Christianity and the Postmodern Turn

Six Views

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"Penner has assembled half a dozen fine scholars to explain and debate the issues that affect mainstream Christian thought in the wake of the postmodern turn. . . . An important contribution to Christian theology as a whole."--Fergus Kerr, OP, University of Edinburgh

In our post-Cold War, post-colonial, post-Christian world, Western culture is experiencing a dramatic shift. Correspondingly, says Myron Penner, recent philosophy has taken a postmodern turn in which traditional concepts of reality, truth, language, and knowledge have been radically altered, if not discarded all together. This presents the Christian intellectual community with a unique set of challenges for articulating the gospel and fashioning a Christian worldview.

In Christianity and the Postmodern Turn, six contributors--including James K.A. Smith, John Franke, Merold Westphal, and Kevin Vanhoozer--respond to the question, "What perils and/or promises does the postmodern turn hold for the tasks of Christian thinkers?" Addressing topics such as the nature of rationality and biblical faith, the relationship of language to reality and truth, ethics, and apologetics/theological method, the book presents a variety of positions in dialogue with each other. It will be of interest to contemporary theology and philosophy students.


"As positions 'for' and 'against' postmodern thought become not only entrenched but isolated from each other in some Christian circles, there is an urgent need to raise the level of debate. Myron Penner shows that what is needed is not yet another rehash of competing definitions of postmodernism, but models of high-level argumentation between competing views. He has assembled an impressive list of contributors here: they show the clear benefits of arguing with each other rather than simply rehearsing the familiar opposing positions where the meanings of 'postmodern' are often unrelated to each other. This book will be welcomed by all who seek to evaluate the losses and gains postmodern thought may have for Christian witness."--Nicholas Adams, University of Edinburgh

"What perils and promises does postmodernism bring to the Christian community? With positions situated along a scale of perspectives--pro, con, and in between--this give-and-take dialogue is well written, often witty, and always stimulating. This discussion is one we cannot afford to ignore, whatever our position. Bravo to Brazos Press for continuing its tradition of scholarly publications! "--Gary R. Habermas, Liberty University

"Christianity and the Postmodern Turn has special value due to its excellent balance of technical issues and clear explanations. Any Christian who is engaging culture will already have encountered the issues this book explores and will probably have been stymied and confused by them. The authors in this book demonstrate serious depth in their understanding of postmodernism, and their fresh writing styles makes the book a pleasure to read. I had trouble putting it down."--Paul Chamberlain, Trinity Western University

"Myron Penner has assembled half a dozen fine scholars to explain and debate the issues that affect mainstream Christian thought in the wake of the postmodern turn that is dominant now in Western culture. While accessible to novices in these matters, the authors engage in serious dialogue with one another and move the entire discussion to a higher level, thus making an important contribution to Christian theology as a whole."--Fergus Kerr, University of Edinburgh

"Christianity and the Postmodern Turn: Six Views is a timely and critical collection of essays by prominent evangelical thinkers that sifts through in a careful but conversational manner the major conceptual issues in theology prompted by the recent 'postmodern turn.' The book neither sanctifies nor vilifies postmodernist religious thought, but helps clarify what has actually been said and what it ultimately signifies for the discerning evangelical philosopher and theologian."--Carl Raschke, University of Denver

"Myron Penner is to be commended for taking the discussion of postmodernity in a promising new direction. For all too long, evangelicals of differing persuasions regarding the merits or dangers of postmodern thought have often talked past one another. Christianity and the Postmodern Turn brings together people from both sides and puts them in dialogue. Although the resulting dialogue is not perfect (what dialogue is?), the writers nonetheless genuinely attempt to engage with one another, and so provide models for future interaction."--Bruce Ellis Benson, Wheaton College

The Author

  1. Myron B. Penner

    Myron B. Penner

    Myron Bradley Penner (PhD, University of Edinburgh) is pastor of Trinity International Church in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia. He previously taught at Prairie College and Graduate School and served as a human development worker. He is the editor of...

    Continue reading about Myron B. Penner


"In compiling these diverse essays, Penner has made a significant contribution to the discussion of postmodernity and its ramifications for the Christian faith. . . . Penner's compilation . . . introduce[s] the reader to a number of significant issues under debate resulting in clarity regarding the various authors' representations. He has also admirably assembled the writings of thoughtful Christians who hold contradictory positions and provided them the opportunity to engage each other. . . . I believe his text is an invaluable introduction for Christians who want to minister in our contemporary culture."--Matthew Elofson, Journal of Youth Ministry

"The value of this volume is that it demonstrates what is at stake in th[e] debate over Christianity and postmodernism."--Brian D. Ingraffia, Christian Scholar's Review

"Well suited for evangelically affiliated college, university, and seminary classrooms."--Amos Yong, Religious Studies Review

"This conversation is one that needs to take place."--Brian Gregor, Heythrop Journal

"As an introduction to postmodernism . . . this book will best serve those Christians who approach Christianity as a way of thinking."--Michael DeJonge, Reformed Review

"The second part of the book, the 'Response Essays,' is the most enlightening. In this section, each contributor enters into a dialogue with the other's arguments and positions, and the surprising result is a better understanding of one's own personal views in this debate. Whatever theological or philosophical position one holds, there is much to learn from these six chapters. . . . The book is a good basic overview of postmodernism. . . . One practical application of the topic discussed in the book is insight into the validity or invalidity of the emergent church movement's emphasis on 'story,' as opposed to a church which preaches propositional, doctrinal messages in reaching the world with the Christian message. If this tangential issue interests you, then this book would provide valuable insights and arguments, pro and con as well."--Ted W. Wright, Christian Apologetics Journal

"A valuable contribution to the analysis of postmodernism. . . . The author is fair, he does not stack the deck for or against postmodernism; for in the essays that follow, both proponents and opponents of postmodernism argue in support of their position. Plus, each scholar has an opportunity, in the response section, to present a rebuttal to an opponent's claims. . . . This is recommended for all libraries with disciplines of Biblical studies, theology, and/or philosophy."--Philip Estes, Christian Librarian