Worldview Core Values
PCF Worldview Core Values – John Mullen
This is the third in a series of three articles here in the PCF Post relating to the core values of our community. The core values are broken down into three categories – Spiritual, Community and Worldview. Core values could be described as the lens from which we see the Lord, his Body and his creation. Therefore, our core values must flow from our experience with God, our understanding of his will for our community, and the knowledge of his plan for this world.
The historic worldview of Christians has not always reflected the heart of God. Wars and many atrocities have occurred in the name of Jehovah. Even today many view those outside of the Body of Christ as the enemy rather than the beloved creation. Therefore, we must reconsider our view of the world in light of the Scriptures and the heart of God. The following are five points that might help shape how we see the world.
We value God’s love
And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. His son said to him, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.” But his father said to the servants, “Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast, for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.” So the party began (Lk. 15:20-24).
The first Worldview Core Value relates to how we see God’s creation. How we see the world is significantly impacted by how we see God. If God is the indiscriminate punisher of mankind, people are going to see their world as an unpredictable, fearful place without love and mercy. Your view of God will dictate your view of your world and how you will relate to it. Those who have confidence in a loving God approach and respond to the world differently. We choose to see God as the loving Father as he describes himself. Our expectation is that he not only loves us, but he loves all of his creation and desires all mankind to be saved by coming to faith in Christ.
In most religions God is up there and people are down here (maybe he notices them or maybe not, but either way, God certainly would not be going out of his way for them). The Christian God who waits patiently for one person to repent and turn back to him is on the other side of the spectrum. One of his names is Emmanuel (God with us). He cares, he loves and he intervenes (via the cross) to bridge the gap between him and others. However, too often the “others” are viewed by Christians as people who do not deserve the love of God. Yet, the God Jesus describes is filled with love and compassion, celebrating when each child comes home to him. That imagery has to impact how we see others. Paul boasts that he and his friends regard no one from a worldly point of view (2 Cor. 5:16). Another way to say that is believers must see everyone as God sees them. Do we see our world that way?
“we must reconsider our view of the world in light of the Scriptures and the heart of God.”
We value the lost
“If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them wanders away, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others on the hills and go out to search for the one that is lost? And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he will rejoice over it more than over the ninety-nine that didn’t wander away! In the same way, it is not my heavenly Father’s will that even one of these little ones should perish” (Mat. 18:12-14).
The second Worldview Core Value defines how we relate to our world. We desire to respond to our world in a manner consistent with how God has responded to us. We have all experienced undeserved mercy and love. In light of Christ and the New Covenant we embrace the world with mercy because God has mercy on us. The Law given under the Mosaic Covenant revealed how much we really deserve judgment, yet set the stage for God to reveal Himself through the Son, and bring a New Covenant. The Old Covenant was fulfilled in the death of the Savior (a covenant was in force until the death of a covenant maker), and a New Covenant has been made! Jesus took the sins of the world upon Himself and died to 1) fulfill the Old Covenant and establish the New Covenant; 2) atone for our sins (past, present and future); and 3) give us a new nature (from servants to sons & daughters). With this mercy and grace as our foundation, we can see the world as people who are made in God’s image. Christ died for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2).
God seems to love diversity, but people often prefer homogeneous (like-minded) groups. History is full of bigotry, racism and prejudices, but it was not so obvious at the time it was occurring. Often we are blind to our prejudices, but we need to remember that we also were apart from God until grace knocked on our door. We also need to keep in mind that the battle is against principalities not people (Eph 6:12). Too often we are mad at the world, mad at people in the world, and fail to be mad at the evil at work in the world. Too often our worldview is worldly! It is not us Christians against those non-Christians. People talk about the Dalai Lama, Obama or Osama bin Laden like they are the devil himself. They are just men, and no man is beyond the reach of the cross. It was the Czechs (known as the Moravians) who sold themselves into slavery or climbed on board prisoner ships with a one-way ticket. Their battle cry was “Win for the Lamb that was slain the reward for His suffering.” To them the people that might be lost were of great value. Do we see our world that way?
We value our calling
And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God” (2 Cor. 5:18-20)!
The third Worldview Core Value assigns responsibility to the Body of Christ. We desire to be the ambassadors and witnesses that God created us to be, and we embrace the task of helping those around us to be reconciled to God through Jesus Christ. Just before his ascension, Jesus gave his followers a final instruction (Mat. 28:19-20)… go and make disciples, baptizing them and teaching them to obey the command to love one another/each other (John 13:34 /15:12 & 17). Nowhere else in the Gospels is any instruction designated as “my command.” The law and the prophets are summed up by “love God and love your neighbor.”
Too often the “Christian” view of reconciling people is loading them down with a bunch of rules or dos-n-don’ts. Reconciling people involves showing them that they need to repent of living independently from God, and that God in Christ no longer counts people’s sins against them because their sins have been paid in full on the cross. Acceptance is obtained only by believing and receiving the free gift of God (Eph. 2:8-9).
God’s love re-creates us from selfish, self-protecting people. As people who have been forgiven much, we can forgive unceasingly. And, as people who have been loved much, we can love extravagantly. In short, because God so loved the world that he sent his only Son to die on their behalf, we are empowered to lay down our lives. One aspect of living for Christ is sharing the Gospel to those who are perishing. God’s example and his Spirit residing in us compel us to share the Good News (1 Cor. 9:16). Do we see our world that way?
We value the poor and the foreigners
“Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?” Jesus asked. The man replied, “The one who showed him mercy.” Then Jesus said, “Yes, now go and do the same” (Luke 10:36-37).
The story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37) is challenging. Most people want the wounded man to receive help. However, they are hoping someone else will take care of him. If Christians are too busy for God’s work, they are no longer living up to the definition of followers of Christ. The people of God are unique in that they care about others even at their own expense. We desire to give practical compassion to the needy and disenfranchised in our community and beyond. We know the benefits of responding to God’s call to help the poor and needy (Dt. 15:10, Pr. 14:21 & 31, 19:17, 21:13, 22:9, 28:27, Lk. 11:41, 18:22, Acts 10:4 & 31, and 2 Cor. 9:9).
The point of the Good Samaritan story was compassion; however, it was also about prejudice. Jesus intentionally makes the hero of the story a Samaritan. The two other characters are a priest and a Levite. They represent racial hatred. Not only were they too selfish to help their wounded brother, they are presented as less loving than a Samaritan who was considered by a Jew in that day as an inferior heretic. They were worse than heathens because they distorted the truth and led others astray from the truth. It is similar to modern Christian’s perspectives towards Mormons or Jehovah’s Witnesses. Believers today have the benefit of the written teaching of Christ to love your neighbor as yourself. And still, how many Mormons or Jehovah’s Witnesses are benefactors of Christian love?
In 1 Peter 4 it says, “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” Think about Jesus washing all the disciples’ feet – even Judas’ feet. Opening your life to people of different social status (the poor), education, race, nationality, and gender brings the Spirit of Christ into our world in tangible ways. Do we see our world that way?
We value our society
A poor person’s farm may produce much food, but injustice sweeps it all away (Proverbs 13:23).
Dr. Martin Luther King wrote, “We are called to play the Good Samaritan on life’s roadside… True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that a system that produces beggars needs to be repaved. We are called to be the Good Samaritan, but after you lift so many people out of the ditch you start to ask, maybe the whole road to Jericho needs to be repaved.” We desire to make our world a better place by establishing Kingdom activities, events and structures that demonstrate godly principles and the love of God to this world.
God so loved… the world. But, what would the world say the Church loves?… probably, their buildings, their programs and their people. Churches have the appearances of forts in hostile territory – complete with big walls and reinforced gates. Yet, Jesus talks about His Bride as salt and light (Mat. 5:13-14). Who locks up their salt and light behind walls and gates? Salt gets distributed and light shines in the darkness.
The Bride of Christ is called to live in the world but not be of it (Jn. 17:15-16 & 1 Pet. 2:11-12). The early church consisted of people who lived counter-culturally but also missionally. The 21st century would be described as post-Christian or postmodern cultures. However, the Church is in large conforming to the culture rather than changing it. Too often churches are interested in numerical growth rather than societal transformation. Yet, the Church is called to bring the Kingdom of God to earth. Godly neighbors participate in their local society and seek to make their town, not just their church, a better place. Do we see our world that way?
In conclusion, our desire as we express these values is to create unity among us. We are a diverse community. It is unrealistic to expect everyone think or act the same. However, as the pastors, elders and leaders are engaging the community, and the Body is sharing their lives together, these values are something we hope to see worked out in our life together.
Worldview Core Values Summary
- ● We choose to see God as the loving Father as he describes himself. Our expectation is that he not only loves us, but he loves all of his creation and desires all mankind to be saved by coming to faith in Christ.
- ● We desire to respond to our world in a manner consistent with how our God has responded to us. We have all experienced undeserved mercy and love. In light of Christ and the New Covenant we embrace the world with mercy because God has mercy on us.
- ● We desire to be the ambassadors and witnesses that God created us to be, and we embrace the task of helping those around us to be reconciled to God through Jesus Christ.
- ● We desire to give practical compassion to the needy and disenfranchised in our community and beyond. We know the benefits of responding to God’s call to help the poor and needy (Dt. 15:10, Pr. 14:21 & 31, 19:17, 21:13, 22:9, 28:27, Lk. 11:41, 18:22, Acts 10:4 & 31, and 2 Cor. 9:9).
- ● We desire to make our world a better place by establishing Kingdom activities, events and structures that demonstrate godly principles and the love of God to this world.