Why Akathleptos?

Why Akathleptos? Because it means Uncontainable. God is infinite. Hence, the whole universe cannot contain Him. The term also refers to the incomprehensibility of God. No man can know everything about God. We can know Him personally but not exhaustively, not even in Heaven.

Why Patmos? Because the church is increasingly marginalized and exiled from the culture.

Why Pen-Names? So the focus is on the words and not who wrote them. We prefer to let what we say stand on its own merit. There is precedent in church history for this - i.e., the elusive identity of Ambrosiaster who wrote in the 4th century A.D.

“Truth is so obscured nowadays, and lies so well established, that unless we love the truth we shall never recognize it." Blaise Pascal

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The Culture War Is A Clash Of Worldviews

Genuine Christianity is much more than a relationship with Jesus Christ. We may mistakenly think the concept of a "worldview" is irrelevant to our faith; that it’s a subject best relegated to the academic world of theologians. But “worldview” is neither philosophical nor abstract – it is intensely practical. Whether we realize it or not, every one of us makes choices and lives our life, based upon the personal worldview that we each hold.

Some people often tend of think of Christianity as expressed in personal piety, church attendance, Bible study and works of love. But it is more than these - it is more than just discipleship, more than believing a system of correct doctrines about God. In fact, genuine Christianity, in and of itself, is a way of seeing and comprehending all reality.

Christianity is ultimately a worldview.

Wat do we mean by this word?

In every action we undertake, we are doing one of two things:  we either contribute to the broken condition of the world, or we participate with God in transforming the world to reflect His righteousness, goodness, justice, and love. We are either helping to create a hell on earth, or to create a foretaste of heaven. We are either advancing the rule of Satan in this world, or establishing the reign of God

A worldview is the sum total of our beliefs, the “big picture” that directs our decisions and actions. In fact, our choices are shaped by what we believe – how we perceive reality. In short, our “worldview” shapes our life.

As George Barna observed, “Without a biblical worldview, all the great teaching goes in one ear and out the other.  There are no intellectual pegs ... in the mind of the individual to hang these truths on.  So they just pass through.  They don’t stick.  They don’t make a difference.”

Worldviews are not only individual; they can also be “collective” for a society. We tend to think of cultural differences in terms of language, dress, food, art, sports, entertainment, etc. But the major differences between cultures are defined not so much by these things as by each culture’s worldview. For example:
  • the real difference between India and the rest of the world, is outlined by the Hindu worldview which defines virtually everything aspect of Indian culture
  • the real difference between Japan (and much of the rest of the world) is the Buddhist worldview that predominates in Japanese society
  • the real difference between Saudi Arabia (and much of the rest of the world) is defined by the Islamic worldview that prevails in Saudi Arabian culture
Today’s American culture is at best, morally indifferent. It is a culture where Judeo-Christian values are mocked and where immorality in high places is not only ignored, but often rewarded in the voting booth. It is a culture where violence, banality, meanness, and disintegrating personal behavior are destroying civility. Good faith efforts on the part of those holding Judeo-Christian values, to halt this slide into barbarism are often maligned as intolerant and bigoted. As a result, some Christians are tempted to withdraw into the safety of their local churches, to keep busy plugging into every program offered by their church, hoping to keep themselves and their children safe from the coming desolation.

But, turning our back on the culture is a betrayal of our Biblical mandate.

Christianity is more than private belief, more than personal salvation; it is a comprehensive life system that answers the most pressing questions of humanity .....
  • Where did I come from?
  • Why am I here?
  • Where am I going?
  • Does life have any meaning and purpose?
During the dot.com boom, the media reported a new phenomenon in the then-booming economy among the growing percentage of young Americans in high-tech work that attained great wealth, often before the age of 30 - the ever-increasingly bizarre quests to seek meaning in one’s life. During the height of the “dot.com boom”, one couple flew to Germany and rented a Ferrari for 1 week at a cost of $12,000 simply to experience driving at high speed on the autobahn. There was the young dot.com multimillionaire who purchased a mansion with dozens of rooms and virtually no furniture who admitted to a reporter that he had not even been in all the rooms yet; showed the reporter the grand room where he boasted of recently playing Frisbee with his friends; when asked why he purchased such a large house for which he had no apparent need, he replied, ‘because I could.”

Yet, despite more toys, expensive clothes, vacations and grandiose homes, there is an increasing awareness that none of this brings meaning to life; thus the growing number of psychoanalysts with young millionaires as their clients trying to find meaning in life.

As believers, we believe that only Christianity offers a way to understand the cosmos around us. Christianity is a comprehensive worldview, covering all areas of life and thought, every aspect of creation. Christianity offers the viable way to live in line with the real world. The alternative is to live in a state of denial of reality.

I am convinced the most effective Christians in reaching others with its life-giving message, are those who understand its inherent worldview and live it themselves. God’s revelation in Christ is the source of all truth; it is a comprehensive framework for reality.

Abraham Kuyper, the great 18th century theologian who also served as Prime Minister of Holland, said in 1898 during a lecture at Princeton that the dominating principle of Christian truth is not soteriological (i.e., justification by faith), but rather cosmological (i.e., the sovereignty of the triune God over the whole cosmos, in all its spheres and kingdoms, visible and invisible) .... in other words, the entire universe can only be rightly understood in relation to God. Kuyper went on to write, “The Christian does not for a moment think of limiting himself to theology and contemplation, leaving the other sciences as of a lower character, in the hands of unbelievers.  On the contrary, looking upon it as his task to know God in all His works, he is conscious of having been called to fathom with all energy of his intellect, things terrestrial, as well as things celestial.  Not one square inch of the universe should remain outside the claim of Christ.”

This is surely what Paul had in mind in 2 Cor 10:5.

Perhaps the Church’s greatest failure in recent decades has been the failure to adequately present Christianity as a life system, a worldview, that governs every area of existence. As result, we often find ourselves unable to answer questions that our children may bring home from school. We sometimes have difficulty explaining to friends and family why we believe (1 Pet 3:15). We often are not prepared to defend our faith (Jude 3). We seem to have difficulty organizing our lives correctly, tending to allow our choices to be shaped by the world around us. We often end up conforming to the world around us rather than being an instrument of change (Rom 12:2).

Failing to see Christian truth in every aspect of life, we shortchange ourselves, often missing great depths of beauty and meaning in life (Ps 19:1-4). The Christian who grasps his faith as a worldview, is able to see God’s splendor in the extraordinary intricacies of everyday nature (Job 38:22-39:30) or to hear His voice in the performance of a great symphony (Ps 150). We err if we believe that God manifests His greatness only in a musical performance in church; consider many of the greatest pieces of “secular” music ever written (i.e., Beethhoven’s 9th Symphony ... “Joyful, joyful we adore thee ...”)

An inability to view Christianity as a comprehensive framework of truth often cripples well-meaning efforts to have a redemptive effect on surrounding culture. Whether we realize it or not, at its most fundamental level, the culture war in America is a clash of belief systems. As Kuyper puts it, it is the clash of principle against principle, or worldview against worldview. One of greatest historical examples of a Christian who clearly understood his faith as a worldview was Sir Issac Newton, extraordinary scientist of the 17th century credited with laying the foundation of modern science; His biblical worldview propelled him into the stratosphere in terms of the effect on his surrounding culture that still resonates more than 3 centuries later.

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