Every controversy, every disagreement and every schoolyard brouhaha comes down to one simple question: Says Who? Items that trend on Facebook and twitter, hot-button issues that fill the headlines, sound bites and features stories can be boiled down to two words: Says Who? It is worth noting that questioning the source of who’s opinion matters most is not new.
Case in point, Genesis 3. The setting, the garden of Eden. The cast of characters: God, Adam, Eve and Satan. The creator, God, hands the keys to the most beautiful of settings to his most precious of creation, Adam and Eve. Enter Satan, who, with power of persuasive conversation, poses the question: “OK, who’s really in control here, you or God?” You see many conversations we are having today seem to be centered around the ancient battle of world views of which there are only two. Biblical or secular, God is God or man is god. A biblical worldview, therefore, would find at its center the Scriptures and the truth of who Jesus is. Author Oz Guinness describes it this way, “A Christian worldview involves believers thinking about anything and everything in a manner that is consistently shaped, directed and restrained by the truth of God’s Word and God’s Spirit. Such a Christian worldview encompasses core issues and answers such questions as, Who am I? Where did I come from? What is the purpose of my life? Where am I going? Where did it come from? Is there a Creator, or are we the products of blind chance? Is there any grand theme to history and human life? If there is a Creator, what, if anything, does He expect of me?”
Two quick observations. First, this is critically important right now. Aubrey Vaughan, in “Essential Worship,” writes, “In our 21st century western society, there has been a huge paradigm shift, a turning away from Judeo Christian God-centered worldview, to a new atheism which desires a complete secularization of society with non-religious (irreligious) values and secular institutions. But the very fact they are turning away from God doesn’t mean they are turning to something, which is neutral. In fact, to turn away from God means you have to be turning to something else, which, by default, becomes our 21st century idols.” Interestingly, last September, a Pew Research poll indicated that three-fourths of Americans felt that religion was losing its influence in America, and six of 10 Americans felt this is a bad thing. Secondly, if left as is, we risk failing to be good stewards of the culture God has placed us in. Charles Colson writes in his book “How Shall We Live,” the solution to the modern-day identity crisis of the American Christian. “How do we redeem a culture? How do we rise to the opportunity before us at the start of a new millennium? The answer is simple: from the inside out. From the individual to the family to the community, and then outward in ever widening ripples. We must begin by understanding what it means to live by Christian worldview principles in our own behavior and choices. Unless we do, we will interpret the biblical commands according to the spirit of the age, and will, therefore, be conformed to the world rather than to God’s Word.” Christ followers have an amazing opportunity in an amazing time. “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to me in Heaven and on Earth. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and, lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
The building blocks of character are many. The four classic Greek virtues include prudence, justice, temperance and courage, and the three Christian virtues — faith, hope and love — come quickly to mind. The fourth of these seven is courage. Courage is not a lack of fear, it is the courage to do what’s right in the face of fear. Jerry Root and Stan Guthrie, in “Sacrament of Evangelism,” writes: “It’s the habit of saying yes to the right action, even at the risk of pain or loss.” Courage never gives up; courage sticks with the task until it’s done. Courage faces one’s fears and does the right thing in spite of it. Every single person in every church in every state has an understanding of every cultural issue before us as a nation, based on something. That understanding is based on the word of God or on the man-shaped worldview. Listen, the God who designed institution of marriage between one man and one woman existed long before governments began shaping their opinions or rulings. Says who? God, that’s who.
Tim Throckmorton is the former executive pastor for Plymouth Heights Church of the Nazarene in Franklin Furnace, Ohio, and Portsmouth First Church of the Nazarene. He is currently senior pastor at Crossroads Church in Circleville, Ohio.