A Biblical Worldview
The central question from our Home Church study this week was a question Jesus asked His disciples: Who do people say that I am?
When asked, even today, most Americans will say they believe in God. What does that really mean? Depending upon whom you ask, and their associated worldview, you will likely get a wide variety of answers. George Barna of the Barna Research Group asked people about their worldview based upon principles found in the Bible.
A “biblical worldview” was defined as: Believing that absolute moral truth exists; the Bible is totally accurate in all of the principles it teaches; Satan is considered to be a real being or force, not merely symbolic; a person cannot earn their way into Heaven by trying to be good or do good works; Jesus Christ lived a sinless life on earth; and God is the all-knowing, all-powerful creator of the world who still rules the universe today.
In the research, anyone who held all of those beliefs was said to have a biblical worldview, and the results are interesting. Of the Americans surveyed, 9% answered that they shared each of these views. Surprisingly, among those who self-identified as “born-again” Christians, that figure goes up to just 19%; less than one in five.
We can break down these numbers further. One-third of all adults (34%) believe that moral truth is absolute and unaffected by the circumstances. Slightly less than half of the born again adults (46%) believe in absolute moral truth. Half of all adults firmly believe that the Bible is accurate in all the principles it teaches, compared to four-fifths of born again adults (79%) who concur. Just one-quarter of adults (27%) are convinced that Satan is a real force, while even a minority of born again adults (40%) adopt that perspective. Similarly, only one-quarter of adults (28%) believe that it is impossible for someone to earn their way into Heaven through good behavior. Not quite half of all born again Christians (47%) strongly reject the notion of earning salvation through their deeds.
Why do these numbers matter? The non-biblical worldview does not just exist in some theorem or in a vacuum. We who share a truly biblical worldview are getting constantly lashed on through television, film, music, newspapers, magazines, books, and universities. Just a few decades ago, the bulk of media and academia promoted views more closely aligned with those having a biblical worldview.
Deviation from those views was seen as being outside the norm. Beginning in the 1960s, the roles played by the media and academia began to change. We were compelled by messages in our movies, books, television, and classrooms to question everything. We used to giggle that married couples on TV in the 1950s and early 60s slept in separate beds. Back then, broadcasting over the commonly held airwaves was seen as a public trust. Part of upholding that trust, as naive and parochial as this sounds today, was promoting morality and family values through their programming (think Leave it to Beaver, not Modern Family). Other forms of media held similar views of serving their patrons as a public trust. Showing people as base, selfish, and socially predatory began in earnest during the anti-establishment movement of the latter 1960s and the 70s. From then until this very day, pushing the envelope of social acceptability has been the practice of the media – to heck with morality and family values.
Led by the disengaged-from-morality media, Americans, including many this survey tagged as born again, have slid down that slippery slope, arriving at philosophical and theological positions they (and their parents or grandparents) would never have even conceived a generation ago. Positions where so-called “mainline Christian” denominations now plainly contradict biblical teachings, ordaining open homosexuals as pastors and performing same-sex marriage services. Is there any wonder that six out of ten born again Christians do not believe there is a great deceiver known as the devil?
We live in a selfish, fallen world. Seductively, these ideas appeal to the desires of our flesh, and we often end up incorporating them into our personal worldview. Sadly, we do this without even knowing it. If we do not really believe the truth of God and live it, then our witness, like these misguided denominations, will be confusing and misleading. Most of us go through life not recognizing that our personal views have been deeply affected by the world. Through the media and other influences, the secularized American view of history, law, politics, science, art, God, and man affects our thinking more than we realize. We are taken “captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ” (Colossians 2:8).
One of my favorite songs from Sunday School days was This Little Light of Mine. We need to let our light shine into this dark and fallen world. The light we shine may provide the illumination needed to positively enhance the worldview of those around us, as Paul instructs in Romans 12:2, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” In this manner, when we are asked, “Who do you say that I am?”, each of us will have a ready, biblically centered answer.
~ Hudd ~
Kevin Huddleston is an Elder at Fellowship at Cross Creek Church in Branson, MO