The Bible has historically been the foundation for living for followers of Jesus. It’s defined the orthodox Christian worldview for centuries.
What does this mean: a biblical worldview? And how are we doing as believers in living out this worldview we claim to have?
If you’re an auditory learner, you’ll want to go right to this podcast conversation between Carrie Abbott and Dr. George Barna (Relationship Insights with Carrie Abbott podcast, available on many channels).
I took some notes from the podcast episode and want to share them with you here. It’s SO vital we, as Christians, understand what a biblical worldview is.
There are some quotes from both Ms. Abbott and Dr. Barna, as well as thoughts of my own under each item below.
[Dr. Barna has been a widely-read researcher on American Christianity for many decades. He’s published dozens of books and currently is in leadership at the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University.]
[Fun Fact: When I worked for the Billy Graham Association’s publishing branch back in the late 80s, Dr. Barna was one of our authors. I sat at a book signing table with him at a national convention. My job was to hand him his book to sign for each person in line.]
Why is a Biblical Worldview Important?
You may be asking yourself why it even matters. Here are a few statistics from Dr. Barna that are a little shocking:
- Currently, just 4% of Americans hold a biblical worldview.
- Yet 35% of adult Americans consider themselves born again Christians. They believe they’ll go to heaven when they die because they’ve accepted Jesus as their personal Savior.
- Only 14% of that 35% hold a biblical worldview based on the seven cornerstones we’ll get into in a minute.
So if 86% of professing American Christians don’t have a biblical worldview, what are they believing?
And how will what they believe or not believe affect both how they’re living now and where their eternal destination will be?
Let’s answer those questions as we look at the seven cornerstones:
1. God is the all-knowing, all-powerful Creator of the universe…
…who still rules that universe today.
This first cornerstone provides the foundation of our book Heaven and Nature Sing. God is the Creator. It’s not just the first couple chapters of Genesis that declares this—it’s a theme woven throughout the entire Bible.
The main points? I’m not in control, He is. It’s not about me, it’s about Him. And this biblical understanding of God includes this wonderful truth: He wants relationship with each of us!
2. All humans are sinful by nature…
…Every choice we make has moral considerations and consequences.
“3 out of 4 Americans reject this,” says Dr. Barna. “Most Americans this we’re basically good. That’s a direct contradiction to what the Bible teaches.”
Even if we do think of sin, many of us measure it by our own criteria of what’s good and bad. But if God is the Creator and the Ruler, He’s the one who sets the standards…not His created works.
Along with this is the idea of cheap grace—get your “eternal fire insurance, then live the way you want.”
3. The consequences of our sin can only be forgiven and eliminated through Jesus Christ
This includes the truth that forgiveness must come through our own personal, sincere confession of our sins and our reliance on Jesus’ grace to forgive.
As you can see, believing #3 is dependent on #2, which is dependent on believing #1.
Here’s another shocking statistic (remember, only 4% of Americans hold a Biblical worldview): “Only 2% of people believe they’re going to wind up in hell,” says Dr. Barna.
(That’s something we may want to get worked out while we’re still alive!)
4. The entire Bible is true, reliable and relevant…
…making it the best moral guide for every person in all situations.
This is the historical, orthodox Christian view of the Bible, remember. In America today, though, “most people believe the best way to figure out right from wrong is our feelings, ” Dr. Barna says. “But they often mislead us.”
He goes on: “People have gotten away from believing the Bible is God’s word. And they’ve forgotten He gave us His words because He wants us to flourish in life.”
According to Dr. Barna’s research, “46% of Americans believe the Bible is the true and accurate word of God.” Which is more than the percent of people who say they’re a born-again Christian. Isn’t that interesting?
5. Absolute moral truths exist…
…Those truths are defined by God, described in the Bible and are unchanging across times and cultures.
As the podcast points out, we’re not going to get these moral truths from the media, our public schools or the government.
So, while 46% of Americans believe the Bible is true, only 25% believe in the absolute moral truths the Bible talks about. Something doesn’t jive here—does that 46% know what the Bible teaches?
This is a hard one for us. Why? Because it means we have to submit to Truth. Submit isn’t a popular word or a popular action. It comes back to who’s in control. Who calls the shots. Me or God?
6. The ultimate purpose of human life is to know God…
…to know, love and serve Him with your heart, mind, strength and soul.
About a third of Americans agree to this. The other two-thirds give other answers for the purpose of life, says Dr. Barna: to be happy, to make money, to live a comfortable life.
He says, “A worldview gives you a big picture about who you are, how you’re going to live, what your life is going to look like. A critical part of that is understanding purpose. And it’s not about you. It really is about God, the one who created us for His purposes. What a privilege to be able to have a relationship with this God!”
Our guidebook, the Bible, tells us how to love Him, get to know Him and serve Him.
7. Success on earth is best understood as consistent obedience to God…
…in thoughts, words and actions.
Over and over again, the Bible makes it clear that loving God and obeying Him go hand-in-hand. Jesus laid it out, “If you love Me, you’ll keep My commandments.”
Dr. Barna says, “The big difference is what Americans are pursuing—which is happiness based on circumstances or emotions—and what God wants for us: joy. Joy based on Him and His principles.”
Circumstances and emotions are fleeting and often out of our control. God and His principles, though, are rock solid.
Which Percentile are You In?
I don’t know where the percentages lie in your country. If you’re American, after reading through this list are you part of the 86% or the 14%?
As I stated earlier, your answer is determining how you live here on earth…and will also determine your eternal destiny.
At least that’s the biblical worldview!
We’ve done our best to keep the worldview expressed in the devotional book Heaven and Nature Sing solidly based on the Bible.
We may very well disagree on secondary topics, but these cornerstone beliefs are what unite us!