The Kuyperian Commentary

Politics, Economics, Culture, and Theology with a Biblical Viewpoint

Why Your Christian World View Blinds You

worldviewYou are a committed Christian. You’re not just nominal. And you aren’t simply emotive or thoughtless. You know you are supposed to love the Lord with all your mind. The Bible applies to all of life. You want to take every thought captive to Christ. You have a Christian worldview.

And for that reason, you may be blind.

This is not because the Christian world view is false (thought the visual metaphor may need some balancing). It is because you are taking shortcuts and are too confident in what you know to think that you need to check yourself.

Just because the Christian world view is essential to fully understanding the truth doesn’t mean you need nothing else to learn the truth. You are called to take God’s word and apply it to all of life. But you are perfectly capable of taking God’s word and applying it to your imagination—or to some fictional constructs that you have been taught and have never investigated for yourself.

Think of the culture war and American politics. There are people who need your vote in order to gain their place in the political structure of the United States of America. They know you are a Christian. They know they need the support (at least on Election Day) of people who possess a Christian World and Life View. Do you really think that, even if they plan to go in an entirely different direction, they don’t have ways of appealing to you to deceive and manipulate you to get your endorsement? If you wave the Bible, you are inviting people to use your values to lead you in a direction that might end up being the exact opposite of where they claim they are going.

It is simply not enough to know the truth about God, Jesus, and his ethical directions. You have to know something about your world, your time in history, and the people around you.

Is Islam the biggest threat to Christianity? Knowing that Islam is a false religion and that Christianity is true does not mean you have enough information to decide that question. If Islam is an independent international power, it may be such a threat. If, in fact, Islamic power is dependent on the cooperation and sponsorship of Western governments, then you might need to adjust your estimate and give first place to modern secular totalitarianism.

Should American Christians support Israel (or to what extent and in what way)? Should they support the Federal Government’s containment policy against China? Should Christians regard Putin as a thug and demand more civil liberties for Russians, or perhaps regard him as a thug and figure he shouldn’t worry about “Western” secular civil liberties? Unless they have done due diligence on the history, Christians have no right to hold an opinion on such topics. Knowledge of the importance of the Trinity to the question of the one and the many or the importance of private property to a social order won’t be enough to tell you anything.

Another complication is that Christians may not correctly understand the Christian world view, and they might actually profit from correction on those points from a non-Christian, despite the non-Christian’s central error. It is quite easy to prevent a Christian from receiving such correction by pointing to the unbeliever’s destructive beliefs and practices. I think virtually every Christian critique of Ayn Rand I have seen on the web could easily be used in this way.

One might recommend that Christians simply confess their ignorance and stay out of matters they know nothing about. But that is impossible for Americans today. Everyone—everyone—is recruiting Christians to a foreign policy or domestic cause on the basis of the alleged demands of the Christian worldview. If man-made global warming is real, then Christians must participate and support whatever scheme might fix it on the basis of “stewardship.” But the Bible doesn’t tell you whether it is real or not. If the agricultural developments of the twentieth century were the natural and spontaneous progress of scientific development providing cheaper food on the free market, that will demand one stance from Christians. If those developments were a patent monopoly used by US cold war policy to destroy indigenous agriculture and make other nations dependent on petroleum fertilizers and other purchases from a cartel, that will demand a different stance. Again, the Bible doesn’t tell you any of it.

And many don’t want to face up to how complex our situation really is. They want to add the Bible to a few unquestionable facts. You learn what those facts are, typically, when you hear your favorite Bible teacher or worldview think tank leader refer to anyone who questions or denies them as an “idiot.”

Calling people idiots and denying that they should ever be heard or considered has a far greater role in the “Christian world and life view” as it is actually practiced by Christians than anyone wants to admit.

I realize no one can know everything. But if you’re going to express an opinion on what God thinks about something, you’re going to have to study not only God’s Word but also that “something.” As much as Americans need to read more of the Bible, they also need to read more history and international politics. There’s no way to do otherwise and still claim to have a Christian view of the world as it actually is.

John Calvin famously compared the Bible to the lenses of eyeglasses. That is the point. You are supposed to look through them at the world. Too many Christians stare at the lenses or use them to stare at pictures a few influential Christians have painted for them.

(Cross-posted at Christendom Underground)

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11 thoughts on “Why Your Christian World View Blinds You

  1. Your clearly not saying this bit what I run into more often is that your thoughts aren’t valid unless your using a pair of “subject expert” lenses along with the Christian ones

    • Mark Horne on said:

      That would be a trap. I realize I’m arguably making a reader more vulnerable to that trap. But there is a trap in avoiding that trap. Pilgrim has to thread his way between the lions.

  2. Paul Bryan on said:

    The author states, ” Unless they have done due diligence on the history, Christians have no right to hold an opinion on such topics [U.S. support to Israel, Chinese containment, Russian suppression of civil liberties].” While I suspect the author is trying to speak the truth in love, it is at its essence a failed attempt as the commentary is not fully compliant with either biblical standard – i.e., truth or love.

    It is a fact that we have free will, and it is also a fact that the U.S. Constitution
    guarantees the right of free speech to all citizens of the United States regardless of whether or not one has done subjectively suspect “due diligence” prior to expressing an opinion (or voting). To proclaim arbitrarily that those rights are misplaced, undeserved or unwarranted based merely on one’s level of comparative awareness is to actually quash the very medium by which ideas are exchanged between thoughtful persons seeking not just knowledge but its qualitatively better and hard won relative: wisdom.

    The Holy Spirit affords all Christians at least some discernment as to whether
    something we encounter is aligned biblically with God’s purposes for ourselves and humanity’s entirety, even if there are persons among the faithful who are unable to articulate specifically why that is within the context of present day international relations, world history, or both. As Peter Meiderlin spoke so well (often mistakenly attributed to Augustine), “In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, charity; in all things, liberty.”

    The harsh and ill-advised tone of this commentary – which advocates the disenfranchisement of conscientious persons based on an undefined minimum
    standard of situational awareness – does not serve to edify the body of believers, it is not charitable in its acknowledgement that we are all at different stages along the
    path to spiritual maturity, and appears to imply that the free will afforded us by God (from Whom all blessings – including liberty – flow) is somehow intended to be unevenly distributed. One has to wonder what the Savior Himself would say in response to one who claims kinship with Him and yet sets forth such a poor example of a Christian witness for a world desperately in need of His truth.

    In re-reading the commentary (for one final ‘spiritual sanity check’) I am once again prompted to question whether the author’s intent is for any kind of edification at all, as – to be sure – the content does not readily or arguably align with the truths of Scripture. As our chief purpose here on earth is to glorify the One who created us, and little if anything written by the author satisfies that critical criterion, the statements made must then be regarded as missing the mark and should be dismissed accordingly by those who – upon reading them – sensed the churning of the Spirit that resides within.

    • I should let the author defend himself, but it grates me so when Christians take what might be a good and edifying criticism and turn it into such a big deal they think gospel truths are being questioned. That attitude is more problematic than most of the issues discussed at the time.

      • Paul Bryan on said:

        The author likely isn’t defending himself because he has realized that truth is truth and error is error, and that his commentary – rife with the latter – either needs to be edited/revised to align with biblical truth (i.e., recant the assertion that the rights of free speech, suffrage and expression are predicated on one’s comparative level of knowledge) or be summarily rescinded with an apology for his lack of scholarly effort in making such an indefensible proclamation.

        If the commentary were offered as an exhortation of believers to be more informed it would have been much more cogent and compelling if it did not first seek to marginalize or disenfranchise persons not as well read as the author, albeit potentially much more discerning depending on their level of spiritual maturity. The commentary’s effectiveness was also undermined because it could not be substantiated using Scripture – a hallmark of opinions (not facts) that seek only to confuse or manipulate the intended reading audience while masquerading as biblically sound doctrine.

        As the commentary offered did not align with the Gospel of Grace, having done my due diligence in a prioritized fashion – that is, testing his assertions in light of Scripture first – I offered a rebuttal that clarified the error of his content and admonished him probably more gently than he deserved considering the reckless manner in which he delivered the claims he made. Fortunately, while he has the freedom to express himself inaccurately, the framers of the U.S. Constitution balanced the equation by ensuring that others can then can exercise the same freedom to disabuse him of a notion that benefits neither him nor anyone else reading what he wrote.

        Again, as the author has no biblical basis for what he wrote and couldn’t defend his assertions using content from either either the Bible or the U.S. Constitution, he should retract his statements or – if he lacks the humility to do so – at least acknowledge that he was simply writing off the cuff (i.e., ranting) and thereby qualify his statements accordingly. To see such a poorly composed commentary offered in what seems superficially to be a scholarly forum reflects poorly on those who facilitate the site’s content delivery. If they are going to open up their forum to the expression of opinions, they should at least perform a content review to ensure that the opinion offered is an informed one.

        Finally, Horace, on a more personal note, you do yourself and all of us a disservice in seeking to defend the author’s position. I urge you to reflect on what he wrote and determine from your own study whether what he offers is in line with, for starters, Philippians 4:8 — “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Nothing the author offered up in this forum meets these essential criteria, nor does his work adhere to Ephesians 4:15 — “speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.” I suspect that the author has a LOT of maturing to do spiritually before he’s ready to once again display his witness in such a high profile manner.

      • Let me clarify, I think the liturgical doctrinal denominations of the Church have a greater struggle before them (to not be asses) than all the tertiary disagreements in which they display themselves so.

  3. Hi, Mark. “Calling people idiots and denying that they should ever be heard or considered has a far greater role in the “Christian world and life view” as it is actually practiced by Christians than anyone wants to admit.” Uh, I think you avoided “idiot” and “ever”–you wrote’ learn,’ not ‘just shut up’–but you did come across as denying that some should be heard, coming kinda close to your own cross hairs. Paul, I don’t think he called for censorship (except by selves and maybe implicitly by editors, church boards, etc, within their own scope, which I have no problem with). You both come across as kinda censorious. I agree with you that God can make sure His friends know what they need to know, and with Mark that there’ll always be more we can learn which may affect what we partly know or think we know (and you’d probably agree). Maybe Mark happens to have heard more “Calling people idiots…” than he liked lately??

    I’d like to add that given division of labor (Eve got pregnant, not Adam), we all have partial knowledge that MAY be enough for our purposes. Islam obviously does harm by denying the Trinity (god simply one all alone, one prophet, one ayatollah, hence dictatorial tendencies) and denying the atonement, and Muslims should become Christians, whether or not Ibn Saud is in bed with Obama, and whether or not Atheism overall does more harm than Islam. Some of us may be called to witness to Muslims without knowing or caring much about the latter two questions; others may be called to tackle the latter with associated evils. (Not every blog or site needs as much on paedocommunion as mine has, and while I argue for its importance I acknowledge that not everyone need pay it as much attention as I.)

  4. Paul Bryan on said:

    Please clarify further. Are you asserting that members of the various Protestant Christian denominations are “asses” because their respective doctrines differ slightly from each other on non-essentials? Or, perhaps, on unspecified essentials?

    As long as a denomination’s doctrine stems from – and doesn’t contradict – the truth of Who Jesus Christ is, what He accomplished on the cross, and that He is the Way, the Truth and the Life, any secondary liturgical or doctrinal discrepancies are simply areas where we can agree to disagree.

    Again, it is the unity in the essentials that ultimately matters and not the interpretations of the non-essentials. Would you agree that this is the case if a particular denomination’s doctrinal essentials are aligned with the truth of the Gospel?

    • Yes. Which is why I’m taken back by your declaration that Mark is unfit to preach the Gospel based on a very short post about doing your research.

  5. Paul Bryan on said:

    The author wrote, “Unless they have done due diligence on the history, Christians have no right to hold an opinion on such topics.” That statement is unsupported whether one is viewing it from the perspective of a biblical scholar, a constitutional scholar, or both.

    Were the author (a pastor?) to offer such a statement in a sermon in a church I would call him on it just as I have here, as – having tested it in light of Scripture – it is at its core contrary to the teachings of the Bible (i.e., it is unsupportable from a scriptural point of view).

    Were he to offer such a statement in a court of law as justification for forbidding a Christian from expressing his or her opinion I would also call him on it, as – having vetted it against the Constitution – it seeks to constrain a basic right we all enjoy as U.S. citizens (i.e., it infringes the right of freedom of speech).

    Truth is reality viewed through the mind of God – i.e., reality from His perspective, not ours. The source of God’s truth for us here on earth is the written Word of God, the Bible. The rights afforded all U.S. citizens in the U.S. Constitution are derived from an understanding of the truth contained in the Bible. That truth, once internalized, confers a more astute level of discernment in even the least mature Christian — and both the Bible and the Constitution guarantee our right to express an opinion on anything, even though we may be misinformed, ill-advised, or just plain wrong.

    Ironically, it is this same right of free speech and the blessing of free will that permit the author to make a declaration that a less informed or uninformed Christian has no right to his or her opinion – again, a declaration that is indefensible at its core and thus (because of its disenfranchisingly ominous scope) makes anything else the author has to say suspect in the eyes of a truly discerning person – whether a Christian or unbeliever, biblical or constitutional scholar, or anyone else who has taken the time to do due diligence in researching the related issues.

    So, yes, unless the author owns his egregious error, acknowledges publicly that he made a mistake in making the statement, and retracts the posting apologetically, he is – in my mind – disqualified from any position where he might actually seek to speak with authority about the truth of Scripture. He has exposed a huge gap in his understanding of certain inalienable rights with which we have been endowed by our Creator, the most critical one here being liberty, and no God-honoring Christian should allow himself or herself to be deliberately misled when anyone claiming to be an authority on Scripture can’t get even this simple concept right.

    That being the case, why would any believe that the author could capably handle the Word of Truth when he himself is willing to make such an ill-conceived blanket statement that serves only to infuse error and confusion into our knowledge of God’s blessings of liberty and freedom through a relationship with Him enabled by faith in the saving grace of our Lord and Savior’s sacrifice on the cross? I see no reason to ascribe any degree of pastoral credibility to him, nor should you or anyone else who claims to be a follower of Christ.

    If you do still consider him credible, though, I recommend that you pray about it, test it all in light of Scripture yourself, and check your heart to see if you sense a disequilibrium in your spirit concerning what he said and why it falls short of the standard of truth the Bible provides. This is the best advice I can offer anyone – believer or seeker – who might be reading this.

    I don’t think there is anything more to say on this, Horace, and my prayer for you is that God reveals to you whatever you need to discern both truth and error, where applicable, in both the original commentary and the follow-on exchange. Find the truth and it will set you free from any thrall the original commentary may still hold.

    Best regards,
    Paul

  6. Pingback: Is the Christian Drug Prohibitionist Seeing the Real World? | The Kuyperian Commentary

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