Recently, while reading book reviews, I came across one that described a book as being unhelpful in enabling the reviewer to reconcile being postmodern with being an evangelical Christian. The reviewer believed that she could be both. While I grant that a postmodern worldview can influence a believer, I believe that as that believer matures in his walk with Christ that he will find the two worldviews are incompatible.
Postmodernism is based on the premise that in the world there are different narratives that explain existence and purpose for life. Postmodernist believe that there exists metanarratives meant to explain these, but that no one metanarrative can explain everything. It is up to each person to find their own narrative, and no one can say that anyone else’s narrative is wrong. There are no absolutes by which we can make such judgements.
Such a view is incompatible with the gospel. The gospel is a metanarrative that explains all of life and its purpose. God created the world and everything in it for His glory. Humanity is in rebellion to God through sin against Him. Even if a person desires to overcome their sin and come to God, he or she cannot. Instead, God takes the initiative to save. He is just and cannot simply overlook our rebellion, but because He is also love, He makes a way for us to come to Him. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. He is the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to God except through Jesus. This is God’s narrative, His story. It explains our existence, our purpose and our needs.
Because the gospel is exclusive, it cannot fit in a postmodernist’s worldview. The postmodernist will struggle with the exclusive claims of Christ found in Scripture. Either, a postmodernist must conform his worldview to the gospel or conform the gospel to his worldview. Tragically, many are choosing to conform the gospel to postmodernism by accepting universalism. Postmodernist who claim to be evangelicals have done well to question conservative evangelicals about the inconsistencies between our faith and our practice in terms of treatment of the poor and God’s creation. However, they are mistaken when they accept a different set of inconsistencies by claiming to follow Jesus without holding firmly to the exclusive claims of the gospel of which He is the center.