For some time now there have been several wondering what can be done to correct the course America is currently on. Run-away spending at all government levels, non-education taking place in our educational institutions, illegal immigration at the borders, drug use, domestic violence, identity theft, terrorists threats, pornographic plague, rampant relativism, political correctness, and the list goes on, and on, and on. America is rapidly, not slowly, being taken away amid its own sins, and some want to know what can be done. Well, there is only one answer: establish a Christian worldview.
Now, some might scoff under the assumption that establishing a Christian worldview would someone either mean to establish a national church or to conflict with the Constitution. Neither assumption is valid, nor is such even implied. What is meant by establishing a Christian worldview is for Christians to start living their faith like it is real and then affecting all walks of American life, whereby truth is exalted over error, light over darkness, and moral purity over immoral indifference and degradation. That regardless of the setting the Christian mind is developed to the glory of God and doing what is right becomes the norm, rather than the exception.
Because in the current climate, and probably for nearly the last two hundred years, the Christian mind has either been in neutral or for the most part absent from affecting the American culture. The result has been disastrous, and if painstaking steps are not taken to right the wrongs of the past, then America will no longer existence before the end of the twenty-first century. In fact, it may take two generations of Americans to right the present course before the actual benefit of an established Christian worldview is enjoyed, that is just how dire the current situation is.
The question then becomes how? How do we, as Christians, go about establishing a Christian worldview in America, if it is not already too late? Let me just say that because of the neglect of the past it is going to be extremely difficult. Right now there are so many competing voices which are serving to do nothing but cause confusion—leading to America's demise—that until they are silenced through a rigorous and vigorous development of the Christian mind and interaction with those competing voices, then it will seem like carrying an elephant on one's back up the slopes of Mount Everest. It will be long, it will be extremely difficult, and there will be numerous times where quitting seems like a better option. Yet, such a task will be worth the effort to those who truly understand what it means to be a Christian, as opposed to those who only pay lip service to the Christian worldview, and also believe that there are real alternatives.
Therefore, the question of how becomes the focus of what this paper is all about. Below are ten suggestions on how to establish a Christian worldview in America. The suggestions are by no means inspired, but a careful implementation of them in American life cannot do anything other than bring success. All of the suggestions are imminently personal, yet must ultimately be exercised in community. In Christian thought were all parts of the body, with one part being as important as the next to make the body function properly. So, if a person is a Christian and the President of the local PTA, and another Christian makes tires as a laborer at Goodyear, then both of their roles in the Christian body are equally important.
Before more fully explaining what will be required to established a national Christian worldview to revive America it is good at this point to define just what is meant by a Christian worldview, and why developing one is important. First of all, a worldview is the philosophical-moral-ethical grid in the mind of each individual person which assists the individual in interpreting the events, decisions, plans made around him every day. If one could image a sieve or funnel placed in the mind where all of life's data passes through for analysis and interpretation, then one would have a visual of what a worldview might look like in practical terms. Not all worldviews are created equally, though, with some being more or less coherent than others. Factors determining coherency depend, of course, on both outside influences (e.g. education, upbringing, peer pressure, etc.), as well as internal contemplation. All non-Christian worldviews, through a process of logical deduction, ultimately devolve into a state of self-worship and adoration.
Second, by asserting that there is such a thing as a Christian worldview means that there is something which has been placed in an objective position, and the individual strives to mimic in one's life as the correct path to truth, meaning, and right living. The sieve or funnel in the mind helps the individual see the world through the eyes of a transcendent being, namely God, who knows creation, perfectly, from beginning to end, and all the possibilities involved in the decisions, events, and behaviors which help shape reality. Ultimate absolute truth and the glorification of God are the goals of those subscribing to the Christian worldview, since those two goals are understood to bring peace, harmony, and joy into the lives who seek them. When exercised and propagated in all walks of life, as the Christian works to become mature in his profession, evil is mitigated, if not simply better understood, and the community as a whole benefits. Conversely, where the Christian worldview is absent or waning, then chaos, treachery, suffering, evil, and pain are imminent.
So, without further introduction, what is the first prescription that is necessary to lead to a national Christian worldview?
Before even attempting to establish a national Christian apologetic in America Christians, both individually and collective must prayerfully ask God for forgiveness for decades, if not centuries, of sloppy thinking and neglect. What should have cultivated by Christians during the past two hundred plus years has been forfeited to non-believers and anti-Christians, and the result is now that Christians have fallen under the agenda of non-belief to try and live out the Christian worldview. And as is always the case, when conformity and compromise to that which is alien becomes the norm between good and bad, white and black, true and false, the inevitable result will be that goodness, whiteness, and trueness become tainted. "Do not be deceived: 'Bad company corrupts good morals'" wrote the apostle Paul (1 Cor. 15:33), and nothing could be truer when applying that principle to the current condition of the church and American society as a whole.
Prayer is not merely asking God for something but acknowledging through confession that we have gone awry. That instead of loving God with our whole minds, we have done what was expedient and then withdrawn from the world which God created for our exploration and dominion. We have left the non-believing world groping in the darkness to interpret its surrounding and erect false edifices of understanding, while we have hidden behind "holier than thou" walls of pseudo-piety, shaking a damning finger at those who dare threaten us, and claiming victory that "Jesus is coming" as we shake our heads neglectful disgust over the heathen's behavior.
Shame on us! Shame on us for failing to avail ourselves the gracious opportunity afforded by God to know Him better through His creation. "It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, But the glory of kings is to search out a matter" (Prov. 25:2) wrote King Solomon. Creation itself includes much, much more than merely attempting to discern when and how it came to be. It includes what we often take as mundane, such as the music we play or listen to, the games we create and enjoy watching, the laboratories we build and search for cures, and letters we write and send abroad to encourage. All aspects of activity are done within the created order and are only possible because a divine Creator is intimately involved in creation. Shame on us for ignoring and neglecting that involvement, and subsuming upon ourselves any undue credit for what has been achieved.
If we are to ever establish a national Christian worldview, then we must confess, repent, and ask for God's forgiveness for our sins of commission and omission, which recognized God with our lips, yet with our minds, hands, and feet decided to go it alone without Him. Then after garnering God's forgiveness we must earnestly seek to rectify ongoing inequities, so that we will not slip back into a mindset of complacency and self-sufficiency, thinking that we are doing God's work, when in reality we are repeating our sins all over again. This is where we commit to think apologetically.
One thing is an absolute certainty in American life today, and that is commitment is almost a byword. It is a term of derision in many instances. Americans have become so spoiled or disillusioned over their "rights," that unless something is immediately self-serving and brings the greatest personal dividends without possible loss, then they will not commit to it. Forget the fact that some things may only come about after a long period of arduous waiting and effort. Forget the fact that sometimes sacrifices without an immediate positive return is a part of life. Forget the fact that "It is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35). Too many Americans, and the number is growing, are not committed to excellence, but immediacy, and that must change if they are going to survive as a citizenry.
Commitment entails a determination to see through to the end a specific job, goal, or plan. It requires careful planning of the necessary steps that need to be taken to arrive at success, as well as anticipating possible problems and setbacks that occur even with the most thorough and noble of efforts. Those committed to the task are also able to accept defeat when, or if, it occurs, knowing that so long as the goal is worthwhile and attainable, defeat can be a useful learning experience on the way to success. Committed individuals are not gullible or irrational, though, but thoughtful and rational. They do not just believe or accept anything, despite their enemy's accusations to the contrary, but attempt to arrive at conclusions that are not only consistent with what it is real, but what is truthful. They follow the evidence where it leads, in other words, rather than merely using the evidence to promote self, as well as self-refuting, agenda. And as is implied already, commitment sometimes requires an inordinate amount of patience, particularly when defeat and demoralization have taken their tolls.
When we include the discipline of apologetics, commitment entails a willingness to think long and hard about a variety of subjects that may or may not be a part of one's field of interest or expertise. It does not mean that one must become an expert in every field of knowledge, but that one becomes at least aware of the basic arguments that the non-believing world has erected as fortresses to prevent the knowledge of God and deliverance of the gospel from being understood, and then how to destroy those arguments when they arise (2 Cor. 10:3-5).
Some of the subjects that should become part of the Christian apologist's arsenal include philosophy, logic, argumentation and debate, textual-critical method, hermeneutics, the various sciences (e.g. biology, physics, astronomy, etc.), history, writing or journalism, and public discourse or speaking. Development of these skills will take years of careful study, diligence, and commitment. Some might cringe over such a prospect, thinking that they are too well-advanced in years to make the commitment worthwhile. Yet, such thinking is simply a part of the worldly, self-serving philosophy that must be repented of; the philosophy which has rendered the Christian voice as irrelevant in God's world. For just because a person is advanced in years chronologically, does not mean that he cannot contribute positively to the establishment of a national Christian worldview. Again, all parts of the body are needed, not just the young, aspiring, and seemingly spry and vibrant.
The benefits of personal and communal preparation in Christian apologetics are the peace and satisfaction of living a fulfilled life unshackled by the events of the here-and-now, which are often used by the secular world to engender fragmented, thoughtless, hasty responses which lead to further godless planning and hopeless despair. Instead of simply jumping to emotively driven conclusions, all of which are tainted by the presence of sin, one can carefully and methodically think through the events, statements, and decisions of the day, and then determine the proper response based on God's perspective, rather than on incoherent manipulation. Conversely, the consequences of failure to prepare apologetically are what we currently see happening all around us: debt run amuck, political correctness, illegal immigration, socialist politics, relativism and nihilism in our education system, etc.
After confession and commitment have been made, then it becomes imperative that all churches have at least one trained staff apologist that the pastor and members can turn to as a reliable and up-to-date resource for the training of church members and to inform the pastor as he shepherds the flock. The trained apologist can either be an associate pastor or minister, whose primary ministry is to help develop the minds of the local congregation to think critically and apologetically. Ideally the apologist will be viewed as a vital link between the local church and the community, as well as a right hand man to the pastor, and should be paid accordingly.
Although apologetics is something all Christians should be involved in (1 Pet. 3:15), it is advisable that the senior pastor not be the main person heading up the apologetics program. If the church cannot pay the apologist as a staff member, then he should at least be compensated for the amount of time and effort he must put into his ministry to make the overall endeavor a success. Sloppiness is not an option. Half-baked results are an insult to God. Being asleep while allowing the world to dictate policy is reprehensible. The cost is too high, in other words, for the church to ignore the importance of having someone in their flock who not only helps them mature in the ways of defending the faith, but in assisting the pastor in areas where he just does not have time to invest to stay abreast of what is going on in the world. So, the church must get onboard prayerfully, actively, and monetarily, and not grumble and gripe about it in the process.
Staff apologists should constantly keep themselves aware of the latest trends in society, whether in philosophical arguments, media, entertainment, biblical studies and theology, politics, new religious movements and cultism, etc. He should be ready and willing to not only teach and equip local members concerning the various challenges and attacks against the Christian worldview, but speak abroad with authority when called upon to do so. Equally important is that the staff apologist be able to write well. Writing down one's thoughts clearly on paper helps to cultivate the mind as it thinks through propositions and arguments, and then arranges counter-arguments and solutions for final delivery to the audience he intends to address on a specific subject. Those who balk at the idea of sound writing skills, or are incapable of presenting a well thought out response to a particular topic or challenge during the selection phase of the staff apologist, should not even considered for the position.
Every Sunday, week after week, year after year thousands of sermons are preached all over the world. Some sermons achieve their desired effect and move Christians in a direction of closer commitment to God and purpose in their lives and those that surround them. A grave majority, though, are a vast waste of time. The same themes loaded with shallow anecdotal material, pointless cheap jokes, and non-existent exegetical effort sandwiched between pagan lyrical music and meaningless church announcements make for the preaching hour in most churches on Sunday morning to be the greatest waste of time in an average week. That kind of sloppy, carefree, inattentive approach to preaching, teaching, and worship must be repented of if the worldview of the church is going to change.
Therefore, it is incumbent upon the local pastors to change their approach to Sundays where the preaching becomes apologetic in nature. This will require the pastor to commit himself to not only learning the biblical languages and philosophical concepts, but to keep abreast of what is going on in the world as far as its thought. If the church has followed the prescription above, a staff apologist can greatly assist the pastor in this endeavor. Knowledge of the biblical languages will help the pastor's exegetical skill in "rightly dividing the word" as it should be, rather than simply grabbing a text on Saturday evening and then loading it with garbage to feed to his flock. Garbage in, garbage out, if you understand what I mean. Also it will keep him sharp when those who come along with a clever "interpretation" wish to subvert his congregation and lead them astray.
Philosophy, or simply loving wisdom by thinking deeply about God's truth, will be indispensable when it comes to understanding where foreign and non-Christian philosophies, ideologies, and heresies came from. Of course that will mean that the pastor will have to wrestle with Kant and Schleiermacher, Hegel and Derrida, Machiavelli and Nietzsche, but by doing so, he will be equipping himself intellectually so he can destroy their fortresses with the unmitigated truth of God. Failure to do this is to allow bad philosophy to later affect not only the congregation in the forms of politics, law, and entertainment it is confronted with every day, but to sacrifice our children on the alters of godless teachers and professors in the secular institutions who repeat the philosophies as gospel truth, and turn the children into two-fold children of hell.
It would cause an imbalance if the pastor and staff was spending a majority of their time preparing to become apologetically minded and relevant in the world, and the congregation was left to the status quo. Remember, the Christian worldview is a community effort, not just one individual thinking apologetically, while the rest of the body is aloof in La-La Land. Everyone must be on the same page, ready and willing to seek God's face as a collective group, and endure the trials and triumphs of implementing a deep-seated Christian worldview into every walk of life. The alternative is to simply keep swimming downstream with the rest of the refuse until the Christian voice is not just irrelevant, but non-existent, in contemporary culture.
Therefore, the Church congregation should prepare itself through its Sunday Schools, Bible Studies, Homes Gatherings, Sports Events, or whatever else to eat, sleep, and live apologetics. The publication arms of the various denominations should completely revamp their literary output to reflect an apologetic attitude which seeks to place in the hands of its followers substantive, relevant, cutting-edge materials to help train its followers to think apologetically. Books, magazines, and periodicals which promote sugar shock due to the amount of empty ideas contained in them should be trashed. It is time that the love for life of the body takes precedence over the love of the life of the company which has parasitically lived off the body through its love of money and produced all kinds of evil in the name of Christianity. Those publication arms which fail to comply should be boycotted and the localchurches should look elsewhere to do their business.
If there is one area that the Christian church has tragedy been neglectful in helping to shape a Christian worldview for the express of having an impact upon society, it is in the area of public education. Whereas at one time public schools were under the auspices of Christian direction, through the years of neglect control has been relinquished to secular thinkers, and now public education is a misnomer. It may be public, but it is not education. Fewer and fewer children each year either fail in the basics of reading, writing, and arithmetic, or they simply drop-out altogether long before they get to the graduation stage. And if they do graduate and go on to college, they either must take years of remedial courses to "catch-up" to where they should have been long before entering the hall of academia, or once again they drop-out before getting their degree. Much of the stupidity of allowing our children's minds go to waste could easily be remedied by simply helping them to develop sound choices long before they ever reach High School or college.
The public school system must be completely overhauled, therefore, to reflect a comprehensive Christian worldview. Christians, in other words, must become conversant at the deepest levels in the various educational disciplines. They must go on to earn their PhDs in art, the humanities, chemistry, physics, law, politics, and especially education (Ed.D), and if a doctorate is out of reach, then the Christian must at least strive to ingrain into their understanding an intellectually sound appreciation for God that is more than a trivial pursuit. More importantly with the advancement to the deepest levels of understanding the Christian must develop an apologetic which comprehends those disciplines in reference to the One who created them in the first place. For only by understanding art from the Great Artist's perspective can one truly appreciate what art was supposed to mean and convey, which was to glorify God. The same is true for every other educational subject. If education does not bring the individual to the point where he glorifies God intelligently, with his whole mind, then education has not truly been accomplished.
Although children should be gradually taught from a Christian worldview at the earliest stages of their lives, at the Middle School age, when most children begin to actually think independently, they should be encouraged and guided in the direction of beginning to think about career choices. Parents and educators should carefully observe the individual gifts and talents that each child exhibits, and then slowly make optional choices of interest available where the child can hone his skills. Nothing is set in stone at this stage in the children's lives. What is being done is development of the mind of the child to see himself or herself in the bigger picture of God's grand scheme. So that by the time the child reaches his or her early twenty's, he or she will be less confused or uncertain with what to do with the rest of his or her life. There will be a purpose based on the observations and choices made as the child entered the Middle School period of life.
Although development of a Christian worldview through apologetic means will gradually intensify as the child ascends through the grade levels, it is during the Junior and Senior High grades that the child should become involved in a more personal way with the challenges he will face in the real world. Because he or she is within one to two years of leaving home either to enter the work force or to advance his or her education at college, it become imperative that he or she is as fully aware as possible of the competing arguments which will seek to destroy or undermine his or her faith during the transition from home life to life on one's own.
To prepare the High School junior and senior for what lays ahead the local church should have in place a comprehensive study program which allows the student to prepare intellectually, as well as practically, for the potential intellectual encounters he or she is about to face. Historical-Biblical-Systematic Theology should be studied alongside logic and philosophy, as well as argumentation and debate techniques. Primarily the juniors should spend their year developing their minds and arguments after the order of the program, while the seniors should participate in regular mock trials and debates which deal with the issues of the day. Both should become so familiar with the anti-Christian philosophies, religions, and ideologies by the time they graduate, that when they set foot on the job or in the college classroom, they become a force to be reckoned with for the cause of Christ in a substantive way. Christian parent's concerns that their sons and daughters would become victims of secularist or cultic attacks would be greatly diminished and secularists themselves would be put on notice that their days are numbered. More on that below.
After young people graduate from High School and go away to college they are often bewildered by their new sense of independence and freedom. No longer is mom and dad around to supervise their activities, whether it is getting up to go to school every morning or whether they are going to go to church on Sunday. All decision-making is now on the shoulders of the college student. And unless that newfound freedom is carefully nurtured and discussed long before the student hits the dorms or the campus, then that freedom can easily turn into misguided license, and before long the student gets trapped by consequences stemming from bad choices and decisions. Time and resources are wasted, performance in class is subpar or failing, drug use and illicit sex become a focus, and in a growing number of instances, suicide is the end result.1
One way to prevent the different kinds of college casualties is for churches to provide genuine care for the college students during the duration of their studies. Some might think that that would be a year-round, never-ending mission, and that would be exactly correct. It is a ministry of vital importance that would be non-stop, but the overall dividends of participating in the life of the college student would pay-off not only in the interim, but throughout eternity. Imagine the positive impact a solid Christian church family could have upon a budding new college student, as it helped him not only with moral, spiritual, and academic direction, but even his financial and personal matters as well.
All of this stems, though, from an apologetic mindset which sees the Christian worldview affecting all walks of life. So, not only would the church provide all the aforementioned support, it would also provide advanced apologetic study suitable for the college student, whereby the student would not only mature in his Christian worldview, but actually begin to take the lead in Christian evangelism and defense of the faith as an instructor or adviser himself. Moreover, during the formative college years the student would begin to see how his worldview is helping to shape his career, so that when he graduated from college, his worldview would positively shape his professional life and show others the superiority of what the Christian message can do for them.
Because Christians have by-and-large been aloof intellectually for the past 200 plus years there is now a vast chasm that exists between them and the secular worldview which determines national policy. It is a chasm that will be extremely difficult to bridge, but not impossible, if what is prescribed throughout this paper is followed. Yet, as pointed out earlier, it will take years to do. In fact, it will likely take longer to accomplish than those reading this manuscript have time left to live. That is how dire and damaged the situation is. Charles Malik in 1980, at the inauguration of the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism stated, "Even if you start on a crash program in [the study of the philosophers and intellects who have helped shaped the minds and policies of American thought] and other domains, it will be a century at least before you catch up with the Harvards and Tübingens and the Sorbonnes, and think of where these universities will be then."2
Nevertheless, let it be reiterated that developing a national Christian worldview is not impossible. Therefore, after Christians have been adequately trained they should be encouraged to run for leadership roles in every area of life. That would include from the highest positions in government, education, law enforcement, manufacturing and business, the physical sciences and technology, the social sciences and humanities, art, recreation, entertainment, and good old-fashioned manual labor. There should be no position of influence left unoccupied or unchallenged by someone who knows, understands, and can defend the Christian worldview. If God is the One who created all things for His glory, including the minds of men, then it is to benefit and blessing of man that he use his mind to discover and learn more about his Creator through the created order, whether at work or at play. Such cannot be done so long as the Christian continues to yield prominent positions of influence and allows the secular, unbelieving mindset to set the agenda and course for the nation, for the city, for the school district, for the bowling alley. And the longer that is allowed to happen—and it is a matter of allowance—then the shorter the time will be before America is beyond the point of no return and lost, if that point has not already been reached!
What should be the most obvious step necessary to develop a national Christian worldview, which is apologetically sound, is the one most often overlooked or taken for granted. It is the need to cultivate courage, humility, and maturity. Perhaps one reason why this is overlooked is simply because so many think that each quality is innate in all human beings, but such could not be further from the truth. Each takes time to build as one lives out the Christian faith with confidence and conviction.
One cannot simply be infused with courage because genuine courage entails a deepening understanding of what is true or that which coheres with what is real. A depth of understanding takes time to develop as one wrestles with the facts and problems which great minds have discovered and solved, and then imparted for subsequent generations willing to not only hear, but listen as well. It is not the blind reactionism passing itself off as courage, which is little more than a naïve kneejerk response which frequently results in bad decision-making, wasted time, and personal embarrassment. Hence, the one who is truly courageous understands the consequences and ramifications of not standing upon bonafide principles stemming from the truth, but he also understands the compulsive behavior consistent with foolishness.
Humility develops as one's faith is gradually realized with each passing day. In other words, the nascent faith that a Christian exercises to acknowledge what God has done to bring him into the Christian family broadens and deepens in its appreciation of the fact that he is solely dependent upon God for everything, and not just salvation. It becomes a faith which says that whatever the Christian might be blessed with, the real credit is because of God's presence in the life of the Christian. The Christian takes no credit for his successes and does not blame God for what he considers as his losses. He humbly recognizes his part in God's magnificent plan, and then sincerely thanks God for His grace and mercy in allowing him to play that part.
Finally, maturity must be cultivated, as well, over time, since no one is born a spiritual giant overnight. Yet, in what is being proposed in terms of developing a national Christian worldview will require spiritual giants. Giants who recognize the battle ahead, not only with the self, but with the world, which is motivated by the devil and his demonic forces, which will put up a fight every step of the way. Giants who are courageous in victory and in defeat. Giants who humbly recognize their absolute dependence upon God for all that is said and done. Giants who are willing to expand their horizons of understanding of just who God is, as He has revealed Himself in both special and general revelation. Giants who are willing to play their role well, whether that means in a position of high leadership or as one scrubbing toilets. If there has been one thing that has been missing the past 200 years while America has been committing spiritual suicide, it has been mature Christians. Yet, if America is to ever develop a national Christian worldview, then maturity is an imperative.
America is in trouble and is dying a slow death, and only the most extreme optimist living in a fantasy world would see it otherwise. Long gone are the glory days where Christians oversaw most facets of government, education, law, and the sciences. All of that has been yielded to secular thinking because the Christian influence in former years was based upon an anti-intellectual ruse. It is not that the Christian message is less true, so long as it is the Christian message, and not a caricature of it. It is that because too many Christians were swept away amid the expedient ecclesiastical fads of the day, that we are all now reaping the consequences. The preceding was offered as a prescription to rectify the anti-intellectual, non-apologetic approaches of yesteryear and to give the Christian voice relevance in God's world again.
As already noted, however, such relevance will most likely not occur in our lifetimes. The damage that has been done is analogous to what happened when the Titanic struck the iceberg April 14, 1912, except this time it is the good ship America. We're ignorant, we're stubborn, and we're proud of it. And that's just within the churches. This is not to say that there are some who are doing all they can to right the ship, but there were some who tried to right the Titanic as well before it sunk as well. Miracles do occur, but it would seem that America is merely abiding its time until the inevitable.
Therefore, if America is destined for imminent collapse, this prescription is for the remnant; the remnant who can pass it on to their progeny, with the hope that one day too far in the future for those living in the present to be concerned about, under whatever rule America will be, Christians will once again take seriously the command to be apologetic in its worldview. A apologetic worldview which seeks to love God with one's whole mind, and not just in a shallow, myopic way which excludes truth because it cannot be reconciled with a contemporary interpretation of Scripture and life which has been based on a skewed biblical emphasis. May God forgive us for giving away the greatest country in the history of mankind, because we exchanged truth for a lie, intelligence for ignorance, and expansion for isolation. Lord willing our offspring will learn from our mistakes, since obviously we could not.