Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Rod Parsley's book, Culturally Incorrect: How Clashing Worldviews Affect Your Future, (Thomas Nelson).
American culture today is a jumbled mess of clashing worldviews that lead many people astray from biblical truth. Don't let yourself fall victim to confused thinking that harms your spiritual health. Instead, take a stand for the biblical worldview and help heal our culture in the process.
Here's how you can defend a biblical worldview in our confused culture:
Learn how to be in the world, but not of it. Don't just assimilate into the broader culture by living a lifestyle that's the same or similar to the way unbelievers live. Instead, live out your faith by following biblical principles in all areas of your life so people can clearly see that you, as a Christian, are distinctly different from unbelievers. Ask God to help you identify areas of your life in which you need to be more faithful, and to give you the grace you need to grow in those areas.
Trade comfort for sacrifice and service. Realize that faith isn't about seeking your own comfort, but about making sacrifices and serving others so you can grow into the person God wants you to become. Ask God to help you stop looking inward with self-absorption and start looking outward with compassion so you can embrace the rigors of discipleship and the joys of selfless service. Recognize that you can powerfully influence unbelievers by loving them in practical ways.
Engage the culture rather than withdrawing from it. Meet the culture in the marketplace of ideas and present the Gospel message in relevant ways instead of isolating yourself in a Christian subculture. Understand that your faith isn't meant to be private; it's meant to be lived out in all situations - at work, at home, at school, at parks, at your local stores and restaurants, and wherever else you engage with others. Realize that, even if you're not in professional ministry, you still have a full-time calling to minister to others by shining the light of faith brightly into other people's lives. Strive for excellence in all you do.
Be clear about what constitutes a biblical worldview. Make sure you know exactly what you believe as a Christian, and why you believe it. Don't take your faith for granted or fall victim to the widespread confusion in our culture. Read, study, and meditate on the Bible often. Ask the Holy Spirit to renew your mind so you won't conform to the pattern of the culture's muddled thinking and will be able to discern God's wisdom. Figure out how the Bible answers these key questions that help form a worldview: "What is prime reality - the really real?", "What is the nature of external reality, that is, the world around us?", "What is a human being?", "What happens to a person at death?", "Why is it possible to know anything at all?", "How do we know what is right and wrong?" and "What is the meaning of human history?".
Understand other worldviews. Get to know the non-biblical worldviews that are swirling around in our culture. Know that it's crucial to understand what other people believe in order to ultimately be able to persuade them to consider the truth. Reach out to unbelievers and engage them in meaningful conversations in loving and respectful ways. Don't think of people who disagree with you as "stupid, crazy, or evil," but as people made in God's image who are loved by Him yet lost in confusion. Identify the false assumptions underlying the arguments of those who hold non-biblical worldviews and learn how to challenge those assumptions with respect and grace. Look for worldview clues in the media and learn to think critically about the messages they communicate.
Model Jesus' compassion. Show hurting people how much Jesus loves them by following His example and helping them. Pray for God to show you specific people He wants you to help in specific ways. Then take action to serve them in Jesus' name. Help people like family members, friends, and neighbors through one-on-one acts of kindness as God leads you, and do volunteer work through charities, ministries and other groups to bring relief to groups of poor and oppressed people both in your community and around the world. Be generous with financial donations to your church and other organizations that help hurting people. Invite God to use your life as a channel through which He can pour out His love to people in need. Be alert to opportunities to serve, and follow the Holy Spirit's promptings to give your resources (time, energy, or money) to the opportunities God wants you to pursue.
Take political action. Whenever there's an election at any level in your area, be sure to vote, knowing that your voice will make a real difference in the future of your nation, state, and local community. Get to know where the various candidates stand on issues, and support the ones who are true to biblical principles. Organize voter registration campaigns. Attend events like party caucuses or precinct meetings. Volunteer your time and energy to champion various causes and work on political campaigns. Contact your elected representatives to express your views on issues you care about. Be prepared to make a strong and clear case for your position on the issues, but make that case with respect, grace, and compassion. Support organizations that are fighting for religious freedom and Christians' rights in the courts. Support legislation and constitutional amendments (state and federal) that protect the traditional definition of marriage and the integrity of the family. Overcome racial, economic, and other differences to stand in unity with other believers on issues you all champion so you can exert tremendous political influence.
Let awe for God's creation lead you to engage the world of science. Understand that the common notion that faith and science must be at odds is just plain wrong. Realize that science is actually a natural extension of the Christian faith, because it helps us to appreciate God's intelligent design and how His creation functions according to immutable principles. Learn about the latest scientific discoveries, and think and pray about the many ethical issues our culture is now facing in fields such as biological technology. Take stands for or against certain practices, such as opposing funding for forms of medical research that require the destruction of human embryos. Support school board candidates who understand the value of informing students about intelligent design rather than just evolution.
Embrace the arts. Recognize that the arts have great value, despite the many artists in the entertainment and media worlds who present messages that are disrespectful or hostile to the Christian faith. Instead of avoiding the arts, embrace movies, music, literature and other forms of art that are inspiring. Support edifying art and artists. Learn to recognize bias in the media and think critically about messages communicated through what you watch, hear, and read. Consider contributing to the arts yourself, acting as salt and light to express God's truths to people in fresh and creative ways.
Pursue revival. Ask God to give you the courage and wisdom to take a moral inventory of your life and recognize wrong attitudes and behaviors. Then repent of them and rely on God's strength to help you grow so you can live with integrity before a watching world. Become outwardly focused rather than inwardly focused so you'll be less prone to self-absorption and more likely to put your faith into action. Pray for revival in America, interceding for government and cultural leaders (like the President, movie stars, and sports figures) who are currently in influential positions.
Become a seed. Be willing to give up your own agenda for the sake of God's will, letting your selfish desires die so your faith can grow like a seed maturing into a healthy and productive plant. Invite God to do whatever is necessary to fulfill all of His purposes for your life. Pray for the strength and courage you need to contribute to the world in all the ways He wants you to do so.
Adapted from Culturally Incorrect: How Clashing Worldviews Affect Your Future, © Rod Parsley.
Published by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Nashville, Tn., www.thomasnelson.com.
Rod Parsley is pastor of World Harvest Church in Columbus, Ohio, with more than 12,000 in attendance weekly. He is a highly sought-after crusade and conference speaker who delivers a life-changing message to raise the standard of physical purity, moral integrity, and spiritual intensity. Parsley hosts Breakthrough, a television broadcast seen by millions across the world and also oversees World Harvest Academy, World Harvest Bible College, and Bridge of Hope Missions and Outreach. He and his wife, Joni, have two children, Ashton and Austin.