John MacArthur on Postmodernism

JP: I’ve been confused about the meaning of Postmodernism. I found these articles helpful.

Preaching and Postmodernism (Part 1)

QUESTION: What are the unique challenges or difficulties of preaching to a postmodern culture?

First of all, you have to understand that when you talk about a postmodern culture, that’s an academic assessment of the culture. The average Joe doesn’t have any idea what that means. All he knows is he’s pretty much free to think and do whatever he wants. That’s how postmodernism filters down to the guy in the pew. It’s not a philosophy—it’s a lifestyle. The average guy just knows that the culture doesn’t care what he does. The movies he sees don’t make a moral judgment on anything except racism or somebody’s intolerance. So he’s free to do whatever he wants in the society, and nobody can tell him what to be or what to do, and the bottom line is that he should feel good about himself. That’s what filters down.

But all this goes completely against the grain of his conscience and his reason, and ultimately what he knows to be true. The unbeliever’s conscience is a reality, and even reason tells him that there have to be some absolutes.

The bottom line is that expository preaching confronts the amorality of postmodernism with an authoritative message of absolute truth. It’s not a question of debating. It’s not a question of trying to find some way to sneak that in. It’s an issue of confronting this kind of thinking with the absolute authority of Scripture and then letting the Spirit of God make the application to the heart.

Preaching and Postmodernism (Part 2)

Rather than trying to take the Bible and bring it into the modern day, I try to take the modern day and bring it back to the Bible. And that’s a distinction you want to make. This stuff about culture shaping preaching is taking the Bible and redefining it in modern terms. My goal is to take modern culture and the people of that culture and redefine them in biblical terms so that they are living back in the Scriptures.

Along with living a life of integrity and being prayerful and dependent on the Lord, those are the keys to effective preaching.

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