Worldviews: What They Are and Why They Matter (Part 2)

by Robert B. Stewart

In my previous article I discussed briefly what worldviews are and how they function as life-guides for us.  Now I wish to say more about how they work in our lives and how they guide us in ministry.

When we speak to non-Christians, it is crucial that they understand what we mean.  Far too often we speak a foreign language to those we are trying to reach.  What language you ask?  Christianese.  We ask questions like:

Christian: “Have you been saved?”

Friend: “Well, yes, at summer camp I fell out of a canoe but my scoutmaster saved me . . .”

Christian: “That’s not what I mean, I mean have you been born again?”

Friend: “Uh, not lately.”

Christian: “No, I mean have you been washed in the blood?”

Friend: “Ugh, no, and I don’t want to be.  Gross!”

Christian: “You don’t get it, I’m trying to share the good news with you.”

Friend: “All right, great!  So what is the good news?”

Christian: “You’re going to Hell!”

Friend: “So . . . what’s the bad news?”

Clearly our non-Christian friends must know what we mean if our efforts at ministry are ever going to be successful.  We need to be on the same page, so to speak.  Worldviews are thus crucial to any evangelistic effort.

But still this is not enough.  We must also speak relevantly to their concerns.  We can speak clearly, even rationally and articulately, but if we don’t speak to matters that they care deeply about, our clear, rational speech will be ineffective.  Understanding another’s worldview enables us to speak to their heart concerns in such a way as to motivate them to change.  Simply put, we might convince them that something we believe is true, but if that topic is not a major concern in their worldview, then they will regard what we have said as being trivially true…

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