Volume 49 | Number 4 | August–September 2021

Inglés Español

The Controlling Principles of a Worldview

By Dr. H. T. Spence

Living in a philosophical schizophrenic hour, most people tend to embrace several worldviews and yet fail to be truly controlled by any. They live only according to the moment and what accommodates that moment. In one circumstance, they may step forward with what seems to be their worldview; and yet, the next day they find themselves in another circumstance, responding with words and actions of a different worldview. This indecisiveness proves they have never come to a controlling worldview. As a Christian, God must control my life; Christ must control my life; the Spirit of God and the Word of God must be controlling factors of my life. These precious presuppositions must be welded together collectively within the heart. And from this heart, a worldview will emerge as the singular controlling power of my life. This worldview is the controlling principle of how I view the world and myself in the light of the world.

Over the years the world has lived by many paradigms (the standards and patterns) that were the controlling thoughts and principles of living. But as the world deepened in manifested sin and apostasy, these paradigms that governed society boldly shifted. The evidence of such changes has become apparent in our present shift toward governmental dictatorial rule. Who would have thought two years ago we would be where we are today in the United States? This society and governmental shift, in turn, has brought radical shifts in other areas of human existence. Science has shifted from rational proof of reason to a political and socialistic postmodern manipulation of statistics. Healthcare has radically shifted, becoming more and more based upon the existential mood of the current government in power; statistics and algorithms accommodate medical lies to control people through mandates. Our government rules through the weapons of fear and intimidation. Even the paradigm of economy founded in capitalism has now shifted into the cesspool of socialism. Another paradigm shift is seen in journalism and the reporting of the social media; what was once seen in the integrity of objective publications now has transitioned to propagandize journalism. The list of paradigm shifts now taking place is almost endless. Nearly every paradigm of society has shifted toward its antithesis, and in turn has forced other paradigms to shift.

When Worldviews Change

At the beginning of the Foundations ministry in 1974, our Founder was given of the Lord a certain worldview with clear presuppositions. The ministry’s birth was at a time when the moral fiber (at least publicly) in America suggested a better spiritual climate. Yet, the 1970s also gave witness to the moral collapse profoundly influenced by the 1960s; eventually our country came to accept the “strange flesh” of legalized sodomy. As the nation changed in its moral and spiritual climate, more perspectives had to be included in our worldview. Even the worldview of several individuals and ministries that we once fellowshipped became compromised as they accommodated and even capitulated to Neo-Christianity. Therefore, our perspective of them was forced to change, not because our heart changed but because they changed from the truth.

And with candor we must acknowledge that the world today is constantly changing at accelerating speed for the worse. This is why, dear reader, we must ever keep our eye on God and His infallible Word as we witness the changes taking place in the world. As the End Time takes us deeper into the abyss of the apostasy in every compartment of humanity, it will necessitate a greater fine-tuning of our view of both the world and our own living within this world.

The Defining Characteristics of a Worldview Reviewed:

In the previous article we introduced eight defining characteristics prompting questions that demand answers. In turn, these answers establish constant principles that govern our view of this world, and the view of our life in the light of this world’s view of itself. It is important to see that our conclusions cannot be based on subjectivity. Individuals who are not Christians have a multitude of thoughts coming to them, whether good or bad. Such thoughts naturally and profoundly affect how they view things. There is a great segment of society today that would view us as extreme, as too dogmatic in our beliefs and living standards. We must realize that there will be many individuals who will not accept our worldview; in fact, they will publicly despise it. They may call us enemies of society, enemies of humanity, even to the degree that we are not worthy to live on this same planet with them.

I. The first defining characteristic addressed one’s concept of reality. Inherent in this first principle is the need to resolve what one believes to be the prime or superlative reality. Does this refer to God? Is it a concept of gods or just this material world (kosmos)? Am I a creature that is part of the kosmos; did I merely come from Mother Earth to then be absorbed back into it? What is the prime reality that becomes the undertow of everything I do?

II. The second defining characteristic concerned one’s view of his external reality. What one concludes about his external reality is dependent upon his prime reality view. Was the world created? Is the world autonomous? Does it have its own sustaining power? Do I live in a law, order, and design creation, or do I live in a chaotic creation, or chaotic world kosmos? Did all this come into existence randomly and by chance? Is all matter the sum of reality? Or is it spirit? What is my personal relationship to my external reality?

III. The third defining characteristic concerned one’s view of himself as a human being. I am not a dog or a cat or a cow or a tree. Is a human being a highly complex thing? Is it a machine? Was I made in the image and likeness of God? Were my very distant relatives apes, chimpanzees, or monkeys? What am I? What am I a product of? What is my purpose of even existing?

IV. A fourth defining characteristic that must be integral to one’s worldview concerns his view of what happens to him after death? Am I annihilated? Do I cease to exist? Do I have a soul within me? Is there an afterlife? It is a marvel that natural philosophy (in contrast to metaphysical philosophy) believed in a soul. In fact, as Socrates was dying, having been sentenced to death through drinking hemlock poison, he believed that his soul would be released from the prison of his body. He believed in an afterlife—not the right afterlife, but he did believe in an afterlife. Atheistic science rejects the afterlife but fantasizes of an artificial afterlife (artificial intelligence). Certain religions and cultures have promoted the hereafter to be reincarnation. Truly, mankind has gone the gamut in his conceptual thinking of the hereafter.

V. The fifth defining characteristic that must become a part of one’s worldview concerns the question whether we can truly know knowledge. We have been convinced by the world system that a person cannot know final knowledge. Knowledge changes, and no one can know for sure what is true or false, right or wrong. Such confusion in society about truth makes it more susceptible to the propaganda of “the Lie.” Do I believe the Bible has the knowledge needed to get home to Heaven? Do I believe the Bible is infallible, impeccable, and inerrant knowledge?

VI. My View of Absolute Knowledge: Another Key Characteristic Defining My Worldview

The sixth defining characteristic concerns one’s belief about absolute knowledge. Society vacillates in confusion and uncertainty when it proclaims man cannot know anything absolutely. They vainly try to settle the confusion by forcing everyone to accept each other’s opinion without question. For example, politicians force a “science” that is not scientifically established; the simple declaration it is science to them is sufficient. Believing nothing can be absolutely true, they mandate mere opinion or purposeful misinformation. Because truth in a postmodern age is different to each person, no one is absolutely wrong or absolutely right. Most worldviews are directly linked to the Tree in the Garden of Eden: “I have a right to make the decision of the knowledge, the knowledge of good and evil. Therefore, the power of what I believe in ethics resides in me.” Upon what basis do I come to conclusions on right and wrong?

The Bible should be the worldview of a Christian. Liberal theologies have attempted to make the absoluteness of the Scriptures questionable. They bring up questionable manuscripts. They bring up varying ethics and moralities. Some of these theologians can preach classic sermons and yet, once they leave that stage, continue in their own morals (or immoralities). How do they live so schizophrenic without their conscience being affected? We have come to a postmodern world beyond reason that allows such confusion. They separate the way they live morally from what they believe religiously.

Politicians such as Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden claim to be Christians. Even when many in the Roman Catholic Church disapprove of these politicians receiving Mass (because of strong beliefs in abortion and other frowned-upon lifestyles), these people have been able to separate their politics and personal views from their religion. Postmodernism provides the ability for them to do so, and they can be at peace with this. Such living is the evidence of an apostate. This confusion is their worldview; this is their presupposition.

How do we know what is right and wrong? Is it determined by human choice alone? Is it determined by how I feel? In the film The Sound of Music, there is a scene where Maria is with Captain von Trapp. As they are falling in love, her dialog implies “How can this be wrong if it feels so right?” Lamenting her “wicked” and “miserable” past, she says, “I must have done something good.” This nebulous morality is how people live now in existentialism and postmodernism. Although the world may tell us to let our hearts be the guide, the Bible warns, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.” Perhaps the world really means to follow one’s conscience; but one must ask, “What has educated the conscience?” What is right, what is wrong?

VII. My View of Human History: Another Key Characteristic Defining My Worldview

The seventh characteristic that must be part of a worldview concerns one’s view of human history. Perspectives of history have radically changed in recent decades. German philosophers denote these distinguishing perspectives with the words Historie and Geschichte. Historie is the story of traditional history books; it presents the facts, the personalities that were involved, the dates of events, and what historically took place. It is the reality of what and when something happened. However, Existentialists generally reject Historie in favor of Geschichte history. Geschichte history purports to explore or divine the feelings, thoughts, and reactions of people or societies amidst history’s unfolding events. They want to explore the subjective feeling of mind and heart. Such abstract perspectives to them are genuine histories.

Today we witness the redefining of history as exampled in the defacing and destruction of historic monuments. Existentialism and postmodernism hate anything of the past that is a historical witness against their irrationality. So, what does one do with a history that condemns? Its witness is obliterated and replaced with a subjective Geschichte feeling where no one has the right to declare the good or evil, the right or wrong. The Geschichte historian today will be replaced in a generation with a new subjective Geschichte historian. Truth is what the present generation believes and feels. For this reason, many believe it really does not matter whether Jesus existed.

With reports that the Roman Catholic Church is finally making public its 36-mile vaulted library of historic writings, the media is suggesting there will be proof that Jesus never existed and that Christianity is built upon a myth. Such a thought had to come, for the Liberal Theologians, since the mid-1800s have been boldly declaring that the Bible is a myth, a saga, a legend. Thus, what will come from such a statement? Christianity is now viewed as a myth for the wealth and the promotion of the Church.

Human history is now attempting to make a paradise on earth, but without God and His Son. So, what is history? Well, to the Christian, it is the divine meticulous workings of God’s providence. It is not so much that men have made history. History is God working through both good and bad mankind. As a Christian, I must come to a resolve about history as part of my worldview.

In the eighth grade, my atheist world history teacher made the statement that Christianity was subservient to world history. Coming from a preacher’s home, she raised in my mind another question of what I had been taught. But as I grew older and entered the ministry, I found out that the statement is really the opposite. It has been Christianity that has affected world history, and world history is a servant to sacred history. Amid the many spokes of history, all history is centered upon the death and resurrection of the God-man, Jesus Christ.

VIII. My Personal Core Commitments: Another Key Characteristic Defining My Worldview

The final characteristic that must be part of a worldview concerns one’s ultimate core commitment. The core commitment gets to the root of my worldview, reflecting what truly I have committed my life to. When does a person come to a supreme ruling choice? Amidst a planet today dedicated to pluralism of worldviews, what do I believe is the singular purpose of my life? This core commitment must be to love God with all the heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to fulfill His will for my life. The years of living life will prove whether we have resolved a biblical core commitment.

To what have you committed your life? Do you have a worldview? Does that worldview have God at the core? Does it control you? Does it consume you? Is every decision you make tied into that worldview? As the age enlarges its mandates of bitter authoritarian control, may we be committed to that which eternally matters, the mandates of God’s infallible Word!