Did you know that “Christian worldview” is an oxymoron?
And don’t worry; it isn’t.
Yet just this weekend I spoke with a professing Christian who actually believes that “Christian worldview” is indeed oxymoronic. He said so. Out loud. He wrote about it, too.
He explained to me that “worldview” meant “a view from a worldly perspective”, and that, as such, a Christian shouldn’t have a worldview.
I explained what the word “worldview” actually meant.
Worldview meant whatever he wanted it to mean. Hadn’t I gotten the memo?
At any rate, he was detailed in his pitch to dismiss the credibility of the Christian worldview concept. This was no off-the-cuff, heat-of-the-moment, spontaneous bit of conversational fumbling. It was a carefully constructed response to the clear and present threat that this man perceived in the Christian worldview (if it were to actually exist, anyway).
Now, before going on, let’s make note of something more than a tad on the important side:
Anyone dismissing the notion of a clear, coherent, biblical Christian worldview is admitting, if nothing else, that they do not hold to a Christian worldview.
This is a biggie.
In this sort of sad attempt to dismiss the notion of a Christian worldview, the one and only thing concretely established by the critic in question is that they personally do not possess the very worldview that they are denying.
Moreover, those who would make such an assertion are going about the process of defining and defending their counter-Christian position in a particularly cowardly and deceptive manner.
Rather than own up to the fact that, yes, there is a clearly defined biblical Christian worldview to which they simply will not individually conform, they seek instead to escape personal responsibility by dismissing the concept as a standard by which anyone must live. In strict theological terms, this is known as “lame”.
If this ridiculous contention is allowed to stand, its proponent will claim and build upon a victory founded on two delusional principles:
1. With “Christian worldview” dismissed as a concept, they cannot possibly have any personal obligation to honor it.
2. With this one worldview removed from the category of legitimate consideration, any individual making an argument from a “Christian worldview” perspective can be just as easily dismissed, ignored, and, when properly enlightened “progressives” are in a position of power, silenced. (These folks thrive on silencing dissent. It sure beats free and open debate, from their perspective.)
With the Christian worldview deconstructed in such a manner, the Christian walk is left completely open to interpretation, or, more accurately, re–interpretation. This is an intentional vacuum crafted for intentional use in the intentional redefinition of Christian life.
What’s left at the end of such an exercise?
Well, pretty much anything you want, theologically speaking.
And that’s the point.
This is just the kind of counterfeit religion that fallen man loves.
You can claim all of the nice, warm, fluffy, non-threatening and harmless bits about Jesus and Christianity that you like while at the same time retaining the full freedom to dismiss anything that doesn’t conform to the will and comfort-level of the little god you’ve crafted in your mind. Back in the day, this was known as “idolatry”.
God hates idolatry.
(And yes, that’s “hates” in the present tense.)
Since there’s really nothing new in any of this, you might be wonderin’ why I’m making such a big deal about the fact that I managed to bump into a person in America who openly embraces a fundamentally anti-biblical worldview. (Worldview being defined here as: “The overall perspective from which one sees and interprets the world.” I hope that such a definition isn’t too jarring or confusing.)
This hardly seems newsworthy. We are living in post-Christian America, after all.
But here’s the rub:
This guy preaches.
He’s a deacon…at a Baptist church…in the Bible Belt Buckle.
So it is that this man must be held accountable, and to a much higher standard than the garden-variety professing Christian roaming the countryside.
I didn’t write these rules.
And these rules reared their head last Saturday.
All of this shifted into high gear when, at a Christian writer’s club meeting that we both attended over the weekend, Mr. Oxymoron noticed a copy of Blue Like Jazz that I had in my briefcase. For those of you unaware of Blue Like Jazz, it’s a best-selling book written a few years back by a guy named Donald Miller, who is something of a celebrity in the counter-Christian movement known as, among other things (they change names almost as often as they mutilate Scripture), “the emergent church”.
In his book, Miller rambles on and on about the problems with orthodox Christianity (aka “a Christian worldview”) while extolling the virtues of practically every vice covered in Scripture. He exalts the free-sex flaunting, pot-smoking, Christ-denying hippie culture as the pinnacle of “community” and his experience in said community as the time in which he had “never felt more alive”.
Lest you think I’m exaggerating, feast your eyes on these little Blue gems from Don:
I began to understand that my pastors and leaders were wrong, that the liberals were not evil, they were liberal for the same reason Christians were Christians, because they believed their philosophies were right, good, and beneficial for the world. I had been raised to believe there were monsters under the bed, but I had peeked, in a moment of bravery, and found a wonderful world, a good world, better, in fact, than the one I had known.
The problem with Christian community was that we had ethics, we had rules and laws and principles to judge each other against…Christianity was always right…And I hated this. I hated it with a passion. Everything in my soul told me it was wrong.
I confess I enjoyed being different. I got more attention by being the hippie guy than I had when I was normal. I felt better in a lot of ways, more superior, because I was no longer sheltered. I had been in the world, and the world had approved of me.
They were cute, these little Christian people. I liked them. They reminded me of my roots, where I had come from all those days ago, before my month in the woods with the pot smokers and the hippies and the free love for everybody.
I had never felt so alive as I did in the company of my liberal friends. It isn’t that the Christians I had been with had bad community; they didn’t, I just liked the community of hippies because it was more forgiving, more, I don’t know, healthy.
You get the idea.
Blue Like Jazz is about as flagrantly anti-Christian as a book can be. (Which these days virtually guarantees that it can be had at most American “Christian bookstores”.)
To miss the anti-Christian nature of Blue Like Jazz is to demonstrate, at the very least, a complete lack of spiritual discernment as defined in Scripture. (Which these days virtually grarantees one’s viability as a staff member at most American “Christian churches”.)
So Mr. Oxymoron saw my copy of the book sitting there inside my briefcase and, you guessed it, complimented me on having such a quality work on hand.
I then asked him if he’d read it and he said yeah with a smile. He really liked it. He was a big fan.
A few thoughts bounced around my spinning little head as he enthusiastically saluted Miller’s naked assault on Christianity.
“What are you smoking?”
“Who vetted you for deacon?”
“Do you think you’ll see the lightning before it strikes?”
In fairness to Mr. Oxymoron, he couldn’t have known that my copy of Miller’s rather, um, intriguing work is drenched in highlights and underlines as part of what I like to call gool ol’ opposition research. As a case-study in contemporary counter-Christianity, Blue Like Jazz is a masterpiece. So, in a sense, I am a Miller fan too.
So, yay Donald Miller!
Anyway, the next few minutes were mostly filled with me explaining my views on Miller’s work and asking Mr. Oxymoron to please, please, please explain to me how it could possibly be defended as anything but anti-Christian from a biblically submissive perspective.
As I poked and prodded around Mr. Oxymoron’s worldview, he offered nothing in the way of orthodox Christian defense on a single, solitary position. More disturbing, he seemed not to be bothered in the slightest by this. In his responses, it seemed clear that he felt little if any compulsion to bring his views in line with orthodox, biblical Christianity.
Every subject I touched on, from homosexuality to abortion, and the requirement of biblical Christians to oppose both, was met with indifference. He had no interest in addressing these issues.
They inspired little passion in Mr. Oxymoron.
Yet, after a while, there was one defense that he leapt to make. There was something that brought Mr. Oxymoron to life.
And what was this issue or cause, you ask?
Making the intentional murder of innocent children illegal?
Nah, as I mentioned, Mr. O saw no reason to take a stand there.
Opposing the legitimization of homosexuality in light of God’s clearly stated disdain for the “lifestyle”?
Nuh-uh…no big deal, that.
Nope, the sacred cow that required Oxymoronic defense was neither of those things. Children can be legally murdered at a clip that’d make Nazi Germany blush and homosexuality can be legitimized at every turn, regardless of any crystal clear thing that God may have had to say on either matter, but there is one thing – one glorious and beautiful concept – that simply must be defended when attacked:
Yes, socialism was the one and only thing we touched upon that Mr. Oxymoron felt compelled to defend. At last he had found something worth fighting over. Just when I was beginning to wonder if all the abortion/homosexuality/Bible-fidelity talk had actually put the guy to sleep, he came to life.
There was finally an issue that inspired some passion in the man. Socialism was clearly a favored concept…much more real and defensible than that ridiculous “Christian worldview” thing.
This was where the rubber met the road.
This was where the battle had to be fought.
This was the hill he deemed worthy worth bleeding over.
None of this was all that much of a surprise. I’d spoken with the Comrade about these things before. But still, the starkness of his reaction to socialism as a cause, as opposed to the legal murder of innocent children or the legitimization of homosexuality, was weird to behold. Predictable, yes, but weird nonetheless.
Not-so-coincidentally, Comrade Oxymoron had in earlier conversations frequently expressed something of a contempt for the notion that biblical Christians are required to submit every aspect of their lives to Scriptural standards.
The Christ of biblical Christianity comes for everything when He chooses to regenerate a person. He demands all. Every thought, deed, hope and dream.
C.S. Lewis described this most beautiful and central of Christian truths as follows:
The Christian way is different: harder, and easier. Christ says, ‘Give me All. I don’t want so much of your time and so much of your money and so much of your work: I want You. I have not come to torment your natural self, but to kill it. No half-measures are any good. I don’t want to cut off a branch here and a branch there, I want to have the whole tree down. I don’t want to drill the tooth, or crown it, or stop it, but to have it out. Hand over the whole natural self, all the desires which you think innocent as well as the ones you think wicked – the whole outfit. I will give you a new self instead. In fact, I will give you Myself: my own will shall become yours.
Every aspiration, habit and goal is to be brought into conformity with the will of Christ.
This, of course, includes their politics.
And that’s where Comrade Oxymoron comes unglued.
The mere suggestion that all actual biblical Christians must love their Lord with all their mind, body, spirit and vote tends to inspire an immediate backlash of repudiation from Comrade O.
And remember, this guy preaches. He’s a deacon at a Baptist church. He claims to represent Jesus.
The Jesus of the Baptist branch of the Christian church in America.
All while simultaneously embracing Blue Like Jazz and actively undermining the very notion of a Christian worldview.
Do you hear the Twilight Zone music?
Once upon a time, biblical fidelity mattered.
Well, to the God of Scripture and those who actually hold to that whole wacky “Christian worldview” thing, it still does. Yet, sadly, in much of the professing church in America, such assaults on the foundations of the Christian faith seem to matter less and less with each passing day.
Well, for one thing, defending these things is hard.
It will cost. Often a lot.
Adding to the challenge of meeting this obligation to defend truth is the fact that these stands must often be taken against the stated views of people that we like. The case of Comrade O is a fine example of this, as I find him to be very cool in a great many ways. He is what most would definitely call “a good guy” and he has a whole lot of exceptional attributes. He’s funny, bright and creative.
And he is profoundly opposed to Scripture in a fundamental and systematic sense, all while occupying the positions of preacher and deacon.
So how do you convey that, while you really like a guy personally and think highly of him in many ways, his worldview is, basically, of the devil?
Talk about awkward.
So what’s a biblical Christian to do?
As with all vital questions, God has provided an answer:
We are lovingly commanded to test all things in the light of Scripture, hold fast to that which is true, and correct any deviation from that truth. We are called to cherish truth, not as defined by our own individual minds and desires, but as objectively revealed in the perfect pages of the Bible. We are required to encourage all Christians in their pursuit of and submission to this truth and we are to hold our leaders to the highest of standards.
That’s what the God of Christianity has to say on the matter, and we must obey. Even when it’s hard….and awkward.
When we engage in this biblically mandated testing and repudiation of false teaching, we will be branded an intolerant, unenlightened jerk. We will be the problem in the eyes of many.
But never in the eyes of Christ, and by Christ I mean the real one – The One who wrote these rules and commands our obedience.
When we stand, we are promised persecution. It’s a guarantee.
This will not come as a surprise to the biblically literate Christian, but, then again, biblical illiteracy is precisely what the Comrade Oxymorons of the world depend upon to provide them with free access to and influence over the very church their cherished “progressive” worldview actively seeks to undermine. With biblical illiteracy pervasive and entrenched, the sheep are left defenseless. They’re there for the taking.
So it is that the emergent church of Progressive Anti-Christianity has infiltrated the professing church of Christ from coast to coast and at every level of leadership.
Can a Christian support a cause or candidate that supports the legal right to murder an innocent child?
Can a Christian support a cause or candidate that supports the legitimization of homosexuality?
But of course!
Should Christians strive to conform to a Christian worldview?
Nah. No need to worry ‘bout that.
You don’t believe me?
Just ask your local Baptist deacon. You might be surprised.
I know I was.
The question then becomes, what are we gonna do about it?
Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.
2 Timothy 3:12-13 (ESV)
But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.
2 Peter 2:1 (ESV)
There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability.
2 Peter 3: 16, 17 (ESV)
See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.
Colossians 2:8 (ESV)
As I posted at the Fire Breathing Christian home page a while back, I’ve been preoccupied with two projects that I’m wrapping up. I look forward to sharing details about these things and will do so as soon as possible. In the meantime, your kind patience is cherished. I should be back in a regular blogging groove again later this month.
Your thoughts, prayers and supercool emails of support have been very much appreciated!
Soli Deo gloria…and let’s roll!
Copyright 2009 S.A. Buss – Feel free to re-post this piece, but only with the copyright included and a link to Fire Breathing Christian whenever possible. Thank you!