Worldview: The Heart Of The Matter

"Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life." - Proverbs 4:23

A casual reading of this scripture might lead one to believe that we are being instructed to keep our emotions in check, to guard against such killers as bitterness, envy, and strife. While these are authentic and worthy goals, connecting the word rendered as heart in the New King James or King James Version solely with emotions limits our understanding of what the Bible is telling us. The New Century Version renders it this way.

"Be careful what you think, because your thoughts run your life."

The heart is not just the center of the emotions, but also of the will, the understanding, and the personality. Because the heart is at the center of the body, it is used metaphorically to represent the center of our being. At that center-where our self-awareness resides and where everything about who we are, what we do, and what we believe is determined-are the thoughts of our minds.

It follows, then, that if a person desires to live right, that person must think right. If a person desires to live as a follower of Christ, that person must think as a follower of Christ. Herein lies what I believe is the greatest challenge facing the 21st century American church.

"...just 9% of all born again adults and just 7% of Protestants possess a biblical worldview." - George Barna, 1/12/2004

What Is A Worldview?

What is a worldview? It is exactly as the compound word suggests. It is the perspective from which a person views, understands, interprets, comprehends, and otherwise experiences the world. A biblical worldview, then, is one in which a person's interpretation of the world and all of his or her experiences in it is based upon the Bible. For a person to truly possess such a worldview requires a belief in absolute moral truth, and that such truth is defined by the Bible. These criteria are what Mr. Barna used in his analysis, along with these 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
  • The personal responsibility to evangelize

What Does This Mean?

If you are a pastor, youth pastor, teacher, children's worker, or are involved in any level of leadership in the local church, perhaps you have asked yourself questions such as these.

  • Why is there so much blatant sin among the people?
  • Why is it so hard for the people to grasp simple spiritual concepts?
  • Why is there so little commitment in the church?
  • Why are people so apathetic?
  • Why aren't more people actively evangelizing?
  • Why are people so confused about right and wrong?
  • Why are young adults walking away from the church so easily and in such alarming numbers?

If less than 10% of self-professing, born again believers subscribe to the fundamental principles of a biblical worldview, is it any wonder that they are struggling with sin, confused about moral standards, unmotivated to live godly lives, unwilling to maintain their commitment to Christ for the long term, and unable to effectively defend or share their faith?

Worldview Training: An Absolute Necessity

The truth is that the vast majority of Christians, from the youngest to the oldest, do not know what in the world they are supposed to believe or why in the world they are supposed to believe it. The influences of post modernism and moral relativism have made their way into the hearts and minds of Christians such that their worldview is shaped more by convenience, feeling, and opinion rather than truth as revealed by God in His Word. When challenged, they are unable to "give a reason for the hope that [they] have" (1 Peter 3:15) that is logical and defensible, and thus, are easily swayed by clever arguments and merciless ridicule.

That is why it is imperative that worldview training, teaching, and preaching become an integral component of every church's ministry. The world and it's false teachers are unashamedly teaching our young people how they should think, yet it seems that we in the church are afraid to do so for fear of being accused of brain washing. If we are to avoid becoming what Josh McDowell has called The Last Christian Generation in America, we must unashamedly teach the people that there is a right way to think, a right worldview to possess, and that this right thinking will ultimately result in right living.