If you’ve been a regular reader for a while, you may have noticed it’s been a bit quieter here on the blog the past few months.
At first this was mostly due to my really bad “morning” (read: all day) sickness. But since that began subsiding my quietness has been on account of other reasons.
It’s not that I haven’t had inspiration – I most certainly have had topics I want to write about. I’m actually bursting to get my thoughts out on proverbial paper as of late. But some time around the end of last year as I witnessed our country’s upheaval, polarized views, growing animosity, and division amongst those who claim the name of Christ, I sensed the Lord leading me into a rather focused season of learning, observing, and listening. There are so many issues that are causing schisms in Christian circles; things that some might say are political, but what I believe are fundamentally worldview issues. And I’m more and more convinced that we as Christians need to be diligent to know whether or not these prevalent belief systems are compatible with a Christian worldview according to the Bible.
And it starts with me.
I know that a stay-at-home mom of 4 +1 on the way with no traditional higher education is a rather unlikely candidate for this kind of study in some ways. Why not just focus on caring for my children and keeping my home? Because I believe it’s absolutely critical that we get it right in the home first. The widely accepted worldviews aren’t just “out there” anymore: they are coming into our homes. They are influencing both us and our children through social media (and media in general) as well as others we might be spending time with. Our kids will probably start hearing these trendy worldviews from their friends. And if we are going to prepare the next generation to think biblically, truthfully, and critically, it starts now. It starts here. It starts with moms, dads – men and women – who are committed to following Christ and discipling the next generation in truth.
The Lord is teaching me again that there is a time to speak, but there is also a time to wait to speak. The world says we have to have an opinion on everything, pressuring us to voice them even before we have fully formed (or informed) conclusions. But that’s not true. It’s ok to be quiet. It’s right to be committed to being slow to speak, weighing our words carefully (James 1:19). It’s prudent to let the emotions settle, not letting our conclusions be dictated by how we feel (or how others tell us we should feel). And I say this because I’ve been guilty of it. I’ve gotten caught up in what seemed to be true – what my emotions told me were true – but turned out to be only partly true (or maybe not really that true at all). I’ve been humbled by just how volatile and impressionable my thoughts and emotions can be, and challenged to be sober-minded as I approach these subjects. And I’m incredibly thankful for those who have lovingly challenged me to be a faithful scholar of truth.
There will probably be a time when I’m called to be more publicly specific about these worldviews I’m looking into, but right now most of my conversations are in person where dialogue can be more constructive. And, my guess is that you may already have some sort of inkling as to what I’m referring to.
However, I will share some of the principles that have been a help and encouragement to me as I’ve dived into these waters. Because, I believe this isn’t just a time for me to be preparing for what’s ahead, but that all Christians need to be aware of what threats are subtly or not-so-subtly trying to infiltrate and undermine the church. Our process or intensity of learning probably won’t look the same, and that’s ok. What matters is being faithful with what is before us.
1. Know the Bible
One of the biggest guards against false teaching and unbiblical worldviews is knowing Scripture. Jen Wilkin says in her book Women of the Word (which I highly recommend),
“Bible literacy matters because it protects us from falling into error. Both the false teacher and the secular humanist rely on biblical ignorance for their messages to take root, and the modern church has proven fertile ground for those messages. Because we do not know our Bibles, we crumble at the most basic challenges to our worldview. Disillusionment and apathy eat away at our ranks.”
So many people try to use the Bible to prop up false teaching. If someone listening to (or reading) the works of these people doesn’t know the Bible, it is almost certain they will begin to fall for these messages that seem new and exciting. However, when someone has been diligently reading and studying Scripture for themselves, they’ll probably get a funny feeling in their gut when something’s not quite right. They’ll be able to spot verses taken out of context and truths that have been twisted to support lies. They won’t be swayed by every wind of doctrine that comes along (Ephesians 4:14).
I also believe there is a specific warning for women in Scripture that we need to be aware of. 2 Timothy 3 describes the kind of people who will be around in the last times (which we are in), and has this to say, “For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.” (v. 6-7).
We as women need to be strong and sound in our understanding of truth. This means being diligent to read and study the Bible so that no one will creep into our homes through avenues like social media or popular self-help resources to capture us by our wayward emotions or passions. It means taking sin seriously, confessing it and not allowing it to weigh us down and cloud our thinking. It means submitting ourselves to the authority of Scripture, giving no ear to the voice of the enemy to plant the lie of “did God really say…” in our minds like He did with Eve in the garden.
Let’s be like the Bereans who searched the scriptures diligently, proving that the words of Paul and Silas were true (Acts 17:11).
2. Beware of “New Knowledge”
My husband picked up a quote from an older pastor that he’s used several times in his own sermons over the years:
“If it’s new it’s not true, and if it’s true it’s not new.”
There are lots of people who call themselves Christians claiming “new knowledge” that they say is necessary for right living. But if these thoughts don’t originate from Scripture or are not compatible with all of Scripture (as it has always been), they’re not ideas we should adopt.
Yes, the ways we appropriate truth will often look different today than they did 100 or 500 years ago. But this has to do with changing circumstances and current issues, not the changing of truth itself. Truth (as defined by God) never changes. It is foundational and applicable from generation to generation, and will never be outdated.
Be wary of those who add to Scripture or take away from it; who have to reinterpret or twist the words in the Bible in order to support their ideas. Read the Bible for yourself (2 Peter would be a great place to start on the specific topic of false teachers). Seek the counsel of mature believers who unwaveringly submit themselves to the authority of the Bible. Be constant in prayer, asking God for discernment and wisdom.
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV)
3. Listen to Reliable Sources
I touched on this in my last point, but I’ll say it again: it’s vitally important that we are allowing the voice and influence of the right people into our lives, not those who are going to lead us astray. Sometimes this can be a little tricky to distinguish, especially when there are so many voices opposed to one another. But it is possible. Here are a few questions I ask myself:
- Are They Speaking What is True?
This might sound redundant, but I want to expound on it because it’s so critical. I’ve seen and heard many people in the past months stating “facts” that turned out to be false, whether things that pertain to the current day, history, or biblical issues. This includes both Christans and non-Christians. Although I believe when it comes to theology and doctrine we should be listening to those who are solid Christians, I believe there is also a place to listen to certain non-Christian voices who are well-studied and are committed to being truthful in their field. None of us will have unlimited time to research what they are saying, but if others who are committed to truth are also vouching for them, that’s one way of knowing that what they are saying is true. And, even though it takes a bit of patience, most of us have a little bit of extra time to look into whether or not what we’re hearing is actually true.
- Are They Willing to Admit When They are Wrong?
This is one trait that has stood out to me in the past months as I’ve tried to determine what kind of weight to put on someone’s words. It takes humility for someone to publicly admit when they were wrong about something, demonstrating that they are more committed to what is true than upholding their reputation.
Now, I’m not talking about those who change their minds because others with differing opinions criticize or come after them. This isn’t a turn-around based in a commitment to the truth, but rather being afraid of rejection. So, going hand-in-hand with being willing to admit when they are wrong comes the boldness not to change their mind (or say they have) simply because of the pushback of popular opinion. I’m speaking of those who have been presented with facts that contradict their original thought (especially by other wise people), look into it, and realize they didn’t have it quite right.
I’m also not referring to those who show a continual pattern of saying un-factual things due to speaking hastily with poor research. A prudent person will weigh their words carefully, having looked into subjects thoroughly before claiming to be an authority on them. However, since we are all humans we can and will err at some point even with great commitment to truth. We all need to be ready to extend patience and grace to one another as we grow, remembering that even the most well-learned will need to correct themselves at times.
- Are Their Claims Compatible with Scripture?
This one is more specifically when we are weighing Christian voices and determining whether to take their words to heart. There are a number of prevalent worldviews that Christians are saying we should be embracing or implementing as believers. They usually take one or two things that can be considered good about that worldview or agenda, dancing around the biblical concerns that are raised or using fallacious arguments to support them. We have to be very wary of this. It’s also another reason we need to know what the Bible says so we can see when they’re using Scripture out of context to support something that the whole Bible doesn’t actually support.
If you’re not sure whether something aligns with Scripture, ask other believers who are wise and discerning and care more about holding fast to the truth than being culturally relevant. See if any red flags are being raised in their minds, whether they have any insights to offer, or if they can point you to specific places in Scripture that would refute or support these ideas.
The things going on in the world around us can feel so confusing and disorienting. But God will be faithful to lead us as we fix our eyes upon Him. We can look throughout all of history and see many, many crazy things that have taken place and many powerful people who have tried to silence voices speaking truth. But God’s Word still stands. There are still those proclaiming Him, believing Him, and willing to risk everything out of love and allegiance to their Savior. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Heb. 13:8). There is nothing—no worldview, no system, no government—that can stop our God. And He will equip us with all we need for life and godliness as we seek Him diligently in our day and age.
If this post encouraged you, would you consider sharing it? Many thanks!