In my last post, I define a Christian World View as seeing events through a Biblical perspective. I also added an additional aspect of having mature Christian discernment and the ability to apply it, in real time, today. I also talked about if such a thing was biblical and provided texts demonstrating that it is. Before I go further, I'm working from the point of view that the OT and the NT form a textual link and are authoritative. I realize that there was no such thing as a CWV before there were Christians. It may be more accurate to call a CWV a Biblical World View (BWV) either way it amounts to nearly the same thing, with the exception of allowing for the explicit leading of the Holy Spirit in real time.
The next question is it possible for ANY Christian to have a CWV? Can a CWV be had just for the asking? I don't believe it can. I believe anyone can develop it, but I don't think it is automatic or one of those things you wake up with one morning. I believe you have to earn it. Before you bring up grace and salvation being a free gift etc, stop. We aren't talking about that. We are talking about developing areas of our life so that we possess a more Christ like prespective. The areas are:
- Intellectual knowledge (what the Bible proclaims)
- Intellectual reasoning and maturity
- Intellectual discernment
- Emotional discernment
- Spiritual discernment
Intellectual reasoning and maturity is a harder process. Good Christian people have pondered, discussed and debated what the Bible means about various topics, passages and doctrines ever since gentiles were included into the church. A mature Christian is going to have to make up his mind about some things like: systematic theology, hermeneutics, doctrines, pattern recognition etc. These are tools that you will need, not because they sound fancy but because they will help you "rightly discern the word of God".
I once thought it was vital that a person know why they believed what they believe. I still think that, but I think it is important to have a general understand of why other people believe what they believe. This isn't so you can win debates with them. You need this to foster understanding, both your own and others. In an earlier post I said that a CWV does not require:
- You do not necessarily have to arrive at the same conclusions as some one else.
- You do not need to subscribe to a particular theological belief system.
- It is not denomination specific.
Intellectual discernment comes when you combine knowledge, reasoning and prayer. Some areas of scripture are very plain. We have a "thus saith the Lord" passage to fall back on. In most cases we have several. To the Jewish mind pattern was prophecy. The Greek or Western mind is trained to rely on formal logic, rhetoric, and dialectic devices to discover truth. Patternism and parallelism are a bit of a the picture that is puzzling and difficult for us to work out.
Intellectual discernment requires the ability to answer various questions about a situation. Some examples: "Does the Bible specifically address this situation?"; "Does this situation have a Biblical parallel?"; "Are there specific answers to this problem in the text?"; "Can we know the will of God about this?"; "Is this a matter of biblical principle or one of individual liberty/local culture/or a not addressed issue?".
Emotional discernment is a reflective skill. As humans we tend to react with our emotions more than our minds. When I focus on a situation or a topic am I allowing my emotions to get the better of me? Even people who are cerebral in their approach to life are driven by emotions. If you've ever got into a disagreement with someone and they fired back a 7 point rebuttal with 21 sub points off the top of their head, it may seem that they are very logical. The passion that drove that response was pure emotion and their intellect and logic was a tool to bash you into little emotionally satisfying pieces. Emotional discernment helps us check ourselves.
Spiritual discernment starts with an honest look at ourselves. Am I truly open to seeing what God wants me to perceive? If I believe that "our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers , against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places" and we accept 2 Cor 10:3 as true, are we following the guidance of Him in whom we have believed? Have we asked for wisdom concerning the matter at hand? Are we accepting of the answer we are given?
The For Susan series contains these posts: