Relationship with Christ or Worldview Change?

“For some people being Christian means bringing people into a relationship with Christ. To others it means bringing people into a world view. That’s a big difference.”

Dr. Barry Hankins
Baylor University Evangelical Historian

“But we have the mind of Christ.” (1st Corinthians 2:16)

Let this mind be in youwhich was also in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 2:5)

 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind… (Roman 12:2a)

Can you say “false dichotomy?” What does it mean to have a relationship with Christ that is absent a Christian Worldview?

I don’t know if Dr. Hankins really believes this himself or if he is just reflecting what some Evangelicals believe. Either way, one has to ask how people can die to self and live to Christ without a complete change in their worldview. Indeed, the very ideas of repentance and conversion mean the change of one’s worldview.

How can one go from living with self at the center of all things to the unseating of self and the owning of the Triune God as the center of all reality? How can one have a relationship with Christ unless their former worldview was completely obliterated — at least in principle?

How can one go from not embracing the trinity, God’s sovereignty, a Biblical anthropology, epistemology, ontology, axiology, teleology, etc. etc. etc. to embracing these truths and not have a worldview change?

Now granted a mature Christian worldview does not arise instantly in the freshly converted but all the same conversion means one is set on that path of worldview overhaul.

Honestly, I don’t even know what it means to be in a relationship with Jesus that is absent a worldview changed.

And frankly, anyone who insists that they are not interested in converts having a worldview change but are only interested in their having a relationship with Jesus are themselves likely not converted.

How do guys like Hankins (and their names are legion) get Ph.D’s?

Of Worldvision, Social Imaginary, Conglomerate Thinkers, Hollywood Film Sets and Reformation

Is the “social imaginary” of 21st century philosopher Charles Taylor the same thing as 20th century philosopher J. H. Bavinck’s “Worldvision?” These both in turn would have been what Glen Martin was talking about when he wrote about “Eclectic and Conglomerate thinkers.”

In all of these the idea is that people move in terms of a worldview that they do not self-consciously recognize as such. In other words in all these cases the individuals under consideration have not arrived at the way they are leaning into the world by being epistemologically self-conscious about the ideas that are forming the foundation for why they lean into life the way they lean into life. Instead, to use a metaphor, they are flowing with the cultural rivers current or whatever sitz-em-lieben they are in living in.

The way I have have often put it is with the analogy of a Hollywood film set. People, exceptions notwithstanding, are chameleons and they will blend into any film set that the culture gives them. So, if the culture is the equivalent of a Pirate film those who are not espistemologically self conscious about their belief system will dress in pirate hats, wear eye patches, and go around saying; “Arrrgh, Matey.” If, in their lifetime the cultural film set switches to a Western these same people will suddenly begin to wear ten gallon hats and speak with a Texas drawl.

Most people intuit “truth” and do not intuit it very well. In the words of Michael Polanyi they use “tacit knowledge” to ascertain what it will take to surf the zeitgeist and will accordingly adopt whatever it takes to fit into the “social imaginary,” (Charles Taylor) the prevailing “Worldvision,” (J. H. Bavinck) thus demonstrating themselves to be eclectic and conglomerate thinkers (Martin).

Still, like it or not the substratum underneath of all this is the handful of people who both play with and popularize and implement ideas which in turn eventually gets into the blood stream of a culture so that the social imaginary/worldvision can begin to gain traction so as to explain why the overwhelming majority of people lean into the times and so live the way they live.

To slightly change a quote from John Maynard Keynes;

“Practical men who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct ideologue/theologian. Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back”

The long and short of this is that the largest percentage people don’t live the way they live or believe what they believe because they have thought through matters. They have not spent their lives examining the whys and wherefores of life. They were born, so to speak, on ice and having been born on ice they just put on their ice skates and took off without a thought that just maybe that wasn’t ice after all. Most people live the way they live and believe what they believe because they have caught all their “convictions and lifestyle” the same way they catch a flu virus.

This means it is those who are the idea people who are the most dangerous people as combined with those who promote the ideas which they more often than not don’t even understand. These are the creators, producers and manufacturers of culture (Hollywood, Publishing Houses, Media, Universities, etc.). More often than not in their role as “cultural gatekeepers” they are even more instrumental for creating the cultural film background set by which most people live by than those whose ideas they are (often unwittingly) pushing.

So, to make this practical, if we as Christians are to be have a plan of attack for returning to something that approximates Christendom what needs to be done is as follows;

1.) Negatively we must give a deadly virus to this current cultural context so that the social imaginary/worldvision can no longer be sustained by the average person in the culture. As Biblical Christians we have to find a way to make what was once considered “odd behavior” to be odd behavior again. That likely won’t be done by just chanting over and over again “that’s odd.” Instead it will be done perhaps by being able to mock the odd. Right now using the absurd to illustrate the absurd may be one of our best friends.

For example … We could run an ad campaign where someone tries to run their appliance by plugging in a male cord into another male cord and then run a tag line … “Gay lately?”

Look, Elijah mocked the hades out of his and God’s enemies. I think it is time for Christians to start clever mocking.

2.) Positively we have to have some people who are idea people who are casting Biblical Christianity in such a way that the current pagan theology of the self (as one example) is challenged and some other people who can promote those ideas into pop culture.

Chit Chatting with the Clergy regarding Nashville and Returning Fire

“The baseline question is: do you care more about yourself and your rights or do you care more about loving others and contributing to the good and healing of all. This world has consistently and clearly answered that question over and over again. But the Kingdom has a very different answer.”

Jay Simmons
PCA Pastor
All Souls Church — St. Louis Mo.

Let’s apply this to the Nashville event.

Because of my caring about loving others I know that insisting on second amendment rights may well have meant that someone was firing back at the perp who did not consider God’s sovereign right to His people’s lives. Because of the embrace of my 2nd amendment rights I may well be in the position to love others by firing back at lunatics.

So, yeah … I do care more about myself and my God given rights and in doing so I could, if this situation arose in a setting I was in, show my love to others by contributing to their good and healing by returning fire on a perp with deadly intent.

So we see that the Kingdom most assuredly does NOT have a different answer.

Bret L. McAtee
Pastor — Charlotte Christ the King Reformed Church

p.s. — Do you ever wake up with the cold sweats worried that God is going to hold you accountable for what comes out of your mouth as His servant?

At this point one Ty Burk steps in to defend Rev. Simmons. That exchange is below;

TB wrote,

So, you are attempting to use the Nashville mass shooting, that wasn’t stopped by an armed citizen, as an argument for armed citizens because they *might* prevent mass shootings? Continuing that logic, more firearms would result in fewer mass shootings/firearm fatalities. More armed citizens = less firearm fatalities is the argument.

Bret responds,

1.) Well, it is dang certain the case that an armed citizen will have more success at preventing a mass shooting then an unarmed citizen will have at preventing a mass shooting. This isn’t rocket science chum.

2.) I know that more armed citizens who are informed concerning weapons and drilled on the use of weapons would lead to fewer fatalities.

3.) One thing that is certain sure is that revoking or diminishing the 2nd amendment will lead to more shootings and more deaths. I mean, you don’t really think that someone who has no problem violating the law in murdering someone will pause for a skinny second and be inhibited by a law that says they can’t have firearms? If you criminalize owning guns only criminals will own guns.

4.) Not only do more armed citizens = less firearm fatalities but more armed citizens = the FEDS thinking twice before they decide to tyrannize the citizenry. Of course, you perfectly understand that is the whole reason for the 2nd amendment right? You realize that the reason our Founders gave us a 2nd amendment was because they had experienced government tyranny and knew the only way to forestall government tyranny was to make sure the citizenry was armed to the teeth, right?

TB writes,

However, that position is not supported by any data or experience.

Bret responds,

Horse Hockey!

Experience as well as common sense tells us that people who have weapons who can fire back at people who are firing at them will always have more of a fighting chance to survive.

TB writes,

The number of mass shootings prevented by armed citizens remains dismally low. Additionally, as the number of firearms/their accessibility increase, so does firearm fatalities. That’s not an opinion. It’s substantiated fact.

Bret responds,

I don’t believe you and I am convinced that you are at this moment practicing the art of gaslighting.
Guns prevent an estimated 2.5 million crimes a year, or 6,849 every day.

Most often, the gun is never fired, and no blood (including the criminal’s) is shed.

Every year, 400,000 life-threatening violent crimes are prevented using firearms.

60 percent of convicted felons admitted that they avoided committing crimes when they knew the victim was armed. Forty percent of convicted felons admitted that they avoided committing crimes when they thought the victim might be armed.

Felons report that they avoid entering houses where people are at home because they fear being shot.

Fewer than 1 percent of firearms are used in the commission of a crime.
If you doubt the objectivity of the site above, it’s worth pointing out that the Center for Disease Control, in a report ordered by President Obama in 2012 following the Sandy Hook Massacre, estimated that the number of crimes prevented by guns could be even higher—as many as 3 million annually, or some 8,200 every day.

TB now regretting getting involved with me writes,

Please expound on the position that firearm ownership is a God given right.

Bret responds,

“All careful studies and lawful endeavors to preserve the life of ourselves and others by resisting, by just defense, against violence, protecting and defending the innocent.” (Westminster Larger Catechism Q135).

The great Puritan commentator on the Bible, Thomas Ridgeley (1667-1734), in his commentary on the Westminster Larger Catechism quotes the Catechism itself as I have above and then in his commentary on Sixth Commandment duties, Ridgeley says,

“We should use all lawful endeavours to preserve our own life, and the life of others [because]…. man is the subject of the divine image…. We are also to defend those who are in imminent danger of death…. Moreover, in some instances, a person may kill another in his own defence, without being guilty of the breach of this commandment….”

Ridgeley goes on to comment that if we cannot disarm an enemy threatening our life, or flee from him, “we do not incur the least guilt, or break this commandment, if we take away his life to preserve our own; especially if we were not first in the quarrel, nor gave occasion to it by any injurious or unlawful practices.”

Also we note the Heidleberg catechism

105. Q. — What does God require in the sixth commandment?


… Moreover, I am not to harm or recklessly endanger myself. 3

3. Mt 4:7; 26:52; Rom 13:11-14


What else can we call a refusal to defend one’s self and one’s people except a harming or a recklessly endangering of one’s self? This is something that the Heidelberg forswears.

You see the Heidelberg Catechism insists that the keeping of the Sixth commandment means that I am not to harm or recklessly endanger myself. It doesn’t take much to argue that we are increasingly living in times when not carrying a weapon on us for self-defense and the protection of the judicially innocent could easily be seen as that which constitutes a reckless endangering of ourselves and others.

Of course, to appeal again to the Scriptures as our primary source of authority we look at Proverbs,

“Like a muddied spring or a polluted well is a righteous man who gives way to the wicked.”

Proverbs 25:26

Mind if I just call you “OIe Muddy,” Ty?

TB writes,

Where are we, as Christians, promised safety and security? Where are Christian instructed to take up arms to secure safety and security? Indeed, where are Christian instructed to use lethal force for any means?

Bret responds,

Proverbs 25:26

Pulpit Commentary, on Proverbs 25 verse 26. – … a righteous man giving way to the wicked.
“A good man neglecting to assert himself and to hold his own in the face of sinners, is as useless to society and as harmful to the good cause as a spring that has been defiled by mud stirred up or extraneous matter introduced is unserviceable for drinking and prejudicial to those who use it.”

Illustration — Cow Pond Farm

“But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the Faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”

1 Timothy 5:8

Fathers and husbands are required by Almighty God to provide for their families. This includes not only providing food, housing, clothing, education, medical care, love, discipleship and spiritual guidance, but also protection. Of what worth is all the other provision if one does not provide protection as well? Anyone who fails to provide the necessary protection for their family has denied the Faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
Those using Anabaptist Pacifist reasoning will say things like, “We should be those who trust God,” as if one cannot carry a weapon and trust God at the same time. We are to trust God for our daily provision. Is the implication of that, that we should not earn a living since God will provide? We are to trust God to keep us safe at the workplace. Does this mean if I am working with Jets, as I used to, I quit wearing headphones because God is going to keep me safe?

Let us close by noting that God would have us protect man. Not because man in and of himself, apart from God has any inherent value but because man can never be considered apart from God and so is the image of God. Any assault on man finds the root crime being an assault on God. An assault on the King’s man is an assault on the King and when we are protecting the image of God via self-defense against those attacking the King’s men we are protecting the King. If we allow God’s judicially innocent Image bearers to be assaulted and threatened without response, it is not merely that we are not protecting men, it is a case that we are communicating that God Himself is not worthy of being defended. This Image of God is that which explains why men should be defended.

God puts such value on His Image bearers that He sent forth the God-man to reconcile God to His elect image bearers. Christ died for the sins of His people so that they, as Image bearers of God, would be rescued. If God, at cost to Himself would set forth His own son as the propitiation of the Image Bearers sin how much more should we seek to protect and defend men as Image bearers?

TB writes,

Your imagined scenario of showing your love for others by returning fire recalls the assault of Malchus by Simon Peter in the Gospels. The chief priest and elders come with Judas and a crowd to seize Jesus. Malchus grabs Jesus and, in an attempt to defend Jesus, Peter draws a sword and cuts off Malchus’ ear. Peter is admonished by Jesus to put his sword back in its place. And, in Luke’s account, even heals Malchus by reattaching his ear.

Bret responds,

When the situation is one where I am trying to stop Jesus from going to the cross I’ll keep the above in mind. However, when I am in other situations where I am trying to protect the life of the judicially innocent I’ll keep the Scripture, catechisms, and confessions in mind as limned out above.

TB writes,

I’m of the opinion that Christ, the foundation of our religion who never promised safety/protection, nor instructed others to use lethal force to secure safety/protection, who sent his Disciples out (unarmed) to suffer deaths as martyrs (not one raising so much as a sword to defend themselves), and who never raised a hand in self defense against false accusations and unjust death on the cross, would have a similar rebuke for position expressed in your comment.

Bret responds,

Frankly, I don’t care what your opinion is Ty. Clearly, your faith is informed by lunatic Anabaptist categories. We Reformed manly men never went in for that kind of cowardly retreatism. Have fun with your effeminate religion. Don’t worry though… if you’re someplace where someone is lighting up the place with bullets I’ll make sure and not protect you, out of love for you and Jesus.

Hoedemaker On the Myth of Neutrality — Advocate for State with the Bible

“After all, science is not an abstract concept. It does not have a life of its own. It varies in accordance with the Scriptural and worldview in which it is rooted. It becomes what it is through what its representatives may or may not believe. This is true of science considered as a whole, as well as in terms of separate parts. Men like Lombroso and Ferri arrive at different criminal law that Gratama or Groen.

But we hereby declare that the modern state, which by its basic principle must keep itself neutral, cannot establish or maintain schools of science, nor even act as its patron. Science cannot and should not be colorless. Neutrality here means unbelief. He who rejects the authority of the King is a rebel. Science that denies its guiding principle is unbelief.

This is not widely recognized in Christian circles. It is believed that the state as we know it cannot have theology taught; but it is forgotten to add that on the same ground and with the same right, no branch of science can be entrusted to it, and the less so, the less it shows the character of an auxiliary science. If the state with the Bible is rejected, then the University has been given its death warrant.

I am now considering the matter entirely in the abstract. But one arrives at the same result if one considers things from a practical point of view. The university is a fortress controlling the entire field of thought and action. It follows that no group in popular life will be able to leave it in the hands of those hostile to its principle. Here we have the key to the position.

P. J. Hoedemaker
The Politics of Antithesis — pg. 75-76

Hoedemaker makes the point here that Thomas Kuhn’s was lauded for when Kuhn’s wrote, “Structures of Scientific Revolutions.” Kuhn’s point there as Hoedemaker’s point here is that Science is not worldview free and does not exist in some neutral vacuum where it is unencumbered by apriorist convictions of the Scientists doing the “science.”

Of course the greater point here is that as long as either the University of the State operates apart from the compass of God’s Word in favor of a idealized but never realized “neutrality,” the consequence will be, as sure as night follows day, that the people of the nation will become pagan. If we cannot have God’s Word as our Lodestone in the University, and indeed in all our government education, than the result will be that our churches will soon become pagan as a result of our children being catechized by a different faith in the school system that is being covered with the fig leaf of neutrality. Having been catechized in the State religion in the school system, — all the time being convinced that they have not been since all their education was “neutral” — at least some of them will then return to the Church and via their “neutral education” reinterpret Christianity to comport with their “neutral education” that was never really neutral.
In my estimation this perhaps the chief problem of the Church in America. As long as the Education centers remain in the hands of the “neutral” statists, just so long Christianity will be a begging religion.

And R2K loves it so.

Just remember the words of Hoedemaker here. “He who rejects the authority of the King is a rebel.”

McAtee Analyzes Quote From “Conversations that Matter,” touching Soft-WOKE Churches

As long as seminaries fail to teach what the Bible assumes about nations and gender we will continue to have soft-woke pastors who think they’re just being biblical because “imago dei = egalitarianism” “every tribe, tongue, and nation = local church diversity telos” and “women can’t be in pastoral office = they can have any other leadership.”

The created order the authors of Scripture presumed is now universally forgotten in favor of blank-slate biblicalism.

We need history. We need reason. We need tradition. Not as final authorities but as tools and fences.

Conversations That Matter

1.) I’m sorry, but this not soft WOKEism. This is hard WOKEism. We have gotten so used to WOKE we ourselves are willing to call hard WOKE, “Soft WOKE.” Now, to be sure, doubtless there are even greater degrees of “WOKEness” but lets not allow ourselves to believe that the above is “Soft WOKE.” Churches and ministers that are that kind of WOKE should be abandoned with the purpose of saving your own soul.

2.) Of course Blank-slate Biblicalism is a non-thing. They really are not blank slate but are starting with WOKE presuppositions on their slate and so are finding it confirmed in Scripture. The problem is not that they are really “Blank-slate.” That is impossible. The problem is that their slate has scribbled all over it anti-Christ presuppositions.

3.) History, reason, and tradition are only as good as the theology they presuppose. They can not exist independently of theology. Our problem is not that we do not have history, reason, or tradition. Our problem is that Christian theology is not informing our history, reason, and tradition. Instead an alien theology is informing what we call “history,” “reason,” and “tradition.” History, reason, and tradition never exist independent of some a-priori theology. Therefore if history, reason, and tradition are going to help us at all we have to get our theology right, and we have to start explicitly connecting the dots between our history, reason, and tradition and our Biblical theology. If we don’t make those connections then history, reason, and tradition will not and can not serve as tools and fences.

4.) It is true that history, reason, and tradition can be tools but they are only useful tools if we see the connection between our history, reason, and tradition, and the theology that of which they are expressions.