I have never met John Piper but some of his parishioners joined a church i was pastoring in USA and they spoke well of him. Piper has just written on William Tyndale who gave up his homeland (and his life) so that the English speaking world might read the Bible in their heart language (a fan of contextualization long before the term was coined).
John Piper and Desiring God are hosting a conference on postmodernism called “The Supremacy of Christ in a Postmodern World” Sounds like the conferences we used to do back in the 90’s. Despite what might be the longest and most commented on protest ever on emergentno.blogspot.com, I think its a good move, even though its a decade too late. I kinda wish they were tackling something more immediate – like the “Supremacy of Christ in a COMPLEX world” but that would mean their speakers would have to read some new books and deal with a subject that, although more timely, does not yet have a recognized canon of published works or recognized experts (or critics). And despite incredible leaps of understanding in the last few years, we still don’t have a general theory of complexity. But that shouldn’t stop us from bringing the wisdom of Scripture to bear on our present condition. Hey . . . maybe next year???
Speakers this year include Don Carson AND Mark Driscoll on the same stage – two people passing each other like sailing ships travelling (respectively) to and away from the Brave New World of Emerging-Missional Church. I just listened to a recording of Carson’s message (Evanglelizing in a Postmodern World) from his visit to Scotland. Its long, and I cant say i didn’t drift off, but what he said was good. I think Driscoll and Carson would probably share a similar understanding of the “postmodernism” although Driscoll would tend towards the cultural understanding and Carson towards the epistemological and academic.
Personally, I think the word “postmodern” has been dead and buried in Christian circles and using it opens a different can of worms for every audience who cannot tell the difference between ‘postmodernity’ (cultural, historical, experiential, sensual, ie., of the senses) and ‘postmodernism’ the hermeneutical debate. And i know because i am still getting flack. And more flack for saying the word “”postmodern sensibility’ is coming in a few months when John Hammett publishes his updated critique on the Emerging Church [which btw is far better than the first one].
Here’s someone else who has buried the word:
“So we say “adios” to the word ‘postmodern’. We never felt like you were a demographic anyway, but more of a mindset. But we certainly didn’t define you as having a certain theological stand. But now, every pastor, church, or publishing/media exec wants to identify with your “too cool for school” self. We’re sorry you got thrown under the bus by warring theological factions.”
Michael DiMarco of Hungry Planet bids Adios to “Postmodern”
However, if Carson and others think there is more milage in the word ‘postmodern’ then more power to them. Maybe the long tail of the postmodernism conversaton will give the American church a window to a deeper understanding of their culture and their church and what God is desiring of them. I certainly hope so.
Interesting: Last month’s paper issue of Computer Arts magazine mentioned “postmodernity” and globalisation as the two key factors related to the future of computer graphics.
“For predictions on the themes that will affect design, we turn to a bigger idea; postmodernity. The apogee of the modern project that began with renaissance art, the term ‘postmodernity’ describes the condition of the accelerated, played out and media saturated times we live in. Dont confuse it with Postmodernism, the short lived collage-based design and literary movement prevalent in the 90’s.
Computers are key in the cultural shift to postmodernity . . .”
Karl Hodge, New Horizons, Computer Arts, Christmas 2005, page 37-38
This is what i mean’t when i talked about ‘postmodern sensibility’.
Related: John Piper is under some criticism for a more openness towards new members and their particular form of baptism. I support the decision of Bethlehem Baptist Church to allow non-plunged applicants (sprinkled Prebyterians?) into membership, despite their baptism-lite experience being a far cry from the traditional Baptist slam-dunk. Good move, in my opinion, towards the heart of Jesus’ prayer for unity (John 17). A church can still hold to what it believes but be generous in its dealings with those who see things differently, even though convinced from the same Bible . Colossians316 has the skinny, although the writer takes issue with Piper’s new policy.
But in my opinion, John Piper is figuring out how to let Christ be supreme in a postmodern world.
As for the other thoughts and deeds of John Piper, are they not written in the annals of Justin Taylor?