OceanSide church of Christ
|Previous||Return to Articles||Next|
POSTMODERN THINKING (2)
Victor M. Eskew
In our last installment, we introduced the fact that the United States is a society that has embraced postmodern thinking. In this article, and four to follow, we are going to briefly examine five of the main pillars of postmodern thought. When a person is cognizant of these foundational elements, he will have a better understanding of what is taking place in our nation and within the church. Basically, we are being influenced by a thought process that runs contrary to the thinking of our nation’s Founding Fathers and contrary to the teachings of the New Testament of Jesus Christ.
The cornerstone of postmodern thought is pluralism. Pluralism is defined as “the mixture of many diverse people, things, elements, etc.” In our nation, we see pluralism everywhere we look. In fact, our nation has defined itself as pluralistic. On the base of the Statue of Liberty are the words of Emma Lazarus, entitled: “The New Colossus.” The second half of her poem reads as follows:
“’Keep, ancient land, your storied pomp!’ cries she
With silent lips. ‘Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest tost to me.
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!’”
The United States’ calls for people of all races, cultures, and nationalities to come to us. We welcome diversity into our borders. This huge melting pot is one example of pluralism.
Pluralism can also be seen within the business world. There used to be a time when our nation went through fashion fads. Different fads could come and go. Now, anything goes. At the mall a person can see individuals dressed as executives, jocks, Goths, hippies, rockers, cowboys, yuppies, rappers, or a host of other fashionistas. In fashion, anything goes. Everything is acceptable. The fashion world has embraced pluralism. The same can be said of the car industry. It used to be easy to keep up with the various models of cars produced by “The Big Three.” Now, there are literally hundreds of makes and models from which to choose. It is extremely difficult to shop for a car because of all the options available. The car industry has embraced pluralism.
In many ways, pluralism is a wonderful concept. However, pluralism is something that creates havoc in the religious world. The reason is because Christianity is an exclusive religion. Exclusive means: “not admitting of something else; incompatible.” Christianity cries out to the world that it is the one, the only, true religion. It was Jesus Himself who said: “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). Peter echoed Jesus’ words when he proclaimed: “Neither is their salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
In addition to there being only one Savior in Christianity, there is also only one truth that will set men free from sin. In John 17:17, we have these words of the Christ: “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” This Word, when it is heard, understood, and acted up will set a man free from sin. “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). Christianity does not declare that there are many truths that exist. Christianity proclaims that there is one truth. The truth is in the Bible, the Word of the living God.
There is one other things that is exclusive to Christianity, the one church wherein salvation can be found. In Ephesians 4:4, Paul begins his list of the “seven ones.” Here is how he starts the list: “There is one body…” In Ephesians 1:22-23, Paul reveals what the one body is. It is the church. “And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all.” The church is the body. There is one body. Therefore, there is only one church. In Acts 2:47, we learn that the saved are added by the Lord to the body. In Ephesians 5:23, Jesus is referred to as “the savior of the body.” Salvation can only be found in the church build by Jesus Christ (Matt. 16:18; Acts 20:28). His church is exclusive.
Dear readers, when exclusive ideas are introduced into a pluralistic society, controversy, to say the least, will be started. Usually, there will be an all out war of ideologies. The things that declare themselves to be exclusive are despised. They are mocked, ridiculed, and persecuted. Some will seek to eliminate them altogether. Exclusivism and pluralism do not mix. They are as opposite as light and darkness.
The faithful Christian who stands opposed to pluralism in religious and moral matters is a thorn in the side of those who accept pluralism. Some Christians have not been able to handle the pressure and the persecution of a pluralistic society. Instead of standing, they have compromised their principles. Instead of condemning all that opposes truth, they condone the lies, falsehoods, and evils of religious pluralism. Those who do are accepted by the world. We will find our why in another section of this study.