Summary: The message examines the relationship of Christianity to the postmodern culture.
America finds itself in the middle of a revolution in thinking which is greatly impacting virtually every aspect of life. The term used to describe our present culture is “postmodern.” If you look very closely you will soon discover that this mindset is the guiding spirit of our times. Postmodernism teaches that things like reason and rationality are simply cultural biases and truth, especially God’s truth does not exist. Many speakers, teachers and writers talk about the quest for knowledge. But most of the time it is not knowledge they want but power. This has resulted in an attempt to conform the church to the culture. However, we as Biblical Christians cannot allow ourselves to compromise with postmodernism. The fact is postmodernism does not rest on cultural bias but in an alternate reality that is constructed by the culture. The series that we begin today is entitled, “Faded blue jeans and t-shirts: God’s view of casual Christianity.” What I mean by casual Christianity is the casual attitude that we now display toward some of the foundational principles of Christianity. In our text Paul provides a powerful description of the culture that we now live in. As we look at Paul’s words in our text I want us to see the alarming effect that postmodern thought has had on our culture and the church. When we look through a Biblical lens we soon discover that postmodernism can mean anything, everything and nothing.
I. There is a lack of respect for absolute truth or any standard of judgment.
A. Postmodernism believes that truth is created not discovered.
1. The Barna research group did a poll of American adults in January of 2000 and found that four out of ten Americans believe that there are absolute moral truths that are unchanging.
2. The same question was asked two years later and the number of those believing in absolute truth was cut in half as only 2 out of ten believed that there are absolute moral truths.
3. The postmodern person would tell you that truth is a slippery thing because it is ever changing.
4. Postmodern worshippers are like postmodern readers: They are the source of truth not the discoverers of truth.
5. Contemporary society’s distrust of the truth is a powerful illustration of Paul’s statement about people turning their ears away from the truth.
B. The postmodern mind has no room for absolute truth because of its ability to place demands on them and to convict them.
1. The postmodern mindset’s belief that the truth changes not only in matters of preference but in the crucial matters of spirituality, morality and even reality itself.
2. Consider this basic tenant of postmodern thought: Nothing is ever proven either by science or history or any other discipline.
3. Postmodernists are not opposed to spirituality; in fact they have a tremendous interest in spiritual things.
4. Sociologists have found that 95% of Americans believe in God. Books about near death experiences, angels, the new age, Christianity and the occult continue to make the best seller lists.
5. The thing that most postmodernists are against is religious teaching that holds to objective truth and usefulness of reason.
6. The bottom line is the popular belief that my experience is the basis for my beliefs and those beliefs exist to empower me.
II. People are attracted to the message that tells them what they want to hear.
A. The lust for inoffensive preaching will cause people to turn their ears away from the truth to myths.
1. We have congregations full of comfortable professing Christians listening to a lot of religious talk with no sound doctrine.
2. Many times the message of salvation cannot be heard amid the scratching of all the itchy ears.
3. Churches are full of people preaching and teaching a message that can be termed as Christianity lite with an emphasis that is on positive thinking, success and wealth - not on the gospel of Jesus Christ.
4. The idea that Christians are not to face hardships and are to drive better cars, wear better clothes and jewelry and generally live the good life materially just does not square up with God’s Word.
5. Being a Christian does not mean that you are going to live on easy street, in fact the Bible teaches just the opposite as Paul warns Timothy to prepare for hardship.
B. The scratching of itchy ears preaching has left us with a feel good message in which moral absolutes are strangely absent.
1. One mainline denomination helped found the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice in 1973 and is still an active supporter of this along with fourteen other denominations.
2. In 1985 one mainline denomination adopted a resolution that "gay, lesbian, bisexual" (GLB) people (or those of all "sexual orientations") are welcome in its full life and ministry (membership, leadership, employment etc.).