In my last post I used the example of how Nehemiah rebuilt the wall in Jerusalem to look at the importance of rebuilding an actual scriptural worldview in the church. I noted the need to assess our own worldview to identify whether we hold a worldview at odds with scripture (most of us do), seek the Lord in intercession and then respond with a plan of action. As noted in Part 1, research demonstrates the terrible lack of a scriptural worldview in the church. Thus, using my definition of worldview, ‘The lens through which we view and interpret reality’ let’s take a look at our lens to determine whether we individually hold a scriptural worldview.
We begin by acknowledging the obvious, for the most part, the church rather than influencing the culture has been greatly influenced by the surrounding culture. It is like the idea of a ship in the sea. If the ship is in the sea, it can travel and navigate. If the sea is in the ship, it may sink or flounder. It is certainly difficult to navigate! Now that the need is so glaringly obvious let’s get the sea out of our ship by applying what Paul presented.
1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:1-2 (NKJV)
If we apply Romans 12:1-2 our right thinking should lead to right behaviour. The challenge of course is that there is a difference between professing a belief and living out a belief. In theological terms the distinction is between orthodoxy (right beliefs) and orthopraxy (right practice or actions). I can tell you from surveying a broad spectrum of Evangelical doctrinal statements that our issue in the church is not our doctrine, it is clearly our practice! Broadly, as the church, we profess a lot that the majority of us don’t live out.
In looking at how to shift our worldview to align with scripture a critical point is that we tend to think with rather than about our worldview. Knowing the stats and research we have the opportunity to intentionally think about our worldview in order to shift it. Making a shift in our thinking, examining whether something is unscriptural or unfamiliar, requires reflection. This requires a conscious choice, stepping back from our regular practices (thinking with) and thinking and reflecting (thinking about) on what has led us to our present beliefs in order to determine whether they align with scripture. Applying this idea takes us to Paul’s first letter and a verse I referenced in Part 1. Paul’s ongoing apostolic heart cry throughout his ministry is summed up in this verse.
19 My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you, Galatians 4:19 NKJV
In the normal course of Christian growth Christ should be formed in us after we come to faith. That is, we reflect His nature and character. This process requires our active and intentional cooperation and that is what most in the Western church have failed to do. Though we may find the idea of change and growth daunting, consider those who followed Jesus in the gospels. They had to stand against the familiar beliefs of their culture and embrace beliefs at odds with how the majority of their culture understood scripture. We are now in a similar place in our culture. Christians and the scripture are not held in high regard by most of our culture and to truly walk with Him requires the church to once again become a counter culture.
To the end of bringing about a worldview shift here is a tool for self assessment. I have covered orthodoxy, orthopraxy and samples of different worldviews. Review them, prayerfully reflect on whether what you believe and how you act is aligned with scripture so you can determine the change required. In areas where change is needed make a plan, review the scriptures and act on the plan.
Statements of Orthodoxy
- I believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative Word of God.
- I believe that there is one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
- I believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, and in His future personal return in power and glory.
- I believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit by whose indwelling power I am able to live a godly life.
- I believe in the future resurrection of both the saved and the lost; they that are saved unto the resurrection of life and they that are lost unto the resurrection of damnation.
Statements of Orthopraxy
- I give regularly to support the ministry of the church.
- I regularly read the Bible and desire to align my behavior with what it says
- I regularly pray for myself, my family and others.
- I have a clear sense of what Jesus has called me to do in my daily life and seek to be faithful to His call.
- I regularly speak to others about my faith and the importance of knowing Jesus.
- I believe in what I can see, feel and touch. These things are what are truly real.
- I believe there are influences beyond what we can see, feel and touch that have an effect on my behavior and that of others.
- I believe that truth is truth no matter where I am in the world and that I am objective in what I believe.
- I believe that my life experiences and culture give me my truth and you have your truth.
- I believe that while my experience and perspective is subjective and different than yours that truth is objective and can be known.
The numbers below correspond to the Worldview Examples above.
1. Reflects Materialism.
2. Reflects a Scriptural Worldview.
3. Reflects Modernism.
4. Reflects Post-Modernism.
5. Reflects a Scriptural Worldview.
Take and prayerfully assess your beliefs and practices in light of what I have shared above. Ideally, engage others and begin a shared journey of aligning or realigning your views with scripture. If want more detail in my book (Worldview: The Adventure of Seeing Through Scripture available on Amazon) I include the role of repentance and plausibility structures in the change process.