Today, I am writing in response to an important paper submitted by Carver T. Yu for the 3rd Lausanne Congress coming up in just about a month. Yu's paper is entitled "Truth Matters, Stand Up for Truth" speaks to one of the major issues facing the global Church today -- how do we make a case for the truth of Christ in the pluralistic and globalized world of today? I highly recommend that you go and check out Yu's paper at the Lausanne Global Conversation right now!
The two people that come to mind for me as I think about this worldview are two main types of people who make up the global mission field of postmodern pluralists.Thus, those of us who are concerned about world evangelization, must carefully consider who these people are and how we can proclaim Christ to them.
The first is embodied by a sociology professor I once had. Highly educated, militantly atheistic, openly and publicly antagonistic to the Christian faith – a conscious, intentional proponent of this worldview – he publishes books and articles about it, blogs it, tweets it, teaches it, etc. The second however, is embodied in an individual that I know who has recently left his wife for another woman. When confronted as to the moral aberrancy of his conduct, though not consciously a postmodernist, he responded in a way that typifies the worldview. Phrases like, “You’re entitled to your opinion, but it is my business”; “I have to follow my heart”; and “If you don’t like my life then get out of it” are met by platitudes from like-minded peers such as “Don’t worry about what anyone else says”; “Be true to yourself”; and the like. This second individual is unintentional, unversed in postmodern theory, and often unable to articulate the rationale behind his values and beliefs.
I want to state simply that the Church must seek to answer both types of people. From personal experience, I would testify that what we find effective with the first type will not often be so fruitful with the second. I'll admit, I have more questions than answers on confronting these two types of postmodern pluralists. But here is where I begin:
First, I’d like to see the Global Church make an effort to identify, affirm, and meaningfully support those among us who are the truly great apologists of our day. Then to call on them to redouble their efforts to (1) give public and compelling defenses of the faith that are of irreproachable soundness and quality and (2) equip the whole Church to effectively join the battle for truth in our day.
Second, we must have a related but nevertheless distinct strategy to win the hearts and minds of the masses of unintentional postmodern pluralists who are especially plentiful in Western society today. Who is good at this? Who has thought through this particular issue that can share with the rest of us? We need to hear from such leaders. If you know someone with a track record of effectively engaging what I'm calling the unintentional postmodern pluralists, please direct them to this post and ask them to leave some feedback. In response to my question on this issue of the second group, Carver Yu commented: "This is perhaps more urgent. The mass of unintentional or unthinking pluralists are expanding. A new breed of evangelists has to be nurtured to understand the heart and mind of this group. How do we do it? I need help here."
Okay, then. So, my excellent readers. Please do help us out on this issue. I look forward to hearing from you.