QUESTION #4: If we only have a window of opportunity to make an impact in our culture, how short or long is that window-and what’s the crucial element that needs focused attention within our families, churches, and government?
“I think right now with the level of enthusiasm that people have, if that is not put into action within a four to six month window, the American people move on. They get disenchanted. They’re used to having their hearts broken by the absence of strong leadership. This is another one of those times where look, either we do it or we lose it.
I think we’ve got maybe four to six months. Having said that, yeah, I would say that our churches have to step up. When we go back to the election research we did for the past year and a half or so, consistently asking devoted Christians what are you looking for? Who are you turning to? What do you need? One of the things that we consistently heard is– I’m dying for my pastor to teach me how to think biblically about what’s going on in the world. Yeah, I know I’m not supposed to lie. I know I’m not supposed to cheat. That’s great. I get the ten commandments. I get the sermon on the mount, but how does that apply to what’s going on in Washington DC? How does it apply to what’s going on in City Hall in my town? How does that apply to what’s going on in the classroom where my student sits, my child sits and is being taught lies?
How do I deal with all this? How do I think about this biblically? This is a time when pastors who you know, I don’t mean this as a disparaging comment but they pride themselves on their ability to disciple people. Well, I’ll tell you right now Americans are crying out for a deeper and broader level of discipleship. They want to know how do I be both a good citizen of America and a good citizen of the kingdom of God. What are the scriptural passages that need to shape my worldview?
Now, I’ll tell you we’re in the midst of doing a huge project on America’s worldviews, and one of the things that’s very clear even from the early returns is that even most Christians really don’t know how to think biblically… A world view is the lens of the filter that each of us possess that helps us to make sense of reality, and to determine how we’re going to respond to those conditions and circumstances and opportunities.
How do we get that lens? What creates it? What we discovered is that people begin developing their world view at about 18 months of age. By the time they reach college, it’s almost completely formed by that time. After that, after you reach your early 20’s, mid 20’s, you basically become an evangelist for your own world view. You’re trying to get other people to see and respond to things the way that you do.
How did we get there? So much of it has to do with the values, and the truths, and the principles that we embrace because we think they make sense, and they’re the things that we want to promote. They’re the things that we want to incorporate into who we are as individuals. Often, we take those values, the perceptions, the truths, the principles, from what we see in the media. We may take those from people that we observe, or that we listen to. We say, “Yeah, that makes sense, I like that,” or “Yeah, I think that’s the way things really are.”
What we’re saying about a biblical world view is, the reality is that the source of absolute truth is God. What he’s done is he’s graciously given us a book that displays those truths and principles for us in the form of stories, and commands and principles that we can understand. The more that we understand those, and see the implications of those, and recognize that this isn’t just some guy on the corner who wrote a book, this is from the God who created you. It’s from the God who created the world that you live in. It’s the God who ultimately will judge everything that he has created, including you. Then you’ve got to take that pretty seriously.
What we know is that you’ve got to look at elements like, what does the Bible teach us about the existence of God, and people, and the universe? What does it teach us about his nature, because we’re made in his image? We are here to bring glory and honor to him, so the more we’re like him, the more we’ll do that. What is that nature? What is the purpose of life? Why did he bother to create people? These things give us a sense of tracks to run on. What do we need to know about concepts like sin and salvation? The survey that we’re doing now, I asked a bunch of questions about that. It’s shocking how few people even think about those concepts, much less have any kind of a biblical understanding about them, much less grasp the implications of getting those answers right.
There are a lot of other things. Things about the spiritual warfare that happens all around us, and we’re partners or actors in that, in that spiritual battle. Understanding that the Bible does convey truth, how we can feel confident in that. Our personal responsibility to society, to family, to the church community, to government. All of those things are laid out in the Scripture. If we don’t understand how all of that fits together into a comprehensive way of understanding and responding to the world, we’re going to do what most Americans are doing today, which is responding based on their feelings, what makes them happy, what makes that feel good, what satisfied them, as opposed to what honors, blesses, and advances the agenda of God. It’s a whole different way of looking at things.