When the "Postmodern" Isn't

Chris Terry Nelson at Disruptive Grace has a great quotation from Bruce McCormack explaining why what many call “postmodernism” isn’t that at all. It’s really Romanticism or subjectivism or late modernism. If you’re in my Adult Catechism Class at OURC close your eyes and plug your ears because I’m about to give away the lesson for this week.The lynchpin (the major premise) for the entire emerging/emergent complex of movements is that “We live in a postmodern world.” Really? What if it’s not not true? What if the postconservative evangelicals are just making things up, baptizing their tendency to Romanticism and religious subjectivism (QIRE) with the waters of a misnamed and misunderstood cultural and intellectual phenomenon that allows them to exacerbate a tendency, without accountability, that has been present from the beginning of modern evangelicalism in the 18th century

For more on this see my essay in Reforming or Conforming? and especially the trail of footnotes which leads to some important literature on this topic.

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  1. Scott
    I drew the same conclusion in the editors introduction-Schleiermacher is the lodestar for what is commonly identified as post-conservative/emergent.

  2. This is right on. I appreciated Dr. David Wells’ comment on last week’s White Horse Inn in saying that so-called “post-modernity” is better termed “high modernity.”

  3. I came to a similar conclusion recently while reading Berkhof’s Prolegomena. I had long seen Schleiermacher as the key to this the phenomena of the Emergent/Post-Evangelical malaise. Berkhof crystallized this notion in my thinking in his extended discussion on the subjective-objective split, which I find to be much more useful than the conservative-liberal language.

  4. I wonder if these “modern” phenomena are engineered by conscious attempts to resuscitate past movements (unbeknownst to those neophytes being sucked into them today) and then foisted off as “new moves of the spirit”.

    For example, read Warfield’s Counterfeit Miracles and you will see that the “holy spirit as laughing gas” Toronto blessing movement isn’t exactly new.

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