Week 4 – Cultural Studies: Barker; Chp. 7

The postmodern epistemological shift Barker alludes to caught me in 1999.  During a Youth Specialties conference, Mark Driscoll and Chris Seay gave a presentation on post-modernism and the expressions of church. At that time, they were involved with GOCN and speaking to a group of youth leaders who were largely trained and worked in the Christendom churches. They challenged us with the “objectivity” myth, that there is one truth “out there” that we can and should achieve to know. As some there struggled through this, the challenged that God’s viewpoint was objective and universal. Mark’s reponse? Even YHWH’s viewpoint is subjective: he is a perfect, holy and sinless God who sees all. Even he has a context and a stature of knowing. No one else knows this viewpoint, nor will we ever. We are not YHWH, nor will we become him. Further, our individuality and contexts inform our understanding of truth. For me this was like a light turned on in a dark place, even if it’s light was seen through a lens darkly.

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~ by Brian Shope on January 31, 2008.

3 Responses to “Week 4 – Cultural Studies: Barker; Chp. 7”

  1. I have not had the pleasure of listening to Mark Driscoll or Chris Seay, but if what you wrote is true that they said YHWH’s viewpoint is subjective, I believe Youth Specialties is leading our youth into confusion and error. My point is that if YHWH’s viewpoint is “subjective” He must be subject to something. YHWH is not subject to anything but himself and He is perfect. Sorry, YHWH is what everything else is subject to. You said our individuality and contexts inform our understanding of truth. To some extent this is true, but, generally it leads to a false understanding of truth. We must be guided by the Holy Spirit and Scripture to ascertain truth, not Mark Driscoll, nor Chris Seay, or even Barker, Cobb and Bevans. Scripture tells us to test all things. And, If one doesn’t do this testing, be ready to be lead astray.

  2. “My point is that if YHWH’s viewpoint is “subjective” He must be subject to something. YHWH is not subject to anything but himself and He is perfect. . . . Scripture tells us to test all things. And, If one doesn’t do this testing, be ready to be lead astray.”

    Hmmm. I’m not quite sure what to make of your response, Randy. You seem to challenge the theology offered within my post, yet I offered these words: “. . .he is a perfect, holy and sinless God who sees all. . . . No one else knows this viewpoint, nor will we ever.” What I’m offering here within is not a question of God and his attributes, but our epistemology of God. How we know him. My comment about subjectivity would be answerable by your own statement “YHWH is not subject to anything but himself and He is perfect.” I totally agree with that. I do not challenge that one bit. It is this very attribute, though, that makes the triune godhead-perspective unique. In perfection, the manner of his very character, which is not created and outside him making him subject to it, is what his integrity and faithfulness as a Holy God (again, see original post) drives his “subjectivity”. It is integral in the character of YWHW: he is not subject to it, it is who he is. That is, he is subject to himself who will not fail to be who he is.

    As an aside, I have briefly thought about the aspect of the culture of YHWH and the triune Godhead. The three in one exist in a manner that we don’t perceive and understand, and there are others in the form of angels and demons who exist in this same manner. For lack of vocabulary, they have and abide in a culture. Again, they exist in above our understanding, but no less is it in existence. This makes their perspective unique, of which the term subjectivity has been used.

    Perhaps the word “subjectivity” itself is the hangup in our dialogue; would perspective be more agreeable here? I say this because I would say that He is not objective, that is, seeing things from distance, as a faraway object. We are his image bearers and the creation is that which he spoke into being. Both we and it are shaped by his love, and his viewpoint of his creation is thusly reflective of such. Of course, this is my opinion and cannot know the mind of God, but I would think that he sees us in love, not at an objective distance. Nor do I think that having this bent is sinful or below YHWH. He is intimately tied to that which he is created, and that his “viewpoint” (again, vocab is lacking here) and interactions reflect such.

    I’m not sure where in my post I’ve been a-Scriptural; I have not denounced the sovereignty of God, nor the incarnation of Chirst, or even the validity of Scripture the story of YHWH and Jesus to inform our identity and being. In fact, I think that realizing that our subjectivity and both grace and sin that shape us would humble us to be more open to the truths that others have seen and experienced with Jesus. Our pride is reflective in our objectivity or ideology; I know mine is. I love my ideology and manner with which I understand God. It’s the sin within me. But if I don’t hold it loosely, then I claim to have the direct line to God and truth, which, as your response to my post is evident, is not what everyone believes.

  3. Thank you for your clarification. From your post, it seems we are in agreement and I apologize for any misinterpretation of your original post. The word “subjectivity” was in fact subject to my interpretation. Gods Blessings and go Giants!

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