Do you know what Postmodernity is? It appears to be the new way that people will be thinking and acting in the future--already characterized, in part, by Generation X. It really is a whole different way of thinking and making decisons, and we mission mobilizers need to understand this in order to be able to motivate Christians--especially the younger generations--to world mission involvement. Todd Johnson (YWAM/GEM) has read a lot on Postmodernism in the process of co-editing the new World Christian Encyclopedia (Three volumes--coming soon!), and I attended an informal seminar that he led on the subject last week. Following are some books he recommended:
If you only read one book, Todd recommends _Truth Is Stranger Than It Used To Be: Biblical Faith in a Postmodern age_ by J. Richard Middleton and Brian J. Walsh, 1995, IVP
Also highly reccommended was:
_Chrisitan apologetics in the Postmodern world_ Edited by Phillips and Okholm, 1995 IVPress
_Postmodernity_ by David Lyon, 1994 U. of Minnesota Press. (I really enjoyed the chapter I read in this book).
_A Primer on Postmodernism_ by Stanley Grenz, 1996 Eerdmans. (I didn't agree with the chapter I read in this book, but it was a favorite for Todd.)
Todd also reccommends:
Anderson, Walter Truett
1990 Reality isn't what it used to be. Harper and Row.
1995 The truth about the truth: de-confusing and re-constructing the postmodern world. Tarcher Books.
Bosch, David J.
1991 Transforming mission: paradigm shifts in theology of mission. Orbis Books.
Cahoone, Lawrence, editor
1995 From modernisrn to postmodernism: an anthology. Blackwell.
Dockery, David S., Editor
1995 The Challenge of Postmodernism: an Evangelical engagement. Bridgepoint books
1996 Beyond liberalism and fundamentalism: how modern and postmodern philosophy set the theological agenda. Trinity Press
Oden, Thomas C.
1993 Two worlds: notes on the death of modernity in America & Russia. InterVarsity Press.
Sanders, John editor
1995 What about those who have never heard? IVP
1992 No other name: an investigation into the destiny of the unevangelized. Eerdmans
Veith, Gene E. Jr.
1994 Postmodern times: A christian guide to contemporary thought and culture. Crossway Books.
From: <JGIFREDA@aol.com> In reply to the article on postmodernism, I also want to recommend a great book on the subject: The Death of Truth by Dennis McCallum, Bethany House Publishers. It's substantive, thorough, and thought provoking, yet still readable. It is actually a collection of writings by different experts on different topics identifying postmodern thinking in our world.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Richard Tiplady) [In article #II, the book, The Death of Truth, by Dennis McCallum, was recommended as a reader on postmodernism.] ...I want to reply that I'm not sure I would recommend this, at least not in Europe. I don't mean to sound critical, but most North-American originated books I have read on the subject of 'postmodernity' are actually rather negative. By contrast, I would say that many of us in Europe see it as something of an opportunity. Evangelicals owe nothing to modernity, yet a number of Christian writers who criticise postmodernity seem to do so from a modern starting-point as much as a biblical one.
Postmodernity is a cultural shift, and as such (like every other culture) shares in both the image of God, and also the Fall. Perhaps the fact that much of what characterises contemporary evangelicalism arose in the context of modernity [causes us to] get insecure when our cultural base is being eroded. The challenge to us is to redfine our spirituality, worship, communication and ethics in this new and ever-changing context, rather than retreating into a safe and familiar (sub)cultural ghetto. This applies as much to our mission mobilising as to any other aspect of discipleship.
It does us no credit to deny our own cultural conditioning. We need to acknowledge it, and allow it to be transformed by Scripture. We cannot be culture-free, for to become so would make us contextless human beings. We might as well live on the Starship Enterprise, if that were the case (perhaps too many Christians try to, and that is the problem!).
One other observation - comparing European and US responses to postmodernity may suggest that the postmodern continent is Europe, whereas the US is in many ways stuck further back in modernity.
Well, there's something to stir us up. As my examination papers used to say.......'Discuss'.
From: <JGIFREDA@aol.com> The fact that McCallum's book criticizes some points of postmodernism is all the more reason to read it! One of the prominent corrolaries to the postmodern paradigm is the moral sanction against criticism of almost any kind-except of course criticism against absolute truths. Postmodernism is no more or less correct than modernism, and as McCallum points out, the church was too slow to criticize modernism, resulting in the impotency of much of the church in this century, and it is also reluctant to criticize postmodernism, resulting in a situation not unlike that expressed in the last chapter of judges, "everyone did what was right in his own eyes."
From: email@example.com (Christopher T. Vannoy) Well this was provoking! We exhibitors at Urbana were challenged by Tom Sine, a futurist and former ? Professor from Fuller Theological Seminary to investigate the purpose of our lives - obviously the Modern and postmodern aspects were discussed in as much as they have defined what our culture va lues. He has a book "Live it Up, How to Create a Life You Can Love" that is very thought provoking - it agrees with Richard that we need to be Biblically motivated to a purpose rather than from a cultural era.
From: Bruce Sidebotham <73362.1503@CompuServe.COM> Amen and amen to Richard Tiplady's remark on Post Modernism. Returning to America after seven years in Indonesia I see a definite cultural shift taking place with the evangelical churches becoming irrelevant to all but a narrow (modern perhaps) subculture. The evangelical gospel message is heavy on intellectual understanding in a context where decisions like which car to buy are made almost entirely by gut, and where knowledge has less and less impact on character and behavior. Furthermore, assurance of salvation in mainstream evangelical circles seems as much based on a "pray-this-prayer" RITUAL rather than the reality of a Christ-centered life as it was popularly based in pre-reformation times on the ritual of baptism. Ironically, at least the ritual of baptism is Biblical. Perhaps, as modernism passes, the evangelical church needs, in addition to a revival, a reformation -- a painful change of perspective on how our faith and in particular our salvation is ritually expressed; one that, in the post modern cultural context, is more descriptive and promotional of spiritual reality than "repeat-this-prayer-after-me."