There is a proverb from long ago (not from the Bible) which goes something like this: "The more things change, the more they stay the same". It seems self-contradictory. Essentially, the sweep of history comes down to today with the same of almost everything, only recast into another form that magnifies, expands, and intensifies the original - or something similar thereto. This would seem to agree in principle with the book of Ecclesiastes (Ecclesiastes 1:9-10).
There is something afoot today that certainly seems new in many ways, but as noted above it is not really "new". However, it embodies twists and distortions that are much more complicated and deceptive that in times past. As pertains to this article I have named it "Christian Postmodernism". A few years ago, it could have been only "Postmodernism" (this would seem to fulfill "the more things change" part). However, it will seem to many to be a new thing on the earth! Here is a VERY short definition:
Postmodernism is a mindset concerning life with all of its relationship, that attempts to depersonalize all things into objects of opportunism - including the faculties of the individual having the mindset. I know - this is a grossly oversimplified statement. There are MANY offshoots and branches and twigs shooting in many directions - it is a huge concept. As it pertains to an individual, this individual reduces him or herself to a non-personality. They deny having a unique identity. They meet every circumstance, situation, and person in their lives with a fabricated persona to fit the occasion. They feel that they must do this to obtain what they want, regardless of what it may be. They are utterly subjective. There is no properly functioning internal compass. They can be taken in ANY DIRECTION and will bend themselves into being anyone or anything, if they feel that it will get them what they want. Remember the "me" generation? It is still around - with a more sinister cloak!
Now, there is NO MORE "ME" at all - only the "me" that the occasion or the group, or the other person prefers THE ME TO BE...! These persons have crushed all conscience, personal feelings (1 Timothy 4:2; Titus 1:15-16)), all preconceived ideas and values or morals and made themselves a totally subjective and opportunistic new creation. A COMPLETELY SELF-AUTOMATED, ROBOTIC NON-ENTITY! Do you see where this could lead? The possibilities are staggering...!
"Christian" Postmodernism is a cultural, social, and even doctrinal blending AND OVERLAY of this philosophy or mindset (or whatever else it could be called) upon the tenants of true Christianity. It is the blending of many different philosophies, disciplines and even pop psychology. It includes bits and pieces of agnosticism, New Age beliefs, Far Eastern religions, Christianity, and a heavy input of moral relativism (Ephesians 5:1-7).
One of the first evidences of the influence of Christian Postmodernism is the tendency to CREATE GOD in the person’s OWN IMAGE. This has been around, in one form or another, to one degree or another for a very long time (Jude 1:3-4). Often these are individuals who have made a tacit declaration of belief in Christ, and have begun to intermingle with Christians for social contact, or in the hope of meeting a personal need, and to find sympathy for their plight. Many have never repented of their life of following the dictates of their flesh (2 Peter 2:1-3). They are particularly open to the "downward pulls" of the fallen nature, simply because there are few or NO RESTRAINTS (Galatians 5:17,19-20). There is no longer an internal mold into which CHARACTER - good or bad - can be poured!
The Postmodernist is constantly PUTTING ON an endless array of identites and personalities, so it often becomes advantagious to have the identity of a Christian as well. They probably seldom think it through this way, but being open to wrong spiritual motivaations (Epesians 2:2), they nevertheless are open to this path. Then the next step is a simple and easy one: "this is what I need to do, therefore 'God' is in it". In reality however, this is only making another"self"- the ever moldable "me", the 'god' of the postmodernist (2 Peter 2:18-20). They are continually "putting on" the wrong "man" (Ephesians 4:17-24)!
All of these converge to also produce a plethora of OTHER GOSPELS - counterfeit gospels (Galatians 1:8-12). These are variously recognizable by their wrong slant or wrong emphasis while presenting information concerning prosperity, happiness, the good life, etc. The Christian Postmodernist’s "God" is often the classic "hip-pocket" God. "Lord get me a parking place", etc., etc. These "gospels" involve extraneous doctrines, ideas and personal opinions implied as Biblical. Many of these gospels corrupt the true Gospel intentionally or by default by giving the impression that to be a Christian is easy. It is subtle indeed (Matthew 7:15).
Christian Postmodernism adherents can accept God as an element in their mindset, by resisting any genuine consideration or reference to Jesus Christ. This is a part of today’s pop-Christianity - it is faddish in some elements of society to make passing references to God, but completely avoid any to Jesus. Avoid the "J" word! This is not surprising since the only way to God is THRU Jesus. This pop-culture Christianity can entertain some of the verbiage relating to true Christianity, but references to the Bible as God’s Word are only given lip service, or avoided altogether. Even the Bible can be created into another image or persona! It is subtly implied that be a Christian is easy. Indeed, it can be the way to a problem-free life, money, happiness, and at the end, don’t worry - they have a ticket stamped "Heaven". Genuine Christian terminology is used, with singular emphasis on the word "grace", to which is attributed a variety of half truths, and wrong sequences, emphases, and error. Grace is often presented as the whole rather than a part of God’s will. It is either ignored or overlooked that under grace we ARE FREE - that is, free from our past guilt and condemnation for sin, but to RECEIVE this grace there are conditions. Often this is the subtle yet critical error. There must be repentance, belief, and then grace. Then, the only purpose for the grace of God is: OBEDIENCE. This is the WHY of grace! Postmodern Christianity marches to the beat to a much different drummer - self deception, self absorption, pretense, and hypocrisy (Matthew 23:25-28).
At this time "Christian Postmodernism" defies shape or even a concise description. It can perhaps best be described as a religious mixture, a non-entity itself, just beginning to infiltrate and influence the church. Being a non-entity - like its constituents - it is largely invisible. It is not visibly organized, for good reason (2 Corinthians 2:11). It is a very worldly subculture and undercurrent. Overtones of this influence can be heard when conversing with newer members within the church, and usually with younger converts. The imposing of a Postmodern imprint upon the church is, at its source, the spirit of antichrist. This has been the history of all attacks upon the church since its establishment by Jesus (Revelation 2-3).
What can we, as Christians, say to all of this?...
First, we must pray - prayer should always be the first thing! Pray that we, personally, will not be deceived by the subtleties of Satan (1 Peter 5:8). Pray for those who are already caught up in these things, and for the protection of those who are vulnerable. Those just beginning to show an interest in the Gospel and Christianity are particularly susceptible, because of the fleshly appeal of the postmodernism approach meshed with Christianity. And pray for the church of Jesus Christ all over the world! We have been in the "end times" for a long time. The end is CLOSER than it was. Postmodernism has been recognized by some that it is an element in education and our culture that challenges evangelistic efforts, and this is very important. However, not only is Christian Postmodernism an evangelistic obligation, but can become AN ATTACK ON THE CHURCH from within at the same time (Acts 20:27-30)...
We must guard our hearts, minds, and spirits. If we are not close to Jesus in humble surrender, and commited to striving to live righteously, by not shifting with every wind that blows (James 1:5-8), but walking with, and talking with Jesus Christ hour by hour, day by day, we could be caught asleep (Matthew 25:7-13). Each of us is a totally unique entity, a REAL person, so valuable to God that Jesus died for EVERY HUMAN ENTITY on earth! If we stay awake and alert and PRAY, we can contribute to saving others - and also save ourselves. We can reach out in love and compassion and truth to those in danger, and those already caught up in this error, and help them to escape from this new Babylon of confusion and error. As this phenomonon develops, or as others come on the scene in the future, I pray that God will grant the church, and you and me, the wisdom and the faithfulness to endure - until the end!...(Luke 21:36)...
"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” - Matthew 28:18-20
"BUT UNDERSTAND this, that in the last days will come (set in) perilous times of great stress and trouble [hard to deal with and hard to bear]. For people will be lovers of self and [utterly] self-centered, lovers of money and aroused by an inordinate [greedy] desire for wealth, proud and arrogant and contemptuous boasters. They will be abusive (blasphemous, scoffing), disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy and profane. [They will be] without natural [human] affection (callous and inhuman), relentless (admitting of no truce or appeasement); [they will be] slanderers (false accusers, troublemakers), intemperate and loose in morals and conduct, uncontrolled and fierce, haters of good. [They will be] treacherous [betrayers], rash, [and] inflated with self-conceit. [They will be] lovers of sensual pleasures and vain amusements more than and rather than lovers of God. For [although] they hold a form of piety (true religion), they deny and reject and are strangers to the power of it [their conduct belies the genuineness of their profession]. Avoid [all] such people [turn away from them]." - 2 Timothy 3:1-5 (Amplified Bible)
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