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A Seismic Paradigm Shift (Part 3)
Monday, March 20, 2017

The seismic paradigm shift that has impacted seemingly every aspect of our lives occurred as the culture, and even the church, moved away from the Judeo-Christian worldview, adopting a secular worldview rooted in humanism. “Certainly, the great religions of the West—Christianity and Judaism—taught moral truths about respect for others, honesty, sexual fidelity, truth-speaking, the value of work, respect for the property of others, and self-restraint.”[1] For the conservative Christian, the teaching of God’s Word provides the foundation and authority for the answers concerning the things that matter most. As believers, we cling to a worldview that addresses every aspect of life and proclaims the hope of Christ. “A truly Christian worldview, simply put, is one in which the Word of God, rightly understood, is firmly established as both the foundation and the final authority for everything we hold true.”[2]

 

Unfortunately, we observed that, similarly to the seismic paradigm shift seen in our culture – from objective universal truth to subjective personal truth – many in the church have moved away from the absolute truth of the Bible. Truth is instead discovered within the context of a particular community and the language of a particular culture. In other words, truth is what the Bible means to me.[3] The result is revealed in ultimate authority shifting from the objective truth of Scripture, to the unique spiritual experience of the hearer. This denies the clarity of Scripture and reduces absolute authority from Scripture alone to a blend of Scripture, tradition and culture.[4] This subjective, feeling-oriented, “what works for me” approach to “truth” falls far short of the exclusive life-changing Gospel of Jesus Christ. In the end, we are left with a pluralism that argues that more than one set of beliefs or practices can be, at least partially and perhaps wholly, true or correct at the same time. Pluralism offers assurance that God’s salvation comes through multiple paths and religions, and in the end, God loves everyone. There are serious and even eternal consequences attached to this seismic paradigm shift. In particular, the theological and missiological consequences blur our sense of the calling to evangelize and marginalizes the person and work of Jesus Christ. Instead of attending to other worldly concepts such as individual salvation and everlasting life, the church’s focus is upon social involvement and political activism. We are left with nothing more than a social gospel that only addresses the temporal needs of the culture. In addition, we are left with a worldview that is anything but biblical, without any authority to address the most critical (eternal) needs of the man. This creates a serious dilemma. How do we engage the culture in any meaningful way?  

If the church is going to remain true to its mission, it must unashamedly and passionately return and cling to its biblical worldview, a worldview that addresses every aspect of life and proclaims the hope of Christ to the world. Mohler reminds us that the church is “charged to embrace and to teach the comprehensive truthfulness of the Christian faith as revealed in the Holy Scriptures. There are no insignificant doctrines revealed in the Bible, but there is an essential foundation of truth that undergirds the entire system of biblical truth.”[5] Our commitment to absolute truth, and the application of these truths, offers a vast understanding of the human condition across the totality of life, and supplies absolutes answers to life’s most important questions. The “only kind of voice that will arrest the attention of the world will be convictional in nature, clear in its message, substantive in its content, and bold in its challenge.”[6] That is the exact Gospel we have been given (I Cor. 15:3-4) and that is the Gospel we must proclaim.

 

 

 

[1] Bork, Robert H. Slouching Towards Gomorrah. New York, NY: Harper Perennial, 2003, 142.

[2] MacArthur, John (General Editor). Think Biblically: Recovering a Christian Worldview. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2003, 21.

[3] Olsen, Roger E. Reformed and Always Reforming. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2007, 113-114.

[4] Mappes, David. “The Nobility and Knowability of Truth: Part One,” The Journal of Ministry and Theology (Spring, 2009): 82.

[5] http://www.albertmohler.com/2004/05/20/a-call-for-theological-triage-and-christian-maturity-2/

[6] White, James Emery, Understanding and reaching the New Post-Christian World. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2017, Kindle.