Our purpose as the West-Ark Church of Christ is to "Make Disciples for Jesus Eager to Serve Others." That means that all of us are called to be disciples as well as make disciples. There are five values or qualitative goals that we strive for in everything we do as a congregation. The first is that we will focus daily on Jesus and his cross. The second is that in every way possible we want to proclaim a biblical worldview. Proclaiming a biblical worldview, however, assumes that we, as disciples, have a biblical worldview. And this of course raises the question, "What is a worldview?"
Definition of Worldview A worldview is the composite set of presuppositions, beliefs, and values a person possesses that shape how he or she sees reality and determines how he or she will act. A worldview informs the way a person thinks and acts. It is the lens through which people perceive and understand reality.
A person's worldview can be changed into a different worldview. Christians/disciples should desire to have their worldview transformed into a biblical worldview. The revelation of God through his word and through Jesus Christ deliberately seeks to shape our worldview. [This is why focusing on Jesus and his Cross is more that a meditative exercise it is a transforming event. See last week's sermon]
Demonstration of Worldview and Differences in Worldview - One of the ways we sometimes become aware of this concept of worldview is by encountering very different worldviews. Some years ago my wife and I were in London. We were waiting to get into the theatre and when tickets were available there were three of us and only two tickets. So my wife and sister-in-law got to go into the theatre and I waited for them. I walked around the town and spent some time with individuals who have a very different worldview. I met a young man named Stephen from Scotland who really didnt appear all that different from some of my friends in Scotland, but Stephen lived on the streets of London. As we walked through London I noticed how very different my worldview was from his. In London they have public restrooms that you have to pay to use. When we went past a public restroom he was about to jump the turnstile to enter. The attendant was shouting at Stephen. I took out a handful of change saying, "Wait, I can pay for this." Now Stephen shouted, "Hey dont waste that money on the loo." He grabbed the change and jumped the turnstile going into the restroom with the attendant shouting.
All of that did not fit my worldview. First, that one should have to pay to use the restroom. Second, that what was pocket change to me was a treasured resource to Stephen and not to be wasted when stealing or breaking the rules was convenient.
But you do not have to go to another nation or culture to experience these differences in worldview. David Chadwell pointed out in his sermon last week that there are different worldviews in tension in our own culture. Some of us have a basic assumption or at least can recall when institutions like government were held in high regard and trusted. But for some of us, we have never known a time when government was not under suspicion. Some of us remember when credit was rare and jobs were even rarer. Some of us have never known anything but great prosperity in our nation. Different experiences like these shape different worldviews. But there are also forces at work that create major shifts in worldview. This goes beyond personal worldview and involves cultural or collective worldviews, which of course affect all of us individually.
We are experiencing in our culture the tension, or shifting, from one predominant worldview to another. The two worldviews in tension are the modern worldview and the postmodern worldview. The "modern" worldview is not all that modern. It developed in the Western world throughout the 17th century and remained current through the 20th century. You may read about the Age of Reason or the Enlightenment period. This is the context in which the Modern worldview develops.
This worldview is based on four "pillars" that were major shifts from the pre-Modern worldview before the age of reason:
During the 20th century and into this century we are recognizing more and more that the modern worldview is giving way to the postmodern worldview. Under the weight of experience the limits of the pillars of the modern worldview were collapsed ...
It is hard to describe what the Postmodern worldview is really about. Mainly, it just isnt modern!
One creative way to describe the change is to say that if the Modern worldview viewed the world scientifically through the lens of the microscope and telescope, the postmodern worldview views it through a kaleidoscope a random, multi-colored, ever-shifting image that looks different to everyone who picks up the scope.
Which worldview is best? Neither, they are both limited and they represent the major worldview we find ourselves in. Since they are limited they are subject to shifting and change.
The real question is: "Why does any of this matter?" Does my worldview matter? I think it matters because as disciples of Jesus Christ we need to know that our worldview is not dependent on the reigning worldview of our culture or age. Our faith is not dependent on the Modern worldview. It will not die in the postmodern worldview. We have a worldview that endures through every shift and change in cultural worldview ...
In the midst of confusion or concern over what we shall do we can develop a worldview that is consistent with Christ and the revelation of God through Spirit and Word. In other words a Biblical Worldview. And it matters because if Gods enduring revelation shapes our worldview then it shapes our belief. And our belief leads to proper practice and healthy identity.
Christianity and Judaism are unique in that they call for the right belief (orthodoxy) assuming that the right belief with shape the proper behavior and practice (orthopraxy). In fact, God often criticizes Israel, as Jesus did the Pharisees, for practicing religion right without believing right (hypocrisy, white-washed sepulchers)
Israel and the Worldview of God
Deuteronomy 6 Belief in the one true God was the basis for whole devotion. The worldview of Israel was critical to their behavior and their identity.
Once the Gentiles were gathered into Israel after Jesus, the importance of worldview was even greater.
How important is this? - Barmen -living differently with a different View of reality can have serious implications
Almost immediately after the Nazi seizure of power in 1933, Protestant Christians faced pressure to conform the Church to the ideology of Hitler and the Nazi Party, this included expulsion of Jewish Christians from the ordained ministry and adopting the Nazi "Führer Principle" as the organizing principle of church government. In general, the churches succumbed to these pressures, and many Christians embraced them willingly. The pro-Nazi "German Christian" movement became a force in the church. They glorified Adolf Hitler as a "German prophet" and preached that racial consciousness (Volk) was a source of revelation alongside the Bible.
But some Christians in Germany opposed the encroachment of Nazi ideology on the Church's proclamation. At Barmen, this emerging "Confessing Church" adopted a declaration drafted by which expressly repudiated the claim that other powers apart from Christ could be sources of God's revelation. The 1934 Barmen Declaration was a call to resistance against the theological claims of the Nazi state.
excerpt from Barmen Declaration ...
IN VIEW OF THE ERRORS of the "German Christians" ... we confess the following evangelical truths:
1. "I am the Way and the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father except through Me." John 14:6
We reject the false doctrine that the Church could and should recognize as a source of its proclamation, beyond and besides this one Word of God, . . . other events, powers, historic figures and truths as God's revelation.
In Nazi Germany, the German Church accepted National Socialism. Their focus was on what they did - not on what they believed. They even took as their symbol the cross with a swastika in it.
"German Christians" (Deutsche Christen) marched to a worship service at the Berlin Cathedral while SS guards stood at attention. At the lead were members of the movement in uniforms, followed by pastors. Their banners --designed to resemble the Nazi party's "national flag"-- placed the swastika at the center of the cross.
But the confessing church dissented. Some Christians who dissented --like the Protestant pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the Roman Catholic priest Bernhard Lichtenberg-- were arrested and executed in concentration camps. They did something very different why? Because of what they believed vs. what the German Church believed. Because those different beliefs and worldviews shaped what people did and what the German Church was doing was dangerous. In one worldview, Christ alone rules. In another, the swastika blots out the center of the cross.
This story of what happened in Germany of the 1930s may seem a bit extreme to us. But next week I want to show you why a Biblical Worldview and our proclamation of such a world view matters just as much to us right here in Western Arkansas in the early 21st century.
Making Disciples for Jesus Eager to Serve Others
Notes for the Sermon "Proclaiming a Biblical Worldview" Part 1
October 10, 2004
heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. Deuteronomy 6:4-5
I urge you, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship.
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is -- his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Making Disciples for Jesus Eager to Serve Others
"Proclaiming a Biblical Worldview" Part 1
Driving It Home Discussion Guide
October 10, 2004
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