So why are we so divided in our views on these and many other issues? Why is there such a difference in the way we look at things in our world? The simple answer to these questions is our differing worldview. A worldview is defined by Brad Alles in his book Starting at the End, Worldview, God’s Word & Your Future as, “The way we view the world and our place in it. It explains life and reality. A worldview helps us make sense of our existence so we can navigate through life.” Mr. Alles suggests that a worldview tells us what is real, how to live, and what is coming (i.e. the view of the future).
For us as Christians we believe that God exists, that heaven and hell are real, that there are things we should and should not do, and that we will be judged by God at the end. This worldview leads to the conclusions we make about all of the issues in the world today. Because our culture is moving more and more to a Secular Humanism worldview-where there is no belief in God, there is no heaven or hell, there are no absolute right or wrong just moral relativism where each person decides what is right and wrong, and the future is not judgement by a God who they believe does not exist, but a global government - there becomes a major difference in how we view the happenings in this world.
A perfect example is the debate around Planned Parenthood and the selling of baby parts. As Christians we are outraged and shocked at how anyone could not see what is wrong with this process, yet from a Secular Humanism worldview this makes sense. After all the Secular Humanists worldview would say it’s for the good of all of us in the world to harvest these baby parts because it could help find a cure for diseases and thus should be done. In the Secular Humanist worldview view there is no absolute right or wrong. All or most morals are relative.
The world we live in is changing; we in the church must change as well. Not in terms of our worldview or what we believe, but in how we engage our friends and neighbors. The chart below, from the Pastoral Leadership Institute, illustrates the change that we need to make in order to engage the world around us.
You will see in this diagram two ways in which people enter the church or faith. First, we can agree, it is a work of the Holy Spirit that brings people to faith. We also can agree that God calls us to actively engage the world around us. So, to make things clear, we are talking about engagement and not conversion. The top of the chart is the world of Christendom, the past system here in the US when the church was the center of our culture. The bottom of the chart shows the culture in a Post-Christendom world, today’s system where church is no longer at the center of culture and is being pushed more and more to the fringe. This shows us two completely different pathways to enter the church. The good news is that neither is wrong or bad, just different.
Here at Grace we need both pathways to be successful. The top pathway is our traditional entry method that we at Grace have been so successful with over the last 80 plus years. This pathway needs to continue.
The Post-Christendom pathway is where we are pressing toward as a church in order to reach this world that is no longer easily receptive to the gospel message due to their differing worldview. In this new world our first emphasis must be building intentional relationships outside the church with both churched and non-churched individuals. More and more of our efforts as a church need to happen outside of our church and school and instead focus on the communities where we live, work and play. More of our time needs to be freed up so that we can intentionally engage the individuals that God has placed in our lives. This allows people to first feel a sense of belonging, then a sense of becoming as their worldview changes, and then they may move to a state of believing in the one true God, Jesus Christ.
I invite you to join us in this exciting time in our world; A time where sharing our Christian worldview and the Gospel is more important than ever.