Throughout the years, I have discovered that the average Christian, along with many ministers, lack a biblical worldview. When I use the term "biblical worldview," I’m referring to the practice of interpreting life through the lens of Scripture. That is to say, your view of such issues as politics, the sanctity of life, marriage, economics, education, science, the law, etc., should derive from biblical principles. The average believer usually has only a piecemeal understanding of Scripture instead of a comprehensive world and life view. As a result, we have seen the Church become irrelevant in the public square.
If we are going to fulfill our assignment as the salt of the earth and the light of the world, we need to shift the body of Christ towards a consistent, cohesive, and comprehensive faith. Anything less than this will result in a continual decline of morality in civil society. This article aims to inspire believers to think God's thoughts as it pertains to faith and culture.
The following are 10 signs you lack a biblical worldview:
1. You think the word "government" refers only to politics.
I have often asked Christ-followers, “What is the first thing you think about when I say the word ‘government?’’ Invariably the answer is always about the president, their governor, or their mayor. They think of a political leader.
Our culture has been brainwashed by humanist thinking for the past 150 years. Such thinking has led many to believe that civic government is responsible for taking care of our every need. If one were to look up the definition of “government” in an early 19th-century edition of Webster's dictionary, its meaning would be, "individual responsibility," not “political leadership.” Oh, how far we have fallen regarding this definition. Biblically speaking, there are five jurisdictions in Scripture. Civil government is only one of them. The other four are personal responsibility, family government, business, and Church. When your view of government is exclusively related to politics, it shows your worldview is dominated by secular humanism instead of a Judeo-Christian worldview. For more on this subject, read my book Understanding the Wineskin of the Kingdom.
2. You know only biblical passages that deal with personal spirituality.
The average believer has no biblical reference for anything other than individual promises of God. They may know a passage on healing, prayer, financial blessing, and the like, but they have no biblical understanding of principles related to civic government, history, business, or economics.
3. You believe big government is the solution to create financial prosperity.
Ronald Reagan said, “Government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem.” Although that is not always the case, in contemporary society, we see that much of the time, small business owners are so weighed down with regulations and high taxation that it is difficult for them to turn a profit. However, biblically speaking, the government can step in at times with economic aid (like Joseph and Pharaoh feeding their people with crops during the seven years of famine in Genesis 41). The preponderance of Scripture in both testaments shows that political leaders' primary responsibility is to protect their citizens and provide just laws to ensure equal opportunity for all (Deuteronomy 16:16-20, Proverbs 8:15-16, Romans 13:1-7, 1 Timothy 2:1-4).
In the Old Testament, health care, care for the poor, and business ventures were primarily facilitated by the priests, families, and individual believers (Exodus. 22:20-24, Deuteronomy 27:19, Isaiah 1:17, Zechariah 7:9-10). These verses all put the onus of responsibility on all the people, not the kings and political leaders. In the New Testament, the onus was on the Church and families, not the civil government (Acts 2; 1 Timothy 5).
4. You don't know how the Bible applies to your marketplace assignment.
Many Christ-followers think that the call to ministry is just for full-time church leadership. Such an erroneous belief demonstrates the lack of a biblical worldview. The Scripture clearly tells us that all people are called to be equipped for the ministry's work in order to fill the earth with the reign of God (Ephesians 4:10-12). Consequently, every believer should understand how to use their vocation to glorify God, whether in the Church or the marketplace.
5. You think the civil government is responsible for educating your children.
One of the greatest tragedies is when Christ-followers allow secular humanists to disciple their children, thus helping to propagate their worldview through the use of the public school system. I am not against parents sending their children to public schools, as long as they use it as an opportunity to critique culture and disciple their kids with biblical values. Scripture puts the onus of education into the parents' hand, not the government or even the Church (Deuteronomy 6:6-9). Parental engagement is even more vital now in light of the improper things children are taught in public schools under the guise of "sex education," (which is merely a ruse for sexual indoctrination).
6. You think the progressive tax structure is good.
Most Christians think it is okay for half of America’s population to get away with paying no income tax. They also think it is okay for people to pay a higher tax percentage if they make a higher income. To the surprise of many, Scripture teaches a flat tax structure, in which all people pay an equal share. In theocratic Israel, the tithe and the poll tax were used for the care of the poor, the support of the Levites, the upkeep of the temple, and for the widows and orphans (Leviticus 27:30-34, Numbers 18:21-26, Deuteronomy 14:28-29, Amos 4:4-5, Matthew 23:23, Hebrews 7:1-2). In the pre-Mosaic law era, it was just 10 percent, as we see in Genesis 28:20-22. The prophet Samuel warned the Jews against any political structure that required taxation equal to or more than 10 percent (1 Samuel 8).
7. You think a pastor should remain silent on social issues.
As we examine Scripture, we see that every biblical leader either prophesied or spoke about civic issues related to public policy. Moses, all the major and minor prophets in the Old Testament, Jesus, John the Baptist, the Apostles Peter and Paul, all dealt with moral and political issues in their contemporary culture. Since 1954, the Johnson Amendment was used to silence churches from engaging in politics from the pulpit. Still, pastors always found a way to speak about politics and engage with culture. As a matter of fact, in the early years of the United States, Congress would invite pastors to preach to them regarding a particular topic of concern before they debated and voted. During the Second Great Awakening, evangelist Charles Finney's ministry was the impetus for the abolitionist movement. This anti-slavery movement affected the whole nation, culminating in President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. In recent decades, we have seen religious leaders, like Dietrich Bonheoffer, stand against Hitler's fascist regime in Nazi Germany, and Dr. Martin Luther King, who used his pulpit to advance civil rights for African-Americans. Imagine what would have happened had they believed the lie that pastors should be silent on social issues? If you think a pastor should remain silent on the elections, the sanctity of life, economics, health care, immigration, and public policy, you lack a biblical worldview.
8. You believe Christians should separate their private faith from public policy.
I have met many political leaders who have said to me that although they are privately pro-life or for biblical marriage, they will advocate for policies and laws that oppose their views. Their reason is that they do not think they have the right to impose their morality in a pluralistic society. My answer to them has been that all laws are an imposition of someone's morality upon society. You cannot avoid it. Jesus is the King of kings, which means that He is the lawgiver for all nations and heads of state (Revelations 19:16). This obligates the Church to speak truth to power, as the salt of the earth and the light of the world and obligates all political leaders to uphold biblical ethics in culture and policy.
9. You celebrate the values the world celebrates.
I am amazed when I speak to Christians, who merely mimic the values and views promulgated by secular culture and mainstream media. If your views on marriage, life, sexuality, money, science, and ethics, are essentially the same as contemporary culture, you have been indoctrinated by secularism and lack a biblical worldview.
10. You think science and religion are opposed to each other.
Many believers think that the Bible just speaks to spiritual and religious things, but this is not accurate. For example, although the Bible is not primarily a book on science, that does not mean it is scientifically inaccurate. Scripture teaches us that God uses nature to declare His glory (Psalms 19, Isaiah 40:12-26, Romans 1:19-23).
How can creation describe His glory if His words about nature are not scientifically accurate?
2 Timothy 3:16 says, "All Scripture is inspired by God," not just passages dealing with spirituality. Furthermore, real science should never disallow the supernatural when explaining the visible world. When science utilizes only a nonmaterial, naturalistic empirical methodology to verify research, it forces an agnostic or anti-theistic view of the universe upon scientists and educators. This causes an unnecessary bifurcation between faith and reason. If you believe science and religion are opposed, then you lack a biblical worldview. For a fantastic documentary on this, take a look at, "Is Genesis History?" by Del Tackett.
In conclusion, my hope and prayer are that this brief article triggers hunger in you to study the Scriptures more thoroughly to gain a biblical worldview in all of life.
For more resources on a biblical worldview, check out my books that are all available on Amazon or go to www.JosephMattera.org.
Dr. Joseph Mattera is an internationally-known author, consultant, and theologian whose mission is to influence leaders who influence culture. He is the founding pastor of Resurrection Church, and leads several organizations, including The U.S. Coalition of Apostolic Leaders and Christ Covenant Coalition