The Henry Jackson subcommittee was established by Congress in 1965 to review the diplomatic service of American ambassadors. This statement was contained in their final report, “When an ambassador overseas negotiates or speaks in private or in public, his audience needs to feel that he . . . speaks with the authority of the President of the United States.”[1]

As ambassadors sent out by God, we must speak in such a way that the world understands the imperatival, authoritative, exclusive nature of the message.

We must speak and not be silent.

We must speak clearly and directly and completely so that the people have a clear understanding of who God is and what He is saying.

We must ultimately be more concerned about accurate and clear delivery than we are about the reception and response to the message.[2]

Speak accurately about the true God and His agenda for the world.

Postmodernism has rejected the idea of one God and replaced it with the theology of pluralism.

We must never give the impression that God is merely one god among many. While we wish to engage our culture and can take advantage of the new openness to religion, we must be careful to avoid making Christianity another viable option among many.

Postmodernism has rejected the idea of a “meta-narrative” and replaced it with multi-narratives or local narratives (tribal narratives). We must constantly remind the postmodern world that God has given us an overarching story of and for the world.

That story includes creation, the fall, sin, salvation, and the ultimate restoration of the world to God at the culmination of human history. The history of the world is not open-ended and undetermined waiting to be deconstructed and then reconstructed to fit the agenda of a postmodern mind. God has set the boundaries and will determine the beginning, middle, and end of this divine narrative.

This story (given postmodernism’s affinity for narratives) has the answer to all of the profound questions that postmodernism has despaired of answering: Who am I?  Where did I come from?  Why am I here?  Where am I going?

This grand meta-narrative must be interpreted and applied to all the local and individual narratives in the postmodern world.

Speak accurately about Christ and His mission in the world.

We must clearly speak to the issue of the historicity of the life and ministry of Christ. We must accurately and unwaveringly present his true identity as both God and man. We must clearly present Him as the exclusive way to God for any individual in any cultural context.

Postmodernism is very interested in Christ as a concept and as a god but not in Christ as an objective historical person who is the exclusive only true God.

Postmodernism is interested in the Christ as a constructed truth and as a way to spirituality but not as a divinely revealed truth and the only way to God.

Postmodernism is willing to like Christ and even to love the concept of His teachings – but not to submit to the moral authority of His person.

The idea that man has to be “saved” is nebulous to the postmodern mind.

And the idea that Christ is the only means of salvation is morally reprehensible to the postmodern mind.

Speak accurately about sin and its consequences for the world.

Because postmodernism has rejected and “lost” its view of God, it should not surprise us that it has lost its knowledge of sin. Furthermore, the loss of the knowledge of God has resulted in a flawed view of man.

Modern man removed God from the center of His universe and relegated Him first to an equal position. Later, they relegated Him to a position subservient to man. And ultimately, they did away with the need for God entirely. Modernism produced practical atheism that expressed itself on all fronts.

Postmodernism on the other hand, while claiming to have resurrected God, has actually resurrected a far different view of God than is taught in the Scriptures.

Postmodernism is the ultimate form of idolatry – the construction of God. The God of the Bible has been deconstructed and replaced by a god that has been constructed by the very creatures that claim to have been created by Him.

As a result, the postmodern man does not really believe that man is entirely sinful. Sin has lost its sinfulness.

For example, many years ago, almost everyone was aware of the disease of polio and how damaging it was – indeed, even America’s President, FDR, was ravaged by the disease. But as a result of the polio vaccine, many people now have no concept of the devastating seriousness of that disease. Young people have no idea about the ravages it inflicted on previous generations.

Like polio, the modern world did away with “sin” years ago, and the postmodern world no longer has any concept of the terrible consequences that sin has been wrecking on mankind.

The idea of hell was destroyed by modernism and their decision was ratified by liberal and evangelical theologians alike. The postmodern man now thinks of hell as nothing more than a cartoonish place.

Speak accurately about reconciliation through Christ as the exclusive hope for the world.

This will be the hardest task faced by the Christian ambassador. It is this issue that most offends postmodern thinking.

It is one thing to say that Jesus is a way to God, but to say that He is the way, the truth, and the life – to say that no man comes to God expect by Him is abhorrent to postmodern thinking.

The exclusive claim of the Gospel cuts at the very heart of postmodern philosophy.

The moral authority inherent in the idea of man needing to repent and be reconciled is fundamentally at odds with the very essence of postmodern thinking.

We may (as some are claiming) be able to find some limited common ground on the fringes of postmodern culture. We may be able to adapt our methods and adjust our means to fit our cultural context while presenting the Gospel. However, at the end of the day, the message of the Gospel, when rightly understood, cuts against every core value that undergirds postmodern thinking and living.

While we must be wise and circumspect as we present the message, we must also be careful and committed to the truth of the message lest we undermine the heart of what God has given us to deliver.

Ultimately, the goal of every Christian ambassador to a postmodern world is to see people brought into a right relationship with God and to see that relationship nourished and maintained so that those individuals might grow in grace and walk worthy of their new calling as children of God.

The ultimate goal is to see the sons of this world becomes the sons and daughters of God.

To see those who are children of darkness come to embrace the light.

To see the citizens of Postmodernia become citizens of Heaven – and representatives of an entire new way of thinking and living.

To that end, let us not back down from our message, no matter how controversial it becomes in our postmodern age.

[1] This statement was paraphrased from a citation by Smith in his article in Telling the Truth, p. 182. It was cited as a secondary source because the primary source was not available to the author. Smith indicated that the citation was from a work entitled Diplomat: The World of International Diplomacy by Eric Clark.

[2] Some of this material was drawn from an essay by Colin S. Smith included in Telling the Truth, pp 175-191.

Sam Horn

Posted by Sam Horn

Dr. Sam Horn is the EVP for enrollment and ministerial advancement at Bob Jones University in Greenville, SC. Prior to BJU, Sam served at Central Baptist Theological Seminary, Northland International University, and various churches in Minnesota, Wisconsin, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Sam and his wife, Beth, have two children - one is married and one is in high school.