My worldview

For my Foundations of Christian Thought here at Taylor University, I must participate in a discussion group for the class that counts as 1/3 of the grade.  The first paper we were assigned in the discussion group was one outlining our worldview.  We were instructed to write an informal essay/paper/report of how we view the world and such.  Well I wrote mine last night/this morning and turned in it in class this morning.  So then, because it discussions my worldview which is integrated with Christianity (God’s word in specific) I thought I would post it on here for you all to read if you so choose.  Here ya go, comment if you’d like.  There may be some typos…  I didn’t edit it to the best of my ability.  Also I warn you, it is long.

Chris Martin

Foundations Discussion

Mr. Byers

Sept. 10, 2009

My Worldview

In his book, Foundations of Christian Thought, Dr. Mark Cosgrove defines a worldview as, “a set of assumptions or beliefs about reality that affect how we think and how we live.”  While staying in the realm of this definition regarding each of the topics outlined in this paper, I hope to make clear where I stand in a few different facets of life.  In this analysis of my worldview my views on God, eternity, salvation, and human responsibilities in the pursuit of eternal life.

To limit my view of God to a paragraph or two is virtually impossible.  Because I serve a God bigger than one can imagine, there is no way I can possible summarize my view of him to a paragraph or two.  However, I will do the best I can to begin to describe my God.

My God is everything the Bible says He is, and I consider my Bible to be the Holy Word of God.   God is love.  First John 4:8 says, “Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”  God is wise.  “The Lord by wisdom founded the earth;
by understanding he established the heavens; by his knowledge the deeps broke open,
and the clouds drop down the dew,” Proverbs 3:19-20.  The God I am called to serve is good.  Psalm 119:67-68 says, “Before I was afflicted I went astray,
but now I keep your word.
 You are good and do good;
teach me your statutes.”  Psalm 9:7-8 tells us that our God is just, “But the Lord sits enthroned forever;
he has established his throne for justice, and he judges the world with righteousness;
he judges the peoples with uprightness.”  Finally, 1 Chronicles 17:11-12 shows the sovereignty of our God, “Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all. Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all.”

The preceding paragraph includes a selection of attributes of God that I decided to include in this essay.  But something about my God that I didn’t outline the paragraph above is the salvation He provides foe us through grace.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life,” John 3:16.  This oft-quoted verse states that God loves the world so much that He sent His only Son to die so that those who believe in Christ may be saved, and reside in Heaven for eternity.  This verse is often misinterpreted.  People see this verse and think, “Here is proof that God wants everyone in the world to go to heaven!”  That thought is foolish because if one reads the whole verse he will understand that God loved the world, but He did not send His Son for the world, rather, He sent His Son for whoever believes in Him and whoever believes in Him has eternal life in Heaven.

Regarding my stance on free will and predestination:  many verses such exist to support the idea of predestination.  Romans 8:29-30 is just one of the many passages supporting predestination.  It reads, “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.”  One may think the debate of Armenianism and Calvinism is useless.  Understanding how God works with humans is crucial to following Him, and understanding where you stand in the Armenianism/Calvinism debate is a great way to gauge your comprehension of God’s word.

My next point analyzes the human responsibilities in the pursuit of an eternal life in Heaven.  I mentioned earlier in this essay that John 3:16 is one of the most misunderstood verses in all of scripture.  I said that though God so loved the world, He sent His Son for whom?  Those who believe in Him, not the world.  One may ask, “Well then, what does it look like to believe in God?  That is such a loose statement.”  To further understand the difference between a believer and an unbeliever, I will cite some verses in 1 John.

In 1 John 3:9-10 it says, “No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.”  Though no Christian will ever be sinless, only Christ Himself accomplished that feat, those who have been truly transformed will no longer live a life of continual, habitual sin.

Furthermore 1 John 3:16-18 says, “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.  But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?  Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.”  Though good works do not buy us our tickets to Heaven, if we are true followers of Christ, our faith and trust in Him cannot help but show itself through the way we act and love others.

The last passage I choose to cite is 1 John 4:7-8.  It says, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”  Jesus says in Matthew 23:39 that second only to loving the Lord, you must love your neighbor as yourself.  To love God is to keep his commandments.  Keeping His commandments require us to love God and love others.  In this way, we show our true belief in Jesus Christ and that we are the ones for whom God sent His one and only Son.

The purpose of this essay was to outline my worldview in the most concise way possible.  And if only one aspect of my worldview is taken from this essay I would hope it would be this:  my worldview is God’s worldview that He makes evident in His Holy Word, the Bible.  I was sure to cite scripture for every facet of my worldview explored in this essay.  I hope you understand, if nothing else, that my worldview is not my own at all, but rather the worldview of the awesome God I serve.

Hope you got something out of that and maybe learned some about me…  discuss it with my on Facebook if ya want!

-Chris

Overcoming Loneliness

Hey there everyone.  This is my first post in a while.  Since my last post I have started college at Taylor University here in Upland, IN.  I love this place.  It is so awesome.  The guys I live with on Foundation are awesome and I can’t wait to get to know them more.  I am enjoying my classes though they are yielding more homework than any previous semester in school before.

I am writing tonight regarding an issue people often have a hard time overcoming:  loneliness.

Whether your best friend moved away, you lost a close loved one to death, or possibly broke up with a significant other, loneliness can often captivate and paralyze a person emotionally, and more importantly, spiritually.  The feeling of loneliness often causes people to retreat within themselves because of shame or sadness, and rarely leads to a stronger faith in Christ.  However, I hope that maybe after reading this post and meditating on the scripture I present, it will be easier for you to deal with loneliness.

The main passage I look to when I feel lonely is Psalm 139:

1O LORD, you have searched me and known me!

2You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
3You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
4Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O LORD, you know it altogether.
5You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
6Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it.

7 Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
8If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
9If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me.
11If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light about me be night,”
12 even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you.

13For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
14I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16Your eyes saw my unformed substance;in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.

17How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
I awake, and I am still with you.

19Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God!
O men of blood, depart from me!
20They speak against you with malicious intent;
your enemies take your name in vain!
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD?
And do I not loathe those who rise up against you?
22I hate them with complete hatred;
I count them my enemies.

23Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
24And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting!

Now I know it’s easy to feel lonely, but after reading Psalm 139, I cannot help but be overjoyed that my God loves me so much regardless of my sinful nature.  It is so comforting to know that He is always with me, always planning out my next action and what my life has in store for me.  He knows what trials I will face, He knows how I respond, He knows how I will suffer, and He knows how I will grow.  And though I may not always understand, and even though sometimes I think my way may be easier and more convenient than God’s, ultimately, we’re both out to honor and further His Kingdom, and let’s be honest, He knows how to do that better than I do.

So I encourage you friends, even though losing a loved one or breaking up with a significant other may  be tough and will induce some loneliness, I encourage you to remember and understand that God is always there for you, planning what you will encounter next, and planning how you will respond and learn.

I leave you with this verse:

3 Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases.    (Psalm 115:3)

Be well, trust in the Lord always.  He will keep your paths straight.

-Chris