“Apologetics for Postmoderns”

Douglas Groothius, Ph.D., professor of philosophy at Denver Seminary, wrote:

If a Christian apologist of postmodernist stripe were to stand on our equivalent of Mars Hill today, he or she might say something to this effect, something quite different in spirit from the apostle Paul’s original address (Acts 17:16-31).

Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D.People of Postmodernity, I can see you speak in many language games and are interested in diverse spiritualities. I have observed your pluralistic religious discourse and the fact that you use many final vocabularies. I have seen your celebration of the death of objective truth and the eclipse of metanarratives, and I declare to you that you are right. As one of your own has said, “We are suspicious of all metanarratives.” What you have already said, I will reaffirm with a slightly different spin.

We have left modernity behind as a bad dream. We deny its rationalism, objectivism and intellectual arrogance. Instead of this, we affirm the Christian community, which professes that God is the strand that unites our web of belief. We have our own manner of interpreting the world and using language that we call you to adopt for yourself. We give you no argument for the existence of God, since natural theology is simply rationalistic hubris. We are not interested in metaphysics but in discipleship.

For us, Jesus is Lord. That is how we speak. We act that way, too; it’s important to us. And although we cannot appeal to any evidence outside our own communal beliefs and tradition, we believe that God is in control of our narrative. We ask you to join our language game. Please. Since it is impossible to give you any independent evidence for our use of language, or to appeal to hard facts, we simply declare this to be our truth. It can become your truth as well, if you join up. Jesus does not call you to believe propositions but to follow him. You really can’t understand what we’re talking about until you join up. But after that, it will be much clearer. Trust us. In our way of speaking, God is calling everyone everywhere to change his or her language game, to appropriate a new discourse and to redescribe reality one more time. We speak such that the resurrection of Jesus is the crucial item in our final vocabulary. We hope you will learn to speak that way as well.

truth_decay_groothuis.jpg—Douglas Groothius, Truth Decay: Defending Christianity Against the Challenge of Postmodernism, (Downers Grove, IL, USA and Leicester, England: InterVarsity Press, 2002), 161-162.


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