If you have been hearing about these terms, “Modern” and “Postmodern” but aren’t certain where to begin, The Death of Truth, (Dennis McCallum, General Editor), is a great place to start. The topics are dealt with in a scholarly manner, but are explained in an easy enough manner for the common person to understand. One of the most helpful aspects of the book are the wonderful charts, that give a great visual aid to the comparison of these worldviews.
Health Care, Literature, Education, History, Psychotherapy, Law, Science, and Religion.
If there is a downside to the book, it may be that some of the authors tend to defend Modernism a bit too much in their zeal to show the imbalance of its rebellious progeny: Postmodernism. This shows up the most in the chapters on education and health. In health, the author seems so opposed to any form on alternative medicine that I think he goes a bit far and throws the baby out with the bath water. Not all alternative medical approaches are “new age” or bogus superstition. In education, there is more credence given to the modern approach to education that is warranted. Modernist education wasn’t Biblical either. On a good note though, they do have a great explanation of the views of Multiculturalism and the real relatvisitic motives behind the facade.
With those disclaimers aside, I really think this book is a very useful tool for anyone who wants to understand the culture in which we live. Ideas have origins and destinations. This book does a good job of filling in the gaps between the two.
On a scale of 1-5, I’d give this a 4 overall.
Israel Wayne: What does it mean to write fiction from a Christian worldview?
Frank Peretti: When you write fiction from a Christian worldview, you are assuming that there is a personal, loving, redeeming God in charge of this universe and that His principles provide the ultimate answers for life and all of its difficulties. You are assuming that man is fallen and that his problems are the result of the fallenness of this world and his own inherent sinfulness. You are assuming that the true hero is the person who, despite hardships and challenges that would impress him to think and act otherwise, comes to rely on and act upon Truth as God has created it to formulate the solution to his problem.
Israel Wayne: Is there a particular theme or over-arching message that spans your body of work?
Frank Peretti: Every novel I’ve written reflects what I was thinking, learning, and growing through at that particular point in my life, so I suppose an overarching message would be that God always has something new to teach us and that His path for our lives leads us from season to season, lesson to lesson, always for our good.
Israel Wayne: If you could see anything change in the world of Christian fiction, what would it be?
Frank Peretti: Not wanting to be a judge of others or their work, let me speak only for myself: I want to be an honest writer who writes from what God is working in his heart even though such a choice may push against the fleeting dictates of the popular culture. I would like to be out front and leading by example, not following.
Israel Wayne: 100 years from now, how do you want people to describe your work?
Frank Peretti: I would like to be remembered as a significant cultural influence, equipping and edifying the body of Christ but also keeping the awareness of God and His ways before the eyes and minds of the people of my day. Historians may regard my work as a study in where the Christian evangelical mind was toward the end of the 20th century and through the first decades of the 21st.
Israel Wayne: What advice would you give to upcoming fiction authors?
Frank Peretti: Know what you’re doing. It’s not enough to want to write a book. You have to devote yourself to learning the writing craft, knowing all the nuts and bolts, rules and fundamentals of good fiction writing. I’ve often heard would-be writers advised to “never give up,” but that’s the worst thing you can tell somebody who has no skill, no knowledge of how it’s to be done. That person can never give up, and consequently waste his/her whole life producing unmarketable material. Know what you’re doing.
With more than 15 million novels in print, Frank Peretti is nothing short of a publishing phenomenon and has been called “America’s hottest Christian novelist.” In all, including his current work, Illusion, Frank has written nineteen books of various size for various ages. Frank and Barbara live a simple life in rural Idaho. He leads worship at their church, Barbara paints in watercolor, and they enjoy being with their close friends.
Visit Frank on his current “Ask Frank” blog tour: http://askfrankblogtour.weebly.com
The Kingdom of God is Within You by Leo Tolstoy, was written in 1894 and published in Germany, where liberal theology or “Higher Criticism” had already taken a foothold. Since Tolstoy used much of this book to lambaste the Russian government, I’m sure the Germans were all too happy to help the manuscript discover the light of day.
Tolstoy seems to very anti-institutional in his overall worldview. In this theological treatise, he rails against the Orthodox, the Catholics, the Protestants (specifically the Lutherans) and even the Salvation Army.
The main gist of his argument seems to be that religious institutions prey on the masses for their own financial gain and political power. He is rather heterodox in some of his theological views, such as denying the infallibility of the Old Testament, being skeptical of miracles, opposing the church creeds on their key points, declaring that modern science and the Bible are not compatible and even claiming that man is the son of God with the same essence of God himself, and this is what makes love for other human animals possible.
It is clear why this book has not become a household favorite of conservative Evangelicals. However, as with most people who are frustrated with religion as it is currently held, many of his rebukes of the church are well-founded.
Tolstoy’s view of Christianity is that it is the moral teachings of Jesus (found in the Sermon on the Mount) that have value to all humans. Rather than believing in the miraculous or the historical claims of the Bible, Tolstoy feels that Christianity has much to give to world in terms of loving neighbors, loving God and avoiding war and retaliation for wrongs.
Overall, if I didn’t know better, I would assume that I were reading Doug Paggit, Brian McLaren, Leonard Sweet, Rob Bell, Tony Jones, Donald Miller or some other Emergent Church author who is decrying Modernity and the Modern church. Perhaps Tolstoy was ahead of his time. Or perhaps it is true that there is nothing new under the sun.