Scholars say that people have organized their thoughts regarding truth according to one of three ways throughout time. They claim that these ways of thinking can be charted according to when one lived. People living before 1500 generally are thought of as pre-modern thinkers. People from 1500-1960 generally became more and more modern in their thinking. And those living since 1960 have been taught to think in a postmodern way. Before your eyes glaze over, let me explain the difference using a baseball analogy. Imagine three people watching a pitch go over the plate. A pre-modern thinker hears the umpire call the pitch a strike and marks it down as a strike on their program. In contrast, the modern thinker sees that same pitch go over the plate. Regardless of what the umpire says, they begin to analyze whether the pitch was really a strike. They consider its location over the plate and its height in relation to the batter. In their mind,only after such reason-based observation can it be determined whether it really was a strike. The postmodern thinker upon seeing the same pitch is rather unconcerned about whether it was a strike or not. They believe that each person must make up their own mind based on how they saw it from their vantage point. To call it a strike would suggest that there is an absolute answer to that question.
Remember that each one of you reading this has been raised in a world that operates on modern and postmodern assumptions about the world. Most of you were raised in a world when reason was king. You rather like the idea of proving things to be true. You like arguing about the umpire’s call. Instant replay is a treasure for the modern thinker. The younger people reading have been taught that arguing over such things is divisive and unnecessary.
Why am I writing about this? Well because these three ways of thinking truly impact how we think about the truth of God. Pre-modern thinkers accept the things spoken of in the Scriptures as true simply because God has revealed them to be truth. Modern thinkers want to test each thing revealed in the Scriptures through their reasoning powers. Postmodern thinkers leave it up to each person to determine what is true.
But the implications for our Christian life do not stop there. It also affects how likely we are to speak to others about our faith. When we think in modern or postmodern ways we are very unlikely to ever open our mouths and speak about the truth of God. If we think in modern ways, we wrongly will believe it is up to our reasoning skills to convince the other person to become a Christian. We convince ourselves that we are not up to the task or that the people that we are talking to will unquestionably not be open to hearing the Gospel. If we are thinking like a postmodern thinker, we don’t share because we think everyone looks at everything so relatively that making absolute truth claims about the world is useless. Or we decide that the truth we believe is not necessarily true for others. We believe that people will just stick to the truth they already believe.
But God desires that we think in a much more pre-modern way. We are to know that what the Scripture reveals is true because the One who is True has revealed it. And here is what the Scriptures tell us. They tell us that the Word of God is living and active. They tell us that faith comes through hearing. They tell us that the proclamation of the Gospel is the very power of God unto salvation. And when we believe these things, we will be much more likely to open our mouths. We will not care that there are a hundred reasons to say that our attempted evangelism will fail, but simply trust that if the proclamation of the Gospel is powerful because the Spirit is at work in it. God will bring the results He desires. We will also not buy into the lie that sharing the Gospel is useless or offensive in a world where absolute truth is not even considered to exist. We will instead trust God to convict the one we are speaking to of such a reality.
The Gospel IS the power of God unto salvation. It is for us and it is for all those around us. May we speak it leaving behind the lies of both modern and postmodern thoughts simply trusting the One who is True.