GOLDFISH BOWLS AND WORLDVIEWS
Our worldview forms a part of the Core Beliefs/HUB of the wheel, it is a set of values and expectations about the nature of the Creation of which we are part. Often, individuals have an underdeveloped worldview, akin to a goldfish living in a bowl of water. The goldfish doesn’t know that there is a different world outside of his fishbowl. All he knows is the water in his bowl. James Sire defines Worldview in this way: A worldview is a set of presuppositions (or assumptions) which we hold (consciously or subconsciously) about the basic make-up of our world. (Naming the Elephant: A Worldview as a Concept)
A CHURCH-PLANTER’S WORLDVIEW
One of the things that makes us unique in Creation is that we think, we imagine, we inquire about the world around us, we can even know some things that are directly revealed by God in the scriptures (Deut. 29:29). As Church planters, we have a number of key ideas that form a part of our ‘belief system’ – the Core Beliefs. These Core Beliefs come from a particular perspective and drive us in our thinking. Worldviews, broadly described through the guilt-innocence, honour- shame, or power-fear paradigms, are ways through which societies order their human relationships. These are well documented by missiologists, e.g. Dr. Paul Hiebert’s classic anthropological/missiological text Transforming Worldviews. Rather than examine the different world views in depth – a brief introduction will come later, as it is important in a multicultural world- we propose the following set of seven principles that underlies our ‘church planting worldview’.
- The Bible is God’s word that informs all (Deut. 29:29; 2 Tim. 3:16-17)
Instead of the traditions of organised religion or the principles of the World’s systems, we will always look to the scriptures first in wanting to understand what God is doing and wants from us.
- God is on a mission to redeem his fallen creation for his glory (Rom. 1:5, 16-17)
We believe that God sees man as the pinnacle of creation and is therefore about redeeming Him and everything that He does is geared toward that end. As each and every individual is redeemed through the work of Jesus, God is glorified.
- All mankind belongs to one of two kingdoms (Col. 1:13-14)
At the end of the day, each person either belongs to Jesus or to the World (Jn. 15:19). The scriptures present this idea in various ways, but the essence is that there are two kingdoms: the kingdom of darkness and the Kingdom of God’s beloved Son – Jesus. There is no ‘half-way house’.
- Jesus Christ is the only way into the Kingdom of light (Act. 4:12)
The fact is that mankind has invented all kinds of ways to try and be right with God; to enter the kingdom of light. All the religions of the world try and do this, but ultimately Jesus Christ, the one from Heaven, is the only way to enter the kingdom of God. As Jesus said ‘No one comes to the Father except through the Son’ (Jn. 14:6).
- There are both natural and supernatural elements in this world (Col. 1:16)
Our modern, Western rationalistic world doesn’t acknowledge an unseen world, but we know that the created order includes what we experience with our physical senses and also that which is created, but is not in, the physical created order.
- The church is God’s primary partner on His mission (Eph. 3:10; 3:20; 1 Cor. 3:9)
This concept is critical to how we understand what the Lord is doing. When we say ‘the church’ we mean all of the people who belong to Him, but we also mean local assemblies.
- The destiny of God’s people is to be conformed to the image of Christ (Rom. 8:29)
God is ultimately concerned with the glory of His Son, that His Son will be lifted up, that He will be first amongst many brothers (Heb. 2:10-12; Is. 53: 10-11). We therefore want to be involved in seeing people become more like Jesus in this life, in becoming followers of Jesus but then growing in His likeness.
AUTHORITY FROM JESUS HIMSELF
These principles draw us to the conclusion that we have authority from Jesus Himself (Matt. 28:19-20; Jn. 20:21) to be involved in accomplishing God’s plan for the redemption of the human race by proclaiming the gospel of Jesus (the good news about Him): that those who trust in Him will be made right with the Father, having eternal life now, so that Jesus will have many brothers, and God will be glorified through Jesus. This is the work of His body here on earth, the church, of which we are a part as a local assembly.