Thursday, September 01, 2011

Barry Babb-Post Modernism and the Church-It's Time To Tell The Truth

“I try not to get into an all or nothing kind of situation, but upon peeling the layers back and looking at the landscape more thoroughly, (religion) changes what reality is.” Hence the title of Barry Babb’s book Postcards From Another Gospel. “Postcards are a snapshot but do not show the whole landscape.” Babb claims postmodernism does the same thing. Postcards From Another Gospel was the result of “my (personal) journey over the last four years where God just sort of supernaturally invaded my life and brought me into a season of very deep repentance regarding him and my view of him. I knew I didn’t have it all together about God, but his mercy and his goodness just started the whole process of me recalibrating my life to see what’s important. And that is proclaiming the truth of the gospel, particularly to a post modern church.” As Babb continues to talk, he reveals a pastor’s love for the church body and also the awareness that leadership goes beyond inspiring and into an area few pastors are comfortable with; truth and the implications of maintaining a high standard that is associated with the authentic gospel.

MN-How can pastors remain relevant to a generation that believes that there are no absolutes?
BB-Most experts say we are now in our second full generation of being totally immersed where children grow up believing in pluralism-that there is not one superior thought or truth to another, and that they all should be celebrated, especially the diversity of them. We have to proclaim the truth in very clear objectives from one culture to the next. Jesus says ‘I am the way, the truth and the life. No man comes to the Father but by me.’ That causes people to grit their teeth at the exclusiveness of it, but we can not get away from the orthodox message of those exclusive claims.

MN-What would you say, pastor to pastor, about staying authentic to truth?
BB-In love, the best thing I can say to you is if you can’t come to terms with (truth) as a Pastor, whose first call should be by definition to explain the gospel, than you should do what I had considered doing and just go sell shoes. A fear of people not coming to the church is not near as bad as what an under shepherd is going to be held accountable for at that judgment. In the end, we must tell them the truth if we really care about them and the fact is the gospel is good news.

MN-On the day of accountability, how can we be sure our perception (of who God is and what we believe about him) is right?
BB-Scripture interprets scripture. I go back to very clear, definitive assertions from the Bible that are historical, objective, external truths that God gave to us. We didn’t discover them; rather he gave us the ability to open our eyes to see them, hear them and to internalize them. You have to grasp the concept that you are spiritually dead and unable to save yourself. By doing good, you have no ability to accomplish that. We can not reform ourselves, counsel ourselves-we can not self help or self actualize without salvation. We have to come to the place that we are naked before God and this culture rails against that. It’s all about my self needs being met.

MN-Let’s talk about meeting needs. What does social justice look like for believers?
BB-Does scripture mandate social justice? It’s important to look at the prophets and the work of Jesus and his apostles and say that God does have a heart for the oppressed, for the poor, for the downtrodden. Absolutely, that’s fundamental to Christianity. The question is what kind of mandate is it? For many Christians, many 20-something’s, social justice is a buzzword. It’s a hot thing now on college campuses. Many use it to be saved instead of evidence that they are saved. You can’t get to Heaven by doing it, no.

MN-Speaking of the younger generation, would you say that each generation will claim to be post modern?
BB-It’s kind of a repackaging all the way through culture starting with the garden, through secular humanism and now post modernism. It really is the same thing and that is questioning the truth and creating our own verses discovering the external truth that God tells us.

MN-Is post modernism a religion in itself?
BB-Its tenants would claim to be hostile to theology. If you look at some of that uber emergent Christianity, I think it is a good picture of what defining post modernism is in general. It permeates the entire culture. Arts, academia, literature, entertainment, philosophy-it’s fairly ingrained now. Although it’s not a religion per say, some of the religious expressions of it are very firm tenants.

MN-There are no absolutes with post modernism but with Christ, there are definable truths.
BB-In the end, we have to land somewhere. If we are landing on skepticism, contingency, mystery and those things that are so celebrated in post modernism, then that’s a different landing area than what the Bible describes as the rock of Jesus. It’s very clear. John tells us He and His word are in separable. That’s what I am calling the church to do. Let’s come back to the assurance of who God says He is and His exclusive claims of who He is.

Barry Babb is the author of Post Cards From Another Gospel and is the founder of Truth Culture Ministries.