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Basics and Obstacles to a Biblical Worldview

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Basic Principles for Christians to Achieve a Biblical Worldview and to Advance the Kingdom of God

 

These are not ranked in any particular order of priority.

1. Fall on ours faces before God, seek His forgiveness, and ask for reformation.

Bible-believing Christians rail at the liberals of the right and left for their immoral positions and personal immorality. Christians lament the strong leftist bias in the news, Hollywood, and other media. They fire off tons of missives about flagrant immorality in films and on television.

But, are they as ardent to be on their knees asking God’s forgiveness for the ways in which America has departed from her Biblical foundations and God’s blessings in the past?

Paul Jehle* has developed a tremendous and scholarly concept of “universal history” in which he traces from the Garden of Eden how civilizations have waxed and waned according to their coherence to Biblical law. Of note, are “the laws of the Medes and Persians” which could not be broken because they had adopted lex rex (the law is king), rather than rex lex (the king is law). (See the Book of Esther.) Biblical law influenced many nations of Europe, including the Vikings. It fullest developed was the Common Law of England, sometimes known as “The Law of Liberty of Moses.” The latter formed the basis for Blackstone’s commentary on Biblical and civil law and was the foundation for The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States, as well as statutory law.

So, as Christians are influenced by Biblical law with opportunities to influence civil laws and their culture, so goes the culture and the nation. If America is having such rampant immorality and disregard for Biblical morality, it is because the people of God are not basing their understanding and actions on Biblical law. (See Link to basic article on Love and Law.)

Perhaps, the most flagrant example is that of the pro-life movement. There has been a great deal of confusion about how to resolve the issues of abortion, capital punishment, just wars, and killing in self-defense. The Bible is clear on these issues.

So, Christians first need to confess the sins of our forefathers until the present and our own failures to know and apply the Word of God. Next, we need to ask for the moving of His Holy Spirit, as happened at Pentecost and during the early years of the Protestant Reformation. Then, we need to overcome these obstacles in this section to develop a Biblical worldview and be diligently about “our Father’s business” of understanding and applying a true and comprehensive Biblical worldview.

* Dr. Jehle has 6 lectures included in the CDs from Vision Forum’s Mega-History Conference, July 2006

2. Having a right understanding of faith.  How do you, Christian, increase your faith? What is faith?  Taking the mystery and mysticism out of faith.

How do you, as a Christian, “increase your faith” (Luke 17:5)? To increase your faith, you must know what faith is. Faith is acting on some information with for an expected outcome. You sit in chair expecting it to hold you up. You turn the key in the ignition of your car, expecting it to crank. You invest in the stock market, expecting growth of your investment. You go to bed at night, expecting to be able to get out of bed in the morning. You trust in the promise of God in Jesus Christ, expecting to be saved.

“Whoa, wait a minute! What do these everyday activities have to do with Biblical faith?,” you ask. Just this. Christians have relegated Biblical faith into the realm of mysticism and feelings and out of the concrete application of every day life and the teachings of Scripture.

Let’s look at the verse, “If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9). Notice that believe (the verb form of “faith”) is directed towards information (knowledge) of “The Lord Jesus Christ.” 1) This content is information about Christ: who He is and what He has done. 2) It involves action: “confess with your mouth and “believe in your heart.” 3) It has an expected outcome: “be saved.”

So, to increase your faith, you increase your information (knowledge). If you want to be more certain that your stock market investments will grow successfully, you increase the information about your investments. If you want to be certain that your car will crank, you learn information about good cars, buy one and maintain it. If you want to increase your faith in God, you learn more information (knowledge) about Him from the Bible and your experience of Him (experience if one source of knowledge).

There remain two caveats. 1) In everyday life, “the expected outcome” does not always happen: the chair breaks, the car does not start, our stocks crash, and sometimes we are unable to get our of bed because of disease or death. But, the great difference of Biblical faith is that (rightly understood), you can be certain of all God’s promised outcomes!

2) There is a special kind of faith: the “faith to move mountains” or “miraculous faith” (Matthew 21:21; I Corinthians 13:2). This faith is where great confusion arises about Biblical faith. There is nothing that you can do to have this kind of faith. God must give it to you with absolute conviction that it will happen. He does give this faith, although rarely. How can you know that you have it? You can know because the expected thing happens! Provision of faith by God always happens. If the thing that you thought would happen, does not happen, God had not given you the faith.

There have been prominent teachings in Christianity that “if you just have enough faith,” you will be healed (or other expected outcome). That is a great error that has caused a great deal of heartbreak and confusion about God.

There are other nuances of faith that I cannot deal with here. I hope that you are beginning to see that faith is not a simple concept, but it is an entirely understandable concept. You must simply apply sound rules of hermeneutics, which is necessary for all right understanding of Scripture. And, “to increase your faith,” you increase your knowledge and experience of God and His work in your life and the lives of others.

I have written on faith and all its Biblical nuances.  See Without Faith It Is Impossible to Please God. 

3. Learn that “what is” is not “what ought to be.”

When we grow up with ideas and practices, that is, “what is,” we tend to accept that they are what “ought to be” because we have never known anything else. Seat belts laws for children began in New York State, before they did in the South where I reside. I was amazed when I visited some friends in in New York during those early years that their 2-3 year-olds would just climb into a car seat and ride contentedly along. But, riding in a car seat was all the experience in a car that they had ever known! They did not know that children could climb all over a car, front seat to back seat and back and forth… sit in Daddy’s lap and drive the car!

Well, we have grown up with too many ideas and practices that seem to be imbedded in concrete as though “they ought to be.”

Just a few examples are:

  • 1. Public schools
  • 2. Income and property tax.
  • 3. Social security
  • 4. Abortion
  • 5. Medicaid and Medicare.
  • 6. State licensure of physicians and all other medical personnel, lawyers, barbers and beauticians, plumbers and     other repairmen, and a host of other occupations.
  • 7. Welfare and “Aid to Dependent Children”
  • 8. Federal and state regulation of trade and commerce.
  • 9. A veritable jungle of bureaucracies in Washington, D.C., state, county, and city administrations.
  • 10. Federal post office.
  • 11. Churches that do not discipline their members who have known public sins.
  • Eventually, all these “ought nots” will be discussed with their corresponding “oughts” on this website. But, this list will give you some perception of the difficulty of our task with a Biblical worldview. The Bible defines what “ought to be.”

    4. Make the Bible to be fully authoritative in every area to which it speaks.

    Dates and historical events that are recorded in the Bible have been challenged repeatedly, yet the Bible has always been proven accurate. Detailed examination of chronologies have shown remarkable accuracy of Biblical texts involving ages of people and dates of events.* We trust the Bible for our eternal salvation and for direction for our lives while on earth.

    Yet, many Christians continue to accept, and even defend, the compatibility of evolution with Biblical texts. The only reason to accept evolution, as consistent with Biblical texts, is to want credibility with modern scholarship! It is an historical fact that evolution was the atheist’s answer to the problem of origins (ontology). It is a scientific fact that evolution is full of inconsistencies, not the least of which is the origin of matter itself. A Big Bang! as an origin is just silly. The complexity of living things makes it impossible for them ever to have evolved.

    The only reason to accept anything less than a world wide flood, as consistent with Biblical texts, is to want credibility with modern scholarship! Creation scientists have, as many, if not more theories and evidences than non-flood proponents. If Jesus Himself and many of the writers of Biblical texts accepted the Genesis account of the Flood, then that makes it true. End of debate.

    Relative to history: “The great weakness in the major schools of historical interpretation of the present day lies in the fact that they have adopted either humanism, or some from of scientific naturalism, as the source of all the necessary presuppositions for their philosophies of history. By many, if not most, of the professional historians of the present day, the world and life view of the Scriptures is frankly rejected as having no possible authority, or value, for them in their intellectual endeavors. Whatever may be their personal convictions toward the biblical message of redemption, they refuse its claims of authority in the world of scholarship.” Singer, Theological Interpretation of American History, page 5-6.

    The Bible is the very word of God breathed. He does not make errors!

    * CDs of lectures by Dr. Floyd Jones at the Mega-History Conference held in July 2006 in Hampton, VA. Available from Vision Forum.

    5. Overcome failures of the true church of Jesus Christ for the past 170+ years.

    "Since 1830 the following ten characteristics permeated and finally dominated almost every Christian church, denomination, school, and organization on the planet, even though most of them still believed in the Bible and orthodox Christianity and still loved Jesus personally in all sincerity. From around 1830 almost every church and denomination became:

    • Man-centered rather than God-centered.
       
    • Defeatist and pessimistic, rather than optimistic, about Christianizing society in this age.
       
    • Accommodative, rather than confrontative, toward falsehood and unrighteousness if there were a cost to be otherwise.
       
    • Fearful, rather than courageous and self-sacrificing.
       
    • Escapist and Rapture-oriented, rather than eager to have “God’s will done on earth” now.
       
    • Irrelevant, rather than willing to offer answers to the world’s problems in law, government, etc.
       
    • Piecemeal in its thinking, rather than comprehensive in its biblical world view.
       
    • Institutional, rather than relational, and sensational, rather than theologically thoughtful.
       
    • Oriented toward a “peace-time” mentality, rather than a “war-time” mentality.
       
    • Inclined to consider the Kingdom of God as primarily “spiritual” during this age, rather than a real, active, Kingdom on earth now, which God intends to have permeate, influence, and ultimately overcome all other societies, “kings,” states and continents for His glory."

    Copied from A Word From Dr. Grimstead.

    6. Develop serious Bible study in churches and individual lives.

    We, who are evangelicals, defend the Bible as the Word of God quite vigorously. We even describe the Bible as “sufficient” for all things spiritual. But, do we really study the Bible?

    The modern church is perhaps the largest institution on earth that does not have a prescribed curriculum. Public schools have requirements to graduate from high school. Businesses have prescribed curricula for their employees. Even, voluntary social organizations have educational programs for their members to learn. But, Christians can join a church, agree to a few simple vows, and never have to learn anything!

    “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (II Timothy 3:16-17).

    Let’s see. “All Scripture.” Do you have a regular program of reading through the entire Bible, at least every three years? “Profitable.” Do you have commentaries, a systematic theology, concordance, Bible dictionary, and books on Biblical ethics and worldview? Does you church have a curriculum for Sunday School that is designed for a sound and broad theological (Biblical) education? (I would suggest even having a degree program and certificates for completion of courses.)

    Now, I can hear the protest. “You cannot require church members to learn the Bible and theology.” I would respond, “Well, something ought to be required.” “Faith without works is dead!” Is there some oversight to know that every member is involved in some “good work?” Is there any better work than a greater understanding of God and His Word?

    I would make the argument that (with only a few exceptions) other “good works” (evangelism, mercy ministries, etc.) will not happen apart from serious Bible study. One first has to know what to do before that work can be done. And, one must be creative to find and develop that work. Creativity does not work in a vacuum. The greater one’s knowledge, the greater one’s creativity.

    Now, I am not disparaging other “good works,” such as helps and mercy ministries, but every Christian, not just those with gifts of teaching should have some Bible study and theological program. And, those with the teaching gifts should have some ministries of mercy.

    Then, there is the problem of “quiet times” and “personal devotions."

    7. Stop giving science credibility that it does not have.

    This basic principle has already been partially discussed in #3 above. However, it applies to more than just creation and the Flood. Science, as “scientism,” is seen as the only source of knowledge or truth. Biblically and philosophically, science is never a source of truth, yet it has great value in a functional pragmatic way. See Science as Truth  and ... Pragmatic Value.

    8. "Thus Says the Lord.  Repent!"

    One of the great positives among Bible-believing Christians over the past several decades is the development of apologetics. This effort is the application of Peter‘s admonition, “Always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you” (I Peter 3:15). Most of my life has been spent in this area, so I would never demean all the great scholarship that has come from these studies.

    However, I want to argue that sometimes something more is needed. When the Old Testament prophets confronted Israel, they often began, “Thus says the Lord.” We should promote and develop the best scholarship against evolution. We should fight abortion on all the levels that God calls us to battle. We should demonstrate that Christianity has philosophical arguments that greatly exceed those of any other philosophy, religion, or worldview. But, there are times that we need to say without equivocation, “Thus says the Lord.”

    For example, there is a sizeable number of homosexuals who argue from science and even the Bible to justify their sexual preference. After we present arguments from both areas against their position, there comes a point when these are not accepted, that we should simply declare, “Thus says the Lord,” homosexuality is an abomination to the Lord, you are defending an evil way of life, and you need to repent!”

    In arguing with evolutionists or even theistic evolutionists, after presenting the Biblical truth and scientific evidence, there is a time for “Thus says the Lord!” You are arguing against God and His truth, you are promoting and defending ungodly error and heresy, and you need to repent.”

    Argument is between two equals on the same level. “Thus says the Lord” is a word from the omnipotent God from Heaven itself.

    Now, I hear the opposition. “We must be winsome.” “We might alienate others and drive them from the Gospel or the truth of God’s Word.” I do not buy those arguments.

    Jesus Christ, God incarnate, called some of the people of His day, “white-washed walls” and “sons of Satan.” Paul confronted Peter to his face in a public assembly. Paul confronted Agrippa, “Do you believe the Prophets? I know that you do” (Acts 26:27, NASB) in a civil court.

    Again, I am not stating that “Thus says the Lord” should be our only argument. We should continue to develop and use our apologetics. We should continue to try to “win” people to Christ. But, there are times to stop arguing, and forcefully proclaim, “Thus says the Lord,” and even, “Repent, for the Kingdom of God is here. Repent!”

    9.  The Bible Alone Is Not Sufficient.

    One of the pillars of the Reformation was “sola scriptura” or “of the Scriptures,” as the source of God speaking to man (as opposed to the Pope speaking ex cathedra, the magisterium of the church, or church tradition).

    Now, the overwhelming concern of our website is to be as fully and concretely Biblical, as we can make it. But, “sola scriptura” is, in one sense, not enough to develop a thoroughgoing Biblical worldview. What is needed is an understanding of philosophy, reasoning, and logic.

    First, let me say, that neither of these add any content to Scripture. What philosophy, reasoning, and logic do is bring out a fullness of Scripture that cannot be understood without them.

    For example, all serious and consistent philosophers throughout history have all desired an objective source of truth. Without truth, nothing else matters. Anyone can do what he pleases and no one can criticize or condemn him. Without truth, there is no moral standard. The quest for this truth is called epistemology. The Bible is that source of truth for which philosophers have looked! Did you know that? Did you know that the Bible is an objective source of truth, that is, one that comes into existence without the bias or prejudice of fallible and sinful man?

    The Bible is “God-breathed” (II Timothy 3:16). That is, the Holy Spirit caused men of His choosing to write words that were influenced by their own knowledge, times, and circumstance, yet conveyed truth that is inerrant, as given in the original texts (autographs). And, the Spirit has caused that text to be propagated down through history in a form that is fully reliable in all times, as proven by the Dead Sea Scrolls and hundreds of other manuscripts.

    Think of this import -- what all wise men in all of history have sought is the Bible! It is not only a book of salvation, it is a book of truth. Its history of Creation is true. Its history of all times and places is true. Its insights into the thinking and behavior of men and women (psychology) is true. Its description of the natural and supernatural world is true. And, so on and so on, without limit.

    The Bible does not tell you that Itself is what all philosophers have sought (at least in those particular words), but philosophy does. And, philosophy has developed certain tests of truth which the Bible fulfills. Philosophy gives a scope for the Bible in the world of mankind that is not just written for a particular people. As such, its importance for worldview is more fully recognizable.

    Second, logic is important. The word “Trinity” appears no where in the Bible. Yet, by logical deduction, God is Trinity. By further, logical deduction, all the attributes of God exist in the three Persons of the Trinity. And, Jesus Christ was fully God and fully man. These statements do not appear in the Bible in this concise form. They have to be logically deduced from Scripture, but they are as true as the Scripture itself. So, logic is necessary to our full and clear understanding of the Bible and all that it says.

    Third, there are inescapable conclusions. For example, predestination is inescapable and free will (as is usually meant by that term) is impossible. For my argument, I will let you pick the “age of accountability.” At that age that you have chosen, all that a person knows has been totally chosen for him already: parents, genetics, and education. All his choices are inevitably or inescapably dependent upon those factors. Further, to make a truly free choice, that person would have to know everything in the universe (omniscience) to know all the choices possible and then be omnipotent to have the ability to choose anything that he wanted.

    Now, in brevity for this section, I must close, having presented enormous philosophical, ethical, and theological issues in a few short paragraphs. Modern Christianity has become sectarian because Christians do not understand the fullness and applicability of the Bible to all cultures, nations, and philosophies. The Bible was not written just for their own personal and church interests. It was written as God’s words to man for instruction on how individuals, families, cultures, and nations should live their lives. It is the “Owner’s Manual,” if you will.

    I began with “sola scriptura” is not enough. But, it was enough for the Reformers of the 16th and 17th centuries because they understood philosophy, logic, and careful reasoning, and, thus, were able to apply the Bible in the fullness above. Modern Christians, especially Americans, are usually ignorant of those disciplines and therefore limited in their understanding of the Bible and its education.  The Bible alone is not sufficient because too many Christians have neither the tools nor the motivation to understand the fullness, completeness, and pragmatism of the Scriptures.

    10. We do not accumulate and have readily available the best books and other resources that we can find.

    Having the best authors in your library.  When I began this website, there were many areas in which I had not done serious research, such as, economics, art, and justice.  Yet, in a matter of 2-4 weeks, I was able to write Summary Principles in these Areas of Worldview because of my library.  So, one should not hesitate either in time or expense to accumulate the best library possible.

    And, I do not mean just any library.  Find the best authors.  If you do not know who they are, then ask me.  Ask the best thinkers that you know.  Ask those who think “outside the box.”  Ask those who are always bringing up points of view about which you had never thought.  Ask those who home school.  Ask those who are the best writers that you have read. 

    Whenever I am reading my favorite authors (see below), and they mention a book or source that is a summary of an area of study, and it is available in print (new or used), unless the cost is exorbitant, I buy it.

    Look for concise, but comprehensive works.  Now, at first glance, these two descriptions may sound contradictory.  But, they are not.  Find among used books, Ethical Reflections and Theological Reflections by Henry Stob.  Buy them quickly, as they are out of print and likely not be reprinted.  Never have I read any author that packs so much into each sentence. 

    Online sources.  There are great sources online now.  You will find many cited and linked on this website.  However, be careful!  Online sources are too readily available.  They may have erroneous thinking,  They may not be concise.  They may not be comprehensive. They may contain serious errors.  One example of a great cite is that of John Frame and Vern Poythress.  While it contains a great deal of information, one can locate particular topics by using their search feature.

    Some of my favorite authors are: Jay E. Adams, John Murray, Abraham Kuyper, Henry Stob (above), Gordon H. Clark, John Jefferson Davis, Harold O. J. Brown, Rousas J. Rushdoony, Dorothy Sayers (books are disappearing fast), Blueprint Series (Dominion Press), and Baker’s Dictionary of Theology.  Perhaps, I can add to this list, as it exits here.  Particular books are cited under each Worldview Area.

    11. Having a sense of God’s real presence in history and the present.

    I could have used the word Providence in the above title. It would have been a better choice. But, I suspect that not every reader would readily identify with “Providence.” Or, I could have said, “God’s Immanence,” His real presence in history, time, and space.

    We are too much “physical” creatures. We tend to believe that only what we see, feel, touch, hear, and smell is “real.” God and the spiritual realm is more “real” than the physical one that we experience. That realm will endure forever; this world will end in fire and destruction (II Peter 3:7).

    God has been active in history. In fact, history is His-Story.  He defeated the Spanish Armada which was a Roman Catholic attempt from Spain to wipe out the Protestant Reformation in England.  He defeated the French Navy sent to wreak havoc on the unprotected East coast of the American colonies in 1747. And many other examples of His actions in His-Story.

    When you hear thunder and see the lightning, do you think of God‘s awesome nature? When you see the power of hurricanes and tornadoes, do you think of God’s power in nature gone awry because of the Fall of Adam and Eve? Are you aware of the bounteous nature of this planet with its plethora and abundance of plant and animal life and resources for the population of the entire population of the earth? These thoughts have to do with His Providence and His Immanence.

    As moderns, we tend to limit God’s real presence to our salvation and His Holy Spirit within us. But, “In Him, we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). And, “all things are upheld by the Word of His Power (Hebrews 1:3).

    A great obstacle to a Biblical worldview and one of its basic principles is an acute awareness of God’s Providence (“working all things according to His own will,” Ephesians 1:11) in past history and present reality. Seek resources that enliven this sense of God in your consciousness . Here is one of the best places to start.

    12. Turn off the television! 

    I wonder what sort of reformation and revolution might occur if all true Christians turned off their television set or removed it entirely from their homes, and used that time in serious Bible study, family worship, and works of mercy and ministry!  That the television occupies the central place of the home, that is, its altar, is symbolic of our culture, and the impotence of American Christianity to change lives radically or affect the culture in any meaningful way.

    13. Redeem the Time: You Have More than You Think!

     

    14.  Learn definitions.  

    Christians toss around words like faith, hope, love, grace, law, mercy, etc., as though they were easily understood definitions.  Did you know that faith is used more than 5 different ways in the New Testament?  Did you know that law is used in at least 12 different ways in the New Testament?  Did you know that you cannot love without knowing the law (Romans 13:10, Galatians 5:14, James 2:8)?  Did you know that grace and love are virtually synonyms?  Did you know that you cannot be "under grace" without also being under (moral) law?

    As one point in my life, I was distressed that I could not find a workable, understandable definition of faith, so I wrote a book on it!  With online search features, such as www.biblegateway.com, word searches are easily done. 

    So, start now!  Go to the above website, search under the terms "love" and "law," and read what comes up.  Then, do other searches of the words to try to understand their meaning. 

    Learn definitions!

    15. Use and/or develop a systematic understanding of theology, ethics, and worldview.

    The Bible is a mixture of metaphor, simile, poetry, history, symbolism, prophecy, proverbs, and didactic teaching. It is all inspired and infallible. Yet, it is far from being a system in which all parts are integrated with the whole.

    In the history of the Church, the primary effort at systemization of the Scriptures has been in systematic theology. To a lesser extent, some have worked at a system of Biblical ethics. Within the last 20 years, there has been renewed interest in Biblical worldview, with some trying to work out a system. (We have yet to see any system of worldview that approaches that of our website. If you know of one, please let us know.)

    It is a principle of reasoning and common sense that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. A system of Scripture, properly performed, is greater than individual statements of Scripture. For example, I have spent considerable time and effort in understanding the Biblical concept of faith. All the variety of passages in which faith appears in the Bible--great faith, little faith, healing faith, faith to move mountains, faith as a gift, etc.--have to be reconciled with a precise definition. Most Christians, including theologians, are confused and do not understand the concept of Biblical faith. Christians and churches make many mistakes because of this misunderstanding. If they took all the passages of Scripture that use “faith” and worked out a definition or definitions, then they and the Church would be more likely to “please God” (Hebrews 12:6). (See Without Faith It Is Impossible to Please God for more on this subject.)

    Thus, Christians and churches who ignore systemization of Scripture in theology, ethics, and worldview are severely limiting their usefulness in their churches and the Kingdom of God without this systematic approach.

    For more on this subject, see A Defense of Systematic Theology.

     


     

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