Losing track of God

[T]oo often Christians do not realize how subtly we are dissuaded from the theocentric perspective that should characterize faith. We live in an age of super-subjectivism, in which how we are experiencing things determines their reality. Subjectivism is evident in such slogans as “If it feels good do it.” Not so evident is the way subjectivism distorts our society’s approach to religious phenomena.

Postmodern interpretation of scriptural accounts center on the perceptions of the disciples rather than on what Jesus was teaching about His kingdom, or on the experience of the children of Israel rather than on what YHWH was showing them about covenant purposes and faithfulness. Last Sunday,  I heard a sermon that focused primarily on dimensions of life that bend women over, but hardly mentioned anything about the Jesus who healed a deformed woman (Luke 13:10-17)

Because the twenty-first century mind is characteristically inward-turned, this subjectivism has invaded our theology, as can be seen in much contemporary Christian ethics, as well as Christian music. Several years ago a large dramatic Easter pageant shocked me when the words from Handel’s Messiah, “and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,” were changed to “when we shall see his glory.” That shift might not seem so drastic, but think of the dichotomous difference of perspective it indicates. Now the emphasis is on how we, subjectively, are (or are not) seeing God’s glory, rather than on the objective fact of YHWH’s revelation.

— Marva J. Dawn, Joy in Our Weakness


3 thoughts on “Losing track of God

  1. I read John MacArthur’s Strange Fire and he pretty much points out the same thing you/Marva state in the piece. If I think it’s real…It is. If I feel God is leading me…He is. I can speak truth into being etc…etc.
    “Postmodern interpretation of scriptural accounts center on the perceptions of the disciples rather than on what Jesus was teaching about His kingdom,…”

    Can you go into a little more detail on the above comment ?
    I am not sure I agree with that statement on it’s face.

    1. I can’t speak very well for Marva Dawn, and it is a generalization, but I take her point to be that it is a uniquely postmodern thing to always read the Scriptures in a way that puts the interpretive focus on the way the non-Trinitarian actors in the stories thought, felt, understood what was going on. So you get a whole sermon on what it is like to be the bent over woman instead of putting the focus on the healing power of Jesus.

      It does strike me as a very Reformed critique — not paying enough attention to the sovereignty of God.

      1. Thank you for answering my question.
        I am not familiar with her work.

        So what you are saying is or more orthodox would tend to believe the following literally or as stated and the postmodernist may/or may not.

         That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life— 2 the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us— 3 that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. 4 And these things we write to you ….1 John: 1-4

        If I am hearing you wrong feel free to correct.

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