Occasional editorials written since 2001 

Passion yes, aggression no. Harry Potter All roads lead to God?  
Value of a soul. Homosexuality Passion of the Christ
Islam and Christianity  Love not the world Persecution coming
Biblical or secular worldview? Freewill offering Letter or Spirit?
Faith The sacred and non-sacred Test your self
Discernment The gospel of me Repentance
Sinking sand That awful four letter word Sin
When God offends. Walls, gates and electric fences The curse of pornography
Gender confusion    

 

Why we do, what we do.

We do what we do - because we all live out of our worldview.

We do what we do because of how we have learnt to view the world.

How we understand life, how we see people and how we see right and wrong.

It is what we believe about the issues of life, and we live out what we believe.

James Sire, in The Universe Next door describes a worldview as,

'A set of pre-suppositions or assumptions which we hold (consciously or unconsciously) about the basic make up of the world.'

Picture this.

Two drivers have a similar traffic issue involving another driver - but both react differently.

Why?

Perhaps one driver operates out of a worldview which believes that respect, patience, kindness and understanding are important when dealing with people.

Perhaps the other driver has a worldview which can be summed up by his clenched fist and angry swear words.

Our behaviour instinctively springs from our worldview - and our worldview usually develops from our life's experiences, both good and bad.

If we could look into both driver's upbringing - their parenting, their experiences at school, the culture of the location they grew up in, their relationships, their employment or lack of employment - we would probably get a reasonable understanding of how and why their particular worldview developed.

Perhaps driver one grew up in a close knit family, with patient, kind and understanding parents, perhaps lived in an area where the culture of the location was one of neighbourly respect, perhaps went to a good school and did well at school, made good friends there and eventually established a career which they enjoyed, and perhaps married well and lived well. Etc.

Perhaps driver two grew up in a seriously dysfunctional family, perhaps involving alcohol or drugs, perhaps lived in an area where the culture of the location was one of crime, gangs and disrespect for authority, perhaps struggled academically at school, felt like an outsider and hung out with others who also felt like outsiders. Perhaps got bullied, or humiliated at school. Perhaps struggled to get a job that provided any sense of worth. Perhaps got into trouble with authorities now and again. Perhaps divorced and in debt. Etc.

Both were once new born babes with -as yet- no worldview, but as the years went by they encountered very different experiences and very different value systems and so they developed very different worldviews about life.

Our wordlviews can effect even the smallest day to day issues.

In a recent marriage counselling session an issue was mentioned where the wife asked the husband to mash the potatoes in the saucepan. He did do it, but his natural reaction was that this was not a husband's job!

Her father had always mashed the potatoes - since it took quite some strength to properly mash them - but his father had never done anything like that.

In her worldview it was quite natural that the husband mashed the potatoes - but not in his worldview.

Our personal worldview is reflected in the newspapers we choose to buy. The Sun, the Guardian, the Daily Mail, The Times.

For instance if you read the Daily Mail your political worldview will be very different from, say, a Guardian reader. One interprets life¡¦s issues and events through a politically right leaning worldview, while the other views the same issues and events through a politically left leaning worldview.

It effects bigger issues of course. If a lady was abused by a man, or by men, her worldview will probably include her learnt 'truth' that men can¡¦t be trusted and so relationships with men - even in marriage - might always be strained.

I have often said to someone who has come for prayer ministry that if I had had their upbringing and they had had my upbringing we might well have ended up sitting in each other's seats right now!

The wealth or the social strata we have been nurtured in also plays its part in shaping our worldview.

For instance the records clearly show the link between poverty and various forms of anti-social behaviour.

The fathering or the absence of fathering we receive shapes a person's worldview considerably.

Again, the records clearly show the very substantial difference in attitude and behaviour between fathered children and fatherless children.

And our world views are, of course substantially shaped by the dominant culture we have grown up in.

For instance, as a young man growing up in Northern Ireland - with it¡¦s long-standing tensions and violence and the mistrust between two people groups with different religious, political and historical worldviews - it was perhaps no surprise that out of my original worldview I joined the Orange Order for a few years in my twenties.

Had I been born and raised in France, Denmark, or India, I would never have joined that organisation because it played no part whatsoever in their culture.  Rather the culture of those countries would have substantially shaped my worldview instead.

Cultural worldviews can change. Usually slowly, over centuries, - but not always.

For instance for many centuries - and until recent decades - the western culture and its worldview was often referred to as 'Christendom' because the long standing Judeo-Christian influence over many centuries had produced a worldview where our laws were generally in line with Biblical teaching on such issues as abortion, marriage, divorce and the various aspects of sexual morality.

In recent decades the traditional western worldview has rapidly and aggressively been replaced by a dominant secular and pluralistic worldview - which has now outworked into revised laws on abortion, marriage, divorce and the various aspects of sexual morality.

This new worldview removes any notion of God and puts man at the epi-centre of life and holds that moral values can be set from each individual's experience. Truth and morality is relative, and no longer viewed as absolute.

Out of this new worldview sex outside of marriage is no longer thought of as wrong. Marriage between same sexes is no longer thought of as wrong.

In fact marriage itself is no longer even taken as the 'norm'

Single parenting fatherless families are now part of the new 'norm'

Indeed lone parents with dependent children now represent around 25% of all families with dependent children in the United Kingdom.

And that great character rot, pornography, has come, virtually unchallenged, into the culture and is reflected in the fact that nearly every film now feels the need to include strong 'adult' scenes and strong language.

So yes - worldviews outwork into attitudes and behaviour, and eventually bear their own fruit, good or bad, and this new dominant and aggressive worldview is now bearing it's fruit.

Check out the increase in family breakdown, check out the negative statistics arising from single parent families, check out the statistics for rape, violence, sexual disease and mental breakdown.

In 2011 Prime Minister David Cameron spoke of the UK's "moral collapse" under the title of 'Broken Society'. He spoke of,

irresponsibility,


selfishness,


behaving as if your choices have no consequences,


children without fathers,


schools without discipline,


reward without effort,


crime without punishment,


rights without responsibilities

 


Our worldviews are also shaped by the era we have been born into.

When I was a young boy - I was born in the 1940's - law and order held great sway in society, children played cowboys and Indians with each other in the street, or the parks, and such things as drugs were rarely if ever heard of or encountered. 

When I was 13 my friend and I would hitch-hike along the roads every Saturday for years, in order to go fishing. I was raised with the understanding that 'a man¡¦s word was his bond..

I was raised to respect women. I was raised to be offended by swearing.

Almost everyone I knew went to church, and like most of my friends, I went to Sunday School. Shops closed on that day so that workers could attend church and be with their families.

Neither cinema nor television would entertain swearing, nudity, or sexual intercourse.

Abortion, homosexuality, and witchcraft happened, but they were illegal and in general viewed by society as wrong.

It was a indeed a different world that I grew up in.

Professor Christie Davies, writing on 'The death of Religion and the Fall of respectable Britain' wrote:

'At the end of the nineteenth century, there were comparable levels of religiosity in Britain and the United States. The British lived in a culture in which the assumptions of Protestant Christianity were taken for granted. Few people believed strongly, but everyone believed a little. Throughout the population there was a somewhat vague general acceptance of central Christian beliefs, a strong respect for sacred things, a liking for church-based rituals to mark the turning points in life (and particularly its ending), a moral code of helping others that was rooted in Christian ethics, and a liking for and ability to sing hymns, both of which had been learned in Sunday School. Even football crowds sang  "Abide with Me" or "Bread of Heaven"; today they sing songs full of thoughtless blasphemies, obscenities, and thought-out sexual and racial abuse to upset their opponents. Regular attendance at Sunday School was a standard part of most people's youth, and it was the place where standards of respectability were inculcated. Britain's was a society with a remarkably low and falling incidence of violent and acquisitive crime, illegitimacy, and addiction to opiates. Public drunkenness was a problem, but it was gradually ceasing to be so ...

 

This is the world Britain has lost.'

As we know, this is indeed.. 'the world Britain has lost'

The new worldview is sometimes referred to as the sexual revolution, where people's lusts are released into free expression with ever decreasing boundaries.

Television and cinema eagerly reflect this in their visual output for the hungry audience to feed on.

It is almost impossible to overstate the depths to which the culture has fallen.

Ravi Zacharias in his talk on Secularism and the illusion of Neutrality said,

 

"Secularisation, when it has done what it will do, inevitably will leave us as a society devoid of a sense of shame"

Dr.Albert Mohler stated,,

"There is almost no remote corner of this culture that is not marked by the toleration of vulgarity, or the outright celebration of depravity... A culture afraid to repress sexuality in any way is a culture headed for destruction.... The culture of vulgarity is now driven by so many sectors of our society that it seems virtually impossible to reverse. Furthermore, it is profitable beyond the wildest dreams of those who peddled vulgarity before the invention of the Internet. A society that increasingly sees all sexual restraint as repression hardly intends to turn back."

Thus people born in recent decades are developing and living out a completely different worldview to what their parents had.

A worldview is a powerful thing because it 'out works' itself into behaviour.

Islamic extremists do 'works' according to their worldview.

Part of their worldview is that 'America is the great satan and Britain is the little satan' and thus they serve 'god' by attacking 'satan'.

Thus atrocities such as 9/11 in America and 7/7 in England were a natural outworking from their worldview.

If their worldview changed their actions would change.

So where am I going with this?

I could describe the many worldviews that can be listed under various titles, but the plain fact is that we all have our own personally developed worldview.

And there is nothing wrong with our worldview - unless it clashes with God¡¦s worldview.

When someone is born-again they come pre-packed with their long-established 'worldly developed' mindset.

Thus much of their behaviour, responses and attitudes still comes from their ¡¥old¡¦ worldview.

The apostle Paul describes such as infants and babes, being nourished on spiritual milk.

As recorded in 1st Corinthians 3:1-3 Paul wrote,

Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly (still reacting out of old worldviews)- mere infants in Christ.  I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready.  You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarrelling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans? (comments in brackets mine)

Paul wrote that we should put off the old man (old worldview) and be renewed in the spirit of our mind. (new worldview)

... if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts,  and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, Ephesians 4: 21-23

New believers - or new arrivals - need time to get to grips with God's Kingdom worldview.

Jesus explained this spiritual development as follows,

Then Jesus said, “To what shall we liken the kingdom of God? Or with what parable shall we picture it? It is like a mustard seed which, when it is sown on the ground, is smaller than all the seeds on earth; but when it is sown, it grows up….” Mark 4:30-31

 

Jesus’s disciples took some 3 years to mature into God’s Kingdom worldview and along the way their old worldview’s attitudes and behaviour would pop up now and again.

 

“Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?” Luke 9:54

 

“Grant us that we may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on Your left, in Your glory.” Mark 10:37

However the children of Israel took 40 years to leave their Egyptian worldview behind and substantially submit to God’s worldview!

So long established outlooks on the issues of life tend to die slowly.

But die they must if we are to truly know God's perfect will!

Paul wrote to the church at Rome,

And do not be conformed to this world, (old worldview) but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,(new worldview) that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:2 (comments in brackets mine)

The idea is that we read God's word, we hunger for God's Word, we absorb God's word - into our hearts, - not just our minds.

We choose to believe God's Word, we give rightful authority to God''s word and so we submit to God's Word, and we discipline ourselves to live out God's word.

Then, and only then, does God's Kingdom worldview start replacing our original worldview, line by line, precept by precept.

The idea is, that as God's worldview gradually replaces our original worldview we mature from worldly babes and infants into sons and daughters led by the Spirit of God.

In Romans 8:14 Paul wrote,

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God

This spiritual development should happens as naturally as an infant matures into an adult. Slowly, but surely.

The apostle James tells us that to actively retain friendship with the culture¡¦s worldview is enmity with God, and if we continue to live out of the culture¡¦s worldview we can be likened to adulterers and adulteresses. That should get our attention!

Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. (James 4:4)

God's Kingdom worldview should gradually effect every aspect of our lives.

Our relationship with a God, out relationships with fellow Christians, with our spouse, with our family, with our neighbours, with the unlovable, the broken and the 'least of them'.

It should effect our attitude in employment, our honesty, our finances, our sexuality, our self discipline, our trust etc.

Those who know Linda and I know that we have a very strong marriage. Praise God! But it was not always as strong! It was only as we saw marriage the way God’s sees marriage that things slowly but surely changed.

In Ephesians 5: 22-33 I saw that in God’s pure and perfect worldview I represented Jesus and Linda represented us, His Bride, the church.

Was I loving her the way Jesus loves His Bride, the church?
Well, no. I wasn’t.

Was she loving me the way we are called to love Jesus?
Well, no. She wasn’t.

We chose to fully embrace God’s worldview, and to many people’s surprise, we later ended up taking marriage courses!

How many Christians have embraced the Kingdom worldview?

Well, despite the great many pages of Kingdom worldview clearly spelt out in the New Testament, despite the great many churches throughout the country, despite the great many preachers and teachers, despite the great many conferences, books, CD's and despite the God channel and Christian YouTube videos, the figures are shamefully small.

In the UK we don't have many Christian surveys, but in the United States they do.

The best known and most respected Christian research group is the George Barna Group.

They did a survey on the subject 'Biblical worldview' and for the purposes of the survey, a 'biblical worldview' was defined as,

Believing that absolute moral truth exists;
The Bible is totally accurate in all of the principles it teaches;
Satan is considered to be a real being or force, not merely symbolic;
A person cannot earn their way into Heaven by trying to be good or do good works;
Jesus Christ lived a sinless life on earth;
God is the all-knowing, all-powerful creator of the world who still rules the universe today.

 

In the research, anyone who held all of those beliefs was said to have a 'biblical worldview'.

I regard that criteria as a basic, entry level Biblical belief worldview.

It did not ask those who believed these doctrinal issues whether or not they then submitted to the commands, instructions, wisdom and counsel contained within these doctrines.

The study indicated that only a minority of people who describe themselves as "born again" hold this worldview.

"among born again Christians, less than one out of every five (19%) had such an outlook on life."

Further research by Barna amongst Pastors and leaders was just as disappointing.

Based on interviews with 601 Senior Pastors nationwide, representing a random cross-section of Protestant churches, Barna reports showed that only half of the country's Protestant pastors only 51% have a basic biblical worldview.

Again, the basic level Biblical worldview surveyed was,

'Believing that absolute moral truth exists, that it is based upon the Bible, and having a biblical view on 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, and the personal responsibility to evangelise)'

But here's the thing.

Barna suggested that people do not get a biblical worldview simply by regularly attending church.

"A biblical worldview must be both taught and caught - that is, it has to be explained and modelled. Clearly, there are huge segments of the Christian body that are missing the benefit of such a comprehensive and consistent expression of biblical truth.'

 

"The research also points out that even in churches where the pastor has a biblical worldview, most of the congregants do not. More than six out of every seven congregants in the typical church do not share the biblical worldview of their pastor even when he or she has one."

Sadly the survey found that the pastors least likely to have a biblical worldview are those who are seminary graduates (45%).

In contrast, three out of five pastors who have not attended seminary operate with a biblical worldview (59%).

Church, put simply, we are failing do what Jesus told us to do!

Jesus spent three years not only teaching his disciples Kingdom truth - but more importantly He modelled it. He lived it.

Then as He was leaving them, He said,

"All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." (Matthew 28:18-20)

In other words His disciples living out His Kingdom worldview were to replicate themselves.

Paul's epistles are awash with Kingdom worldview but he knew the importance of modelling it to those whom he was instructing.

Writing to the Corinthian church he said,

"Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ." (1 Corinthians 11:1)

 

"Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do. For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ". (Philippians 3:17-18)

One of my greatest examples as a new born Christian was a Presbyterian minister whom I sat under for the first seven years of my Christian life.

He powerfully modelled Christ and the Kingdom worldview in his life, his marriage, his relationships with everyone, his humility, his gentleness and his grace.

I said to Linda many times in those first seven years of my Christian life "If I turn out anywhere close to Rev. David Baillie I will be satisfied"

I still have a long way to go - but I have determinedly and passionately sought to embrace God's Kingdom worldview.

Yes, old worldview habits do fight back, but when the Holy Spirit is working with you on this journey you can make great progress fairly rapidly.

While I was still in secular employment, taped above my computer, where only I could see it was the simple phrase, "Ken, what would Jesus do?" and until I left to go onto full time ministry every decision was based on that challenge.

Today, two decades later, the screen saver on my home office computer reads,

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things. 


Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me - put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9 [emphasis mine]

 

And today, praise God, I have the privilege a spiritual mentor to many, from former drug addicts to ministry leaders.

I say this only to show that this is how the Kingdom is meant to be established.

Remember the mustard seed parable mentioned earlier? This is how Jesus finished it,

 

...it grows up and becomes greater than all herbs, and shoots out large branches, so that the birds of the air may nest under its shade.” Mark 4: 33

So there is God's simple, straightforward plan for our lives.

We put off the old worldview and put on the new one.

We learn it, we live it, we mature in it, and we model it.

We become a living letter from Jesus.

An ambassador to show what life looks like lived under the Lordship of Jesus.

A light in the ever deepening darkness.

It is challenging, but it is the great adventure all right.

It's my calling - and - make no mistake, it is your calling.

One day we will be with Jesus.

And I for one, want to hear that short sentence,

"Well done, good and faithful servant"

But for now, Lord,

"let Your Kingdom come - let Your will be done"

Let heaven's worldview be manifested in us, your redeemed people.

 

Amen.