BY: CODY PHILLIPS
Being a millennial, I feel as though, I have a keen sense to sniff out inaccuracies. I have a tendency to go looking for them. For lack of a better term, we are a generation of cynics and over-analyzers.
I am guilty, and not only by association, to belonging to a generation of know-it-alls.
We are plagued by arrogance, a state in which humility and learning is mistaken for being uneducated and insecure. There are three words that terrify anybody, not just millennials, who live in this postmodern world: “I don’t know.” These three words are almost nowhere to be found even in ministry; whether that is in local church, non-profits, or para-church organizations.
Due to the fact that nobody will utter these words, is why our ministries could become irrelevant in a postmodern world. Postmodernists claim we are really creating truth as we interpret. We are not discovering truth. According to postmodernists, a thing is true because I believe it, I do not believe it because it is true. The Bible teaches we can come to know a love that transcends knowledge (Eph. 3:19), and that relationship with God goes beyond mere statements of fact about God. This is subjective or experiential truth.
Postmodernists think all truth is subjective. Today, everyone is “entitled” to their own opinion. This is nothing new to culture, but we have redefined “opinion” as “personal absolutes”. We have allowed everyone to be right in their own circumstance and opinion. It is through the confession of saying, "I don't know", that we can find and embrace humility, service, and discipleship. I believe those three words, which are shamed today, can be used as a tool to create a biblically sound and theologically balanced ministry. In the postmodern world of openness and tolerance, beliefs become barriers against authentic and transparent dialogue about spiritual and moral truth.
The most accurate biblically sound and theologically balanced ministry we can find is one we find in the Bible. In Luke 5, we see Jesus sitting down, eating, and fellowshipping with tax collectors, prostitutes, and sinners. These are the people proclaiming, “I don't know”. They are willing to sit down and ask questions. I can't help but imagine their conversations are filled with more questions than answers. This is something missing in most of our "Starbucks Evangelism" - the grace to allow questions. Jesus is approached by the religious elite, the ones that have all the answers, and the ones who believe their opinion is absolute.
When confronted about the company Jesus associates himself with, He answers them by saying: "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”
In this scene, we see humility, service, and discipleship take place. It is not by the religious elite. It’s through Jesus humbling himself enough to serve and disciple people who have the courage to confess that they do not know it all.
I believe it is this practice that is so polarizing to postmodernists. As evangelical Christians, in today's world, we feel a major pushback from society and culture, simply, because we push them first. With the practice of saying, “I don't know”, opens the door to authentic and transparent dialogue between the postmodernist and the evangelical Christian.
However, this dialogue has no power on our own. It is only through spirit-empowered living in spirit-inspired conversation that true gospel-transformation can take place. Not through stubborn, unintelligible, bickering of who is right. But, through men and women allowing questions and having the confidence to say: "I don't know". Our job is not to force-feed truth, but to create an environment where it is safe to ask questions and say "I don't know - but let's find out together."
Cody is a church goer, podcast junkie, coffee addict, inappeasable learner and an unending “The Office” and “Seinfeld” reference machine. He’s on staff at Oklahoma Youth Ministries. Cody is a graduate of Oral Roberts University and is currently working on his Master’s from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
// Twitter: @_CodyPhillips