Season: 10 Episode: 150
Listen to episode 146 in Spanish:
Is your goal in life to be happy? For many Christians in America, the answer is YES. Is there anything wrong with that? Shanda breaks down the worldview held by many Christians in America, and spoiler alert – it’s not a bilbical one. She also talks about how the new Emotional Junkie quiz just dropped and how it helps put into perspective where our emotions belong, how to approach Bible study, and what women can do to keep emotionalism out of women’s ministry.
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Hey guys! Welcome back to another episode of Her Faith Inspires podcast where we take cultural issues and we tackle them with biblical truth. Today, we’re going to talk about the goal of happiness our culture is striving for, even in the Christian community. Is there anything wrong with that? We’ll talk about it.
Before we do, I want to tell you the highly anticipated emotional junkie quiz is now available.
Go to shandafulbright.com and you’ll find it in the resources dropdown menu.
The quiz tests for several things and once you unlock your results you will get a multiple page description of the questions, scriptural support, and guidance on how to approach bible study according to your results. This quiz was tested in my Patreon group and the ladies gave amazing feedback, so be sure to check it out, have a friend take it and compare your notes. I’ll be launching it at the Anchored Women’s Ministry conference this weekend in Charlotte, and you can even do this as an activity and discuss it in your women’s ministry group. I think it would be a great discussion to have about the meology culture and how it has infiltrated Christian education.
I want to let you know about the mini course for kids beginning March 20th. It’s only 3 weeks and we lay the theological groundwork on human nature, sin, temptation and all of the things that will help kids understand how Christianity answers the question: What happens after we die? You can go to onlinechristiancourses.com to find out more about that. This is a certificate course and Dr. Frank Turek will be in the last zoom session to answer the kids questions.
Also, OCC has some great courses coming up that you might want to take advantage of.
Dr. Turek is going to teach Life’s Compass and it is more of a basics course that teaches the essentials of Christianity so sign up for that if you are looking to understand the fundamentals of the faith.
Ok, today we are talking about happiness. This is in conjunction with the Emotionalism Junkie quiz and some of the things I’ll be discussing at the conference. And as I promised a few episodes ago, I am going to begin touching on different worldviews and today we do begin talking about that.
So here is what we’re going to touch on in this week’s episode:
- The worldview held by many self-professing Christians.
- How do current women’s ministries mimic the culture?
- How do we solve the problem and shift the worldview to a biblical worldview?
We have to discuss worlndveiw first so we know where we are as a culture and which worldview is held by most self-professing Christians today. You guys know what’s coming, right? The statistic I probably quote the most and this is from George Barna’s American Worldview Inventory of 2021 and 2022 is that 65% of Americans claim to be Christian. The problem is that only 6% of those who claim to be Christians have a Biblical worldview. That is a reflection of the church, by the way. This is a direct result of the church’s (and I say this to the church as a whole) lack of discipleship training. I truly believe many who claim to be Christian think they are because they don’t know the basics of Christianity.
Ok, so if 65% of Americans claim to be Christians and only 6% have a biblical worldview, what worldview do they actually hold to?
Shouldn’t we know that, especially if we’re leading and teaching a Bible study?
I think yes. And you guys have heard me say I’ve studied Barna’s WVI for several months and have read through it twice, taking notes and typing them all up so I can better remember this as a Christian educator myself so I am not asking you to do something I am not doing myself. When I taught in the public school system, I had to assess my students all the time and look over test results from the previous years to track their progress and get them where they needed to be when I handed them off to the next teacher. Barna’s WVI provides the data for us, especially to the church, so that we know where we are, how to track our progress within Christian education, and the direction we should be headed because instruction is targeted. We have a plan to get our students to know x, y, and z, right? And all the teachers said, “Amen.”
So where are we as a church?
Per Barna, the worldview held by most Americans is a smorgressbourge of beliefs and ideas from multiple worldviews. It’s called syncretism. Which means it’s not really narrowed down. Now you also have to ask yourself how a worldview is developed. Many Christians believe that just because they go to church and are involved in church they are developing a biblical worldview but this statistic shows that’s not true. In fact, parents assume that because their children are being raised in a Christian home, they are adopting a Biblical worldview and as statistics have shown, that is most definite not the case. Why? Because a worldview is taught, not caught. That means we must be intentional in developing a biblical worldview both for ourselves and our students. In fact, per Barna, church is not even on the graph when it comes to worldview development. That’s pretty sad.
So, 88% of the population has a worldview of syncretism which means throw in a little bit of Christianity, some New Age, maybe even a little Marxism and there we go .. I have all the things that make me happy.
So that’s one worldview that we should be aware of as we discuss worldviews.
But the other worldview that most christians today hold is called Moralistic Therapeutic Deism and I’ll refer to this as MTD from here on out. But already we see a few things in this title that are concerning. Therapeutic denotes something that makes me feel good and deism shows belief in God but not a personal God. That contradicts Christianity right away.
Now, we’re not talking about the worldview Christians embrace. We’re not taking about what they profess to believe because remember 65% of them professed to be Christians. A very small percent of the population embraces MTD. However, how they live proves otherwise and how they handle certain satiations proves otherwise. To make this point, only 1% of the population embraces MTD. However, 39% of the population leans strongly or moderately toward this belief system.
Barna calls MTD counterfeit Christianity.
And it’s a somewhat new worldview. You’ve likely heard of New Age, Naturalism, and Postmodernism, but MTD not so much. So what do those with MTD as their worldview believe?
I’m going to read you my notes from I took as I studied the AWI and some of this is probably from Barna’s book verbatim so all credit goes to his research. This is what they believe:
God is distant from their lives
People must be good to each other
The universal purpose of life is being happy and feeling good about oneself
There are no absolute moral truths
Good people earn their way into Heaven
God places limited demands on people
Now get this … 75% of those who claim to be Christian lean on MTD for guidance.
How? None of this is biblical. Let’s get into the weeds a bit on the statistics of specific beliefs:
95% do not attribute success in life to constant obedience to God.
92% don’t believe their financial success is given by God to manage for His purpose.
91% don’t believe people are born into sin and need to be saved by Jesus
88% say they get their primary moral guidance from sources other than the Bible
87% do not believe their sole purpose in life is to love God with all their heart, mind and soul.
76% say good people can earn their way into heaven.
75% do not believe God is the basis of all truth.
74% believe in Karma
73% say having some type of religious faith is more important than which faith you have.
71% do not believe the Bible is the true and infallible word of God.
There is nothing Christian about these beliefs.
In fact, we could go through each one of these statistics and point to what the Bible says about them, especially in regard to people not being born into sin and needing to be saved by Jesus, the Bible being the infallible word of God, God being the basis of all truth – really, all of them.
So even though 75% of these claim to be Christian, only 1/16 of them qualify as born-again based on their theology. Now, no one is judging their hearts. Barna is saying per their understanding of theology and what the Bible says about salvation, only 1/16 of them know the proper theology for that.
That’s scary. And if you ask me, this sounds like the progressive Christianity.
Those who claim to be Christian but deny almost everything about it.
Per Barna, “American generally have a weak commitment to the Bible, truth, and biblical morality. But adults who embrace MTD principles are substantially less committed than the typical American.” And that would make sense, right? If you don’t know your bible, how can you have a biblical worldview?
Barna says, “MTD is a generally optimistic, comforting form of religious faith, albeit one based on a twisted version of Christianity that emphasizes self rather than God, and relies on emotion rather than truth. For instance, those who adopt it believe in innate human goodness and kindness. They view God as a powerful but dispassionate overseer who reminds detached from human experience unless circumstances make Him the solution of last resort.
They believe that life is about individual happiness and that action producing positive personal outcomes gives meaning and purpose to life.
MTD is about believing in and promoting the best interests of self, reflected in currently popular cultural thinking. Its proponents may acknowledge the existence of some works of God, but they are not likely to prioritize knowing, loving, and serving a transcendent God.
In the world of MTD, the local church exists primarily to offer supportive and upbeat community, rather than worship, service, guidance toward holiness, or a genuine relationship with God. It is a worldview defined and driven by current culture more than by historic religious truths or a comprehensive and coherent doctrine. It asks little of its followers, while providing the comfort, convenience, and community those followers long for.”
How do current women’s ministries mirror the culture?
Over the last week, I’ve sort of watched and listened to women leaders and influencers to be able to share some of their most up-to-date posts and messages. Here is what I found from a few of them on Instagram:
- Talking about the diversity of the leadership more than the qualifications of the leadership by way of how they love God and live their lives. I get so tired of, “If you have people on your team that look like me, then I feel seen and welcome.” I know people are going to say this because I’m of a lighter skin color, and accuse me of being some sort of racist because I say this, but we should care about the people on the leadership team having a biblical worldview more than what they look like and that goes for everyone of any skin color. I don’t care if my pastor is black, brown, white, or what .. if he doesn’t preach Jesus Christ and Him crucified, I’m out. I’ve had pastors of different colors and I really don’t care if they look like me. Do they point me to Jesus? Enough said.
2. I saw this one from a women’s ministry leader that said, “Come alive, come alive, you have come so far, now is the time to be more of who you truly are.” Another one is, “The Butterly is only beautiful because the caterpillar is brave.”
A lot of ladies liked it.
Look, the caterpillar isn’t brave, it’s just going through the process created by God in order for it to become a butterfly. Now, I get that this is metaphoric and maybe you can use this as an example of sanctification if you wanted to, but there was no tie to scripture here. And the thing is, women are more emotional so anything that pulls on the heart strings is going to get them fired up and clapping along. We have to be cautious and careful to ask ourselves, “Is this challenging me or does it just sound good?” And if it just sounds good, OK. But know where it belongs and as a teacher, it doesn’t belong in the classroom. It belongs in entertainment.
3. I saw a TON of women posting on revival this week and here’s the thing – they were all about the Asbury revival saying stuff like this is God answering our prayers and this is the spirit being poured out on the students in Asbury. And I did see Alisa Childers talk about this and she got reemed by christians for wanting to clarify what revival actually is. Alisa went to Asbury. And I hope and pray it is revival. I think that if it’s from God, there will be lasting effects and if it’s emotionally driven, then nothing will come of it. It’s the same thing the religious leaders said about the disciples in Acts. If this thing is from God, who can stop it?
However, I won’t say what I think it is – revival or not because I wasn’t there.
But what I thought was odd is how many women got wrapped up into the hype even though they didn’t go, yet they were quick to draw a conclusion that it is revival. How do you know? Again, as leaders, we better know what revival is if we want it. And side note: to revive means to make alive again, so that shows a spiritual change that only happens with God.
A lot of women’s ministries mimic the culture and the MTD worldview when we tailor the curriculum toward self. What can this do for me? How will God change my life through this? We’ve talked about this before.
If you’ve listened to me long enough you’ve heard me talk about it, if not, go back and listen to episode:
The final point I want to talk about is:
How do we solve the problem and shift the worldview to a biblical worldview?
Sadly, Barna says this, “Simply and objectively stated, Christianity in America is rotting from the inside out. We can help the people attracted to MTD gain a better understanding of the basics of the Christian faith. Initial “fixes” would include helping them develop a deeper understanding of the reliability and personal value of the Bible; embrace absolute moral truth; develop a true understanding of the love and human engagement of God; and recognize that our behavioral choices can reflect more authentic ways of “being good” and “doing right.”
However, this first starts with you. We can’t teach others what we don’t know. And I’m going to share the acronym THINK with you that I’m sharing at the Anchored women’s conference. In fact, I’m on an acronym kick in writing lately so when you take the EJ quiz, you’ll find that when you unlock your quiz you will get an acronym that walks you through your results and there are three sections of results and each section is completely different.
To answer how we solve the problem and shift the worldview to a biblical one, THINK about it.
T – is for TEACH
You can’t teach what you don’t know so learn what you need to learn. This is my motto for when I realize I don’t know everything. You don’t have to know everything. Admit what you don’t know. And learn what you need to know.
If you call yourself a Christian, you need to know the fundamentals of the faith. Remember two things:
- What did Christ call us all to do? Matt 28:19, “Go and make disciples of all nations.” We aren’t supposed to be pep talkers and fence walkers. We are to speak the truth and make disciples.
2. You will never take someone to the depths of knowledge you haven’t gone. If you want to make disciples, you have to be a disciple.
H – Head
Lead with what you know instead of what you feel. In an emotionally driven culture, we lead with emotions. That’s not the way Christians are to gage the truth. Proverbs 1:7 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
I – Intimacy with God
We have to make clear that intimacy with God is not about what you feel. It’s actually something much deeper than that – it’s obedience to Him. Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commands. John 14:21 says, ‘Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”
You have to know the commands in order to keep them. That’s where discipleship comes in.
N – nurture a biblical worldview
I’ve mentioned this on my social media before, but biblical literacy is the path to a biblical worldview. We must know how to interpret the Bible and teach others to do the same. Again, this goes back to what Barna says are the next steps in turning this thing around.
K – Finally, keep God first
The goal is theology, not meology. And I’ve mentioned this quote a few episodes ago – whatever you win them with you win them to. Whatever we win people with, we win them to. But that goes for who we want to win to Christ and it also goes for how we were won. If we like and are drawn to the emotionally appealing messages, we’ll stick around for them. But if we are willing to be intellectually challenged, convicted, and yes, even encouraged – we will grow.
The Bible always encourages seeking God first, loving God first, knowing God. So keep God first.
I want to close this out by reminding you that happiness is not the goal, However, we can be satisfied and joyful, at peace and fulfilled with Christ. It’s not doom and gloom. But if we chase our own happiness and always wonder what God is going to do for us, we will be tossed by the feel good messages and swayed by our emotions.
So remember to THINK first, put God first, and you’ll be just fine.
Don’t forget to check out the emotionalism junkie quiz. Tell a friend about it and let me know what you think. You can also leave a five star rating and review if you enjoy the podcast. If you have any questions for me, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll catch you on the next one.
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