Saturday, January 26, 2008

Review: The Supremacy of God in a Postmodern World

They say the church has jumped on the postmodern bandwagon just as the world has begun to jump off it. I'm not sure, it seems to me that postmodern thinking is alive and well in much of our culture, in our additudes to tolerance, truth and the consequent apathy to all things significant.

Thus, this short volume is helpful. It's a write-up of one of John Piper's Desiring God conferences. I've found earlier DG Conference books on Suffering and Sex to be helpful and this one joins the party.

The talks whose scripts are in the book are available to listen to and I'd already listened to several before I got hold of the book. Piper on the Supremacy of Christ is always a joy to hear and read, and here infamous for branding Steve Chalke's words about penal substitution blasphemous. Mark Driscoll's chapter on theology and contextualisation is clear and witty, and introduces his two-handed principle of essentials and non-essentials.

The key chapter for me however is by Voddie Baucham, the writer I knew/know least about. He's a bold apologist but speaks clearly and frequently at Universities. Hence my resonance with him. Most striking are his examples of engaging with the problem of suffering. He speaks of people posing the problem of theodicy, revealing that they've studied a term of philosophy. His next move is to say he wont answer the question til they ask it rightly, which is to say he asks them to recognise that the real issue isn't why suffering but why am I still alive, given my rebellion against Christ. That's a great example of enagaging the supremacy of Christ with the issues of our day. Much more detail is given in the chapter - and I'm sure he'd enagage more gently with someone more obviously asking out of personal pain.

Add Don Carson, Tim Keller and David Wells to the mix and you're reading short chapters from some very wise men. The bonus, as in previous books, of transcription of discussion between the speakers is a five star extra.

Other books on postmodernism exist, notably Marcus Honeysett's Meltdown, and Don Carson's The Gagging of God. By nature of being a conference book the approach is more introductory than Honeysett though comparably useful. Carson's book is just vast in size and one for those who want to pursue the subject much further.

Desiring God Conference 2006: The Supremacy of God in a Postmodern World - audio/video

No comments:

Post a Comment