Five Ways to Strengthen Your Christian Worldview

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Every day we are faced with information that will either affirm, assault, or sharpen our worldview. Worldview is the lens through which we view life, make decisions, and interact with our fellow-man. The greatest way for Christ-followers to strengthen our Biblical worldview is by actually reading and memorizing God’s Word. If we are to live as Jesus lived then we should study that which He studied as a boy (the Old Testament), that which He lived (the Gospels), and that also which came after Him as inspired by the Holy Spirit (the remainder of the New Testament).

Every song we listen to, every book we read, and every media we watch, is derived from a worldview held by the person who wrote the lyrics or the script. We as Christians need to arm ourselves to recognize the worldview messages behind the media we ingest. In this way, we can sort through the surface message to get to the truth claims, or marketing, that media holds out to us.

Here are five ways to strengthen your Christian Worldview:

1. Albert Mohler’s The Briefing daily podcast. In each day’s twenty-minute podcast, Dr. Mohler summarizes and interprets via a Biblical woral score, the   daily news events
2. Russell Moore’s Signposts weekly podcast. Covering a wide range of topics, Dr. Moore tackles a cultural topic be it movies, practices within the church, or politics and puts it in perspective of the cross and the gospel of Jesus Christ.
3. Read any of Nancy Pearcey’s books. Nancy Pearcey is a worldview expert and will help you summarize and inspect the truth claims of science, art, and religion.
4. Subscribe to Breakpoint.org daily radio one and three minute broadcasts.Anoyhr great resource started by the late Chuck Colson, which covers the topics of our day.
5. Read  God’s Word daily. The Bible has the greatest ability to change our lives and solidify our Christian worldview.

These exercises take only minutes a day, but the dividends have the potential to be eternally impactful.

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Ignorance is Not Bliss

 Ignorance is Not Bliss

I attended an apologetics conference at our church last week put on by Biola University (here). While at the conference I had someone tell me that they really didn’t see the need for apologetics training because the people you talk with are ultimately going to decide to follow Jesus or not. “Most people aren’t asking for hardcore evidence when you witness to them.”

It was apparent to me that this person doesn’t yet see, or at least doesn’t grasp, the gravity of the secular worldview that has pervaded and overtaken our culture, and they are not alone. Most Christians are turning the other cheek when it comes to defending our faith.

Because we have neglected the intellectual loving of God with our minds, our choices in everyday life are not affected by our faith. We see that reflected in voting choices of evangelicals as well as in their attitudes towards moral issues of today (here).

The world has walked away from God and the news bares the resulting stories.

  • Aborted babies incinerated to heat UK hospitals (read here)
  • World Vision’s (Failed) Attempt at Justice for Gay Christians (read here)

In the UK over 15,000 aborted and miscarried babies are burned along with trash because humans are not considered as persons.Operating from an evolutionary standpoint, this horrific story may in some sick way make sense; enter the survival of the fittest. If we believe that we have evolved from animals then we will begin to treat ourselves and other people that way. What we saw reported in the UK this week is a picture of personhood theory played out in a choice to burn miscarried and aborted babies for green energy.

Nancy Pearcy explained this way of thinking best in her book, Saving Leonardo:

In ordinary conversation, we use terms like human being and person to refer to the same thing. But a wedge was driven between them in Roe v. Wade when the Supreme Court ruled that a fetus is human from the beginning, but not a person until some later point in time. This is a radically fragmented view of what it means to be human. And it has a dangerously dehumanizing effect on the way Americans view themselves–and others. (p. 49)

This is a complete 180 from what the Bible teaches in Psalm 139.  Babies are conceived with a body and a spirit. We cannot separate the two. But when man separates the two, we get results like abortion and the subsequent horrendous burning of precious God-created babies for the heat of hospitals in the UK. Utterly disturbing and something we should not remain ignorant to.

Ignorance does not allow for everlasting bliss. 

The later news report from the Huffington Post online makes the claim that homosexual acts are not against the commands of God. Can you or I defend this statement with solid biblical teaching? According to 1 Peter 3:15-17 we should be able to give a reason for what we believe and to do it with gentleness and respect. I believe and can attest that Christian apologetics is the answer. 

Ignorance of the events of our post-modern times does not lead to bliss for our families or future generations. Ignorance leads to future disorder and condemnation for the world’s  inhabitants. It is not enough to simply disagree with the way things are, we must have ready answers to the questions and situations at hand. We must choose to study worldviews, creation science, and other biblical apologetic topics so that we can be a part of redeeming our culture.

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Gun Safety and Worldviews

gun safety and worldview training

On Monday we discussed the necessity that we, as parents, youth workers, and educators, do not mark certain literature containing conflicting worldview narratives as taboo. If we do, we risk heightening such texts to forbidden fruit. Conversely, openly discussing worldviews and other religious beliefs as they arise equips our children to seek the truth. Further enabling them to discern truth from lies and the underling message behind the texts they encounter.

Akin to this open discussion of worldviews is gun safety. Let me explain. Ron and I want our children to handle guns–that is unloaded guns in our presence. You may ask, Wait a minute, won’t that increase their curiosity about guns because you planted the ideas in their heads? I would like to propose the contrary.

By allowing our children to handle and inspect unloaded guns under our supervision, we provide a safe environment for their curiosity to be satiated. Showing them the workings of specific guns and discussing the use and the dangers of such tools gives them a safe, controlled environment to have their questions answered . We do not want to simply tell them, “Never touch a gun.” Kids are curious, they will be drawn to the unknown and forbidden. Additionally, guns are not bad in and of themselves. If we take the mystery out of the equation, we leave our kids knowledgeable about guns, their use, and handling rules by which to keep them safe.

This doesn’t mean we leave loaded or unloaded guns within our children’s reach or access, but it means that they know guns exist and we have set parameters by which they can learn more in a safe environment. As they grow, so will their independence level in learning how to load a gun and use it properly for hunting and self-defense. The same with our teaching of a Christian worldview; we teach them as they grow in the hopes they will apply this knowledge throughout their life to distinguish good from evil, truth from lies, and to know God and make Him known.

I propose that knowledge of conflicting worldviews, and thus religions, should be handled in the same manner we employ with gun safety. Educating our children on the whys and whats of the world gives them more knowledge to ascertain that the world around them is best, and only, explained by a Creator who has come, and will come again, to redeem His fallen creation from sin and death and restore it to its original perfect state.

Satan is using our children and youth as more than target practice. He wants to kill and destroy them. Equipping the generations to recognize the enemy, and solid knowledge to combat his lies, will assist in winning the battle for truth. Supplying children with the knowledge to speak into and about worldviews is a tool to spread the gospel to all nations.

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The Details: Nature vs. nature

Nature vs. nature

As we have discussed in the previous two posts, it is the job of Christians to first educate themselves on the worldviews of today so secondly, they can educate their own generation and those to follow. We must identify and question the secular, naturalistic worldview that is abundant in literature, music, movies, and all areas of study so that we can teach and proliferate the Christian, biblical worldview bestowed by God. In so doing, we will further the gospel movement and thus the great commission (Matthew 28:20)

What does this look like in everyday circumstances? I have written previous apologetic posts that I think would help to explain such methods (here and here), but I feel a recent example is profitable.

I deeply love classic literature. Texts rich in vocabulary and bursting with the arts are part of everyday blessings that I desire to give my children. A well-written book, be it fiction or non-fiction, is inspiring to the psyche, it enriches our lives, and shapes the culture.

One such gem of children’s literature is Kenneth Grahame’s classic tale, The Wind in the Willows. Prior to reading this text with my children, I had only read portions of this story; never the full text.

Aside from the rich vocabulary, the artistic descriptions of scenery, character, and plot, I began to notice an underlying belief system of the author. In the infamous chapter seven, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, two of the main characters, Mole and the River Rat, have a religious experience filled with worship for, Pan, the Greek god of the wild…nature. As I was reading this chapter to my children–keep in mind I had no idea this was approaching as this was my first read–I recognized immediately that significant nature worship was being depicted. Not only that, but the word nature itself is capitalized throughout the text thereby attributing anthropomorphic, human qualities, to a non-human concept. To capitalize nature is to equate nature with a god-like being responsible for the world we see today. It is to equate nature to God and His creation.

wind in the willows

…then in the utter clearness of the imminent dawn, while Nature, flushed with fullness of incredible colour, seemed to hold her breath for the event, he looked in the very eyes of the Friend and Helper; saw the backward sweep of the curved horns, (The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame, emphasis mine)

Immediately, I used this as a teachable moment.

I reinforced the idea that people worship the created rather than the creator. Just as we talk about evolution as one way to help explain the world around us to the exclusion of God, they can in turn attribute deity to Nature. I explained that this doesn’t mean we can’t read this book or other books like it simply because of a different worldview. However, in reading such texts we should be aware of the underlying worldview and values from which the author is writing.

Making this chapter, or other literature with conflicting worldview narratives,  taboo may heighten such texts to forbidden fruit. Conversely, openly discussing worldviews and other religious beliefs with our children in an environment where questions are welcomed and answers provided or looked up together, equips our children to handle future questions independently.

The saying, the devil is in the details applies here. We can equip ourselves, our children, and peers to recognize worldviews in the details so that we can sharpen our understanding of worldviews held by others and speak the truth of the Bible and a Christian worldview into the everyday situations of life.

More to come on Friday!

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Why Question Evolution?

 Why Question Evolution

On Monday, I outlined a set of questions to critically consider the naturalistic worldview. Today, we will consider the importance of highlighting worldviews for ourselves and our spheres of influence, in addition to the implications if we neglect to do so.

My mom was my first grade public school teacher. Interestingly, only my closest friends in her classroom knew that she was my mom until after Christmas break when I said, “Mom, please come here.” My classmates looked at me and said, “You called her mom!” Laughably, my mom didn’t ask me to keep our relationship a secret, it was simply the practice that I utilized myself.

In my mom’s first grade classroom, we had themed bins of items to play with. One such bin was a large Tupperware container of rice. Mixed inside the rice were plastic toys, some of which were dinosaurs when we were studying about prehistoric life. 

I was raised in a southern baptist church where creation was taught but dinosaurs hardly, if ever,  mentioned in conjunction with creation. As a first grader I played with plastic dinosaurs taught to have lived millions of years before man in every textbook and science-based factual account yet simultaneously I learned in Sunday School that God created the heavens, earth, animals, and man, in six days and rested on the seventh.

There was a divide between the rice bin filled with dinosaurs in my elementary classrooms and the pictured creation accounts of Sunday School. I recognized the conflicting information provided in the two settings. One explanation provided to me was that a day was like a thousand days to God and vice versa. I didn’t question further. I simply accepted what I was being taught as facts.  I trusted my teachers, my parents, and God’s Word. Further, I trusted that the information aligned in some manner unbeknownst to me. I didn’t question the divide between Genesis and Science as taught by secular society to a great extent. I am in the minority for my generation and those after mine because my questions (or lack thereof) didn’t drive me away from my faith.

It doesn’t take much more than a quick Google search, a walk down the isle at a Christian book store, or simply a look at church demographics to know that young people are leaving the church in droves. Simple explanations or expectations for “faith” to sustain their questions will not suffice. 

What are a few reasons for the exodus of teens and young adults from the church? One of them is the faith/ intellect split which a secular-based culture has created. Faith and reason parted ways in the public arena around the 16th and 17th centuries with the  scientific revolution followed by the Enlightenment. Man declared himself as the ultimate intellectual authority that can determine, by reason and intellect, what to believe and how to act. It was a giant shift away from a biblical worldview and the recognized authority of God.

The faith/intellect split will go unquestioned, unnoticed perhaps, apart from intentional teachings against it. We must recognize the worldview behind the music we listen to, the shows and movies we watch, and the literature we read in order to determine truth from lies. We must enable children and students to  recognize and question the thought processes behind the information they are obtaining in order for them to wrestle with the teachings of the world, the truth of the Bible, and the doubts that internally arise while in middle and high school and prior to entering the college classroom. We must reclaim and pass on the biblical truths and scientific discoveries which make the connection between loving God with all of our mind not simply our souls, strength, and hearts. The consequences of neglecting this call to action are everlasting.

…one of the most important steps in recovering a Christian worldview is simply to recognize it, reclaim it, and reconnect it to its biblical roots. (Nancy Pearcey, Saving Leaonardo)

You may be asking, “So where do I begin?” Listed on my library page (click here) are a few apologetic resources which I have found helpful. A call to live cognizant of  worldviews is important to grasp for our faith and for the people God has placed within our spheres of influence. We are to pass on the knowledge of God to those who believe and to witness to those who have yet to believe. (2 Corinthians 2:14) God and science are not at odds; worldviews and interpretations of scientific data are.

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Questioning Evolution

Complexity Speaks to a Creator

They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen. (Romans 1:25)

You may or may not be familiar with the term, worldview. Your worldview is the lens through which you view life. Your worldview constitutes all that you believe about the origin of the cosmos and man, moral right and wrong, the purpose and end aim of life, and what happens to man after he dies.

I have studied worldviews for the past three years. There are debatable divisions of worldview, but I have come to believe that we can narrow these divisions down to two umbrella groupings: Christian and naturalism.

A Christian worldview postulates that the world is created by God to be ruled by man. Further, that man should live within the boundaries of God’s laws and moral standards in order to bring God glory and live in freedom from sin. Finally, that man will die and face the judgment of God. Those who trusted in Jesus Christ as Lord will live eternally in Heaven and those who rejected Him will live in eternal separation from God in Hell.

Naturalism proposes that the earth and all life within happened by chance. It is a molecules-to-man mystery. In essence, everything evolved from simple amino acids that appeared out of nowhere and were created by no one. Further, that they became more complex organisms over time. Finally, after death man is no more. We live, we die and then we are gone—there is no eternity or none which we know of with any certainty.

Many scientists and Ph.D.’s with far greater knowledge of the workings of microbiology, zoology, biology, botany, and genetics than I possess, lean toward the naturalistic or evolutionary worldview. However, it seems that the naturalistic worldview goes against the observable laws that science holds to today. Even someone with an elementary grasp of science knows that something cannot be created from nothing and that the world tends toward chaos and away from order. Therefore, it seems that not only Christians profess belief requiring an amount of faith, but naturalists require a great deal of faith to explain the origin of life as well.

Naturalists and Christians/Creationists possess the same scientific and observational data; yet we interpret the data differently due to our worldview and presuppositions. However, modern science testifies that the complexity of observable life speaks to a Creator. Further, the microbiological workings of man, which can now be observed by modern technology, resound with the news: Chance and time cannot explain the specificity and complexity which abound within the workings of the cells of man.

So, without reading a scientific publication, or skipping over to Amazon to buy an expensive coffee table accessory, I invite you today to consider a few complex functions of everyday life that I propose point to a Creator rather than a natural notion to worship the created. Those who reject God in the name of science are really rejecting God in the name of worshiping the Universe which demands no account to a higher moral law. Naturalism is more palatable to sinful man.

No one is neutral. People know instinctively that if Christianity is true they will lose control and not be able to live any way they wish. (Timothy Keller via Twitter: @timkellernyc 3/3/2014)

Let’s consider the implications of evolution on the following everyday tasks:

  • Language: If today’s complex and diverse languages evolved over time–rather than were given to us by God at the Tower of Babel– why did man not retain one language to the next as the languages evolved over time?  Why is language study necessary? Why is there no one language? Does this mean that we can distinguish one language as better as or more viable than the next?
  • Pollination: If evolution explains the vast creatures that we see today then how do we account for plant-life reproduction prior to the evolution of bees? Plants would not be able to reproduce without pollination and most animals require vegetation to survive–if not vegetation then meat from animals that are plant eaters. How does evolution account for this?
  • Reproduction: If evolution explains the origins of animals and man, then how would reproduction change from animals over time (e.g. animals that lay eggs as opposed to live-birthing mammals)? How can evolution support this change in kind in an observable manner? Where is the evidence to support such claims in the fossil record or within the animal kingdom we observe today?

Creation, as outlined in the book of Genesis (creation and a worldwide flood), explains the world we see today. The creation account provides the Who, where, when, why, and how to the questions of the origins of man, the created world, and the topography we observe post-flood. Likewise, creationism functions within the findings and observations of modern day science in a manner that does not require going against the laws of science. Conversely, naturalism is a worldview which does not offer an answer to who, where, why, how, and when man came to be. The claims of evolution and naturalism cannot be tested and verified but must be accepted on faith.

Those who worship God and hold a biblical worldview have the responsibility to question the claims—taunted as fact–of naturalists rampant in the academic and social circles of our day. Further, we must be ready with a logical defense to the questions of skeptics.

What questions do you have to ask of evolution? In what ways are you prepared to give an account for the worldview that you adhere to?

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How I Talk to Our Children About Evolution

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“Hey mom!” My children greeted my return after a few hours out. “We’re watching Dinosaur Train.” Let it be noted, we do not regularly watch Dinosaur Train. Having never seen the program before, I was skeptical about the science taught in the cartoon. I hypothesized the worldview of the producers of the show would be naturalistic and teach that dinosaurs lived millions of years ago.

As I greeted the babysitter and asked how the children behaved themselves, I heard the cartoon explain, “This dinosaur lived during the Mesozoic Period.” Ding, ding, ding, my guess was correct; this show was teaching evolution, likely from a naturalistic standpoint. At the very least this was communicating a worldview and philosophy in direct conflict with the Christian Theistic worldview I aim to instill and live out before my kids. With the same scientific data, creationist and evolutionist arrive at two different conclusions. It is my job as their mother to draw these differences to their attention.

Join me over atCrosswalk today to read the rest of this post. (Click here.)

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