The Introduction to Andy Parker’s article: The Lapdogs of Satan

Introduction

Truth is a concept that has always plagued the mind of fallen man, and modern man is no exception. As the Lord God Almighty stood before the authorities of this world, Pilate asked Jesus if He was a king. Jesus responded by saying, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice” (John 18:37). Pilate responded, “What is truth?” (John 18:38).

Standing eyeball to eyeball with the Creator of all life, the Lord Jesus Christ, Pilate could not see that the standard of truth and righteousness was standing before him. As those redeemed in Christ we have the grand privilege of seeing the arrogance and blindness of the fallen mind. We often look at Pilate as being the epitome of such blindness, but Pilate is no different than any other son of Adam.

Today, we would like to think that we are much different. After all, we do have the fullness of revelation through the resurrected Christ and the sixty-six canonical books of the Bible. We also have over two thousand years worth of philosophy recorded and at our disposal. Unfortunately, all of the annals of time, the insights of man, and the breakthroughs discovered in science have not satisfactorily answered this question. Rather, all they have done is create further and further diverging lines of thought.

As a new millennia has dawned, the church of Jesus Christ finds herself being brutally attacked by the disparity and sarcasm in those asking the very same question Pilate asked our Lord. “What is truth?” is not an evil question in and of itself. Rather, when asked honestly this question can direct one to a fuller understanding of our Lord, which in turn allows us to further glorify Him through the proper use of our mental capacities. When asked under improper motives, this question becomes nothing more than an assault on the sovereignty of God because fallen man holds himself to be the final determinate of truth. Instead of acknowledging that all knowledge derives from God, man makes himself the final source of all knowledge.[1]

By making himself the final source of all knowledge man cursed all of his progeny thereafter. Thus, at the heart of the fall was the concept of truth. Is truth derivative or does man make it up as he goes along? Up until recently, approximately the last forty years or so, there was a common belief among philosophers and theologians that there was such a thing as absolute truth and that it could be discovered, whether through the mind of natural man or through revelation. Today, it is of majority opinion that there is no such thing as absolute truth, while some still struggle to hold on to the idea of communal (small “t”) truths.

Many have called the cultural landscape that we find ourselves in, postmodernity, or after-modernity meaning the philosophical underpinnings that defined modernity are dead. What exactly is postmodernity? Is it a philosophical movement or simple a term given to describe the cultural times, or perhaps both? Is this something that is good or bad for Christianity? How are Christians to interact with this worldview that is so prevalent today? These are just a few questions that will be addressed throughout the course of this paper.

Postmodern philosopher, Pascal Engel asks the question, “Why, if we no longer believe in truth, is there such a longing for it?”[2] It is the purpose of this paper to reflect and dissect the basic philosophical underpinnings of the postmodern movement and determine what exactly it means for the community of the redeemed. In order to do this we must first begin by asking the question, what is Postmodernism?


[1] Cornelius Van Til writes, “ In paradise, Eve went to as many as possible of those who were reputed to have knowledge. God and Satan both had a reputation for knowledge. Apparently God did not think well of Satan’s knowledge and Satan did not think well of God’s knowledge but each thought well of his own knowledge. So Eve had to weigh these reputations. It was for her a question as to, How do we know? The problem that Eve faced was a difficult one. God told her that she would surely die if she ate the forbidden tree. Numerically there was only one in favor of one and only one in favor of the opposite point of view. Thus she could not settle the matter of reputation by numbers. She herself had to decide this matter of reputation by motion and a vote. God claimed that he was Creator. He claimed that His being was ultimate while Satan’s being was created and therefore dependent upon God’s Being. He told her she would decide the question, How do we know? Without asking the question, What do we know? He said she should be neutral with respect to his interpretation and God’s interpretation of what would take place if she ate of the forbidden tree. Eve did ignore the question of being in answering the question of knowledge. She said she would gather the opinions of as many as she could find with a reputation for having knowledge and then give the various views presented a fair hearing. We should observe particularly that in doing what she did Eve did not really avoid the question of What do we know? She gave by implication a very definite answer to that question. She made a negation with respect to God’s Being. She denied God’s Being as ultimate being. She affirmed therewith in effect that all being is essentially on one level. At the same time she also gave a definite answer to the question How do we know? She said we know independently of God. She said that God’s authority was to be tested by herself. Thus she came to take the place of ultimate authority. She was no doubt going to test God’s authority by experience and reflection upon experience. Yet it would be she, herself, who should be the final authority.” Cornelius Van Til, The Defense of the Faith, (Phillipsburg: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., 1967), 33-34.

[2] Richard Rorty, and Pascal Engel, What’s the Use of Truth? (New York: Columbia University Press, 2007), 1.



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