Letter to Christianity Today

I wanted to share with everyone a letter I wrote to Christianity Today. So here it is:

William Lane Craig is 99% right in “God is Not Dead Yet”, but I believe his take on the impotence of post-modernism needs correction. He falls into a common trap—equating relativism with post-modernism.

Relativism is just one aspect of post-modernism, and not even the most defining aspect of it.

Although I would agree with Craig that “modern” apologetics will always be vital, he does not recognize the amount of damage done to that faith by modernist thinking.

And by damage, I am primarily referring to the reduction of a faith which values both certainty and mystery, into one which we have a right to thoroughly categorize and systematize for human consumption.

Post-modernism has, in my opinion, the potential to correct this mistake. Granted, it also carries numerous dangers, like relativism, but fortunately it is not a package deal. I believe that relativism is beginning to wane, even as the post-modern point of view is spreading rapidly, especially among those under 35.

8 thoughts on “Letter to Christianity Today

  1. I thought Craig’s article was extremely insightful and on target… but also had a slight qualm with his assessment of postmodernism, namely, that we’re really not in a postmodern age at all. But you have to realize he’s looking at it primarily from the perspective of the academic community. That is, the article seemed most relevant to academic apologetics and the status of God and theology in the realm of higher education. So rather than focusing on cultural postmodernism he targeted the philosophical side of things. What would’ve been helpful is if he made this more explicit. If you look at the article as a whole, you’ll see that he’s primarily taking the “new atheists” , and it seems liberalism in general, to task. To that end, I think the article was outstanding.BTW, his book <>Reasonable Faith<> is exceptional… and readable. Highly recommend it.

  2. I thought Craig’s article was extremely insightful and on target… but also had a slight qualm with his assessment of postmodernism, namely, that we’re really not in a postmodern age at all. But you have to realize he’s looking at it primarily from the perspective of the academic community. That is, the article seemed most relevant to academic apologetics and the status of God and theology in the realm of higher education. So rather than focusing on cultural postmodernism he targeted the philosophical side of things. What would’ve been helpful is if he made this more explicit. If you look at the article as a whole, you’ll see that he’s primarily taking the “new atheists” , and it seems liberalism in general, to task. To that end, I think the article was outstanding.BTW, his book <>Reasonable Faith<> is exceptional… and readable. Highly recommend it.

  3. I hope I didn’t seem to come down too hard on Craig. I was limited in the number of characters I could use in the letter, otherwise I would have spent more of them being complimentary to his contribution.I hear what you’re saying, although I don’t think there’s any area of life, academic, cultural, etc, that won’t be profoundly impacted by the coming domination of post-modern thought. And of that, relativism, I believe, is only a flash in the pan. To treat it like it is the be-and-end-all of post-modernism, even within purely academic circles, is extremely myopic.It’s this same myopia that seems to pervade the bubble of Christian apologetics… that once we have established a “reasonable faith” we’re done. We’ve got it. As if that is all anybody needs in order to be a disciple.

  4. I hope I didn’t seem to come down too hard on Craig. I was limited in the number of characters I could use in the letter, otherwise I would have spent more of them being complimentary to his contribution.I hear what you’re saying, although I don’t think there’s any area of life, academic, cultural, etc, that won’t be profoundly impacted by the coming domination of post-modern thought. And of that, relativism, I believe, is only a flash in the pan. To treat it like it is the be-and-end-all of post-modernism, even within purely academic circles, is extremely myopic.It’s this same myopia that seems to pervade the bubble of Christian apologetics… that once we have established a “reasonable faith” we’re done. We’ve got it. As if that is all anybody needs in order to be a disciple.

  5. You might be aware that by honing in on his brief two paragraphs concerning postmodernism, you’ve completely missed the point of the article, which is not an apologetic against postmodernism, but against modernism (what he calls verificationism), which is the foundation of atheism.But on the topic of postmodernity, I’m persuaded that he’s at least half right that the dawn of the Postmodern Age is a myth. Modernity is still holding on tightly. We’re in transition–at a delta of sorts, where the waters are mixing. In the realm of thinking people, postmodern philosophy has been shown the door. It may not be completely out yet, but it’s on its way. Better than relativism, the overarching postmodern concept is probably deconstruction. And the problem is that deconstruction deconstructs itself. For good philosophers, this problem is no cop-out. It’s the legitimate nail in the coffin. Hence the aggressive resurgence in modernist philosophy, viz. the “new atheists”. But here there are problems as well. Naturalists, verificationists, atheists, whatever you want to call them, have suffered a fatal blow to their paradigm: they’ve been called out for cheating, for inventing their own rules and claiming them as absolute, when in reality there simply are other options. They have, by definition, excluded the supernatural from all possibility, but that presupposition no longer holds water, except among fools who are entrenched in their anti-theism regardless of sound reasoning and evidence to the contrary.And on that issue, I think you’ve built a straw man regarding the exclusiveness of Christian apologists’ appeals to the reasonableness of our faith (I assume you’re not down on them for stopping short of irrefutably proving the Christian faith true, seeing that that’s impossible, this side of eternity). Neither Craig nor any of the other Christian apologists/philosophers I know of are arguing that the epitome of discipleship is to show Christianity reasonable. But they do assume–rightly, I believe–that in every age of church history defending the faith propositionally is necessary.Craig’s point about the practical impossibility of living a life built on utter relativism hits the bullseye. People do make decisions based on facts and evidence and reasons, and they do it constantly, even if often subconsciously. No good apologist would say (and Craig certainly did not say) that everyone makes every decision rationally. There are “apologetics” other than rational arguments, e.g. individual and ecclesiastical lives lived in the Way of Jesus. But all these work together, and none of them works by itself. That’s the key: loving, beautiful Christian community means nothing if not representative of a credible, clearly articulated Christian creed. And such doctrine is simply unbelievable if it is not commended by the virtue of those who ascribe to it.

  6. You might be aware that by honing in on his brief two paragraphs concerning postmodernism, you’ve completely missed the point of the article, which is not an apologetic against postmodernism, but against modernism (what he calls verificationism), which is the foundation of atheism.But on the topic of postmodernity, I’m persuaded that he’s at least half right that the dawn of the Postmodern Age is a myth. Modernity is still holding on tightly. We’re in transition–at a delta of sorts, where the waters are mixing. In the realm of thinking people, postmodern philosophy has been shown the door. It may not be completely out yet, but it’s on its way. Better than relativism, the overarching postmodern concept is probably deconstruction. And the problem is that deconstruction deconstructs itself. For good philosophers, this problem is no cop-out. It’s the legitimate nail in the coffin. Hence the aggressive resurgence in modernist philosophy, viz. the “new atheists”. But here there are problems as well. Naturalists, verificationists, atheists, whatever you want to call them, have suffered a fatal blow to their paradigm: they’ve been called out for cheating, for inventing their own rules and claiming them as absolute, when in reality there simply are other options. They have, by definition, excluded the supernatural from all possibility, but that presupposition no longer holds water, except among fools who are entrenched in their anti-theism regardless of sound reasoning and evidence to the contrary.And on that issue, I think you’ve built a straw man regarding the exclusiveness of Christian apologists’ appeals to the reasonableness of our faith (I assume you’re not down on them for stopping short of irrefutably proving the Christian faith true, seeing that that’s impossible, this side of eternity). Neither Craig nor any of the other Christian apologists/philosophers I know of are arguing that the epitome of discipleship is to show Christianity reasonable. But they do assume–rightly, I believe–that in every age of church history defending the faith propositionally is necessary.Craig’s point about the practical impossibility of living a life built on utter relativism hits the bullseye. People do make decisions based on facts and evidence and reasons, and they do it constantly, even if often subconsciously. No good apologist would say (and Craig certainly did not say) that everyone makes every decision rationally. There are “apologetics” other than rational arguments, e.g. individual and ecclesiastical lives lived in the Way of Jesus. But all these work together, and none of them works by itself. That’s the key: loving, beautiful Christian community means nothing if not representative of a credible, clearly articulated Christian creed. And such doctrine is simply unbelievable if it is not commended by the virtue of those who ascribe to it.

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