I had the privilege of participating in the Reasons for Hope Conference this week as one of their panelists. There were many excellent presentations given, but one statistic grabbed my attention because of its critical importance to where we are headed as a country. Of all the children raised in church in our land, 70% leave the church when they graduate from high school, and that number is a few years old.
Dan Smithwick of the Nehemiah Institute, whose group tests students regarding their world view, concluded from research done in 2013 that “90% of students raised in Christian homes attending either public schools or traditional Christian schools are consistently abandoning the Christian worldview in favor of the Humanist/Socialist worldview. Students had intentionally rejected the basic tenets of Biblical Theism in favor of basic tenets of Humanism/Socialism.
Secularization has more successfully captured the hearts and minds of our youth than have the efforts of Christian home, the church, or even traditional Christian school. With 90% of youth from Christian homes being among this group, it seems clear that the Christian Church could be in for a major collapse in the first half of the 21st century, based on the abandonment of historical orthodox views of Christianity.”
What is a worldview? David Noebel, author of Understanding the Times, writes “[It’s] any ideology, philosophy, theology, movement or religion that provides an overarching approach to understanding God, the world and man’s relations to God and the world.” So a worldview is the framework from which we view reality and make sense of life and the world. For example, a 2-year-old believes he’s the center of his world, a secular humanist believes that the material world is all that exists, and a Buddhist believes he can be liberated from suffering by self-purification.
Someone with a biblical worldview believes his primary reason for existence is to love and serve God.
“Whether conscious or [below the surface], every person has some type of worldview. A personal worldview is a combination of all you believe to be true, and what you believe becomes the driving force behind every emotion, decision and action. Therefore, it affects your response to every area of life: from philosophy to science, theology and anthropology to economics, law, politics, art, and social order — everything.”
Your worldview is extremely important. If it is not based on reality, then you are believing and living a lie. Reality and the real worldview are contained here in the Bible, which was given to us by the Creator of this Universe who made each and every one of us. To the degree we reject what God’s Word says on any subject matter to which it speaks, to that same degree we believe a lie and are out of touch with actual reality. In whatever area of thought and life we do that, we are choosing to live in a fantasy land of our own making—our own form of idolatry, if you will. That is why it is so crucial to have the Word of God as our only absolute standard of truth. That is why we need to daily be immersed in God’s Word, to have our heart, minds, and lives unshackled from the lies so that we may live in the truth.
In the Eighth Commandment, “Thou shalt not steal,” we need to be certain that we grasp the worldview implications of this commandment. The negative command is based on the reality that we, as creatures made in the image of God, have property rights—rights that are given to us by our Creator. That being so, leads us to the Biblical worldview on wealth – Defending the Eighth Commandment.
God condemns stealing but commends the working. It may help to understand four types of theft—or we could call these the four faces of larceny.
1. Coercion – use of force to deprive someone of their property;
2. Fraud – a financial exchange in which dishonesty deprives one party of property.
3. Without a person’s uncoerced consent – theft may occur without you evening knowing it took place.
4. Destruction of the value of someone’s property – arson, vandalism, or carelessness.
Regardless of what type of theft is committed, theft is a short cut to possession – Proverbs 13:11 “Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished: but he that gathereth by labour shall increase.” Property gained by Coercion, fraud, or without a person’s uncoerced consent is property gained by vanity, it will haunt the thief and ultimately impoverish them. It is only a temporary benefit that the thief enjoys. In the long run nothing is gained by stealing. Wealth must only be acquired by obedience to God’s Law Word; that is by labor, inheritance or gift.
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