Ideologically and theologically the early 21st century is characterised by a sharp swing towards postmodernism. This school of thought gradually became established during the past two decades of the previous century but presently enjoys the support of millions of people all over the world.

Postmodernism is the frame of mind and lifestyle of the fully liberated man who abandoned all ideologies, traditions and shackles which may in any way have impeded his freedom of thinking and acting.

We have to gain clarity on the true nature of postmodernism as well as the most important dangers associated with it. According to postmodernists the history of the world may, ideologically, be divided into the following three periods:


That was the period of primitiveness when every tribe or nation had its own, traditional faith which was primarily based upon witchcraft, divination, ancestor worship and different forms of idolatry, as well as the mysticism of the Eastern religions. Most of the primitive people were illiterate, and during this time did not experience any noteworthy development in technology, medicine and other fields. Knowledge was limited and largely stagnated because it was not founded on research and was often associated with superstition.


This period in the world history was introduced by the establishment of the Christian faith in many parts of the world. The Christian calendar which started at the birth of the Lord Jesus was accepted everywhere and is an indication of the chronological development of the Christian civilisation, which has become synonymous with modernism. Since its early expansion from Jerusalem the Christian faith met with relentless opposition from heathen religions and a heathen world empire. Christianity was also considerably weakened when for its most part it fell under the control of the Roman Catholic Church. This situation gave rise to spiritual and academic stagnation during the dark Middle Ages.

It was not until the major spiritual awakening of the 18th and 19th centuries that world evangelism was done with great diligence and dedication. That gave rise to major expansion of the Christian church and laid the foundation for the Western Christian civilisation. Significant technological development followed when people were liberated from superstition, while education up to the tertiary level became a priority in all developing countries.

Other ideologies also became established during the development phase of modernism, particularly capitalism, socialism and communism. Capitalism became a major driving force which led to the colonising and modernising of various Third World countries. Socialism motivated the establishment of communist dictatorships in many parts of the world.


The perplexing scientific and technological achievements of the 20th century have gradually given rise to new ideological and religious views in the world. Because of their increased knowledge and skills people gained more power, they discovered more scientific explanations for human life and natural phenomena and in the process discovered solutions to most of their problems. Research became the key to new insights, knowledge increased exponentially and humanity started shaping their own world. In this new world people occupy a central position and become the masters of their own destiny.

A humanistic doctrine of self-redemption emerged from this man and knowledge oriented worldview since man started liberating himself from all ideologies in the modern era that impeded his freedom of thought and lifestyle. He consciously moved from the modern to the postmodern period. But to be able to do this he had to discredit and abandon important characteristics of the modern era because they are too restrictive and prescriptive in nature. That gave rise to an extensive process of deconstruction.

The Christian religion is deconstructed for the following reasons:

  • · It leads to faith in a Supreme Being who has authority over people to determine the nature of their lives and also to eternally condemn them if they don’t comply with divine precepts.
  • · It offers supernatural explanations to the origin of the world as well as all forms of life, and these explanations are contrary to the scientific findings such as the theory of evolution.
  • · It describes concepts such as heaven, hell and life after death, which are not scientifically verifiable.
  • · It pronounces unacceptable judgements upon most people, even Christians who entertain certain views that are at variance with the Bible.
  • · It portrays a very negative image of the non-Christian religions.
  • · It enforces a set of moral norms on people which restricts their freedom of choice, including their sexual orientation, and stigmatises those who do not comply with these norms.
  • · It discourages people to only make use of psychological methods to solve deviate conduct, self-esteem problems and mental disorders.

It is for reasons such as these that postmodern man regards himself as post-Christian and post-theistic. Some of them completely reject Christianity and follow a secular lifestyle. Others follow the way of drastically reforming theology in order to subject it to their own views. To them, liberal churches and other religious meetings are used as forums for the further deconstruction of evangelical Christianity.

These reformers reduce the Bible to the level of a humanly conceived book permeated with contradictions. The transcendent God is robbed of His power and depicted as a pantheistic god who dwells in all people and also in nature. The virgin birth of the Lord Jesus, His deity, resurrection from the dead and His ascension are denied, as well as the redemptive value of His crucifixion. Prayer is replaced by Eastern meditation, while all forms of directive preaching from the Bible are banned and substituted by speculative discussions in which the credibility of the Bible is questioned. Meetings of this nature are the breeding-ground for postmodern agnosticism. (Online source)

Johan Malan

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