Saturday, January 12, 2008

What do YOU Believe?

Do you have a “Biblical world view?” You might respond, “Do I need one? And if I do, what is it?” We often toss about terminology in the church today that no one knows or understands what they are talking about. Religious writers in many formats are tossing about the term “Biblical World view” as if everyone understands. Most do not. So here is some information which might startle some of you.
According to Barna Resources, a research organization, they have determined that half of the country’s Protestant pastors - 51% - have a biblical worldview. Just 51%! That makes me ask, what are the other half believing? And why? We need to understand the impact of these statistics, lest what has happened to 49% may creep into the remaining 51%. Barna defines this worldview as one who believes (1) that absolute moral truth exists, (2) that it is based upon the Bible, and having a biblical view on six core beliefs (the accuracy of biblical teaching, the sinless nature of Jesus, the literal existence of Satan, the omnipotence and omniscience of God, salvation by grace alone, and the personal responsibility to evangelize). We can see from this definition, many who have fallen by the wayside, have accepted worldly thought patterns such as “There are no absolutes” or “the Bible is part myth or fable”. Some have fallen prey to the Gnostic teachings pushed in The Davinci Code and the TV documentaries on Judas and the bone boxes found in Israel supposedly supporting the possibility that Jesus had children. It truly amazes me that thinking persons will accept as fact, a book of fiction rather than choosing to believe the truths found in the Word of God, proven over centuries of tested time.
If only 51% of American protestant churches believe in this standard, then is it any wonder that so many in America have a wavering faith? It’s time to return to the Word of God, to study it in depth, to memorize it and burn it into our souls. You can never identify the counterfeit unless you are intimately acquainted with the genuine. Knowing the genuine takes time, patience, study and frequent handling. Ask a bank teller how they know counterfeit money when they see it. Christians must be the same… intimately acquainted with the Word and it’s author.

How does your world view matter?
How you think and believe has been developed in you over a long period of time. The things your parents taught you, the concepts your teachers pushed on you, the ideas formed as you moved through life and life’s experiences, forms in you a world view based on all that you have known and learned. Unless the Bible is taught, then there is no Biblical world view. When we removed the Bible from public school life, and prayer, we removed a strong influence for morals, values and a higher standard of expectations. Children raised today without the input of a Christian value system suffer in their world view. It is not a Biblically based world view. It becomes instead a carnally based sinful world view based on a shaking foundation of humanism. As man continues to spiral down the moral slope, crime increases, depravity increases and hopelessness and despair seem everywhere. Only a foundation based on the Bible, and its steady absolute view of right and wrong can change this world. Unfortunately today, most Christians refuse to take a stand, and most buckle under the pressures around them to be ‘just like everyone else’.
It is becoming increasingly important that each believer knows what they believe and why. They need to be able to stand against the attacks of the enemy against Biblical standards of belief. Those around us who have been raised in a vacuum of faith are seeking answers that no one is answering. We have been taught to hide our faith in the workplace, and that at home we don’t talk about politics or religion. As a result, our culture is growing increasingly ignorant and becoming easy prey to any belief systems that comes along.

How can we change things?
Change has been slow but gaining ground in the wrong direction for several decades. To reverse this change it will take a concerted effort on the part of all those who have a Biblical world view. If you believe the Bible is the Word of God….say so! Tell your children, your grandchildren what you believe and why. Influence the next generation! If you believe that Jesus is the sinless Son of God, say so! Pass it on to those who will hear it no other way. If you believe that Satan is real and Heaven and Hell are real places, show them in the Word of God. We have had too many ‘feel good’ churches who avoid the truth of ‘hell’ and as a result some don’t think it’s real, yet Jesus talked more about hell than He did heaven. If you believe that God is truly omnipotent—all powerful and omniscient—all knowing, then talk about God that way to others. God is not an absentee landlord! He cares about His creation and He knows all we go through. He sees it all. He knows when we are hurting. He knows when we are grieving. He knows that He also has all power to put down the evil one who would come against our souls. When Satan throws his doubts our way, we can do like Jesus did in the wilderness—give him the Word…”It is written…” There is no more powerful weapon against Satan than that! But we must know the Word to use it as a weapon! Idle minds that have not fed upon the Word of God are a perfect playground for Satan. What have you been filling your mind with?

What about your family?
We would love to change the way our family thinks and acts. But it is not within our power. There is only one that we can change….us! We must change first, then let family and friends see the change in us. Sometimes we try to force others to change by manipulation, guilt, unforgiveness and control. But God’s way works much better. When we choose to put others in His hands, and let Him work the changes in them, He does a thorough job. He starts in the inside where all the hidden sin and garbage is hiding. Somehow, when we put God in charge, he always starts on us first. He knows that we reflect Him to the world around us, including our family. If they see hypocrisy and doubt and unforgiveness in our mirror instead of Jesus...they will not change. God wants to begin change in each of us this year. Change begins when we humble our hearts before God in prayer. The one prayer God always pays attention to is “God, be merciful to me...a sinner!” Then when we let the master Carpenter into our house, he begins a remodel job that will truly amaze you. He knows our weak points. He knows our doubts. He knows our fears. He knows our loneliness. He knows our pain. He begins to tear out the rotten foundations of false beliefs and rebuilds them in His own likeness. What the cankerworm has destroyed, he removes and recreates from scratch. When your family sees the changes in you, they will want it too.
What about you? Is your world view Biblical? Or have you been influenced by the culture around you? Get back into The Book—the Bible. Spend time talking to God and ask Him about your own heart and value system of beliefs. The Holy Spirit will direct you to the truth in His Word.
J. Johnson

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