Consider how serious the problem is:
· 70-88% of students from “Christian” homes deny their faith before graduation from college (www.barna.org)
· Only 9% of Evangelicals have a biblical worldview (“A Biblical Worldview has a Radical Effect on a Person’s Life,” 12/1/03, www.barna.org)
· Instead of preparing their children for life, the vast majority of parents are waiting for social institutions to train their kids (“Americans Agree: Kids are not being Prepared for Life,” 10/26/04, www.barna.org)
· Only 9% of young people under the age 24 base their moral choices on the Bible (www.barna.org)
· In 2006, 91% of Evangelical kids said, “There is no truth apart from myself”—that’s up from 52% in 1994 (www.barna.org)
· Only 33% of churched youth say the church will play a part in their lives when they leave home (Josh McDowell, 2006)
· In the 1970’s only 5% of 15 year old girls had sexual intercourse; by 1997 it was 38% (Columbia University Report, 1997)
In our media-saturated age the constant drone of secular culture’s deceptive message has been ‘mainlined’ into our youth like heroin into the bloodstream. The consequences are deadly. In making a play for the billion dollar teen market, corporations have been shameless in their promotion of immodesty, group sex, and perversion. Spring Break orgies are filmed; and then played back as ‘cool’ behavior in order to market product lines to our youth (See www.pbs.org, Frontline-- “Merchants of Cool”).
The majority of our kids believe what they hear in the media. When polled recently, 66% of high school boys believed that cohabitation is the best preparation for marriage. In addition, the vast majority of evangelical teens believe that there is more evidence for evolution than biblical creation.
The battle to transmit the faith to the next generation is for the most part not being won. A startling statistic came out recently—79% of high school students from Southern Baptist Convention will deny the faith by the time they graduate from a secular university (www.barna.org). We have left our kids to tread water in a swamp of moral relativism in which the notion of absolute right and wrong is non-existent. Our culture seems hell-bent on ‘sexualizing’ our youth—the assault of sensual imagery on television has the net effect of ‘normalizing’ illicit sexual behavior.
The ‘floodgates’ of immorality have swung open for a reason. The willful loss of the knowledge of God has resulted in the setting aside of God’s moral blueprint (Rom 1:18-23ff.). The moral and spiritual consequences which follow are staggering in dimension. Defiance against God’s moral blueprint is causing suffering. People are experiencing divine judgment in ‘slow motion’.
In the Apostle Paul’s exposé of pagan culture, he warns that the wrath of God is being revealed from heaven now against those who suppress the truth of God in unrighteousness (Rom 1:18-23). This present revelation of divine wrath is evident in the loss of moral absolutes and in the growing spiritual vacuum which is being filled with pagan forms of ‘spirituality’.
America is no longer guided by Christian principles. Secular humanism now directs the public affairs of our nation. This philosophy of secular humanism denies God, Christ, and the Bible. Secularism removes God’s standards and allows man to substitute his own standards instead. Just as Satan lied to Eve; popular culture seduces our young people with the lie that they may decide right and wrong for themselves without facing eternal consequences.
Without God’s Word and the Gospel, we have no reliable moral compass. It’s like a boat with no rudder and no navigation device adrift on a shore-less sea. People make decisions based upon on felt needs and desires. Each individual becomes a law unto himself—choosing what is ‘right’ in his own eyes without respect to God’s standards. There could hardly be a more accurate assessment of our country today than the description found at the end of the book of Judges, “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25).
This is the ‘philosophic climate’ our young people are facing. If we leave them unprepared; they may become the next ‘casualties of our culture’. David Noebel warns that college students from Christian homes who have never been trained in biblical worldview are at greatest risk of departing from the faith (David Noebel,Understanding the Times; Worldviews and the Search for Truth).
The lies propagated on university campuses are stealing the souls of our youth. Colleges have become the most active purveyors of the new paganism. High school and college campuses are indoctrinating our youth in the satanic philosophies of humanism and naturalism at an alarming rate. Rampant moral decay is the result—accompanied by a gross loss of confidence in the reliability of the Scriptures. If we do not train our young people in Christian worldview; then we are guilty of sending our kids off like lambs into a pack of wolves.
The university students who leave the faith are, for the most part, those who were never taught a unified worldview which has Genesis and biblical creation as its foundation. High school students who are never taught what is at stake if the foundations of Scripture are destroyed are astonishingly vulnerable to erroneous worldviews (Fallwell & Ham, If the Foundations be Destroyed).
Christian parents are justly alarmed. There are few experiences that bring more heartache than seeing one’s son or daughter leave the faith they once professed to believe. We are standing at a crossroads in human history. Now is the time for church and family to become proactive in training its members in biblical worldview. Our Christian students are waiting to be formed into ‘worldview changers’ who are able to resist the forceful tide of our culture’s lies.
Consider the advantages of training our young people in Christian worldview. Biblical worldview is the very foundation of ethics, life decisions, values, and behavior. Believers equipped in biblical worldview develop the resolve and discernment to live life without compromise; to live in light of God’s total truth; for His honor and glory.
Training in worldview enables Christians not only to stand firm in the face of our culture’s non-biblical ideas; but also to tear down the atheistic absolutes of false worldviews; and to powerfully share the Gospel in a secularized society.
“One of the reasons the mouths of our college kids are often closed in their public witness is because they are intimidated by the politically correct, diversity-inclusivistic ideology of the academy. Students are ‘brainwashed’ into a survivalist mode of, ‘Can’t we just get along?’ with its implicit appeal to intolerant oneness” (Peter Jones, Christian Witness to a Pagan Planet, 2007. www.cwipp.org).
“Christian college students for the most part are unable to mount a convincing critique of the erroneous worldviews on campus; and they are unable to give a theological defense of the Gospel. You cannot take on the enemy of paganism that surrounds us if you ignore the categories that identify it—religious categories by which it must be forced to make its public case. Understanding those categories will help Christians find their minds and voices” (Peter Jones).
Peter Jones has hit the nail on the head. Our Christian students are in trouble because they cannot make the truth they believe ‘speak’ to this culture. They lack the training necessary to see the total relevance of God’s truth to all of life. As a consequence, they either keep their convictions private, or blend with the world. Unfortunately, the latter choice is the most common one; but it doesn’t have to be that way. Through training in biblical worldview our young people can be equipped for effective Christian apologetics and evangelism.
Biblical worldview equips students for effective evangelism by instructing them how to conduct a ‘clash’ between worldviews. Unlike evangelism in the recent past; our struggle now involves a ‘worldview clash’. The unbeliever’s faulty worldview must ‘collide’ with the timeless truth of God’s Word so that the unbeliever sees where he opposes God. It is only the Word of God that is capable of deconstructing the unbeliever’s faulty worldview.
This ‘clash’ between worldviews is necessary because in today’s world knowledge has been privatized into personal opinions without absolute truth. And, without truth claims there can be no objective sin or evil—one is left with a domesticated God who does not judge, govern, or redeem (D. A. Carson, “Reaching Postmoderns with the Gospel”).
We now live in a world in which religious truth and error are no longer mutually exclusive—they are just different ideas with no one ‘view’ constituting absolute truth. Pastor Tim Keller comments on this phenomenon: “The Western world now is a mission field never faced before—it is ‘ex-Christian’. It has been inoculated; but retains only a distorted memory of Christianity; a memory of Christianity as the age of prejudice. With the memory of prejudice comes the commonly held notion that Christianity cannot be credible because there cannot be one true religion to the exclusion of all others” (Tim Keller, “Evangelizing Postmoderns”).
This is why biblical worldview is so desperately needed—it instills boldness in believers. It enables them to step out of ‘privatized Christianity’ and into effective evangelism. Biblical worldview imparts a pervasive confidence that there are biblical answers to every important life question.
It’s time to bring biblical worldview to the forefront of our vision for Christian education. If churches are to wake out of slumber—they will have to be proactive in training their young people in WHAT they believe and WHY they believe it. There is no shortcut if we are to successfully equip our kids. Worldview training is an extremely effective way to equip our youth to analyze false worldviews for the purpose of discerning what is good, right, and holy.
The next generation of Christian leaders is depending upon us as parents to cast a vision for Christian education, outreach, evangelism, and leadership development. Only biblical worldview provides the ‘scope’ of vision necessary to speak God’s total truth to a darkened world.
Our young people will ultimately be ministering to those who live in a ‘post-Christian’ era. Our culture is characterized by a vicious civil war over values. Christianity was once viewed as holding back corruption; but now it is commonly viewed as holding back progress! Worldview training is essential if we are to raise up a generation of Christian leaders who understand the times and who know how to effectively communicate the truth of the Gospel.
Biblical Worldview provides a main line of defense for families. Biblical worldview assists parents in understanding the nature, scope, and content of their task in training their children. It helps parents capture the vision to raise their children through a ‘process’ of training based upon strong relationships. The traditional model of training kids through ‘programs’ is failing. Young people are best trained when their parents embrace the vision to live ‘incarnational’ lives (God’s truth and love in action) in the presence of their children. We can’t be effective raising children ‘programmatically’. We’ve got to raise them with ‘process’ (Josh McDowell).
In a world awash in relativism, our young people need to know that every Christian truth they defend derives its meaning and authority from its relation to the character and plan of an infinitely good, wise, and holy God. This confidence must be imparted to our kids if we expect them to be ‘worldview changers’ in the home, at church, and in the community.
By means of a worldview framework, our kids are better able to embrace the foundations of their faith—and consequently are better able to process the numerous principles, truths, and narratives provided in the Bible. To our kids’ ears, our preaching, teaching, and instructing (without this mental framework) can be ‘information overload’—young people commonly respond with an attitude of “So what?—you’re just heaping on more information.” By contrast, biblical worldview gives young people a grid or filter to know how to categorize and implement the spiritual facts they receive (George Barna, “Think Like Jesus”).
In addition, biblical worldview is the ideal context for developing biblical convictions. One of the most sacred trusts given to parents by God is the guidance we provide our children in developing biblical convictions. Only by the wisdom of biblical convictions will our young people be able to successfully navigate through this world’s pitfalls and make God-honoring life choices (Paul David Tripp, Age of Opportunity, pp. 128-132).
Biblical worldview helps preserve the integrity of Christian life. When God’s unified truth is applied to all of life it is transforming in its power. Many professing believers live a ‘disconnected life’—in other words, what they say they believe is ‘disconnected’ from how they live. Biblical worldview deals with this ‘disconnect’ through the power of unified truth. Believers committed to biblical worldview learn to bring every area of life under the lordship of Christ.
Instead of a unified worldview; many believers have a ‘patch-work’ of ideas that make up their life view or worldview. One of the greatest advantages of systematically studying Christian worldview is that believers become aware that God’s unified truth is total truth.
There is both joy and confidence that arises from discovering God’s Word speaks to every area of life. A dedication to study biblical worldview brings with it the confidence that God has answers to all of life’s important questions. There is an answer from God’s Word for everything you experience from day to day.
Thus, biblical worldview is a vision OF LIFE and a vision FOR LIFE. It is vision ‘of life’ because it provides both holistic truth and discernment of our culture. It is vision ‘for life’ because God’s unified truth brings cohesion to all of life so that it may be lived to the glory of God. Therefore there are no compartments ‘exempt’ from the lordship of Christ. Biblical worldview is the basis for all of life’s choices, decisions, values, beliefs, and behavior.
Christians make the most God-honoring decisions when those decisions are based upon an integrated biblical worldview. Biblical worldview is the basis for all of life’s choices, decisions, values, beliefs, and behavior. This knowledge is intensely practical; it helps believers form the appropriate response to the moral issues we face in our culture.
God’s blueprint for mankind is a unity of total truth. The pieces of God’s worldview are made to fit together like pieces of a puzzle—they are interlocking and interdependent. Therefore, no piece of the biblical worldview puzzle is expendable.
To hold to a unified biblical worldview that incorporates every part of God’s blueprint is never an accident; it is always the result of systematic training. In order to be fully grasped; biblical worldview must be diligently taught. The benefits far outweigh the cost—Christians trained in biblical worldview develop the resolve to view all of life through the biblical grid and bring all of life under the lordship of Christ. God has called us not only to personal faith; but also to a biblical worldview that has the power to transform our world. Our young people are counting on us to provide this kind of training.
Gospel for Life director Jay Wegter develops curriculum for church-based ministry training. Jay is available for conferences and workshops. Gospel for Life will issue a tax receipt for all donations. Please make checks to Gospel for Life,mail to: Gospel for Life, 7210 Sanza Place, Alta Loma, CA 91701. Contact: (661)254-2105. Ministry Resource: www.gospelforlife.org, Email:firstname.lastname@example.org