Everyone has a worldview. Our worldview determines how we interpret the world around us. It guides and directs the course of our actions. It is the lens through which we read everyone and everything.
Author and scholar, James Sire, described a worldview as our own “map of reality.”
“Like any map, it may fit what is actually there, or it may be misleading. The map is not the world itself, of course, only an image of it, more or less accurate in some places, distorted in others.”
According to Sire, all of us carry around such a map in our mental make up, and all of us act upon it.
“All our thinking presupposes it. Most of our experience fits into it.”
But have you ever considered what it is that’s informing your worldview? What shapes the way we view the world around us? What are the presuppositions guiding our interpretation of reality?
In a final sense, there are only two options before us: truth and falsehood. Interpretations of reality are either accurate or inaccurate. In order to have an accurate worldview, our understanding of everything must comport to ultimate reality. That is the definition of truth. It must be consistent with the world that exists outside of our own minds, and regardless of whether or not we exist.
That is to say, the truth is not contingent on whether or not we recognize it, like it, or accept it. This means an accurate interpretation of the universe does not originate from within. It must come from outside of and apart from ourselves. If it is the truth, and we are to know it as the truth, it must flow from the source of truth. The Christian identifies this with the Bible. It is through the Bible that God has revealed the Truth. It is this Truth to which we must all conform.
It is through the lens of the Scriptures that the Christian ought to interpret the world. “All Scripture,” Paul said, “is breathed out by God,” the source of truth. As such, the Bible is “profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,” and this, to such a degree that it “completes” and “fully equips” the Christian, not only for some good works, but for “every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
So, to what degree is the Scripture shaping our worldview? Is the Bible the lens through which we interpret the world, or is it only partially and selectively applied?
For too many, those parts the modern world has deemed most unacceptable have been the parts most ignored. As a result, we have professed Christians selectively blending the Bible with culturally acceptable sins. Not only do they have an incomplete worldview, but they also have an inaccurate worldview.
Does that sound familiar? Is our worldview shaped by Scripture or a sinful culture? Is our thinking guided by God’s Word or the unbelieving world?
There is a simple test that every professing Christian can undertake to find out if they’ve fallen from God’s “holy, righteous, and good” standard.
Pick up your Bible, open God’s Law (Genesis-Deuteronomy), and take note of how often you flinch, recoil, or squirm at His commandments. If at any point, we find ourselves thinking a law is unloving, outdated, unjust, or shameful, then we can be certain our worldview and thinking have been influenced by the enemies of God. Would you be embarrassed to say “Amen” to anything that God has judged as either moral or immoral? If so, then it is not the Scripture that’s forming you, but something or someone else.
For Christians to profess Jesus as their Lord is to assign themselves His subjects. As such, we’re under an obligation to submit ourselves to His every command. But if our submission is limited to the commandments we personally find politically correct or socially palatable, then we’re not confessing Jesus as Lord at all. Rather, we are subjecting Him to cultural trends and the approval of men. He is “Lord,” but only in so far as he conforms to the supposed superior lords of society. He is obeyed, but only at the point in which His commands align with the current zeitgeist.
Augustine once said, “If you believe what you like in the Gospel, and reject what you do not like, it is not the Gospel you believe, but yourself.”
Christian missionary, Hudson Taylor, put it this way: “Christ is either Lord of all, or He is not Lord at all.”
It doesn’t matter if we call Jesus, “Lord, Lord.” In the end, selective obedience is disobedience. To selectively approach God’s Word is to act as judge over God’s commands. To judge God’s commands is to judge God, and to judge God is to elevate ourselves as both Lord and God – the very thing our sinful culture and the unbelieving world boast of doing daily.
If we find ourselves approaching the Bible the same way, we can be sure it’s not the Bible shaping our worldview, but our worldview shaping the Bible.