WHAT IS A WORLDVIEW?
Written by Dale Ebel of Dale Ebel Ministries
A worldview is the lens through which a person views ALL of life and the belief about how it ought to operate.
A Biblical Total Truth Worldview (BTTW)
is the lens through which I see the world
An excellent summary verse encapsulating a BTTW is:
39 “So remember this and keep it firmly in mind: The LORD is God both in heaven and on earth, and there is no other. 40 If you obey all the decrees and commands, I am giving you today, all will be well with you and your children. I am giving you these instructions so you will enjoy a long life in the land the LORD your God is giving you for all time.” – Deuteronomy 4:39-40 NLT
Every person has a set of convictions about how reality works and how they should live. As Christ-Followers and Covenant Keepers who are made in God’s image, we seek to make sense of life in light of these foundational realities. As humans, we do not hold purely to arbitrary opinions, nor do we make unprincipled decisions. Because we are rational and responsible beings, we sense that we need some creed to live by or at least a map to chart our course.
For example, a Marxist believes that human behavior is ultimately shaped by economic circumstances. The Freudian attributes everything to repressed sexual instincts. While the Behavioral Psychologist regards human beings as stimulus-response mechanisms. Islamism (political and radical Islam) espouses total submission to Allah and believes in an unbridled commitment to ushering in a worldwide caliphate (global dominance) by force. Critical Race Theory which is the ideological engine that drives the Social Justice Movement sees all American institutions, structures, systems, and foundational principles as being rooted in systemic racism and oppression, where the oppressed (black and marginalized identities) are being oppressed by the oppressors (the rich, white, and those in authority … i.e. police) Christ-Followers look at life through the lens of the Bible—both the Old Testament and the New Testament. By obeying the God of the Bible and following His ways individuals and societies can be successful in every endeavor and discipline of life.
Expanding on the Worldview of Christ-Followers
As God’s Covenant Keepers we believe we ought to enact all of God’s ways into the fabric of our lives. The overarching guide for us is our belief in Yahweh-God (the self-existent One), the God-Man the Lord Jesus Christ His only begotten Son, and the Holy Spirit as revealed in the Holy Scriptures. Followers of Christ are called to extend the Good News of Jesus Christ into all the world … that is, to every people group (Matthew 28:19-20), also being “witnesses” by permeating every institution, structure, and system with “kingdom of God” principles in any given culture (Acts 1:8). We are motivated by God’s love, Truth, justice, and redemption.
Followers of Christ are to proclaim “repentance” and “faith in the Lord Jesus Christ,” (Acts 20:21). They are also to proclaim and present “the Good News of God’s grace” (Acts 20:24), and the “Kingdom of God, which is the rule and reign of Jesus Christ our King” (Acts 20:25), in and through our lives. The presence of His rule in our lives and in society are manifested in one’s obedience to the commands of Yahweh God (Deuteronomy 6:1-9; John 14:21).
On the final day of judgment, mankind will be held accountable to a loving, just, and perfect God (Matthew 12:36). Because of this reality, Followers of Christ will order their lives accordingly and live life through the lens of these beliefs, waiting for the final Day of Christ’s return.
Two Reasons to Develop a Biblical Total Truth Worldview.
#1. Christ-Followers will be able to discern what is right and know what must be done to bring about righteousness for individuals and societies.
Once a follower of Christ demonstrates redemptive faith, knows, understands, and attempts to integrate ALL God’s Truth revealed in the whole Bible, (God’s will and His ways) into EVERY arena of life, he will be practicing and living out a Biblical Total Truth Worldview.
Then a Christ-Follower will be able to make sense of the world by discerning what is taking place and supplying Biblical answers with specific actions addressing the challenges an individual or a society faces. Notice how profound the following Truths are:
12 “What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. 13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. 14 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. 15 The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, 16 for, “Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ” – 1 Corinthians 2:12-16 NIV
#2. Another reason to develop a BTTW is to protect Christians against absorbing alien and false philosophies and ideologies.
“Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching [doctrine and ideology]. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever, they sound like the truth” – Ephesians 4:14 NLT
Most of the modern evangelicalism teaches Christian doctrine strictly as individual distinctive of belief. For example, the deity of Christ, His virgin birth, His miracles, His resurrection from the dead etc. But most Christians today do not have a sense of how Christianity functions as a unified, overarching system of Truth which applies to all social issues, history, politics, science and all the other areas of life. In short, they lack a Biblical Total Truth Worldview. Most, including many leaders in the Christian community, hold to a collection of truths but don’t necessarily believe them to be “Absolute Truth” applying to EVERY aspect of our culture. In 2 Timothy 3:16 below the “Scriptures” [Paul had the Old Testament in view] were adequate for every good work. We are now fortunate to include the New Testament as another lens through which we see the world.
16 “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 17 God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.” – 2 Timothy 3:16
HOW TO DEVELOP A BIBLICAL TOTAL TRUTH WORLDVIEW
As followers of Jesus Christ we cannot counter “the spirit of the age”
(1 Corinthians 2:6) unless we develop an equally comprehensive biblical worldview—an outlook on life that gives rise to distinctively Christian forms of culture.
The illustration below is a drawing I designed a number of years ago to illustrate how a BTTW allows us to see the world and the variety of challenges that we face in our culture. The topics within the “world” are just a sampling of areas that we can address with God’s perspective. Of course there are many more.
Notice the lens’ in the glasses have the vision of the world through both the OT and NT. In order to address the challenges in our culture we cannot look only through the NT. It is our responsibility to learn, understand, and apply ALL off God’s Truth as we address these challenges.
Please notice the placement of Deuteronomy 6:4 which is called the Shema in the Jewish faith:
“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD” – Deuteronomy 6:4
(Please add the scriptural reference 1 Peter 3:15 below the Deuteronomy passage. I will address this later.)
The Shema, means, Hear O Israel…” The whole verse is the claim of Yahweh God over against the competing claims of the many other gods in the polytheistic religious environment of the day. This statement is an attack on heathen religious polytheism rather than simply a statement about so-called ethical and religious monotheism. The claim has direct and concrete implications:
- It is a call for the Israelites to live their lives under the Lordship of one God and not under the tyranny of many gods. This was revolutionary in view of the polytheistic culture that dominated the world.
- This claim is an apologetic (a logical defense) that there is only one God–Yahweh the self-existent One, and He reigns over all other competing gods.
In his wonderful book An Unstoppable Force, Erwin McManus says, “America’s new grass-roots religion is not atheism but pantheism…. Today we are not moving towards a godless land but to a land with many gods.”p. 29. Of course our world is becoming more devoid of the true God, but ideologies function much like religions, expecting and demanding allegiance to a supreme being or a supreme thought. False gods, or false ideologies, claim superiority over other ideologies and expect total allegiance. Even Marxism has many times been labeled as a religious heresy. (Look to Total Truth by Nancy Pearcey, page 134ff).
These many gods are manifested as “alternative kingdoms” that have been erected within multiple subgroups of people who have created their own moral absolutes for their particular ideology. Thus, they deny an all-encompassing or overarching moral absolute. For example: lesbians and homosexuals have deemed same sex relationships as normative behavior. Social justice adherents espouse systemic racism in which the oppressors (those in authority) always suppress the oppressed (blacks and the marginalized). Gender blending advocates espouse that one’s sexual orientation and identity is based on social constructs. Feminist activists espouse liberation from the control of men. Abortion activists believe that a woman has a right to choose because she has exclusive rights over her own body. Each group celebrates their own basis of authority and determines what is right or wrong. Therefore, there can be no objective universal Truth. Also, postmodernism is manifested in the power of the “group” and, therefore, each group can exercise its choice as to what is right or wrong. This is the essence of postmodernism and it has not faded out from the time it became dominant in the 1960’s.
Another central verse that should be placed along with the Shema, is the New Testament equivalent … 1 Peter 3:15 :“but sanctify (set apart) Christ as Lord in your hearts, always [being] ready to make a defense (a logical reasoned out answer) to everyone who asks you to give an account (reason) for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;”
Imagine if, every time a minister introduces a biblical teaching, he would also instruct the congregation in ways to defend it against the major objections people are likely to encounter related to that truth. A religion that retreats to the therapeutic realm of personal relationships and feelings will not survive in today’s spiritual battlefield. (Look to Total Truth page 127)
The Greek word for “answer” is “apologia” and it means providing well thought-out explanations that support the whole of Christian teaching. When Christians are confronted with adversarial attacks, we ought to be prepared to “defend” the Faith when challenged, or when contrary ideologies contradict biblical teaching.
HOW DO WE DEVELOP A BTTW WORLDVIEW?
A simple and effective way to develop and compare a variety of worldviews is to apply the grid: Creation, Fall, and Redemption. Every worldview or ideology has to answer the same three questions:
1. CREATION: Every worldview, ideology or philosophy has to start with a theory of origins: Where did it begin?
2. FALL: Every worldview has to offer an explanation for the source of evil and suffering. What has gone wrong?
3. REDEMPTION: Finally, to engage people’s hearts, every worldview has to instill hope by offering a vision of Redemption by answering the question , How can it be made right?
Below are my efforts to stating a Biblical Total Truth Biblical Worldview:
An excellent summary verse for a BTTW comes from Colossians:
16 “for through Him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see–such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through Him and for Him. 17 He existed before anything else, and He holds all creation together.” – Colossians 1:16-17
- CREATION: Elohim (God) created the world as space, time, and matter (Genesis 1:1). He is both One and a Unity of Three: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit (Genesis 1:27). In the Tri-unity we see authority, function, and relational unity (John 5:16-23). God the Father is supreme, His Son submits to Him and carries out His mission to redeem and judge the world (Romans 2:16). The Holy Spirit submits to the Son and lives in Christ’s followers to convict the world of sin (John 16:8) and empower them to live godly lives (Acts 1:8). There is a unity in the Godhead for there is a demonstration of relationship, diversity, and mutual dependence. Elohim also created man and woman as His masterpiece in His magnificent image with a life-giving spirit (Genesis 1:27).
- FALL: Man distorted the original creation when Adam broke relationship with God and initiated a horrible legacy of sin (Genesis 3). Because of sin (falling short of God’s standards – Romans 3:23), decay, disease, distortion, horror, sorrow, and destruction entered the world affecting ALL physical, spiritual, intellectual, social, psychological and relational life (Romans 8:20-23). Man is morally culpable and accountable to the personal and Holy God of the Bible for this fall. (Luke 16:2; Romans 14:10).
- REDEMPTION: God the Father, Jesus Christ His Son, and the Holy Spirit have set the stage for restoration by offering hope through forgiveness in Jesus Christ, justice achieved for the Father (Acts 17:31) because of the sacrifice of His Son, and power to live righteously through the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:25 NIV). There will be ultimate restoration in the spiritual, relational, and physical world (Colossians 1:20). When we attempt to integrate Truth into every endeavor of life, we corporate with God in fulfilling Christ’s ultimate purpose, which is to usher in the Kingdom of God in which justice, peace, love, and reconciliation will be perfected. (Luke 22:29; 1 Corinthians 15:24-25). We have the Cultural Mandate to extend the Character of Yahweh God and His ways into every fabric of our society thus bringing glory to God (reflecting His character) to the world. This is the chief aim of people that identify with the God of the Bible.
Please attempt to write a Biblical Total Truth Worldview using the template below.
This effort on your part to define each, Creation, Fall and Redemption will provide building blocks for creating a BTTW. Please apply yourself and please don’t minimize this effort as it will supply you with a solid foundation in developing a Biblical Worldview.
Of course I would enjoy your feedback. Remember I am only a phone call away: 503-957-4547.