What is Postmodern Biblical Spirituality?
Much of Peter DeHaan’s writing is centered around a concept he calls “Postmodern Biblical Spirituality.”
“We are spiritual creatures, with a soul (our mind, will, and emotions) and a body,” says Peter DeHaan, PhD. “That is, we are a spirit, we have a soul, and we live in a body — and this isn’t just my idea; many biblical scholars share this view. The apostle Paul acknowledges these three parts of our being, as well as their order of importance in his letter to the Thessalonian church, when he writes: ‘May your whole spirit, soul, and body be kept blameless,'” (1 Thessalonians 5:23, NIV).
“However, not everything that is spiritual is good. There can be good spirituality, bad spirituality, and inconsequential spirituality.” To guide us in pursuing good spirituality and avoiding the rest, Peter advocates a biblical approach. “The Bible can — and should — be our guide in ascertaining a spiritual perspective that is positive and productive. A spirituality that’s not supported by the Bible is one that’s suspect and potentially dangerous.”
“For the last 500 years, modern thinking people have focused on the tangible and quantifiable, ignoring the spiritual roots of the pre-modern and ancient peoples,” adds Dr. DeHaan. “Those folks viewed everything as spiritual. It was modern man who tried to separated the spiritual from the secular. Following that, modernity effectively shoved spirituality under the bus.”
“Fortunately, postmodernity has come to the rescue, reclaiming humanity’s spiritual nature. Most postmodern people are open to spiritual things,” notes DeHaan, who covered the topic in his dissertation. “The problem is that not all that’s spiritual is good — the goal of my writing is to point spiritually receptive people to a wholesome spiritual perspective.”
Peter DeHaan first coined the phrase, “postmodern biblical spirituality” when he launched his blog, “Spiritually Speaking” (now called “Pursing Biblical God“, in January 2011. “I’d been contemplating the concept prior to that,” notes DeHaan, “and the three words came together as I wrote the introduction to the blog. I was struggling to find a phrase to describe the focus my writing; when I strung those three words together, it was a perfect fit.”