Context

 

2-3 May 2015 was one of the busiest weekends in the Kew Calendar so far. It included the Res Family weekend, the collection of the Boorondara Food Drive, the Activate missions conference, a wedding, an engagement party and the day-long Context conference. Plus of course there was our usual smorgasbord of three worship services and youth group on Sunday.

Spoilt for choice, I attended the Context conference on Saturday; a day-long gathering designed for university students and young workers to consider how to live out their faith in the context they find themselves in. Seven separate up-front talks and three discussion groups filled up the day, as those attending heard about worldviews, cultural assumptions, workplace ministry, science and faith and the question of exclusivity of Christianity.

The worldviews sessions highlighted the fact that in reality, everybody has a worldview of some sort, an unspoken set of assumptions that effects how you view everything. The popular idea that secular discourse is “free” from any worldview and provides a neutral perspective is inaccurate. Instead, secularism is a worldview which excludes religious belief from public discourse and education, often belittling people of faith with broad presumptions like “all religions are essentially the same”.

Peter Corney and Mark Sayers introduced us to four popular worldviews today:

  • Materialism; that natural matter is all there is, there is no room for the supernatural, human progress is linear, the material world provides all information worth knowing
  • Post-modern cultural relativism; also denying the supernatural, this worldview holds that objective truth is a myth, identity and reality is fluid, and authority and structure is usually oppressive.
  • New age pantheism; a view of God as part of and within everything, in which our aim is to lose individual identity into this cosmic consciousness
  • Christian Theism; that God the creator and the creation are clearly distinguished, that humanity is created by God, damaged by sin, and capable of redemption through Jesus

My question from this is – what is the common worldview of people in my context? The people I see day to day, my friends and family, people I meet in the street or the shops. How do they view reality? What is the common worldview in your particular context?

How then can we share our faith with people who have such a different understanding of the world? And at the same time, how can we prevent ourselves being influenced by these alternate worldviews?

In Romans 12:2, Paul writes: Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

To understand and follow God’s will for our lives, we need to be able to resist the patterns of belief and behaviour of this world and have minds transformed and renewed by God’s Spirit. As you consider your context and the prevailing worldviews present, let me encourage you to pray for God’s Spirit to continually renew your mind to grasp God’s truth.

Paul Pallot

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