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RESEARCH PAPER FOR THEO 525

on

THE BIBLICAL WAY TO ADDRESS POSTMODERNISM

THEO 525 DLP (fall 2008)

Systematic Theology I

Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary

Jeffrey R. Musgrave (ID# 225429)

December 10,2008

Table of Contents

Introduction . 3

Is Postmodern Theology an Oxymoron? . 3

A Definition of Christian Theology . 3

Defining Postmodernism .. 4

Can Theology be Synthesized with Postmodernism? .. 5

The Effects of Postmodern Thinking on the Church . 6

Postmodern Influence on the Christian View of Truth . 6

Postmodern Influences on Worship . 8

Postmodern Influences on Preaching and Teaching . 10

When the Culture Defines the Church 11

Speaking to Postmodern Culture with Biblical Theology 11

Recovering Truth in a Relative World 12

Intellectual Challenge or Spiritual Penetration 13

The Church in the 21st Century 13

Conclusions . 14
Introduction
Theology has been referred to as the queen of the sciences. In more recent times, its right to rule has been challenged by the rise of postmodern thought. The increasing acceptance of postmodern ideas have led many to ask if traditional theology can coexist with postmodern thinking. Can theology be expressed in the language and concepts of postmodernism without losing its meaning? There are two possible outcomes. Either theology can be adapted to speak to postmodern life in postmodern terms or it cannot. If it cannot make its assertions in postmodern terms and remain meaningful, as many have concluded already, then another way must be found. Since theology cannot speak in postmodern terms without losing its credibility, this paper will show that the best way for theology to address postmodern people and thought is to remain true to Scripture and two thousand years of Christian witness. Is Postmodern Theology an Oxymoron?

In order to understand the difficulty of communicating theology in a postmodern climate, it is necessary to examine the two component parts of the equation. Once the two individual parts are understood correctly, it will be confirmed that the two are mutually exclusive as commonly understood and defined. A Definition of Christian Theology

According to Millard Erickson, a good “basic definition of theology is 'the study or science of God,'”[1] which is good as a simple statement, but does not capture the full range of what Christian theology is. Christian theology is necessarily based in Scripture as its foundation. In its nature then is the idea that God has revealed Himself to mankind in propositional communication. Francis Schaeffer asserts that it is not unreasonable to say that God has communicated His nature to man in a way that man can understand; the same way that men communicate with each other.[2] For theology to remain true, it cannot be separated from its Biblical foundation and it must take the Bible as a whole into account.[3] Christian theology's prime objective is to communicate truth about God to all of humanity in a way that can be understood. It is not meant to be a purely academic exercise for scholars in their towers. This objective actually sets the stage for the issue at hand. Because postmodern thought is real and pervasive in the world of today, theology must find a way to bring forth the truths of God in a way that can be understood by postmodern man. The problem with this communication is the gulf between the meaning of the terms of traditional Christian theology before the modern and postmodern eras and those same terms since modernism began its transition into postmodernism. Defining Postmodernism

One of the biggest problems with attempting to define postmodernism is the fact that it resists definition by its very nature. The Cambridge Companion to Postmodern Theology notes it thusly: Those who attempt to define or to analyze the concept of postmodernity do so at...
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