17 April, 2024

April 7 Application | ‘Swim Upstream’

by | 1 April, 2024 | 0 comments

By David Faust 

Comedian Steven Wright is known for his offbeat, witty observations. For example: 

  • “I think it’s wrong that only one company makes the game Monopoly.” 
  • “I bought some instant water one time, but I didn’t know what to add to it.” 
  • “For my birthday I got a humidifier and a de-humidifier. I put them in the same room and let them fight it out.” 
  • “My neighbor has a circular driveway. He can’t get out.” 
  • “I went to a general store, and they wouldn’t let me buy anything specific.” 

Here’s another Wrightism: “Hermits have no peer pressure.” Wouldn’t life be easier if we didn’t feel pressured to go along with the crowd?  

Competing Worldviews 

Peer pressure isn’t new. First-century believers swam against the current of competing worldviews. The apostle Paul summarized two of them by saying, “Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom” (1 Corinthians 1:22). Modern versions of those perspectives remain with us today.  

Secular humanists seek wisdom but reject divine revelation. They idolize science, dismiss the Bible as myth, view ethics as situational and relative, and see life as a product of what Christian apologist Francis Schaeffer called “the impersonal plus time plus chance.” Others rely on their feelings and experiences. They demand miracles and say, “Show me a sign from God, or I won’t believe.”  

The apostle Paul varied his presentation methods, but he preached the same gospel message to all. He wrote, “We preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles” (1 Corinthians 1:23). The cross offended first-century Jews who expected the Messiah to be a ruling king, not a suffering servant. Even the manner of Jesus’ death offended the Jews; Deuteronomy 21:23 said, “Anyone who is hung on a pole is under God’s curse.” Greek philosophers considered crucifixion abhorrent and miracles impossible. At the mention of Jesus’ resurrection, “Some of them sneered, but others said, ‘We want to hear you again on this subject’” (Acts 17:32).  

The apostles used different starting points in their sermons. To Jews who already believed in God, they quoted Scripture and cited messianic prophecies. When talking to Gentiles, however, whether unsophisticated idolaters in Lystra (Acts 14) or sophisticated philosophers in Athens (Acts 17), Paul began with an introductory lesson in monotheism and taught his hearers about the true God. Although the starting points varied depending on the audience, New Testament preaching invariably led to the cross and the empty tomb, for even if some considered it foolish, the gospel of Christ expressed God’s highest wisdom.  

Go Against the Grain 

It is reasonable to believe in God, trust the inspired Scriptures, and hold a gospel-centered worldview; but unless you are a hermit, you must contend with cultural currents that flow against biblical truth. Are you willing to be a nonconformist and swim upstream? Instead of conforming “to the pattern of this world,” will you “be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2)?  

Charles Colson wrote,  

Genuine Christianity is more than a relationship with Jesus, as expressed in personal piety, church attendance, Bible study, and works of charity. It is more than discipleship, more than believing a system of doctrines about God. Genuine Christianity is a way of seeing and comprehending all reality. It is a worldview. 

It takes courage to hold, defend, and publicly declare a biblical worldview many consider foolish. If you dare to go against the grain, don’t be surprised when you get splinters. 

Personal Challenge: Expand your understanding of worldview issues by exploring resources like the Colson Center (colsoncenter.org) and Room for Doubt (roomfordoubt.com). 

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