Summary: We need to make three commitments: 1. Reading the Word of God. 2. Believing the Word of God. 3. Applying the Word of God.
On July 28, 1982, Keith Green, a Christian songwriter, was killed at the age of 28 in a small plane crash. Two of his children were with him and also died in the crash. Keith Green was from a Jewish background, but grew up reading the New Testament. He walked with Christ for seven years, and his style was passionate and his lyrics were very strong. And although he is gone, he is still making a huge impact through his songs. In one song titled Asleep in the Light, he wrote:
The world is sleeping in the dark
That the church just can’t fight
‘Cause it’s asleep in the light
How can you be so dead
When you’ve been so well fed
Jesus rose from the grave
And you, you can’t even get out of bed.
Green’s description of the church being asleep in the light is an appropriate image for much of the church today. I was stunned recently to read a report by the Barna Research Group. Barna surveyed Americans and found that only 4% of adults have a biblical worldview as the basis of their decision making. Barna states: “If Jesus Christ came to this planet as a model of how we ought to live, then our goal should be to act like Jesus. Sadly, few people consistently demonstrate the love, obedience and priorities of Jesus. The primary reason that people do not act like Jesus is because they do not think like Jesus. Behavior stems from what we think — our attitudes, beliefs, values and opinions. Although most people own a Bible and know some of its content, our research found that most Americans have little idea how to integrate core biblical principles to form a unified and meaningful response to the challenges and opportunities of life. We’re often more concerned with survival amidst chaos than with experiencing truth and significance.” That is a devastating analysis.
A biblical worldview is a way of viewing life and the world from the perspective of the Bible’s point of view. That is, agreeing that the Word of God is true and a reliable guide for life. Everyone has a worldview, because everyone has ideas concerning what is real in life and how to get by. Everyone operates according to their worldview. But very few people actually have a biblical worldview — even among Christians. Listen carefully to how the research defined a biblical worldview, because they used less than 10 very basic beliefs that should be easily adhered to by anyone who knows the Bible. There were no trick questions or murky concepts which were hard to understand. The reports sates: “For the purposes of research, a biblical worldview was defined as believing that absolute moral truths exist; that such truth is defined by the Bible; and firm belief in six specific religious views. Those views were that Jesus Christ lived a sinless life; God is the all-powerful and all-knowing Creator of the universe and He stills rules it today; salvation is a gift from God and cannot be earned; Satan is real; a Christian has a responsibility to share their faith in Christ with other people; and the Bible is accurate in all of its teachings.”
Even among Christians the statistics were tragically low. Among independent Evangelical churches 13 % had a biblical worldview, and then it went downhill from there. Among adults attending mainline churches such as United Methodist, Presbyterian, and Episcopal only 2% had a biblical worldview. On the average, among those defining themselves as “born again” Christians, only 9% held to a biblical worldview.
What does all this mean? It is saying that instead of Christianity influencing the culture around it, American Christianity is conforming to the dominant secular culture. We have been brainwashed by the culture in which we live and have accepted its way of seeing life. We have been conquered. Television and movies have taken more of our time than reading the Word of God and Christian literature, and therefore they have had more of an impact on our thinking than the Bible. We have come to think of the truths and teachings of the Bible as optional. We have come to believe that everyone has a right to their own opinion, even when someone is a Christian, regarding the basic, fundamental teachings of Scripture. We know how to question things, but we do not understand how to have faith in the truth.
Let me suggest three things that we need to commit ourselves to if we are going to regain our biblical worldview. They are three basic and obvious things, but evidently things we need to review. The first commitment must be: Reading the Word of God. You cannot say that you believe in the Bible if you have not read the Bible. And I am not talking about flipping it open and reading a few random verses. If I were you, I would put away my devotional book and just read the Bible. You don’t have to read for hours every day. You may be only able to read a chapter, but read it slowly and think about what you read. Write down the insights you get. Keep a devotional diary and write down what you think God is saying to you as you read. You will learn more than if you used a devotional book, and it will be your own insights. It will be what God showed you, not what he showed someone else.