Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Deconstructing Postmodern Discipleship - Prelude

No one would honestly disagree that we are standing at the greatest crisis phase the Kingdom of God has ever faced. The beginning of this series will deal spcifically with the problem we must come to terms with much much sooner than later. Postmodern thought is not everything it is made up and out to be. Most would identify the main characteristic of postmodernists as a lack of absolute truth. That is wrong. That is an extreme side of it. The problem is that the postmodern is often accused of this simply because he does not automatically accept one's belief as true without support or reason. Before we go too far let's look at some statistics that illuminate the postmodern drift we are dealing with.

2 Questions from Thom Rainer:

Do you know for certain when you die you will go to heaven?
Why should God let you into heaven?


Generational Reality:

Builders - Born before 1946 65% answered appropriately
Boomers - Born 1946 - 1964 35% answered appropriately
Gen X - Born 1965 - 1976 15% answered appropriately
Bridgers - Born 1977 - 1994 4% answered appropriately

William Barrett
The postmodern generation of Chrisitians is now 112 million and will double that in 12 years.

George Barna
The population of unchurched people in the USA has doubled in the decade from 1990-2001. After 9/11 attendance is less than half of what it was before 9/11.

Dawson McAllister
90% of kids active in high school youth groups will abandon church after their sophomore year of college.

Dr. Stanley Presser & Linda Stinson
Only 26% of Americans actually attend church.
Denominations claim that 40% attend church.

(On a side note here, if you agree with Billy Graham about the percentage of people in church who don't really know Christ then only about 10-13% or less really are believers. What that means to me and you in the SBC world is that out of the "16 million" people we "claim" are members of the denomination there are only about 1 million who might be actual authentic believers in Christ. That is a staggeringly scary reality of our faith.)

So, what is the problem? Is it postmodernism bent on seeking truth? Could it be its disdain for tradition? Is it postmodernism's fault at all? Postmodernism itself developed late in the 19th century, and early 20th. It did not receive its namesake and become truly recognized until the mid 1930's when it was called "postmodernism" in reference to a phase in the art world. It reached the end of its incubation period in the mid-1960's and has grown ever since. The point is this, postmodernism developed as a logical extension of modernistic thought, not as a rebellion against it. If man's ability to think is above all else, than why is one man's thought any better than another?

The most basic form of the issue facing us today is that the church is hemorraging people out of it. The church-goer demographic is radically shrinking for some reason. We must find the source and stop the deluge.

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