April 16, 2007
The Master's Program
The Point of View - A Weekly Commentary by Bob Shank

Dear Marketplace Friend, 

    I may be straining our internet friendship; I hope not. Receiving these weekly missives -- and, the annual "how about sponsoring me in the golfathon-for-Jesus fundraiser" appeal -- are longtime friends who are far past offense, as well as the new-to-the-downline folks with whom I've never shared time or space.
    Usually, Monday's Point of View doesn't require espresso double-shots to process; more often, it's a cross between a fortune cookie idea and a "What Would Jesus Do?" devotional page. I've taken the liberty to take off on what I believe to be a crucial discourse that has profound implications for you, me and our world.
    We're talking about what it means to have a Christian/ Biblical Worldview (C/BWV), and we're doing so in 12 installments. Week #1 was the shot-across-the-bow introduction; Week #2 gave you Absolutism as a Monday morning muse. The first Distinctive of our C/BWV is this: Absolute Moral Truth Exists. I asked you to place yourself on a continuum in response to that declaration. From aghast to agreement, the spectrum of possible positions was:

      oppose ~> resist ~> passive ~> believe ~> advocate

    For you -- or, me -- to claim a C/BWV, we would need to at least believe the tenets in question. And, unless there are teammates who are enflamed to advocate these truths, the ranks of the Christians with a Biblical Worldview will continue to shrink. The vast majority of voices around us, in our culture -- from classrooms to cable programs, from blogs to business magazines, from singers to sitcoms -- range from passive to resist to oppose on these benchmarking bulletpoints. Unless Christians who know where they stand -- and, why -- speak up, and speak out... the culture's voices will prevail in the recruitment of the undeclared masses who don't know what they believe. What's the next stone in our Worldview foundation?
    Distinctive #2: The Bible is Absolutely True. This point flows from Distinctive #1, clearly. If Absolute Moral Truth Exists (and a Christian/ Biblical Worldview says that it does), where - and how - does one discover that truth? There is an inherent assumption behind Distinctive #1: it is that, for Absolute Moral Truth to be reliable, it must come from a "higher Power." The only good explanation for a "higher Power" is the existence of an Almighty God - Someone Who might warrant titles like, "King of Kings," or "Lord of Lords" perhaps. That raises some critical next points in the discussion. If there is an Almighty God, is He silent, or has He spoken? If He has spoken, was it recorded, or was it simply verbalized to a confined audience whose reliability is not measurable? If He has communicated to me, where do I find the record?
    There is no document of human history for which more scholarship directed toward confirmation -- or, discreditation -- has been exercised. Books -- both fiction and nonfiction -- come and go with claims of refutation regarding the Scriptures. At the same time, profound analysis by open-minded inquisitors has often resulted in the newfound personal faith of the former skeptics. Not surprisingly, those newly-converted scholars often become some of the strongest advocates of the unique reliability of the Bible text.
    Conciliatory compromisers have tried to stakeout a soft spot in the middle ground, holding up a claim that "the Bible is reliable in matters of faith, but is not dependable beyond those boundaries." So, "the words of Jesus" are in red; are the "words you can't trust" in green? Who is to say where the Bible is binding, and where it is bogus? Is each reader free to cut-and-paste their own "personal" version of the Scriptures, retaining only the portions that align with their preconceptions and preferences?
    Wipe out that middle ground; it doesn't exist. Either it is what it claims to be -- the inspired-by-God Word-of-God, binding on all people, in all places, of all times, regarding all issues about which it communicates the input of the Almighty -- or, it isn't. And, if it isn't, it is no more authoritative -- about ANYTHING -- than last month's Reader's Digest. Which is it?
    Those who hold a Christian/ Biblical Worldview at least believe -- or, more powerfully, advocate -- that The Bible is Absolutely True, line-upon-line, cover-to-cover. Where do you stand regarding the Bible?

Bob Shank

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