Postmodernism and the Understanding of the Atonement
How does today’s postmodernism affect the popular understanding of the atonement?
My biggest concern is the way in which the postmodern mentality is seducing the church, even the Reformed church. There seems to be a tacit assumption that somewhere around 1970, at the end of the cultural revolution of the 1960s, that something remarkable happened—a constituent change took place in the nature of human beings, from the manner in which we were created. Now life is no longer constructed on the basis of truth piercing the soul by way of the mind. Since about 1970, we have adopted a “sensuous culture” that is all about feelings, about relationships, about everything subjective. Even truth itself is regarded as subjective rather than objective. Therefore, truth is whatever you want it to be. This is the most narcissistic generation in the history of the human race.
Driven by these changes, churches are rushing to alter their approach to the culture, adopting the use of sound bites, entertainment, and that sort of thing. They are forgetting that the power is in the Word of God, not in methods, and that the Word is addressed in the first instance to the mind. The Word was intended by God to be intelligible, and only as we understand it does it get into our bloodstreams and into our hearts, and show up in changed lives.