Archive for the ‘Worldviews’ Category

Francis Schaeffer would have turned one hundred years old this year. He was a man who had a great, transforming effect on the evangelical church. He saw, like few others, what was unfolding and warned Christians everywhere about where our culture was headed. Forty years later his observations have been proven again and again to be spot-on and we need to hear it still in 2012. Please read till the end; the last paragraph is especially important.

In ancient Israel, when the nation had turned from God and from his truth and commands as given in Scripture, the prophet Jeremiah cried out that there was death in the city. He was speaking not only of physical death in Jerusalem but also a wider death. Because Jewish society of that day had turned away from what God had given them in the Scripture, there was death in the polis, that is, death in the total culture and the total society.

In our era, sociologically, man destroyed the base which gave him the possibility of freedoms without chaos. Humanists have been determined to beat to death the knowledge of God and the knowledge that God has not been silent, but has spoken in the Bible and through Christ—and they have been determined to do this even though the death of values has come with the death of that knowledge.

We see two effects of our loss of meaning and values. The first is degeneracy. Think of New York City’s Times Square—Forty-second and Broadway. If one goes to what used to be the lovely Kalverstraat in Amsterdam, one finds that it, too, has become equally squalid! The same is true of lovely old streets in Copenhagen. Pompeii has returned! The marks of ancient Rome scar us: degeneracy, decadence, depravity, a love of violence for violence’s sake. The situation is plain. If we look, we see it. If we see it, we are concerned.

But we must notice that there is a second result of modern man’s loss of meaning and values which is more ominous, and which many people do not see. This second result is that the elite will exist. Society cannot stand chaos. Some group or some person will fill the vacuum. An elite will offer us arbitrary absolutes, and who will stand in its way? (How Should We then Live? [Westchester, Ill.: Crossway, 1976], 226–27)

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Anthony Selvaggio in this month’s Tabletalk magazine:

“In some ways, God’s Word is like a GPS device. Like that device, the Bible provides us with an objective standard to guide us in the direction we should go. Of course, our culture has rejected this role for God’s Word. When it comes to truth and authority, our culture believes that truth is, at best, unknowable and that authority resides with the individual. Both of these cultural presuppositions ultimately lead to one reality—in our culture, truth is subject to the tyranny of the individual.

The rejection of objective standards of truth in favor of subjective opinion is known as “relativism.” When relativism pervades a culture, it spawns toxic effects. Relativism eats away at the fabric of national character and cohesion. Instead of being bound together by objective truths and shared beliefs, a culture riddled with relativism is torn asunder by a mentality that exalts individual and group rights above all else. This is an accurate description of the culture in which we live, and the toxic fallout of relativism is manifested every day in the news and in our neighborhoods.

While most Christians recognize the prevalence of relativism in our culture and lament its devastating impact, we are sometimes less effective in recognizing its impact upon the church. The church is not immune to the toxic effects of relativism.”

In the rest of the article, Anthony presents at least three examples of relativism in the church today and then points out the example of embedded relativism in Israel during the period of the Judges when Israel threw away its GPS–the Word of God.

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Albert Mohler writes:

American presidential elections are the world’s most public display of the democratic process. The global media follow the American elections with a fervor that is easily understood — what happens in an American presidential election matters all over the world. Our presidential campaigns are political pageants and electoral dynamos. But, as any honest thoughtful observer will understand, our elections are also great worldview exercises. We reveal our worldview by our vote.

This is particularly true of the 2012 election. The presidential nominees of the two major parties represent two very different worldviews and visions. President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney have adopted policy positions that place them in direct conflict, and the platforms of their respective parties reveal two radically different renderings of reality.

Please read the rest here.

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The August edition of Tabletalk is out. This issue addresses Eastern spirituality and its increasing global influence. While containing truths accrued through general revelation, Eastern spirituality nonetheless denies the fundamental tenets of the gospel, and Christians must recognize the danger it presents despite its non-abrasive presentation and ideals.

Here are some articles you can view on-line:

More about TableTalk here.

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It’s important, as Jonathan Parnell points out to understand how the word tolerance has morphed into something different over the last decade:

Views that advocate same-sex marriage are free to exist, but they are wrong.

Now, stop. Read the above sentence again. Are you okay with it?

Chances are how you feel about that statement indicates your understanding (or misunderstanding) of tolerance. D. A. Carson, in his book, The Intolerance of Tolerance, explains that Western culture isn’t exactly firing on all cylinders when it comes to knowing what tolerance is. He distinguishes two different concepts of this word: old tolerance and new tolerance.

Old tolerance — that is, before the onslaught of postmodernism — defines the concept as to “accept the existence of different views.” New tolerance, however, defines tolerance as to “accept different views.” More than just accepting a view’s existence, new tolerance adds that you’d better not say it’s wrong either. New tolerance demands that we consider every opinion to be equally valid. The only wrong is to say that everything’s not right. Just wait, it gets more complicated.

Keep on reading “Not Your Mother’s Tolerance.”


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One’s worldview must answer the hard questions. Does your offer solid hope?


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We can learn a lot by how Ravi answers this questioner.

(HT: Challies)

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“The Evangelical Rejection of Reason”, an article by Karl Giberson and Randall Stephens appeared on the op-ed page of the New York Times earlier this week.  It is a broadside against evangelical Christians who still cling to the idea of a young earth or six-day creationism and expresses disgust at the anti-intellectualism of men such as Ken Ham, David Barton, and James Dobson.

Although the authors lament the rejection of reason among conservative evangelicals, it really depicts a rejection of evangelicalism by these men who have sought the applause of the scientific community.  This is the heart of the article:

The rejection of science seems to be part of a politically monolithic red-state fundamentalism, textbook evidence of an unyielding ignorance on the part of the religious. As one fundamentalist slogan puts it, “The Bible says it, I believe it, that settles it.” But evangelical Christianity need not be defined by the simplistic theology, cultural isolationism and stubborn anti-intellectualism that most of the Republican candidates have embraced.

Like other evangelicals, we accept the centrality of faith in Jesus Christ and look to the Bible as our sacred book, though we find it hard to recognize our religious tradition in the mainstream evangelical conversation. Evangelicalism at its best seeks a biblically grounded expression of Christianity that is intellectually engaged, humble and forward-looking. In contrast, fundamentalism is literalistic, overconfident and reactionary.

Fundamentalism appeals to evangelicals who have become convinced that their country has been overrun by a vast secular conspiracy; denial is the simplest and most attractive response to change. They have been scarred by the elimination of prayer in schools; the removal of nativity scenes from public places; the increasing legitimacy of abortion and homosexuality; the persistence of pornography and drug abuse; and acceptance of other religions and of atheism.

In response, many evangelicals created what amounts to a “parallel culture,” nurtured by church, Sunday school, summer camps and colleges, as well as publishing houses, broadcasting networks, music festivals and counseling groups. Among evangelical leaders, Ken Ham, David Barton and James C. Dobson have been particularly effective orchestrators — and beneficiaries — of this subculture.

It will only take a few minutes to read but I would urge you to read this so you are aware of what is going on in the great clash of worldviews today.

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HT: Reclaiming the Mind

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Rick Holland does an excellent job of  evaluating the cry for “cultural engagement” in the church of our day:

I just read Phil Johnson’s post on Pyromanics about “cultural engagement” and it got me thinking. I agree in total with what Phil has written and want to take the argument a step farther (you should read his post before continuing).

First, there is no such thing as culture in a monolithic sense. Every culture—now and throughout history—is made up of a countless number of subcultures. Just talk to any student in high school. There are cultural norms for athletes, thespians, brainiacs, druggies, gamers, even Trekkies (yes, Star Trek is still alive and well). But the most sweeping categories are simply the cool and the not-so-cool.

It seems to me that those who are loudest about engaging the culture for the advancement of the gospel are selective about which part of the culture they are trying to engage. If you interpret what they are saying by what they are doing, these hip pastors and their cool churches are targeting cool people who wear cool cloths and have cool haircuts and speak cool language while worshipping to cool music. When have you ever heard a church who is trying to reach the not-so-cool culture? I’m afraid that the proponents of cultural engagement try to reach the segment of the culture with which they most want to personally identify.

Yes, there are some exemplary ministries reaching the not-so-cool culture. I have been deeply impacted by those who minister to the impoverished, those who make great sacrifices to go overseas in missions, even those who minister to our children in Sunday School. But you rarely hear them telling everyone to join them in “cultural engagement.”

As Phil points out, all ministries engage the culture at some level. But engaging the culture is very different than imitating it.

The church of the 19th century wanted to engage the academic culture. Evolutionary propaganda was poking its finger into the chest of Bible believers who had the audacity to believe the supernatural events of Scripture, especially of the Creation account.  So the church tried to become intellectually credible (e.g., theistic evolution). I think the truth is that many simply wanted to avoid the tag that Christians were not intellectual. The end result was a fast slide toward liberalism through accommodation. Today we see something very similar. Whereas the church of the mid-1800s did all it could to avoid being labeled un-intellectual, the church today seems to be doing all it can to avoid being labeled un-cool. That generation wanted intellectually credibility, ours is after the credibility of coolness. I suspect that the undertow toward liberalism is not far behind.

I’m looking for the day when one of these hip churches plants a church that targets the nerd culture with a nerdy pastor who wears nerdy clothes with nerdy music. Until then, I remain suspicious.

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