? ? ? ? ? Last week I began a series on the above topic. The feedback from readers has been positive. This week I would like to draw our attention to the Christian worldview and its ramifications for the believing community of Ghana.
The Christian Worldview
????????? Before I delve into the Christian worldview, I want us to explore the meaning or definition of worldview. A worldview in layperson’s terminology is the grid or lens in which we determine reality. It is the lens through which we see and interpret the world. In a more technical sense, “A worldview is a set of important beliefs that normally we inherit unthinkingly from our academic and cultural ancestors” (Mark P. Cosgrove, Foundations of Christian Thought, 2006, 20). Another definition of worldview is “The sum total of a person’s answer to the most important questions in life” (Ronald H. Nash, Life’s Ultimate Questions, 1999, 392). I like Nash’s definition because it highlights the most important questions in life. What are the most important questions in life to the followers of Christ? From which source or authority do Christians derive our worldview?
The Scriptures, the Word of God (the Bible) is the primary source of authority for the worldview of the believing community. That is a well-established fact. All other sources are subjective and secondary. I believe the reason there is much confusion in Christianity in the global front and Ghana in particular, is that many Christians do not understand the Christian worldview. However, the knowledge of the Christian worldview would save believers from many headaches and conflicting worldviews. Furthermore, the reason why false prophets and false teachers abound and thriving in Ghana is that many Christians do not know who they are in Christ.
I do not fault many of the laity in the Christian community for their ignorance of the Christian worldview because their pastors and bishops do not make the efforts to teach them. How can a Christian know who he/she is in Christ, if the same person has not been taught such a doctrine from the Word of God?
I would therefore like to emphasize three important truths that emerge from the Christian worldview.
The first one is, “The believer’s position in Christ.” When Christ saves you, He transfers you from the kingdom of darkness to the Kingdom of His Light (John 8:12). Not only does Christ transfer you from the kingdom of darkness, you are also united with Him (1 Corinthians 6:17). You are purchased with a precious price therefore you belong to God (1 Corinthians 6:20). Now you are God’s property and Satan and his demons do not have any bid or dominion over you. This does not mean that you can do whatever you want. Remember, you belong to Christ now. Therefore, you are no longer in control of your life. You are no longer at the driver’s seat of your life. You are not in charge; Christ is in charge.
The second is, “The believer’s identity in Christ.” This is where a great confusion persists in the Christian life. Many Christians do not know who and whose they are. Identity crisis is major problem in the Christian life. Today there is a grave problem with identity theft. Identity theft happens when someone steals your vital information such as your driver’s license, credit card, social security card, passport, or citizen identity card and prevaricates that he/she is you. I am afraid that the world, the flesh, and the devil have stolen the identity of many followers of Christ. Therefore, they do not know who and whose they are. If you do not know who you are in Christ, you cannot operate life from the framework of the Christian worldview. If you are genuinely saved by the precious blood of Jesus Christ, you are a child of God (John 1:12-13). You are born of God and the evil one cannot touch you (1 John 5:18). Your citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20). You have been established, anointed, and sealed by God (2 Corinthians 1:21-22). Space does not allow me to provide an exhaustive list of your identity in Christ. However, you get my point so this would suffice.
The final one is “The believer’s authority in Christ.” I do not want you to confuse authority with power. Many Africans are power drunk; others are seeking power from all the wrong sources. This is where they become vulnerable to the seduction of false teachers and prophets.
Authority denotes a specialized knowledge. What gives a police officer the authority to arrest a criminal or a thief? It is the uniform and the badge that gives the officer the authority to apprehend a person who commits a crime. The police officer has the right to arrest a criminal because he has been commissioned by the state, which has civil authority (Romans 13:1-5). The Christian has what I call “derivative” or delegated authority. The Christian like a police officer does not have absolute authority to do whatever he/she wants. The Christian’s authority is not inherent. In other words, your authority does not originate from you. Your authority originates from the resurrected Christ (Matthew 28:18-20).
Here comes the caution and the eye opening truth. “Anytime believers assume that the right to exercise authority resides in them, they are in trouble” (Timothy Warner, Spiritual Warfare: Victory over the Powers of the Dark World, 1991, 74-75). No believer is competent to exercise authority until he/she has learned to live under authority. All authority flows from God. Our authority is a signpost pointing to the one with authority in heaven and on earth (Jesus Christ). This authority from Christ has not been delegated to selected elite Christians. It has not been delegated to only spiritual giants. The authority has been given to the church, which is the Body of Christ. The authority has been given to every regenerated (born again) follower of Christ. I use the term “regenerated” for a purpose because I know that some people follow Christ but they are not authentic disciples of His. They follow Him out of convenience. They follow Him with ulterior motives (John 6:26-27). These truths are liberating because they could and would help you to escape the deception and the seduction of the false prophets and teachers that are after your money.
Who we are as Christians must always take precedent over what we do. We cannot accomplish anything apart from Christ (John 15:5). Ghana and many African nations have had our share of political leaders who have abused their authority and power. The same is true in the Christian context. The abuse of authority and power continues because many in the Christian community are oblivious to the truth of God’s Word. This authority empowers us to be disciples of Jesus Christ in a world gone awry (Acts 1:8).
A Desperate Cry for Help
????????? I have taken time to unveil these truths to you so that you would become involved in other people’s life. Many people are desperately crying for help but Christians have become self-absorbed that they cannot hear them. The rampant and shocking suicides in Ghana can be attributed to many factors such as frustration in life, drugs and illicit drug abuse, the desire for quick riches, fear of failure, fear of the future, a sense of loneliness and hopelessness. While the ineptness of the current government to turn the economy around is mostly responsible for the economic plight of many in Ghana, the church cannot avoid blame. As disciples of Christ, the One who has modeled for us how to help the sick, widows, the blind, poor, and the destitute, we cannot sit on the sideline when people are destroying their lives.
Ghana, unlike the United States and other Western countries does not have any social welfare system that offers help to the needy. Even in the United States in spite of the government welfare system, many churches generously help the poor and needy through cash and kind. Some churches offer skillful training for the unemployed and find job opportunities for them. I understand that some churches in Ghana have similar programs to help people, and I tip my hat to such churches. I reserve my severe criticism for the politicians whose primary motive is to amass wealth at the expense of the populace who voted them to office. Their mindset is not what they can contribute effectively to the progress of the nation, but what they can take out of the coffers of the country. It was J. F. Kennedy who said, “And so my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you–ask what you can do for your country” (J. F. Kennedy, Words to Remember, back cover). That is patriotism and selfless leadership. Additionally, I rebuke pastors, prophets, and evangelists who are greedy for financial and material gain.
I am not against wealth gained through appropriate means or channels. I am in favor of pastors and evangelists who are paid handsomely due to their hard work in growing churches (Galatians 6:6). However, I detest the con artists, fraudsters, hawkers, and peddlers of the work and Word of God.
Therefore, people of God, Christ has saved and commissioned you to make a difference in people’s lives (Luke 4:18). Let us pick up the mantle and apron of service and rescue some people from poverty and the jaws of death.