What is the Emerging Church? Postmodernity is the second installment in series by Scot McKnight on the Emerging Church. This post is an an exceptionally lucid decription of postmodernity as it relates to the Emerging Church. Here are the opening paragraphs:
This series on “What is the Emerging Church?” is designed to help the many who are constantly asking about the identity and definition of the movement or conversation. But, let me be a bit cranky first: Emergent Village has a clear “Order” posted and there is no reason anyone can’t consult it for definition; Wikipedia has a definition, and it too can easily be consulted; and nearly every leader of the Emerging Movement has something along this line. So, let this be said: there is no reason for people to use simplistic caricatures of the movement.
The single-most debated issue concerns postmodernism.
But this word beggars definition, and I’ll do what I can to give the term and its implications some clarity.
First, it is commonly stated that postmodernity denies truth. What a minute! That, too, is a caricature useful only for apologetics designed to score points. The more reasonable meaning is this: postmodernity denies that meta-narratives are the truth. (A meta-narrative is a comprehensive explanation of reality — and I’ll side with Kevin Vanhoozer here that meta-narrative has a variety of meanings, one of which would include our Christian faith as a “meta-narrative.”)
And yet again wait another minute! As Professor Jamie Smith has clearly shown, postmodernity is more complex than that because its real denial is this: it denies the ability to prove meta-narratives on rational, independent, objective grounds. In other words, it contends that the only way meta-narratives can be finally persuasive is if one believes the meta-narrative itself. Faith is required for the meta-narrative to be truthful. For a scientific meta-narrative of life to be “true” requires that a person believe in the “scientific way of things.” For Jamie Smith, see his chapter in Christianity and the Postmodern Turn.
He goes on to address nine other points. It is one of the best concise descriptions I have read.