Millard J. Erickson

Recommendation:     3/5

Author:  Erickson is Professor of Theology at Baylor University’s Truett Seminary and former president (2002) of the Evangelical Theological Society.

Comments:  Postmodernism has become a household word, yet I suspect few Evangelical Christians could give an exact definition of it.  Erickson provides us with an introduction to and an Evangelical critique of Postmodernity.  He begins by giving anecdotal evidence of its presence everywhere in our culture.  He seems especially fond of recounting Seinfeld episodes.  He then describes it at the university level, introducing us to the ideas of Derrida, Foucault, and Rorty, three significant Postmodern thinkers.  From there he discusses the compatibility of Postmodernism with Christianity.  The book is not meant to be a technical treatment, something the author provides in another work (Truth or Consequences:  The Promise and Perils of Postmodernism, 2001).  Although he offers some helpful insights and critiques, he takes more of a mediating attitude and less of a polemic posture in regard to this dangerous movement.  This especially comes through in the last chapter of the book.  In my mind, this book typifies to some degree, what is so often wrong with Evangelical scholarship.  In an effort to avoid appearing narrow, close-minded, fundamental, and radical, he bends over backwards to point out “helpful” insights of the movement and ways in which we can incorporate its positive elements.  The result is that instead of a strong, clear warning, we get a rather muted ‘be careful.’