New research from George Barna shows, “a broad, deep gap in American political beliefs and behavior, rooted not in ideology or partisanship, but in fundamental differences in the worldview of voting-age adults being fueled by a national cultural shift away from the biblical worldview.” Barna believes, based on his research that, “The 2020 election is not about personalities, parties, or even politics. It is an election to determine the dominant worldview in America.
Barna payed particular attention to those he calls “integrated disciples.” These are persons with a consistent biblical worldview. The survey indicated that only 6% of those who identified as Christian had a biblical worldview. These believers tended to hold conservative political views in greater number than adults without a biblical worldview.
For example, they believe in the definition of marriage as one man and one woman, 95% vs. 34%, and are more deeply committed to practicing their religious faith, 98% to 57%. These folks are two and a half times more likely to be conservative on social issues 91% vs. 34%.
What I find interesting is Barna’s contention that politics is no longer about party platforms but competing worldviews. “Over the past 40 years Americans have gradually but consistently abandoned a range of foundational, biblical beliefs in favor of a human-centric, consensual, emotion-driven understanding of and response to the world. That transition has been highly visible in relation to morality and political preferences.”
Men, this reminds me of Paul’s warning to Timothy about those with “itching ears.” “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear” ( II Tim 4:3).
The “seismic sixties” as Os Guinness calls it, was the decade when the radical ideas first broke through into mainstream American thinking and life. Guinness notes, “the 60’s sowed the poison seeds that are producing today’s bitter harvest. The roots of those ideas predate the 60’s, but it was in the 60’s where they became dangerous.”
In the 1973, as a young pastor I read Os Guinness book “The Dust of Death” several times over. It cemented my thinking to be a “Jesus person” and a pastor of “the Book.” I never doubted my stance as I lived through those years. As a feeling, intuitive man, I clung to my testimony of Jesus, wanting to be credible witness for him with the Lutheran church. But I needed help thinking my way through the changing times. I wanted the Bible to form my worldview.
Today, having lived through the 60’s, being ordained in 1970, I am part of that 6% that Barna discovered in his research. I survived due to the following commitments I made regarding the Word of God.
First, Scripture is God’s inspired Word and it has the final say when it comes to faith and practice. I had to settle that in my mind. Jesus said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away” (Matt 24:34).
Second, I gladly submit my thinking to the authority of God’s Word. If something is not clearly found in scripture I will raise a big question mark.
Thirdly, I continue to need guidance as I journey with Jesus through the changes and chaos that is coming. “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” (Ps. 119:108).
Fourthly, I need help to be an integrated follower of Jesus (in word and deed). Scripture does that for me if I obey, “But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says.” ( James 1:23).
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