Many Christians are still locked into the conviction that the Bible speaks to a very narrow slice of life. Of course, all Christians believe that the Bible has some very specific things to say about prayer, Bible reading, worship, and evangelism. But many Christians are not convinced that the Bible has some very definite things to say about civil government, the judicial system, economics, indebtedness, the punishment of criminals, foreign affairs, care for the poor, journalism, science, medicine, business, education, taxation, inflation, property, terrorism, war, peace negotiations, military defense, ethical issues like abortion and homosexuality, environmental concerns, inheritance, investments, building safety, banking, child discipline, pollution, marriage, contracts, and many other worldview issues.
All Christians must remove their blinders and widen their scope of ministry to include the world. This will mean the development and implementation of a comprehensive biblical worldview. Put simply, a worldview is the way you and I look at things. How did we get here? How did the world get here? How does it run? Who or what runs it? What laws govern us and the world? What role if any do we have in the government of the world? What does God think of the world? How does He want it to run? Who has He put in charge of the world? What are His plans for the world? Basically, the Christian’s worldview should be the same as God’s worldview, the creature thinking the thoughts of the Creator.1 Is God’s view of the world comprehensive? Is He concerned about every nook and cranny of creation? Did He give His life for the “world”? Is He Lord of “all things”? To all of these questions we would answer “Yes!” Then, why should Christians limit their scope of the world? Why should Christians have a lower view of the world than God does? Why should humanists have a higher view of the world than we do? George Grant writes:
- One of the basic demands of Christian discipleship, of following Jesus Christ, is to change our way of thinking. We are to “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). We are “not to be conformed to this world but [are to] be transformed by the renewing of our minds” (Romans 12:2). In other words, we are commanded to have a Biblical worldview. All our thinking, our perspective on life, and our understanding of the world around us, is to be comprehensively informed by Scripture.
God’s condemnation of Israel came because “their ways were not His ways and their thoughts were not His thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8). They did not have a Biblical worldview. When we begin to think about the law, or bio-medical ethics, or art, or business, or love, or history, or welfare, or anything else apart from God’s revelation, we too have made ourselves vulnerable to condemnation. A Biblical worldview is not optional. It is mandatory.2
A lack of a comprehensive biblical worldview has left Christians open to a blind-side attack from humanists who have developed a comprehensive secular worldview. Non-Christians have no problem secularizing law, economics, ethics, journalism, education, politics, foreign affairs, and environmental issues. The sad thing is that many Christians believe that the steady secularization of every area of life is inevitable. As a result, we have witnessed the steady decline of the family, politics, education, and law, to name just a few.
Failure to develop a comprehensive worldview often is related to a false view of spirituality. To be “spiritual” means to be governed by the Holy Spirit. For many, spirituality means to be preoccupied with non-physical reality. Therefore to be spiritual means not to be involved with the material things of this world.
- The unbiblical idea of “spirituality” is that the truly “spiritual” man is the person who is sort of “non-physical,” who doesn’t get involved in “earthly” things, who doesn’t work very much or think very hard, and who spends most of his time meditating about how he’d rather be in heaven. As long as he’s on earth, though, he has one main duty in life: Get stepped on for Jesus. The “spiritual” man, in this view, is a wimp. A Loser. But at least he’s a Good Loser.3
The commandments of God are the rules by which we measure our spirituality. We are told that the “Law is spiritual” (Rom. 7:14). Notice also that the spiritual person “appraises [judges] all things” (2:15). The reason he can judge all things is because he has an inerrant, infallible, God-breathed Book (2 Tim. 3:16–17).
The Bible does not support the belief that Christians should abandon the world because the world is not “spiritual.” Rather, Christians are to transform the world through the power of the Spirit, using the spiritual Law of God as the standard of righteousness for appraising (judging) where regeneration and restoration are needed. Christians are to be “salt” and “light” in the world (Matt. 5:13–14).
The “world” is corrupt because people are corrupt. Where corrupt people control certain aspects of the world we can expect defilement. But the world does not have to remain in decay. When individuals are redeemed the effects of their redemption should spread to the society in which they live and conduct their affairs.
Could one properly say that a Christian operating a business according to biblical laws should allow himself and his business to be squeezed into the world’s mold, stained by the world, defiled, and led astray? Certainly not! We would encourage other businessmen to follow his example of transforming and restoring all their business dealings. The world of pagan thinking and practice is to be replaced by Christian thinking and practice. It is a perversion of the gospel to maintain that the world, as the domain where evil exists, is inherently corrupt. We should remember that Jesus came to this world to give His life for its redemption (John 3:16). Christians must be transformed by God’s word and not be conformed to the world’s principles. As Christians work in the world through the power of the Holy Spirit, the world will be transformed.
By denying the spirituality of God’s created order, we neglect its importance and give it by default to those who deny Christ. Worldliness is to be avoided, not the world.
1 Johannes Kepler (1571–1630) wrote: “O God, I am thinking thy thoughts after thee.” Quoted in Hummel, Galileo Connection, 57. The worldviews of Christians, humanists, New Agers, Socialists, and Marxists are built on religious presuppositions. For a presentation of the presuppositional model see: Richard L. Pratt, Jr., Every Thought Captive (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., 1979); Cornelius Van Til, The Defense of the Faith (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1967); Gary North, ed., Foundations of Christian Scholarship (Vallecito, CA: Ross House Press, 1976); Gary DeMar, Thinking Straight in a Crooked World (Powder Springs, GA: American Vision, 2001).
2 George Grant, Bringing in the Sheaves: Transforming Poverty into Productivity (Atlanta, GA: American Vision, 1985), 93. The worldview of Christianity is always at war with all other worldviews and their implications for life: “Joseph Fletcher describes the clash of value systems, or world views most starkly. On the one hand is a ‘simplistic’ view which holds that ‘living and dying are in God’s hands and that life is God’s to give and only God’s to take.’ On the other us ‘humanistic medicine,’ with its ethic of responsibility, including ‘responsibility for the termination of subhuman life in posthuman beings.’” (James Manney, “Rationalizing Infanticide: Medical Ethics in the Eighties,” Carl Horn, ed., Whose Values?: The Battle for Morality in a Pluralistic America [Ann Arbor, MI: Servant Books, 1985], 102).
3 David Chilton, Paradise Restored (Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1985), 3–4.