Alistair Begg: No place for truth

William Booth. "I consider that the chief dangers which confront the coming century will be religion without the Holy ghost, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration, politics without God, and heaven without hell.

I’ve been alive for more than 50 years, and in all that time, It’s only been in the last few months that I’ve heard about the postmodern age. Apparently the postmodern age is the age in which we live in 2021.

The post-modern post-Christian world

In the last few months—due to a growing hunger and thirst to read good books and hear God’s Word taught and preached—this concept of the postmodern and post-Christian world has become known to me.

I’ve become a “fan” of Tim Keller’s writing and preaching through his Gospel in Life podcast as well as the YouTube channel managed by The Gospel Coalition. Tim regularly speaks of postmodernism.

I’ve also noticed Alistair Begg speaks about the postmodern post-Christian age in many of his sermons and lectures.

It is disconcerting to think that my focus on science and medicine has seen me neglect these concepts. I always thought there were absolute truths and only one reality. In my prodigal state for many years, the Truth was not based on Christ; but the notion of multiple realities would never have dawned on me.

If I understand it correctly, according to postmodern thinking, humans live in a world where reality is not objective but relative. There is no truth, but only truth claims. What does this mean?

We can claim a reality of our own. Prior to God revealing himself to me afresh, my reality I suppose was unbelieving agnostic, oriented to pleasing myself and not particularly caring what others might think of me.

Humans can own distinct identities and orientations, as it were. The Truth is no longer important, apart from our own truth claims.

Since returning to faith, I’ve rejoiced in the knowledge that I’m born again; I have a new body and a new identity as an image-bearer of God. I do not need my own identity or orientation. I am born again in the image of God. This is my new identity. This is my orientation.

My orientation is now not on placing how I feel about something above the Word of God and assuming in my own power I can achieve. My orientation is now rejoicing in salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. I am a citizen of the new heaven and the new earth to come.

Not only is Christ my saviour, but He is also the Lord of my life.

It concerns me that postmodern and post-Christian Christians can ‘take’ or ‘claim’ Christ as their saviour, but they deny His Lordship. So they are led by the flesh rather than the Spirit. Feelings guide their lives rather than the Spirit. Bodily sensations or emotions seem to be more critical to these believers than the Word of God.

There is a denial of the distortion caused by original sin, the manipulation of indwelling sin, and the distraction of actual sin. The need to confess sin, repent of sin, and the mortification of sin seems to be unnecessary to these believers. All this means we can be vivified by the power of the Holy Spirit and renewed, reanimated as it were. Who would not want to be vivified by the Holy Spirit?

My prayer is for believers caught in this state. That they would know Jesus, not only as saviour but also Lord of their lives. As an image-bearer of God, we must do all we can to identify sin (Romans 7:21), confess sin, repent and mortify (Romans 8:13) sin. This needs to have daily and to recognise temptation (Matthew 26:41).

It seems that saving grace means little, yet we know if we approach the throne of grace with confidence, we receive mercy and grace in our time of need.

In this lecture, Alistair teaches us that the approach we must take to the postmodern post-Christian world is not admonition nor accommodation but proclamation.

A better way

This is sheer joy in listening to Alistair speak of the better way to live. Rather than being negative through admonition, rather than being lame through accommodation like the so called intelligentsia, we can, through the power and might of the Holy Spirit, proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ.

For it is through the Gospel that we can not only survive this postmodern post-Christian age, but we can thrive and rejoice in the LORD.

I urge you to listen to this lecture. I hope you are struck by Alistair’s humour and the Spirit’s unction as Alistair speaks logic on fire.

By Gary

I'm a Christian. I'm also a medical practitioner, specialist pathologist in microbiology, and Member of the Order of Australia (Bali Bombings investiture, 2003).