The Supremacy of Christ and Truth in a Postmodern World
(by Voddie Baucham)
(Voddie Baucham is dean of the seminary at African Christian University and previously served as Pastor of Preaching at Grace Family Baptist Church in Spring, TX. He has authored numerous books, academic journals, and magazine articles. He is married to Bridget and they have nine children. They currently live in Lusaka, Zambia.)
This message appears as a chapter in The Supremacy of Christ in a Postmodern World.
Friends…this will be a 9 Part series. Please, please, take the time to work through this series. dh
Postmodernism says that you are ultimately nothing.
Christian theism looks at the black man and the not-so-black man as equals. (You categorize the world how you want to; I categorize the world how I want to! But to my white reader, I want to say it’s okay that you’re not black like me; God loves you just the way you are!) Of course the question lingering when this issue is raised is has that really been the case? It’s always hovering, even when people don’t ask it. The question hangs in the air. I don’t like lingering and hovering questions, so let’s deal with this head-on.
Here’s the question: You say that in the context and confines of this Christian theism there is no room for this kind of racism, but we know for a fact that there have been cultures that on the one hand claimed this allegiance to Christian theism and on the other hand embraced racism and slavery. What are you going to do with that? The answer is that I don’t have to do anything with that. Narrative is not normative. Just because it happened doesn’t mean it was right. Here’s the point we need to reckon with: it stopped.
What made it stop? What was the underlying worldview that rose up and said, “This is inconsistent”? What was the underlying worldview that said, “We are an exercise in cognitive dissonance”? What was the underlying worldview that rose up and said, “You cannot on the one hand claim allegiance to Christian theism and on the other hand despise men because of the color of their skin”? Was it Islam? No. Slavery is still rampant in the Muslim world. It was Christian theism that ended slavery in the Western world. Was it wrong? Yes, slavery in the Western world was wrong, but by what standard? Slavery was wrong by the standard of the supremacy of Christ and the Word of God.
Neither secular humanism nor postmodernism can grasp this truth — by what standard would either worldview have ended slavery? But when we grasp the supremacy of Christ, we cannot escape this truth. Who am I? Who are you? We are the crowning glory of the creation of God. I don’t care what anyone has ever said to you. I don’t care if your mother and your father looked you in your eye and told you that you were a mistake. You must never forget that you are created in the image of God as the crowning glory of his creation.
I will never forget the moment I grasped this for the first time. I spent much of my life wondering why? I was raised by a single, teenaged mother. She was seventeen years old when she became pregnant with me. She and my father were briefly married, but from the time I was about a year old, she was raising me alone in the drug-infested, gang-infested projects of South Central Los Angeles, where at that time the average life expectancy for a young black male was somewhere around twenty-four years of age. I have often asked why? — especially in light of our culture today that looks at young women in my mother’s condition and tells them it would be irresponsible to carry their pregnancies through to term. But who am I? I am the crowning glory of the creation of God.
Regardless of the circumstances surrounding my birth or yours, regardless of the difficulties or infirmities with which you wrestle, regardless of your class or your station in life — because of the supremacy of Christ in truth, you are what the Creator of the universe says you are. And by breathing into you the very breath of life, he says you have value, dignity, and worth, and he says that I had better recognize that in you as well as in myself. And so we see the supremacy of Christ in truth, and we have the answer to question number one. (Part 6, con’t tomorrow)