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It is a different world today than when I became a pastor 35 years ago. I cannot think of a time in which there has been more biblical illiteracy than there is now. I am not just talking about an ignorance of the Bible in general in our culture today; there is an ignorance of Scripture in the church.
For years now, there has been a trend to move away from biblical exposition in churches. And now we are seeing the result of this in unprecedented biblical illiteracy. Author and researcher George Barna has said, “The Christian body in America is immersed in a crisis of biblical illiteracy.” A study Barna conducted revealed that less than one out of every 10 believers possess a biblical worldview as the basis for their decision-making. Barna also found that the most widely known “verse” among adults and teen believers is “God helps those that help themselves” – yet it is not found in the Bible.
We all have a worldview, formed by our culture, upbringing and education, as well as the books we read and the media we take in. And a worldview is comprehensive, affecting every area of life, from morality to money, from politics to art.
So the question is not whether you have a worldview. It is, what kind of worldview do you have?
Francis Schaeffer, in “How Should We Then Live?” wrote, “As Christians, we are not to know the right worldview, the worldview that tells us the truth of what is, but consciously to act upon that worldview so as to influence society in all its parts and facets across the whole spectrum of life, as much as we can to the extent of our individual and collective ability.”
Specifically, what is the worldview a Christian should have? Simply put, there is a living God, and He has revealed himself in Scripture. Therefore, we as Christians believe in absolute truth, which comes from God. And that truth is found in the Bible. It is not about what we feel or what is popular or cool. It is about what is true.
This worldview will affect the way we see the world and life in general. As C. S. Lewis said, “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen. Not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”
Americans have never been more spiritual, yet more immoral. A 2009 poll found that people in the U.S. are more interested in faith and spirituality than they are in Christianity. One expert said, “Americans increasingly want to shape their own faith experience” – what he calls “concoct[ing] a uniquely personal brand of faith.”
And why not? In the age of the iPod, the iPhone, the iMac and now the iPad, Americans want an iFaith and an iGod. With these, they can control the home screen. They can write their own programs or apps, customizing them to their own liking. They can keep the parts they like, such as love, forgiveness and heaven, while hitting delete on what they don’t like, such as hell, judgment and righteousness.
As a nation, we no longer accept the truths our Founding Fathers did. Instead, what we have today is moral relativism, the belief that says there are no moral absolutes, and there is no right or wrong, no good or evil. Moral relativism teaches that we are all products of the evolutionary process, there is no God and no plan or purpose for our lives, and we all have our own truth. It teaches that we are all basically good inside, and if we do go bad, it is because we are products of our environment. It is the complete freedom from all restraint.
The funny thing about people who accept moral relativism is they are very tolerant of everyone except people who have absolute beliefs. If you dare to disagree with moral relativism and instead believe in right and wrong, then you are labeled as insensitive, intolerant, bigoted and narrow-minded. And if you dare to believe in the Bible as absolute truth, then you are imposing your puritanical, repressive value system on others.
Yet one of our Founding Fathers, Patrick Henry, said, “It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For this very reason peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here.”
It is our departure from these truths that has brought us to where we are today: abortion on an epidemic scale, marriages falling apart at record rates, the redefinition of the family, which is the very foundation for a society, rampant violence, an increase in suicide, sexual immorality and so forth. These things should not surprise us, because the Bible says, “They sow the wind and reap the whirlwind” (Hosea 8:7 NIV).
So let me ask you, what kind of worldview do you have? Because what you believe determines how you will behave – and a whole lot more.