious boutique to which all (or all within an identifiable market niche) are welcome and within which a variety of goods and services must be offered for personal choice.”

 

Let’s embrace the challenge of seeking a better understanding of the shift to postmodernity and addressing it as a communication challenge for the gospel.

see also – What does postmodern mean? 

Steve Cornell

This entry was posted in Ministry to young singles, Missions, Modern, Postmodern, Worldview and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Ministry from modern to postmodern times

  1. roxellamay says:

    Thoughtful piece.

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