John MacArthur Is Not Taking Postmodernism to Church

Ironic, that on the day I began reading a book on postmodernism and its importance on helping reshape the Church, I see that Phillip Johnson is posting a discussion on John MacArthur’s book, The Truth War: Fighting for Certainty in an Age of Deception.

I remember a couple of years ago when Phillip Johnson of Pyromaniacs said this:

Rhett Smith is the very model of a postmodern college minister. It’s interesting to watch him wrestle with evangelical faddism from the paradigm of a young emerging church leader.

Though, not a compliment from him, I took it as one. Sometimes we don’t want to agree with certain people. And though I haven’t read MacArthur’s book, therefore, eliminating from the conversation on it, I don’t plan on reading it in this case. But I can assume that MacArthur has nothing nice to say about postmodernism.

I used to read and listen to MacArthur on the radio all through college, but I stopped one night in about 1996 or 1997 after he said something to the effect of not lying to officials if he was hiding Jews in his house. The underlying idea being, that God is sovereign and doesn’t need us to lie to accomplish His will, etc. Which brings about all sorts of thoughts, but here is just two: 1) I’m glad I’m not a Jew hiding in his house; 2) God is Sovereign but seems to use us and all sorts of methods to bring about his way (i.e. lying being one of them, Rahab for example). Here is that question being asked by a person and answered by John.

That was a whole other side note. Just realizing that as I read through this book that there are many Christians from various schools of thoughts and various opinions. Getting all of us to agree, especially when certain schools believe they have all the answers or are so dogmatic in their positions, can be quite impossible I suppose.

  • For one theologian’s view on properly dealing with the question of Jews during the war (i.e. helping hide them, lying on behalf of them, working against Hitler, etc.), read anything and everything by Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

Here is a great book, which was recommended to me by Wess

Who’s Afraid of Postmodernism: Taking Derrida, Lyotard, and Foucault to Church by James K. A. Smith

If I am opposed to the epistemology, or theory of knowledge, that plagues modern Christianity, then I am opposed to the ecclesiology (or lack thereof) that accompanies this modernist version of the faith. Within the matrix of a modern Christianity, the base “ingredient” is the individual; the church, then, is simply a collection of individuals. Conceiving of Christian faith as a private affair between the individual and God–a matter of my asking Jesus to “come into my heart”–modern evangelicalism finds it hard to articulate just how or why the church has any role to play other than providing a place to fellowship with other individuals who have a private relationship with God. With this model in place, what matters is Christianity as a system of truth or ideas, not the church as a living community embodying its head. Modern Christianity tends to think of the church either as a place where individuals come to find answers to their questions or as one more stop where individuals can try to satisfy their consumerist desires. As such, Christianity becomes intellectualized rather than incarnate, commodified rather than the site of genuine community. (pp. 29)

0 Comments

  1. by tim on December 17, 2007  4:28 pm Reply

    Hey Rhett, I read your blog regularly and often want to post a reply, but haven't because of the thought that some might know, "that's Rhett's dad, of course he likes what Rhett has written." But I do say, "Thanks for your words. I've lived long enough to see our culture passing from the modern to the postmodern-and-developing. I've always admired you for your compassion and honest struggling. On the night that Jacob wrestled with God his named was changed to 'Israel," "Prince of God." You're a prince Rhett! Tim

  2. by Steve on December 18, 2007  1:43 am Reply

    If Phil Johnson says it's a Truth WAR, then maybe he should've called you "the very model of a (post)modern major general"!

  3. by andrew on December 26, 2007  2:48 pm Reply

    does your dad read your blog? thats cool!!!

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.