By Jim Powers
In my last column I wrote about a growing concern among some Evangelical Christian pastors from members of their congregation that Jesus’ admonitions in the New Testament weren’t relevant to modern Christian life, or that they were “weak” or “outdated.” Surprising.
If we look closely at the worldview of modern Christians, though, these expressions of Jesus’ inadequacy are not surprising at all. According to various studies, only around 17 percent of Christians actually hold a Christian worldview.
Christian worldview refers to the framework of ideas and beliefs through which a Christian understands and interprets the world and interacts with it. It encompasses a comprehensive and consistent set of perspectives that are rooted in Christian teachings, the Bible, and a relationship with Jesus. Here are some specific aspects of a Christian worldview.
Christians believe that the universe and everything in it was created by God. This belief is foundational to a Christian's understanding of the nature and purpose of humanity and the world. Simply put, if you do not believe in God, you can’t be a Christian.
Christians believe that humanity, initially created good, fell into sin through the disobedience of the first humans, Adam and Eve. This event introduced sin and brokenness into the world. Humanity, according to the Bible, needed redemption, which leads to the central tenet of Christianity, the belief in Jesus Christ as the Son of God who came to Earth, died for humanity's sins, and was resurrected. Through faith in Jesus, individuals can be reconciled with God and receive eternal life.
Christian worldview also holds that the Bible is considered the inspired and authoritative Word of God. It provides guidance, instruction, and wisdom for living, including moral truths and ethical standards that come from God and are revealed in the Bible. This moral framework provides guidance on issues of right and wrong.
In the Christian worldview, Christians believe in the eventual return of Jesus and the establishment of a new heaven and a new earth. This is important, because this belief affects how they view the future and their place in it. It has societal and political implications.
Life for the Christian is seen as purposeful and meaningful because it is a gift from God. Christians believe they are called to serve God and others, to spread the message of the Gospel, and to live in a manner pleasing to God.
The Christ worldview holds that every human being is made in the image of God and, therefore, possesses intrinsic value and dignity. This belief impacts views on issues like sanctity of life, human rights, and social justice.
Finally, Christians believe the Church is the body of Christ on Earth. It's a community of believers who come together for worship, fellowship, and service.
While some traditions and denominations emphasize different aspects or interpret certain beliefs in unique ways, the aspects I’ve noted here of this worldview are widely accepted across Christian traditions. They are a useful reference to compare our personal Christian worldview to a generally accepted one.
I think the central message here is that, with only 17 percent of those who identify as Christians sharing this worldview, we can’t assume that when someone tells us they are a Christian, that the word means the same thing to them that it means to us. They may, in fact, agree with us on most points. They can also have a worldview that we would completely disagree with.
The word Christian, like the word God, is being used these days for its connotation, not for its meaning. These words have, in fact, been emptied of their meaning by bad actors to influence us, knowing we’ll fill in the meaning with our own worldview, and trust the speaker, often for their political ends.
Claiming to be a Christian means something specific. Christian is not just a feel-good word; it demands specific beliefs and sets out how we must treat other human beings. As, for example, Jesus’ admonitions in the Sermon on the Mount.
Jim Powers writes opinion articles. The views expressed here are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of this publication.