Worldview Watch

WEEK SEVEN

The Reality Pyramid

Whose reality are you living in?

Reality = the world or the state of things as they actually exist.
What makes up reality? What is shaping your reality?

Here is what Francis Schaeffer said about reality:
“God has communicated to man, the infinite to the finite. The One who made man capable of language in the first place has communicated to man in language about both spiritual reality and physical reality, about the nature of God and the nature of man.”
Our culture has been shifting from belief in an absolute objective reality that exists outside of ourselves and instead is adopting the belief that what we feel and think creates our reality. Does this present a tension? Can these both be true simultaneously?
 
The bible speaks to this very issue in Romans 1:19-20. 19“For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.”

Schaeffer also said, “Tell me what the world is saying today, and I'll tell you what the church will be saying in seven years.” How could he be so confident about that? How much influence is our world having on us and our view of reality. One way we can assess this is by looking at our daily diet of information. Why is it important to be careful about how much information we are receiving from the world. Because………they suppress the truth!  Romans 1:18 “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.”

Nate shared the “Wisdom pyramid” in a past sermon as a way to understand and evaluate our information intake. Take a look at these two examples:
Draw a pyramid reflecting these 6 levels and write down what sources of information you are taking in from greater to lesser. See how it compares to the wisdom pyramid on the right. Then take some time to consider how those sources are shaping your understanding of reality. Can you see any influence on the other areas of your worldview? Ultimate authority, humanity, purpose, and ethics?

Worldview Watch

WEEK SIX

Humanity

In 2021 there have already been approximately 5.8 million abortions worldwide. As John Stonestreet likes to say, ideas have consequences and bad ideas have victims. Where do these ideas start and how do they lead to abortion?

Carl R. Trueman concludes that “human beings may still like to think they believe in good and bad, but these concepts are unhitched from any transcendent framework and merely reflect personal, emotional, and psychological preferences.

How does this observation and conclusion about current cultural thinking help us understand how some people decide to pursue abortion?

Here are a few verses that provide a transcendent framework for viewing humanity:

Genesis 1:26
  “Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.””

Genesis 1:27 “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”

Job 7:17 "What is man, that you make so much of him, and that you set your heart on him,"

Psalm 8:4 "What is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?"

Psalm 144:3 O LORD, what is man that you regard him, or the son of man that you think of him?

Here is a quote from another person that demonstrates Trueman’s observation. “Everybody has the right to choose their own gender by listening to their own heart and mind,” Laleña Garcia writes in talking to young children about the Guiding Principles of the Movement for Black Lives. “Everyone gets to choose if they are a girl or a boy or both or neither or something else, and no one else gets to choose for them.”

Carl R. Trueman in his book The Rise and Triumph of the Modern self says “that this is only plausible in a world in which the predominant way of thinking comes from a person’s feelings and with the purpose that I choose to create for myself. Human nature becomes something individuals or societies invent for themselves.”

If you believe humanity comes from an Evolutionary process of matter plus time plus chance equals a machine, how would that effect your view of the value of humanity or how you might view abortion?

Romans 1:21-23 “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.”

What do these verses say is inevitable if humans disconnect themselves from God?

Watch this video from Prageru on human value and compare its conclusions with Romans 1.

Worldview Watch

WEEK FIVE

Humanity

What is your view on Humanity today? We, as a nation, have just gone through and are still in the midst of a political firestorm with plenty of names and categories to define both sides. Add to that the racial tensions, protests, marches and angst and it is easy to get aligned with one side or the other and see the divisions being caused. These divisions have been around throughout history and humanity has handled them with every sort of solution imaginable.

In Esther we see division playing out before us. In one of the sermon’s from Esther it was mentioned that the enmity that was between Haman and Mordecai (and all the Jews) was evil and that, in fact, any enmity, anger or hatred between people was from the evil one.

“I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring;”
(Genesis 3:15 ESV)

Adam and Eve were the only created things that bore God’s image. Now, roll forward several thousand years to where we are today. As Christian’s, do we see ALL of humanity as image bearer’s of God and respond in an appropriate way? Or do we let enmity, anger or hatred step between us and cause divisions that don’t allow us to see each other as “Image Bearers” that have fallen to sin and need a savior? Ask God to show you if any enmity  has crept into any areas of your life in how you view others of a different opinion, ethnicity, politics, etc?

Worldview Watch

WEEK FOUR

Ultimate Authority

Who gets to call the shots in your life? Do we only answer to ourselves?

Our culture claims that there is no such thing as absolute objective truth.
 
Ultimate Authority:
Here is a short definition that captures the idea.

God is the infinite, eternal, and all-powerful creator and sustainer of all things. God has revealed himself and his word clearly in the Bible and in the person of Christ. Therefore, he is the only rightful ruler of the universe and his word is the only authoritative, absolute, and objective truth to guide life and practice for those he created.

 Here are a few verses that communicate some of these truths.

“Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases.” Psalm 115:3

“For kingship belongs to the LORD, and he rules over the nations.” Psalm 22:28

“I am the LORD, and there is no other, besides me there is no God;” Isaiah 45:5

“According to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus. Romans 2:16

“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” Hebrews 4:12–13

Other key verses: Romans 1:18-20, Col. 1:15-17, Isaiah 40:28
Arizona Christian University’s cultural research center posted its 2020 inventory findings and it shows highlights an alarming shift in adults who align with an evangelical church.
Here are two of those findings. Evangelicals are embracing secularism:
  • 52% of evangelicals reject absolute moral truth; 
  • 42% seek moral guidance primarily from sources other than the Bible 
When God is left out of the equation then the “expressive individual” relativizes all meaning and truth to personal taste. Quote from Carl R. Trueman in “The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self.”
How have you seen the above statistics play out with Christians or non-Christians? Where do you turn first when making moral decisions? What are some of the sources you use when making decisions? Which sources have more priority?

Here is a video to help explain how our society has arrived here and there is a progression pointed out in Romans 1:18-32.

Worldview Watch

WEEK THREE

Esther

Last week our focus was on “Ultimate Authority” and the inauguration. We shared several verses that God is the one who establishes and removes kings and authorities on earth throughout history. Nate’s message from Esther was a great reminder that even though God is the ultimate authority, He (and His people/followers) have an enemy (Ephesians 6:10-12, 1 Pet 5:8). As we see in Esther, this enemy has arrayed his dark forces against the people of God and wants to destroy them. We see him working through Haman and King Ahasuerus to try and accomplish his destruction of God’s people. Relating this story to us and our time, Nate brought up two ways for us to deal with persecution. The first is to face the situation with our best weapon, which is prayer, not politics. Secondly, we need to see our persecutors, not as enemies but as captives. They are fellow human beings who have been captured by the spiritual forces of evil. We need to pray, pray, pray (Matthew 5:44)!

In Esther, God had been working His plan all along to rescue His people from Haman and the enemies’ plan of destruction (hindsight is always 20/20).

Questions for reflection

  • How do you view or respond to God when you are being persecuted or going through some trial and you don’t see God changing your circumstances or those around you? 
  • How can we speak to our hearts and minds a God perspective (book of Esther) as we view the changes happening in our country and world? (growing hostility towards Christians, morals, persecution worldwide, etc.)
  • In what ways would remembering Esther and God’s ultimate authority help you in those situations?

Worldview Watch

WEEK TWO

Ultimate Authority

“He (God) changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings;” - Daniel 2:21
“You would have no authority over me if it were not given you from above”. - John 19:11
“Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.” - Romans 13:1
“First of all, then, I urge that requests, prayers, intercessions, and thanks be offered on behalf of all people, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.” - 1 Timothy 2:1 & 2
“Honor all people, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the king.” – 1 Peter 2:17

This week has brought us the swearing-in of a new president and a shift in political power in DC from a republican to democrat run country. But no matter what country we find ourselves in as Christians there are a few things we all need to keep in mind. Our hope and security does not rest on who is in political power in a nation, but in the one who grants that power. Here are a few verses, questions, and quotes to guide us in developing a biblical worldview for a time such as this.

“It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes.”

 - Psalm 118:9

“But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,”

- Philippians 3:20

Questions to ask:

  • In what ways is the current state of American politics potentially influencing your outlook on life (reality)? Joy? Purpose? 
  • What do you see as having the greatest potential for bringing change to our nation?
  • Why is it important to be careful about what occupies our minds and hearts in our current cultural and political climate? 


Something can become a god or idol when it becomes whatever we cannot imagine living without, whatever we most love, whatever we most trust, rely on, and believe in, and whatever is our final refuge.

“Before and after America, there was and will be the church. The nation is an experiment. The church is a certainty.” 

- Jonathan Leeman

“A Christian’s political posture, in a word, must never be withdraw. Nor should it be dominate. It must always be represent, and we must do this when the world loves us and when it despises us. Anyone who tells you, “Withdraw, we’re losing!” or, “Push forward, we’re winning!” may have succumbed to a kind of utopianism, as if we could build heaven on earth. Instead, heaven starts in our assemblies, even if only as in a mirror dimly. Christians are heaven’s ambassadors, and our churches are its embassies. Neither panic nor triumphalism become us.” 

- Jonathan Leeman

“Yet the proper question is not, “Does political influence take resources away from evangelism?” but, “Is political influence something God has called us to do?” If God has called some of us to some political influence, then those resources would not be blessed if we diverted them to evangelism—or to the choir, or to teaching Sunday School to children, or to any other use. In this matter, as in everything else the church does, it would be healthy for Christians to realize that God may call individual Christians to different emphases in their lives.” 

- Wayne Grudem

We invite everyone to live out 1 Timothy 2:1-2 and make a commitment to pray for our president and nation as we continue to live godly lives in this present age.

Book Resources

Worldview Watch

WEEK ONE

Humanity

Since we are already focusing on the sanctity of life, this would be a good week to highlight Humanity.
As you think about humanity this week, consider how our culture answers these two questions. Also, what choices do you see people making based on how they answer these questions about humanity. We have two examples listed below. 

WHO AM I?

Gen. 1:26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.
Psalm 8:4-8 (5 yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings;)

HOW DID I GET HERE?

Acts 17:24-27 (26 “And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place”) 

LOOK AT THE WORLDVIEW OF THESE TWO ORGANIZATIONS 

CARE NET (PRO-LIFE) VS. PLANNED PARENTHOOD (PRO-CHOICE)
Here is what Planned Parenthood says on their website about organizations like Care Net. "Be careful when looking for a reliable health center. There are fake clinics that say they have pregnancy services. These are called Crisis Pregnancy Centers, and they’re run by people who are anti-abortion and don’t believe in telling you the truth about all of your pregnancy options. They may use lies and manipulation to try to scare or shame people out of choosing abortion."

There have been 1.6 million abortions worldwide in 2021 already.
 
In Practical Ethics, Peter Singer argues in favor of abortion rights on the grounds that fetuses are neither rational nor self-aware, and can therefore hold no preferences. As a result, he argues that the preference of a mother to have an abortion automatically takes precedence. What does this philosophy indicate about his view of humanity or the questions who am I and how did I get here? Another possible piece of information is this statement. Singer's work in applied ethics and his activism in politics were informed by his utilitarianism, the tradition in ethical philosophy that holds that actions are right or wrong depending on the extent to which they promote happiness or prevent pain. He was the professor of Bioethics at Princeton University.

Luke 9:22 “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”

Rom. 8:17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

Mark 8:34 And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
Here is one question from Scott Klusendorf for engaging those who believe in pro-choice or abortion and seeks to develop the underlying fundamental unity we all have as human beings.
 
If it is wrong to hurt people based on gender or skin color, is it also wrong to hurt people based on size, level of development, environment, and degree of dependency? How you define a human person will directly affect how some people answer this question. 

Here is one short video resource: