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A Seismic Paradigm Shift (Part 1)
Friday, February 24, 2017

As we stated earlier in the blog A Collision of Antithetical Worldview, Ronald Nash defined a worldview as “a conceptual scheme by which we consciously or unconsciously place or fit everything we believe and by which we interpret and judge reality.”[1] Historically speaking, an understanding of western civilization reveals that “no other worldview has had as material an impact on America and her politics as the Judeo-Christian worldview.”[2] This worldview relies upon the Bible and is founded upon the teachings in the book of Genesis. It addresses the critical matters of a personal creator and His separate and distinct creation, defining the differences between a transcendent God and the world He created. This worldview is also built upon universal truths pertaining to anthropology, the nature of truth, universal morality, ethics, and a vast understanding of the human condition across the totality of life. Ravi Zacharias notes that “a worldview basically offers answers to four necessary questions—questions that relate to origin, meaning, morality, and hope that assures a destiny,”[3] the kind of hope and destiny that is unique to the Christian worldview. The Apostle Paul, encouraging a young Titus, writes it this way, “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works” (Titus 2:11-14).

Unfortunately, over the last twenty years or more our culture has moved away from the Judeo-Christian worldview and has adopted a secular worldview rooted in humanism. In fact, “American culture is shifting away from orthodox Christian positions on homosexuality, premarital sex, contraception, out-of-wedlock childbearing, divorce and a range of other social issues.”[4] This seismic paradigm shift has impacted seemingly every aspect of our culture, especially education, but there is evidence that it has impacted our churches as well. Gene Veith warns that “Christianity could be transformed into a cultural religion. Instead of attending to other worldly concepts such as individual salvation and everlasting life, the church would focus upon this world. Moral pronouncements, social involvement, and political activism would become the work of the church.”[5] If this were to happen it would forever alter the mission of the church, a mission that is clearly defined in scripture. DeYoung and Gilbert answer the question concerning the mission of the church by reminding us that “The mission of the church is to go into the world and make disciples by declaring the gospel of Jesus Christ in the power of the Spirit and gathering these disciples into churches, that they might worship and obey Jesus Christ now and in eternity to the glory of God the Father.”[6] If the church is going to remain true to its mission, it must unashamedly and passionately cling to its biblical worldview; a worldview that addresses every aspect of life and proclaims the hope of Christ to a world that is rapidly changing in our generation.

 

 

[1] Nash, Ronald H Worldviews in Conflict: Choosing Christianity in a World of Ideas. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1992, 16.

[3] Zacharias, Ravi. The End of Reason. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2008, 22.

[4] Brooks, David. “The next Culture War,” New York Times, June 30, 2015

[5]  Veith, Gene Edward Jr. Modern Fascism. Concordia Publishing House, 1993, 54-55.

[6] DeYoung, Kevin & Gilbert, Greg. What is the Mission of the Church? Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2011, 241.