If we are going to start, let’s just start at the beginning. “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” (The serpent, circa, the beginning) In the creation story, there lies a moment which reminds us that it seems as if the enemy of man has always been after God’s kids. Did God really say that? Are you sure you need to listen to God? These questions my friend, sum up the history and importance of understanding worldviews. Remember, it’s through your worldview you answer the ultimate questions in life. Over the years, church leaders have labored tirelessly to prepare young minds to know God, know He is true and be able to defend their faith when they leave the safety and covering of the church they were raised in and head into a university setting or a secular vocation. However, whether we noticed it or not, the rules have changed! Deconstruction in no longer a college experience, it now starts when they are just babies!
For a millennium or more, the biblical story shaped the way people thought about marriage, politics, nature, work, life and death—you name it! Marriage… shaped by God’s design reflecting his covenant with mankind. In governments… leaders ruled with authority given by God. The laws of nature reflected the will of the creator. Work was seen as an opportunity to fulfill God’s purpose, and life and death we’re seen and revered through the lens of scripture. God’s word was true and His principles, tried and tested for centuries. Then came the Enlightenment and the Renaissance which challenged the faith in God narrative that had dominated cultures for centuries. Maybe faith in God is wrong. Maybe there is no truth. Perhaps forces other than a creator shaped us… enter a world without God. Scientists stopped reasoning from the outside in and began working from the inside out. By the time the enlightenment was in full swing theologians in universities were replaced by physicists… God the creator is escorted OUT… Albert Einstein welcomed IN. Fast forward to the 1800’s and Freidrick Nietzche whose efforts in short said, “Let’s just get this God stuff out of the minds of the people once and for all!” The byproducts of removing God from culture are vast and terrifying… The increased use and acceptance of profanity, the proliferation of pornography and sexual imagery, the viewing of increasingly graphic depictions of violence, acceptance of unmarried cohabitation, sexual promiscuity and the redefinition of marriage. The list goes on and on but you get the picture… this affected and shaped the worldview of our teenagers and young adults, but not anymore!
It’s important to note that Millennials, who are the young parents of today’s children, grew up in a less Christianized context. Hence the vital importance of teaching children a Biblical worldview. Since parents are the primary spiritual influence in their children’s lives, equipping parents with a Biblical worldview must also be a priority. There are four major worldviews that are competing for the heart of children and parents. First, “New Spirituality.” This worldview holds a positive view of religion, emphasizes the supernatural and simultaneously feeds into a growing dissatisfaction with institutions. It says all people pray to the same god or spirit, no matter what name they use for that spiritual being. It says that “meaning and purpose come from becoming one with all that is.” It says “if you do good, you will receive good, and if you do bad, you will receive bad (Karma).” And it says “God helps those who help themselves.” The second, “Secularism.” The secular worldview prioritizes the scientific method as an explanatory framework for life and advances a rational and materialistic view of the world. While most Christians resist scientism and Darwinism, they are inclined toward an off shoot of secularism, which is materialism. Materialism is the view that the material world is all there is. Thirdly there is “Postmodernism” which advances the idea that there is no such thing as objectivity. A Postmodern worldview says that claims on ultimate reality are subjective by virtue of their context. Lastly… “Marxism” as a worldview stands in opposition to the economics of capitalism and falls more in line with socialist or communist political ideologies. Marxism, though, is also founded on an irreligious or even religiously hostile foundation. This influences all confirm a continuing shift away from a Christian worldview by each succeeding generation.
So, what’s to be done? Let’s start at the beginning… the book of Proverbs reminds us, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” It’s the two words “train up” that cause us to give close attention. They mean in Hebrew… touch the palate of. Hebrew mommies would chew up food and with their finger gently touch the palate of the child creating an appetite, a taste or desire to have more of that food. Our lives and influence MUST create a taste for God in our children. If we don’t… something or someone else will!
Tim Throckmorton is the former Executive Pastor of the Plymouth Heights Church of the Nazarene in Franklin Furnace Ohio and the Portsmouth First Church of the Nazarene in Franklin Furnace, Ohio. He is currently the Senior Pastor at Crossroads Church in Circleville, Ohio.