One of the things that came up in last week's podcast on Biblical Worldview was the question of whether or not there was (or should be) a difference between Biblical and Christian worldview. If you haven't listened to the podcast, or checked out the show notes, make sure you do that first!
This article describes worldview as follows: "A person’s worldview represents his most fundamental beliefs and assumptions about the universe he inhabits. It reflects how he would answer all the 'big questions' of human existence: fundamental questions about who and what we are, where we came from, why we’re here, where (if anywhere) we’re headed, the meaning and purpose of life, the nature of the afterlife, and what counts as a good life here and now." Basically, it's how we see and make sense of the world.
On a surface level, most would say that a Biblical worldview and Christian worldview are synonymous. And ideally, this would be the case. But when you look a little deeper into how people define Christianity, and how those who claim to be Christians act and think, it becomes obvious that to some, they are not the same.
Nine years ago, Barna (a research group which tracks the role of faith in America) put out a study on how the worldview of those who have claimed to be Christians has changed over the years. They surveyed a wide group of people and the results were interesting. For the purpose of the survey, they stated that a Biblical worldview encompassed the following: "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; and God is the all-knowing, all-powerful creator of the world who still rules the universe today." In this study they observed that only 9% of all people surveyed have a Biblical worldview and sadly, only 19% of people claiming to be "born-again Christian" do. 19%!
Obviously, a Biblical worldview and Christian worldview aren't necessarily the same. If those who claim to be Christians don't hold to the truths of the Bible then they can't say they have a Biblical worldview. Another way of saying this is that those who hold a Biblical worldview use the doctrinal truths of the Bible to govern how they view the world. Those with a "Christian" worldview form their views around what they think is true and are often influenced by other worldviews depending on what works best for them. For example, how many times have you heard someone make the argument, "My God wouldn't say/think/act that way," while describing something clearly lined out in Scripture?
The fact that pop-cultural worldviews are encroaching on the Christian worldview is not exactly new. In the New Testament we can see many times where Christianity was mixed with prevailing Jewish customs or pagan beliefs. Romans 14 speaks of believers who feel the need to abstain from eating meat and those who celebrate certain days. Neither of these are a part of the Christian faith, but are influenced by the culture around them. There are more dangerous examples as well, such as people thinking circumcision was required for salvation (as seen in the letter to the Galatians) or the Colossian Controversy (whatever it actually was). Any time worldviews collide, something has to give. Just look at the multitude of heresies that arose during the time of the early and medieval church.
But we have a benefit that the early church (and even the medieval church to an extent) didn't have. The complete Bible in our language. Our access to Scripture and any number of supporting texts is so easy it's ridiculous. So why do we still struggle with Christians not having a worldview based on the Bible? The simple answer to that is sin.
Our sin natures cause us to ignore truths for a lie which is easier. Sometimes, things just don't make sense to us so we substitute a more convenient "truth." 1 Corinthians 2:14 says, "The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned." Not everything in the Bible is easy to understand, so instead of digging deeper or trusting in God's promises, we "exchange the truth about God for a lie." (Romans 1:25)
Or, instead of ignoring a difficult truth, we just think we know better than God. Isaiah 55:8-9 says "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." He is God, and you are not. And that's a very good thing.
There are any number of reasons why a professing Christian maintains beliefs that don't align with the Bible. In the end, developing a Biblical worldview, one not diluted by ideas contrary to Scripture, comes down to two main tasks for a believer.
Study God's Word so you know what is true
Make God's Word the authority in your life
Have you sat down to really think through your worldview? How does it measure up to the living and active Word of God?
Check out the show notes from the Biblical Worldview episode with Cole Penick and Lee Kemp for resources on this topic.
For more resources, I've compiled a few on my Resources page