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Postmodernizing the Faith: Evangelical Responses to the Challenge of Postmodernism [Paperback]

By Millard Erickson (Author)
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Item Specifications...

Pages   166
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.46" Width: 5.53" Height: 0.48"
Weight:   0.53 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Feb 1, 1998
Publisher   Baker Academic
Age  18
ISBN  0801021642  
EAN  9780801021640  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Postmodernism, with its denial of objective knowledge and deconstruction of language, has become a major topic of discussion in academic circles everywhere. How are evangelical thinkers responding to this new trend? In Postmodernizing the Faith, respected theologian Millard Erickson explores six evangelical responses-both positive and negative-to postmodernism and offers his own reaction to the movement. Erickson's purpose is "to introduce readers to postmodernism, to sensitize them to the importance of the issues, and to show them some samples of differing evangelical responses. Following an introductory chapter describing postmodernism, Erickson presents the responses of three evangelicals who consider the movement incompatible with orthodox Christianity. Next he details the thought of three evangelicals who believe "postmodernism is a development that needs to be accepted, and Christian theology done in light of it, and incorporating at least some of it." In each chapter Erickson offers a judicious critique, highlighting both the strengths and weaknesses of the particular view being discussed.

1. The Challenge Of Postmodernism 2. Just Say 'No"! 3. Back To The Future 4. Escape To Reason 5. To Boldly Go Where No Evangelical Has Gone Before 6. Theology Is Stranger Than It Used To Be 7. De/con/structive Evangelicalism 8. Postmodern Apologetics: Can Deconstructed Horses Even Be Led To Water? 166 Pages

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More About Millard Erickson

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Millard J. Erickson (PhD, Northwestern University) is distinguished professor of theology at Western Seminary in Portland, Oregon. He is a leading evangelical spokesman and the author of numerous volumes, including the classic text Christian Theology.

Paul Kjoss Helseth (PhD, Marquette University) is professor of Christian thought at Northwestern College in St. Paul, Minnesota, and the author of numerous scholarly articles.

Justin Taylor (PhD, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is the executive vice president of book publishing and book publisher at Crossway. He has edited and contributed to several books including A God-Entranced Vision of All Things and Reclaiming the Center, and he blogs at Between Two Worlds--hosted by the Gospel Coalition.

D. A. Carson (PhD, Cambridge University) is research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, where he has taught since 1978. He is a cofounder of the Gospel Coalition and has written or edited nearly 120 books. He and his wife, Joy, have two children and live in the north suburbs of Chicago.

J. P. Moreland (PhD, University of Southern California) is distinguished professor of philosophy at Biola University. He is an author of, contributor to, or editor of over ninety books, including The Soul: How We Know It's Real and Why It Matters.

R. Scott Smith is Assistant Professor of Ethics and Christian Apologetics at Biola University in California. He is the author of Virtue Ethics and Moral Knowledge. Dr. Smith has lectured and presented numerous times on his specialty, postmodernism, and he is also the secretary-treasurer of the Evangelical Philosophical Society.

Stephen J. Wellum (PhD, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) is professor of Christian theology at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, and editor of the Southern Baptist Journal of Theology. Stephen lives in Louisville, Kentucky, with his wife, Karen, and their five children.

Millard J. Erickson currently resides in Mounds View, in the state of Minnesota.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Swallowing Camels  Feb 16, 2001
Oh come on, this book cannot be serious. "Postmodernizing the Faith," if this is not poking the latest bogeyman in the eye, I am not sure what is. All the talk about "positing presuppositions," when it is THE hallmark of fundamentalism that it never examines its own presuppositions! The big joke on this book (and supporters of it) is that it is with the advent of post-structuralism and hermeneutics that the importance of context and presuppositions really began to come to the fore! These are questions that would never have even been raised had "postmodernity" never been born, and yet this book (and its supporters) have the audacity to say, "pomo is blind to its foundations." That is irresponsible and would be laughable, if it didn't happen to be the crux of this (admittedly popular) book. If you assume the litany of beliefs that conservative evangelicals do, you naturally will get books like this, as well as other bloodless and dissecated works by evangelicals and "reformed epistemologists" alike. Can we strain any more at a gnat than this?

The adversarial stance this book takes at its outset is also in poor form. Working off of the assumption that "postmodernism" is antithetical to (what Erickson believes is) Christianity, Erickson tries to show through a savaging of several other author's works why pomo is from the devil. But I find no real discussion of why Erickson assumes pomo to be so awful. I find great Christianity in the work of Grenz, for example, the kind of faith I would like to have myself. Erickson's reasons for being so adversarial is clear (his prejudices and presuppositions), but I still wonder how he could come to most of his conclusions.

The arrogance and blindness of the positions taken by this author in this book is breathtaking. Erickson has never once, it seems, considered that all his assumptions about pomo, biblical interpretation, historical context, and such are not only challenged, but fringe-oriented and unsuportable! I am quite suprised that Erickson's subjects in this book haven't sued him for libel!

Tha main problem with this book, though, apart from the shallow scholarship it evidences and the blinders it asks the reader to put on, is the fact that it is un-Christian, in the most profound sense of that word. Why would Ericson have written this book, as opposed to another? And why his other book of character assassinations, "The Evanglical Left"? Why did he feel it necessary to attack these men in this way? I learn nothing about these men's works that I did not already know, but I learn quite a bit about the kind of faith Erickson would like to see. I am not at all sure it is mine.

Postmoderns Need to Posit Their Presuppositions  Aug 2, 2000
What is so outstanding about this volume is how the author points out what is the most glaring failure of this movement, namely its unawareness or unacknowledgement of its own Control Beliefs, Premises, Presuppositions, Historical Context, Philosophical/Metaphysical Bent which so heavily shape its content and conclusions. What is needed for any theological/doctrinal system that challenges evangelical/historical positions is a declaration,discussion and defense of such presuppositions, how they compare to the competition and why theirs are more plausible/tenable. Until postmodernism and other movements such as neotheism can engage at this fundamental level, any meaningful dialog with reality and Biblical truth is futile. Recommended highly to stimulate further research in this challenging arena.
Good overview  May 10, 2000
In Postmodernizing the Faith, Erickson provides an summary and analysis of six evangelical theologians and their responses to postmodernism. He begins with those thinkers who have reacted negatively to postmodernism. David Wells, of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, the first writer Erickson deals with, urges a strong rejection of postmodernism, with its pluralistic and relativistic trends. His analysis is historical, cultural, and sociological and mainly attempts to show the many ways that evangelicals have been negatively influenced by postmodernism. Erickson criticizes Wells for neglecting to offer a real solution, and for his failure to engage the deeper epistemological issues that are the root cause of much postmodern thought. Erickson next turns to Thomas Oden, once a flaming liberal but now a converted paleo-orthodox thinker. Oden urges Christians to reject much postmodernism as simply ultramodernism, the last dying gasp of modernist nihilism. In its place, he exhorts Christians to recapture the greatness of their tradition. His solution is not a simple return to premodernity but rather a postcritical appreciation of premodernity. Francis Schaeffer is the third evangelical Erickson looks at. At L'Abri in Switzerland, Schaeffer dealt with the early European manifestations of postmodernism. In his major works he emphasized the need for Christians to defend the classical concepts of antithesis and absolute/objective truth. His apologetic attempted to drive the non-Christian to live consistently according to his presuppositions, which would prove impossible, because on atheistic premises, suicide is the only logical option. The second section of the book examines three thinkers who have embraced postmodernism, or at least parts of it. Stanley Grenz, author of the Primer on Postmodernism, advocates an end to the dry propositionalism/rationalism and destructive individualism/dualism of classic evangelicalism. He thinks that evangelicals have tied themselves to closely to Enlightenment thought - an alliance that will bring their downfall. He proposes a communitarian approach to Christianity and a revisioning of theology for the 21st century. Brian J. Walsh and Richard Middleton also take a positive view of postmodernism. Their concern is to justify Christianity in the face of the postmodern charge that the Biblical worldview is a violent totalizing metanarrative. Their hermeneutic reflects this desire. They go to lengths to eliminate the sovereignty of God, the conquest of Canaan, and the more violent aspects of revelation. They also adhere to the narrative based theology of Frei and Lindbeck. Lastly, Erickson analyzes the thought of Keith Putt, a prof at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Putt is an enthusiastic supporter of the deconstructionist project. His whacked-out reading of Scripture leads him to a theopassional theology that is virtually indistinguishable from process a/theology. Erickson concludes this volume with an essay outlining his view of what an effective apologetic to postmodernity might look like. He promises a forthcoming work that will flesh out his plan for the future of theology in a postmodern age. Erickson is a master at summarizing. He efficiently encapsulates the main thoughts of the thinkers he writes about. His writing style is lucid and eminently readable. In his analyses of the various thinkers, he seems to grasp the important issues and to have a rather nuanced understanding of the subject. I wait with anticipation for his promised work on postmodernism.
A Great Place to Start!  Jul 8, 1999
"Postmodernism". Contemporary Christians, particularly those of us who move about in academic circles, are hearing this perplexing term ringing in our ears with increasing regularity. Yet, for many of us, a great deal of confusion still exists regarding the precise meaning of this word. Many of us are uncertain as to how we should respond to the intellectual challenges Postmodernism presents. In "Postmodernizing the Faith", Erickson endeavors to provide some clarity amidst this confusion. Following an introductory chapter in which Erickson briefly outlines the development and foundational tenets of Postmodernism, he proceeds by devoting the next six chapters to the purpose of surveying various "evangelical" responses to the epistemological challenges of postmodernism (i.e., the views of D. Wells, T. Oden, F. Schaeffer, S. Grenz, J. R. Middleton & B. J. Walsh, and B. K. Putt). In characteristic fashion, Erickson provides a fair and accurate summary of each theologian's views. At the conclusion of each chapter, he adds a critical evaluation of the arguments it introduces. Erickson must be commended for the constructive manner in which he goes about this; he seeks to illuminate not only the "negatives" that he finds in the thoughts of other scholars, but also the "positives" (though, clearly, he find this much easier to accomplish in some cases than others!). Erickson concludes his text with a brief section in which he provides some summarizing ruminations concerning all that has been stated previously. My only disappointment with this section of the book lies in the fact that Erickson does not at any length attempt to construct and articulate his own response to Postmodernism. Yet, this is not his intent in writing to begin with. I would highly recomment this book to anyone looking to become introduced to the issues and personalities involved in the evangelical community's discussion about the Postmodernism challenge. This is a fine summary, and a great place to start. Without a doubt, it will serve as an effective springboard for further study.

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