As I follow the global conversation, I have been noticing one important thing that seems to be a common issue in all the topics being discussed. Sometimes this issue is recognized without addressing it, while at other times opinions are expressed where the writer misses the heart of the issue. This issue is that we all view God and his Word from our worldview no matter how sound our theological reasoning may be. Actually our theological stances are coloured too. Even if we consider our worldview to be very biblical, it is still influenced by the culture we live in.
God intends to meet me within my culture. He communicates through things that I can relate to. He sometimes speaks directly through dreams and visions, but also through His word using redemptive analogies, bridges, and open doors. In the same way, He wants us to use wise means to share His word with the people we serve, which means our choices, whether it be the choice of stories, the choice of language, the choice of communication art forms (narrative, song, poetry, chant, riddles, proverbs, questions, etc.), or the choice of media, have great significance.
If we, from our theological perspective, coloured by our worldview, interpret God’s Word for others, we don’t encourage them to develop a relationship with Him but promote another form of religion. Suddenly we have put God in a box in the shape of our worldview. We then can easily make our personal passions a priority and ignore other issues, like for example highlighting literacy, while ignoring oral preferenced communicators or highlighting theological unity, but ignoring ethnic and cultural diversity. We reason from our perspective that some things are right and others wrong, without the Bible explicitly saying so. We start to define truth and interpret the meaning of the word, imposing our definitions on those we are ministering to. We don’t recognize that we’re actually putting ourselves above them, because our interpretation of the word becomes our foundation instead of God’s word itself. Further, we often determine which scholars and resources are acceptable or unacceptable in interpreting God’s word. Sometimes we even determine for others that the message has to be in one specific kind of media or language or worse, a particular translation.
In the global discussion, we all are approaching issues from our varied worldviews. All of the issues discussed in the global conversation overlap and have the potential to form a finely and colourfully woven tapestry. Only if we first and foremost seek God and his counsel, can we see this tapestry reflect His beauty and glory. Only then we’ll really be sharing His story and not our interpretation of that story. If we do, I believe we will see things we have never seen before, because it will not be about the God of our box (from our worldview perspective), but the Creator of the universe, the Beginning and the End. So, instead of us working for Him from our own worldview, let’s ask Him to work in us, recognizing the limitations of our own worldview, so that He can work through us, while not compromising His word.
I’m sure that many of you can add to this small epistle, representing one man’s opinion. It is my sincere desire to see God glorified among all the nations. He deserves the glory and honour of all creation. After all, it was for His pleasure that we were created. So, let’s not put God in a box.