W. Steve Watson
Degree Award Date
Postmodernismism, religion, Christianity, Rob Bell, Love Wins, excommunication
Christian Denominations and Sects | Comparative Methodologies and Theories | Religion
Rob Bell's recent experience in writing Love Wins indicates that the postmodern voice is evident within the Christian community. However, it also indicates that the postmodern voice may not be welcome in a Christian tradition that is characterized by certainty. Exerting a postmodern voice in the Christian community could even result in symbolic excommunication. A primary example of being symbolically excommunicated due to being influenced by postmodern thought is Rob Bell. John Piper, the father of the neoCalvinist movement in America and influential member of the Gospel Coalition, released a statement via the social network Twitter that read, ''Farewell Rob Bell'' (Weyer). This statement was released shortly after Bell's video was released to the masses, which indicates that Piper was dismissing Bell from the evangelical world (Weyer). What does this dismissal mean? It certainly does not mean that Rob Bell will have to quit preaching in fear of persecution, which is what excommunication has traditionally entailed in the past. What it does mean is that Bell has the power of his voice relinquished and is no longer a part of the ''in'' group of evangelicals that he addresses in his book. The postmodern voice faces the risk of symbolic excommunication when it is exerted within the Christian community; however, this voice in the Christian community is beneficial and needed. The introduction of postmodern philosophical principles into Christian churches has allowed and will continue to Strother 4 allow Christian communities to re-engage the world intellectually by redefining the fundamental aspects of the Christian tradition into sources that advocate deconstructive discourse rather than sources that encourage idolatry and reinforce rigid dogma. When the postmodern voice is given the proper freedom to speak up in churches, Jesus and Paul become unrestrained, revealing the uncontainable message of love, the Bible becomes a library full of meaningful vocabulary, and the Kingdom of God becomes a deconstructive force for change in this world that is full of stories of humanity developing while God continues to love.
Strother, Blake, "Postmodernism and the Church: Choosing Not to Ignore Suffering" (2011). Honors Projects. 90.