What we believe matters --- because what we believe effects how we choose to live and treat others. It's true that "you can tell me what you think, but you will live what you believe.
What is a Worldview? A Worldview is the framework and set of filters we view the world around us from and our place in it; it's how we interpret things. It governs our attitudes, choices and behaviors.
Every worldview contains five components whether or not it is acknowledged --- or even recognized. Try discussing these at your next family gathering!
Theology = Beliefs about the existence, nature & source of God. Everyone has a belief about God even if they say He doesn't exist.
(E.g., atheism, deism, monotheism, pantheism, etc.)
Anthropology = Beliefs about the existence, nature & source of man.
( E.g., basically good, fallen nature, evolving animal, image of God, etc.)
Axiology = Beliefs about the existence, nature & source of morals.
( E.g., relativism & situational ethics, self-truth, social norms, moral absolutes, etc.)
Metaphysics = Beliefs about the existence, nature & source of ultimate reality.
(E.g., experience & natural world, biblical truth, etc.)
Epistemology = Beliefs, methodology & approach to science.
(E.g., “No Bible, only Science”, “Only the Bible, no Science” or "Bible & Science")
America and Western Civilization was originally built on a Judaeo-Christian Worldview. Interestingly enough, I just read a secular article on the "least corrupt" countries in the world. Although the article didn't say it (I knew immediately by looking at a color coded atlas), the common denominator? Those founded on a historic Judaeo-Christian Worldview. Not only that, those with a distinctly Judaeo-Christian AND Protestant Reformation historical lineage.
Judaeo-Christian Worldview is based on the idea there is a holy God with established moral absolutes (e.g., the Ten Commandments), who all men are accountable to. It gets it's viewpoint from Scripture.
Secular Humanistic Worldview is based upon the idea that there is no God and no moral absolutes; only moral relativism leading to situational ethics and moral compartmentalization. E.g., just because a pastor recently had to flee out of a congregant's bedroom naked after being caught in adultery by the woman's husband, doesn't mean we shouldn't trust him to be faithful to God and his people as a pastor. Or, just because a president repeatedly violates his oath made to God in his marriage, doesn't mean he can't keep his oath made to God and the American people.
A historic Judaeo-Christian Wolrdview has all but disappeared in the life of our country --- even among so-called Evangelicals. We now live in a post-Christian America. The predominate Worldview in America today is a Secular-Humanism. While within the "Evangelical" church itself, studies indicate that the predominate Worldview is now "Moralistic Therapeutic Deism (MTD)." MTD consists of some combination of moral teaching, pop-psychology, and generic God-talk. It is the primary theology of most "Seeker-Friendly" churches. As a result, studies now indicate that only 9% of CHRISTIANS in America have a Biblical Worldview.
Worldviews impact our view on sexual, economic, social and political morality and justice. E.g.,
Traditional Conservatism defines it as equal opportunity, and is more closely related to a Judaeo-Christian and Capitalistic Worldview.
Modern Liberalism defines it as equal outcome, and is more closely related to a Secular-Humanist and even Socialist Worldview.
Traditional Conservatism defines it as the right to pursue those things that don't impinge upon the rights of others. The right to take risks in the pursuit of non-guaranteed rewards while accepting personal responsibility for the outcomes.. It's more closely related to a Judaeo-Christian and Capitalistic Worldview.
Modern Liberalism defines it as the right to pursue those things I want, regardless of how it might impact others; to live any life-style chosen without restraint --- BUT --- if it doesn't work out it's up to everybody else to bail me out --- or to support me so I can continue a life-style I can't maintain on my own. It's more closely related to a Secular-Humanistic and even Socialist Worldview.
Traditional Conservatism = much like an "exegesis" study of Scripture attempts to get at the original intent and meaning of the writer, Constitutional "Originalist" attempt the same thing when interpreting the Constitution; what was the original intent of the Framers? The Constitution itself was the work of men who had been influenced by a Judaeo-Christian Worldview.
Modern Liberalism = Muck like an "eisegeses" study of Scripture, it reads into the text whatever it desires. It treats the Constitution in the same way, as a "living" document that supports what they want and can force upon others. It has even been interpreted in a way that ignores rights specifically written in black and white, all in attempt to create a new set of unwritten rights that don't even exist in the Constitution itself. E.g., the "right" of homosexual marriage and transgender bathroom and shower room "rights," now trumps religious liberties.
Whatever Worldview we may have, let's be honest enough to admit that we each have one. And, let's be honest enough if we call ourselves a "Christian" to make sure we have the Worldview that Christ Himself taught and lived by. His was the original "Originalist" Worldview based on truth and love; one that empowered and didn't enable; one that helped the masses without denying their own personal responsibility. One who had a perfect and balanced Worldview based on Eternity.
Used by permission of "GotQuestions.com"
Question: "How should Christians view refugees?"
Answer: One of the things that have marked the 21st century so far is the global refugee crisis caused by warfare, genocide, and oppression in various places around the world. Some estimates place the number of displaced people at close to 60 million globally. Syria has endured a civil war since 2011, displacing nearly 14 million people from their homes; nearly 5 million Syrians have fled to other countries. The United States admitted almost 85,000 refugees from all over the world in 2016. With the refugees come opportunities, risks, and debates over what the Christian response to refugees should be.
First, all Christians should be able to agree that the issues surrounding the refugee crisis are more complex than the rhetoric on social media would have us believe. There are Christians who, in the name of compassion, believe we should open all borders and take in all refugees, no matter what. There are other Christians who, in this era of terrorism, believe we should close all borders and refuse most refugees. For one group to malign the other as “un-Christian” or “unloving” or “racist” is wrong. To insist that one’s own view on refugees is the only possible view for a Christian to have is neither helpful nor realistic. It’s not as simple as “love vs. hate” or “compassion vs. security.” There are nuances to consider. There may, in fact, be more than one Christian view on the matter of refugees.
Second, still laying the groundwork for considering the refugee crisis, we should acknowledge that forming personal convictions concerning refugees is a separate matter from setting governmental policy. Christians have many shared priorities, but the practical outworking of those priorities can vary from person to person. A government, even when informed by Christian principles, has different priorities. Governments must be concerned with national security, even if Christians give no thought to personal security. An individual Christian may be willing to risk everything in order to assist refugees, but that same Christian cannot demand that his neighbors share that risk. We must strike a balance between our (God-given) personal responsibility to show compassion and the (God-given) state responsibility to protect its citizens.
It’s good to look to Scripture for some examples of displaced people. Jacob and his family could be considered refugees in Egypt, fleeing the famine in Canaan (Genesis 46:1–4). When Moab faced destruction at the hands of the Assyrians, the Moabites pleaded for Israel to take in their refugees (Isaiah 16:3). Edom was condemned, in part, for refusing to help Jewish refugees (Obadiah 1:14). Psalm 146:9 says, “The Lord watches over the foreigner.” Ruth, who was more of an immigrant than a refugee, was welcomed in Judah, but note, in her words to Naomi, her willingness to assimilate into Jewish culture: “Your people will be my people and your God my God” (Ruth 1:16).
The Old Testament Law contained this instruction pertaining to refugees and immigrants in Israel: “Do not oppress a foreigner; you yourselves know how it feels to be foreigners, because you were foreigners in Egypt” (Exodus 23:9). This principle is reiterated in Leviticus 19:33, “When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them.”
The New Testament does not give any specific command concerning nations admitting refugees. The New Testament was not written to be a civic handbook or legal charter. What we do find in the New Testament are specific commands concerning individual treatment of others. Jesus said the greatest commandment, right after the command to love God, is “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31). And in one of the end times’ judgments, Jesus will commend those who helped the hungry, the thirsty, and the stranger (Matthew 25:35). So, without a doubt, Christians have a mandate to show compassion to the needy.
The Christian response to refugees must include love. And it’s worth pointing out that biblical love always includes risk. It’s impossible to love someone the way Christ loves us and not face a certain amount of risk. And that factor—risk—is what necessitates that Christian compassion be tempered with caution when implementing national policy. Any nation that brings in refugees opens itself to the possibility that terrorists have infiltrated the ranks of displaced internationals. The Paris attacks in November 2015 and the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013 are grim reminders of the deception employed by terrorists to gain entrance into a country.
So, a Christian forming a biblical response to the refugee crisis will do several things:
1) Commit to administering care and compassion to refugees. Christians should welcome refugees into their homes and churches as a way to show God’s love and share the gospel. Standing before the throne of the Lamb one day will be those “from every nation, tribe, people and language” (Revelation 7:9).
2) Pray for our nation’s leaders. Governing authorities have a divine responsibility to “bring punishment on the wrongdoer” (Romans 13:4) and to ensure “that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness” (1 Timothy 2:2). Pray that our leaders would have the wisdom of a Daniel or a Joseph.
3) Support ministries that assist refugees. Many Christian ministries exist to help refugees in relocation, job training, language skills, and cultural adjustment.
4) Promote government policies that are effective in screening refugees to prevent those with evil intent from entering. We must show compassion to those in need; at the same time, we must show compassion to our fellow citizens and not place them at undue risk.
5) Pray for the refugees, their families, and their troubled homelands. “Be exalted, O God, above the highest heavens! May your glory shine over all the earth” (Psalm 57:5).
6) Research the best ways to help the displaced. From “safe zones” abroad to Christian ministries at home, there are many options that deserve serious consideration.
Jesus told us to go into all the world and preach the gospel (Matthew 28:18– 20). With the surge of refugees, the mission field is coming to us, and many of those who come are from nations closed to traditional missions. Wouldn’t it be just like God to turn a bad situation into something good and full of glory?
Recommended Resource: Seeking Refuge: On the Shores of the Global Refugee Crisis by Bauman, Sorens, & Smeir
Pastor Bob Morgan is the founding pastor of HCCF. His pastor's "heart-cry" is to see God glorified through the liberating power of the Gospel by leading people to freedom in Christ, and positive, biblical life-change.