Tough to Tackle Tuesday: Why a Christian Worldview Matters

Last Sunday I was preaching from Mark 9:14-29 about the demon possessed boy the disciples encounter at the foot of the mountain just after the Transfiguration.  I explained that the boy, in his pathetic state of being cast into the fire by the demon and rolling in the dirt, was a picture of what Satan loves to do: distort the image of God in man.  The contrast in Mark 9 is obvious- the glory of the Mount of Transfiguration and the pain of life in the valley below.  What God created was perfect.  Adam and Eve enjoyed utopia in the Garden of Eden and were not separated from God.  However, one act of disobedience distorted that perfection.  The purpose of a Christian worldview is to see past the deception and distortion of Satan masking God’s truth and to view all of life through a “divine grid” whereby faith is the means in which we interpret and interact with everything in life.

Sometimes we see this distortion graphically, as with the case of the demon possessed boy in Mark 9, or Anders Breivik killing 85 teenagers at a youth camp in Norway, or terrorists flying planes into buildings.  Satan longs to distort the image of God in man- making us killers and haters, rather than compassionately caring for our fellow man.  Satan also longs to distort the reflection of God in many other areas of life.  This is where worldview comes into play.  I understand that many people reading this will scoff at any notion that the great foundation stones of society owe their founding and thanks to Christianity and should be interpreted through faith.  But consider the following areas as just a sampling of the impact belief in God has on society in general. (I credit Charles Colson for his excellent work on worldview in much of the material discussed below).

Business/economics: The great writer Michael Novak, writing on the brilliance of Western liberal democracy that we enjoy in our country, said it is like a stool with three legs.  The three legs are: political freedom, economic freedom, and moral restraint.  Novak argued that if just one of these legs is removed, the stool topples over.  When we fail to see business/economics through a biblical worldview, we attempt to remove the leg of moral restraint.  Capitalism is a terrific economic model.  Why? Because of the economic models out there, it best reflects the principle of freedom found in Christianity.  I know capitalism takes a hit from many, including a growing number of young Christians today, but it is the model that reflects a bedrock principle of faith in God.  If you don’t like capitalism, have you tried communism?

That said, the problems we do have with capitalism is when we fail to view it through the lens of a biblical worldview.  Capitalism without the moral restraint of Christianity becomes nothing more than greed.  In the past, CEO’s would pay themselves a multiple of what the worker on the floor was making.  Business owners would be committed to making a good product that benefitted the community, provided jobs, and gave them the satisfaction of being industrious.  That is the beauty of capitalism.  However, remove the moral restraint and we have CEO’s paying themselves $40 million a year while their workers pensions are being cut.  In short, business/economics owes its health to a Christian worldview.

Law/government: Originally, laws were a reflection of a higher law- God’s Law.  Many of the laws we have today are traced back to the Mosaic Law of the Old Testament.  For example, it is illegal in our country to kill someone or steal from someone.  If you want to see how law and government are actually an extension or reflection of God’s Law, read Martin Luther King’s Letters from a Birmingham Jail– a must read for everyone.  Correspondingly, the New Testament teaches that the role of government is essentially twofold: to provide order/peace and to administer justice.  When government fulfills these two roles, it allows people to follow the law and to follow God.  Let me insert here that in no way do I advocate a theocracy.  We don’t want a theocracy because that inhibits freedom.  No one who follows Christ today does so because it is forced upon them.  They exercise their free will to live as Christians because they want to.

Today we have moved away from a biblical worldview when it comes to law/government.  When God is removed from the equation and law is no longer seen as a reflection of higher law, we see the source of law as man and not God.  Now, law loses its authority.  Many people today do not see God as the source of law, but rather as Colson puts it, “the nine people in black robes who sit on Mt. Olympus.”  If man is the origin of law the response of the people is no longer respect, but “so what?”  Why should we obey or enforce the law?  If we wonder why there seems to be an undertow of anarchy, I think this is the reason.

The reality is that Western liberal democracy is a product of Christianity.  It’s hard to honestly deny this.  Go back to the days of the reformation.  The Scottish minister Samuel Rutherford wrote Lex Rex during the time of the divine right of kings.  His book essentially makes one major point: it used to be that the law was king (when we viewed it through a biblical/faith perspective), but now the king is the law.  If the law is not viewed as being a reflection of God’s truth, but rather the product of man, and the people rebel, then dictatorial rule is the remaining option.  You may want to argue with me here and ask how that is so given what we see in Islamic countries?  Their law is from “God” and yet the leaders are dictators.  My response is that their God is not the God of the Bible, the one true God, and thus the law they espouse is not truth.

We also see the leaders of the Reformation writing about the spheres of responsibility that basically led to the balance of powers seen in our government.  The founding fathers did not create a theocracy, and rightfully so.  Yet, they did view their world and the birth of a nation through a biblical worldview.  The inclusion of the balance of powers in our Constitution is evidence of this.  They knew man is a sinner.  No one man could be trusted with all of the power.  Law and government work best when seen through a biblical worldview.

Science: Science is the product of Christianity.  I am positive many will laugh out loud after reading that statement.  Yet, the evidence is there.  Science in the ancient world was centered on the Greek presupposition of one main principle: the universe is eternal.  Any observation, question, or research that violated that principle was summarily dismissed.  Interestingly, the men who began to challenge this notion- men such as Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Mendel, and Newton were all Christians. Viewing life through a biblical worldview led them to believe that the universe was created in an orderly fashion.  It was Christians who moved away from the Greek presupposition and gave things a clean slate for exploration and research.  As a result, the scientific method was born.  Oddly, the “science” coming from those espousing naturalistic evolution isn’t very scientific.  Like the Greeks of old, modern science has abandoned the scientific method when it comes to evolution.  Most scientists abide by one foundational presupposition by which all things are either considered or ignored: there is no God and naturalistic evolution is a fact.  Any evidence of intelligent design, and the evidence is in general more credible than that for naturalistic evolution, is roundly rejected.  Even science owes a great deal to a biblical worldview.

As you can see, a biblical worldview matters because it helps us see through the distortion and deception Satan, sin, and humanism have cast on everything.  Christianity is much more than just “being saved.”  It should not be compartmentalized or pigeon holed in our personal lives or society.  It needs to be the lens through which we view everything in our world.


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2 Responses to “Tough to Tackle Tuesday: Why a Christian Worldview Matters”

  1. Excellent post! Just the kind of things that we need to keep reminding ourselves of in the fallen world that we live in.

  2. This is a good exposition of why a Christian worldview matters. I just wanted to comment on your reading list to the right. Anyone who is willing to understand the “other side” (by reading Dawkins) is OK in my book. Too many times entrenched positions are only dug further in, when what’s really needed is to evaluate any and all arguments for AND against your position. Keep on!