Why a Christian Worldview Works Even in the Face of Unspeakable Evil
On Sunday November 5, at approximately 11:30 am a man walked in to the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, TX and killed or wounded at least 46 people. Many questions arise in the aftermath of tragedy. In the early hours and days, the questions are often answerable. How many died? Who was the killer? What did the authorities do in response? What was the killer’s motive? However, these questions quickly give way to the deeper questions that seem to be unanswerable. We all wrestle with questions like these about tragedies.
We all have some sort of worldview if we realize it or not, and it matters!
A worldview is best described as the glasses through which we see and interpret all that is happening around us in the world. It attempts to tell an overarching story, to explain the universe in both grand and detailed ways. The story attempts to bring clarity and understanding to every part of existence.
We all seek to understand the world around us, especially in the midst of confusion, pain and tragic situations. From scientific questions to questions of good and evil, and why there is suffering we wonder why. We seek guidance for decisions and meaning to life’s trials. We seek true beauty in art and wonder at the hate we see between human beings. These answers and more can be found through the glasses of our worldview.
God has provided an undistorted worldview through his word, the Bible, by communicating basic truths that are fundamental to every aspect of our life. This worldview brings clarity, purpose, and guidance for all of life.
Although there are many many worldviews that people follow, there are only two basic worldviews, a true one and a false one. The true one has only one definition. The false one takes on many forms. Let’s look at these two worldviews.
Firstly, let’s look at a non-biblical and false worldview summary. Remember, there are many versions of this, but they all include the same fundamental points.
Secondly, let’s look at a Christian worldview. You can watch this short video summary of a Christian worldview and then we’ll give you some reasons why this view works and makes sense even in the face of tragedy to the very people who hold this worldview.
So how does this make sense in the face of tragedy even to those who believe this worldview? How does it bring hope to despair and meaning even to hardship?
1. In a Christian worldview, God is creator and therefore he is the authority over all his creation. He sets the rules for his creation. He sets both natural law i.e. gravity which cannot be broken, and he sets moral laws which can and have been broken. The reason we even know right and wrong and that murder is evil is because God created life, gave it value and gave us moral law. Non-Christian worldviews cannot adequately account for these facts.
The reason we know what happened in Texas was a tragedy is because precious life was taken and the Evolutionary answers of survival of the fittest doesn’t add up! In the depths of our soul, in our emotions and conscience, we know it was horrific evil because we know what good and evil are thanks to God
2. In a Christian worldview, God has not left his creation to suffer under evil indefinitely. At great cost to himself, he sent his only son, Jesus, who is God as well, to suffer and die in order to conquer evil and provide salvation from evil. Jesus entered into our suffering. He himself was tragically murdered. However, His death and resurrection from the grave prevents evil from ever conquering good completely. In a Christian worldview, God always overrules evil with good even though for the moment, as with Jesus’ death, evil may seem to win.
3. In a Christian worldview, there is hope because of salvation in Jesus Christ. He conquered death, rose again from the grave and now provides eternal life and the forgiveness of sins. Not only is evil like that in Texas overcome, but our own sinful heart can be forgiven and our relationship with God can be restored. We personally can have victory over evil and sin in our own life. We do not have to be captive to our own sinful condition.
4. In a Christian worldview, we have the hope of eternal life. For those who have accepted God’s gift of salvation which is free to us but came at great cost to him, it is not death to die. Yes, that is right, it is not death to die. When God speaks of death in the Bible, he speaks of eternal death which is separation from God in Hell for those who reject Jesus’ gift and do not believe in him. For those who do accept his gift of salvation such as those at the First Baptist Church, death is not eternal. It is a passage way to eternal life. The Bible says that for those who have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ to be absent from this earthly body is to be instantly present with the Lord in Heaven.
5. In a Christian worldview, evil such as we saw in this situation is punished. Perhaps the killer supposed in his worldview that his ticket to freedom from the carnage he had caused by his evil actions was to kill himself thus ending life and entering a state of non-existence. No jail, no remorse, no guilt, no dread, he felt as many who commit such atrocities do, that killing themselves was the end. However, in a Christian worldview, this man went to Hell. He will stand before God in the final judgement for his sin as we all will someday and then he will be condemned to eternal death in the Lake of Fire. There is no hope for him, no second chance. His fate is sealed. His worldview was horribly wrong in so many ways and at so many levels. Worldviews do have consequences.
What is your worldview? What are it’s consequences for your future? How do you process events such as these terrible tragedies? Do you believe that the universe happened from a “Big Bang?” Do you believe in the evolutionary process, the survival of the fittest, that life is random, futile, and meaningful only for the strong who survive? Do you believe that good and evil are simply cultural norms? Do you believe there are no moral absolutes based on a moral absolute being who is designer, creator and ultimate authority, GOD? May we ask you to consider the Christian worldview. Use the resources below to learn more and consider God.
For those who have a Christian worldview, do not be discouraged even in the face of hard questions. God is in control. He does overcome evil with good. We are part of his plan in doing so. Share God’s good news contained in the Christian worldview with others. Share God’s love by reaching out to others and loving them. Pray for God’s help and strength for those touched by this and other effects of man’s sin, and look up for the Lord can come at any time.
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At the risk of seeming trite with a short article, we still wanted to address the pain, suffering, devastation and loss so many are dealing with right now and remind people there are biblical truths that address even these difficulties. Perhaps a brief survey of these truths will help prompt further study or a visit to our church for more discussion with our pastor.
We see often in Scripture the saints of God in times of suffering. Adam and Eve suffered the murder of their son by his own brother. Job suffered the loss of almost all he had. Actually, a good deal of Job’s loss was due to a weather-related event. The faithful Christians in Revelation suffered and even in Heaven seem to question why they were not being avenged for their suffering. Hebrews 11 has a whole list of suffering saints.
We are faced with the question of why God’s children suffer if an all-powerful God loves and cares for them. Though that seeming dilemma cannot be fully answered in our human knowledge and certainly not in a short article, a few quick reasons for suffering may lead you to further help and study.
1. Sin. We live in a sin-cursed world. Romans 8:22 reminds us that all Creation groans because of sin. People, nature and all the universe are under the curse of sin. In addition, the consequences of our own personal sin often bring pain. The sins of others can bring heartache, too. God did not leave us in this situation, but provided salvation through Jesus Christ, his death, burial and resurrection. Although we still experience pain in this life, we have the hope of eternity without pain and sorrow if we repent of our sin and accept his free gift of salvation. When all is lost, we can still have hope through Jesus Christ. God never promised an easy pain free life, but he did promise to never leave us or forsake us even in the storms. Even in death itself. For the child of God, death is God’s merciful escape from this sin-cursed world.
2. Strangers. We are strangers in this world. Hebrews 11:13 reminds us that this world is not our home. This is not our place of rest. We can’t expect to be too comfortable here. Heaven is our resting place.
3. Sons. We are sons of God. Therefore God, as a loving Father, brings suffering at times to discipline us in order that it may yield the “peaceable fruit of righteousness” in our lives (Hebrews 12).
4. Satan. Job 1 allows us to see that Satan and his minions are allowed by God to bring about hard times for God’s children in order to bring glory to God. Always remember though, that God’s glory and the good of his children are eternally bound together. Our good does not stop in order to bring God glory. Somehow even our suffering is actually good for us in ways we may never understand until we get to Heaven.
5. Selfishness. Although a derivative of #1 above, it still should be mentioned, because the selfishness of those we love (as well as those we don’t even know) can cause great pain.
So, Here Are The 5 Biblical Ways We Can Learn to Cope Even When Life Is Hard
1. Relinquish control to God’s sovereign plan, knowing that He is never out of control. Even with the problem of sin and evil, God overrules and works all things for our good as we become more like Christ.
2. Rest in God’s wisdom and love. God is all-wise. He knows the end from the beginning and is always acting in love toward us, His children. We often cannot see that when in suffering, yet we can understand it when we compare parenting to God’s love. As a parent allows a non-understanding, crying baby to undergo surgery, an immunization shot, or other pain for ultimate healing or good, so God does the same. As the parent would not love the child if he/she stopped the pain, so God would not fully love us if He did not allow what was best.
Jesus himself suffered rejection, pain, and even death. God however was over-ruling in his sovereign control and brought about eternal good through the suffering of his own son.
3. Run to His Word. God’s Word, the Bible, contains “all things that apply to life and godliness.” We open it to find the truths we need, and we depend upon His Spirit to lead us in applying it to our situation and to our hearts personally. We encourage you to especially read the Psalms during difficult times.
4. Reach out to others. In the midst of our pain, it is helpful to serve others. Serving helps us get our focus off of our suffering. It is an encouragement to know that we have helped others and been used by God to bring joy to them. Even during Jesus’ suffering on the cross, He was mindful of His mother’s needs.
5. Share your burden. Don’t substitute fellowship with others for time with God; but if at all possible, find a close Godly friend who will faithfully listen and point you back to God’s truth when your faith begins to waiver. Confide in your church family to find healing and strength. God works through the body of Christ, the church.
As most of us watch the events in Texas, Florida and other areas in the paths of these storms, let us pray for grace and strength for those involved, give what we can by reaching out to help, and may we point people to biblical truth in the storm.
If you would like to join our church family to pray for those in the storms, please join us for a service soon.
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“Ah, the dreams of our youth, how beautiful they are,” wrote Mark Twain, “and how perishable.” There is some truth in Twain’s words—but only half the truth. The rest of the truth is what gives hope in even the darkest of times.
Maybe your dream is just to get your PC to work or your car to start today and still it seems life is one slap in the face after another. Maybe there are huge problems going on such as terminal illness or a marriage is in desperate trouble. What does work when life doesn't?
Here is some of the rest of the truth:
Beauty for ashes. Sometimes we would be glad if life just handed us a lemon—we could do the old “make lemonade” adage. When a relationship, a marriage, a job, a plan for the future is nothing but ashes, what can you do with that? A better question: what can the Creator of the universe do with that? The Lord Jesus Christ opened his public ministry, he cited an Old Testament prediction that He would “heal the brokenhearted.” That passage goes on to say that He would give “beauty for ashes.” (Isaiah 61, Luke 4)
Nice promise. Is it for real? Yes. Is it automatic? No.
God is not a genie in a bottle; He is the designer of life. He is not conformed to our will, but when people choose to live life His way, they find that life works.
But what does “life works” mean? No problems? Everything easy, never an uncertainty? This sounds like a recipe for flabby mediocrity. God, in His goodness, intends to show His power to overcome the evil of this world. God’s most special people have suffered: Job, for instance. God does not promise a life without difficulties, but He offers His comfort and help.
Start here. I love those maps in malls or hospitals with “You are here” and a big red arrow. I need to know where I am to know how to get to my destination. The starting place is a genuine relationship with God. It is not going to church, doing good things, giving money, or helping others. Those are good things, but the starting place is not a list of deeds. We start by coming to God with an attitude of wanting to go His way instead of our own.
For more information on knowing for sure of a right relationship with God, click here.
Choose your focus. In the middle of national disaster which had a direct and personal effect on himself, one person wrote, “Yet I will rejoice in the Lord.” We choose our focus, what we allow our minds to dwell on. Sooner or later, if things are going to change, we must change our focus. One important element in that processes is expanding our view from our problem alone to the promises of God. (Habakkuk 3:18)
And sometimes it helps to talk to someone who understands God’s Word. That is one reason for the church. Life can be hard, but God never intended us to do it alone. You are welcome at Maranatha Baptist Church, and you will find caring people here. Feel free to contact us. We would enjoy having you visit for a service as well. Our pastor preaches the Bible with practical application for daily living.
“Positive thinking” doesn’t change anything about the law of gravity over the edge of a cliff—it also does not change biblical principles about relationships or any other areas of life. The focus is not on our thoughts alone, but on changing over to “God’s thoughts” as presented in the Bible. Focus leads to thinking, and right thinking is the necessary foundation to positive action.
The beauty of new beginnings. In the middle of a book called Lamentations—a word which refers to overwhelming grief—comes the turning point: “This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope: . . . thy [God’s] compassions fail not; they are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness!” (Lamentations 3:21-22)
“New every morning.” Some things cannot be reclaimed from the past, but the future can be bright and hopeful. God may be offering you a new star today. There is no problem you are going through that is new or unique—and God has led someone else through that problem and out to joy on the other side. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
Come as you are. Would it surprise you to know that God has anticipated your needs? At the beginning, He had His beautiful plan: a perfect couple in a perfect place. Yet, before the beginning, He knew they would mess up. And He had a plan for that too. That plan, sometimes called the good news, or “gospel,” involves meeting each of us where we are, right here, right now.
“Come as you are” implies that you really want God to accomplish lasting life-change in you. The transformation is what God does. Our part is simply repentance (turning from the wrong and turning to God) and belief (an internal commitment to God based on what Christ did on the cross of Calvary). If you insist on “cleaning up your act,” on “being good enough for God,” you will never make it. God’s invitation is for those who are humble enough to realize a need. (Mark 1:15)
Twain was good at seeing problems, but he was not as good at offering solutions. But God, in His love, has offered us the fresh start, the mercies which are “new every morning.”
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We can often live in fear and anxiety because of Satan's lies. He seems to use tricks of “smoke and mirrors.” Jesus said that the devil is a liar—and the father of lies. The devil cannot “make” us do anything, but he is a master deceiver who is very much experienced at making people believe anything that interferes with God’s plan. Jesus Christ, in contrast, is called “the way, the truth, and the life,” and his plan is for each person to experience life “more abundantly.”
Here are five lies that cause us to fear and the Biblical truth that sets people free from those fears if they will believe and trust God’s word.
The worst thing about the “I can’t” lie is that it stops us before we start. It fills us with fear as we face our biggest obstacles and challenges. “I can’t overcome alcohol.” “I shouldn’t expect to have a good marriage.” “Everything I touch turns out wrong.” “I’m a failure.” “I can’t follow God.” “I can’t start that business.”
In contrast, God is the creator of potential—and the completer of fulfillment. “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me..”  Yes, that verse is specifically about Paul’s learning to handle both plenty and poverty without being distracted from his life’s purpose by either. Still, if God is the great creator, if he knows us, if we will one day be rewarded for what we have done, then we may assume he has a plan for us—something we can do. No, we can’t do everything, but we can do anything he wants us to do. That includes overcoming our sins and failures by his grace and with his help and accomplishing his will for our lives.
Whether it is something people consider to be great or small, God looks on the heart, and the very act of seeking to serve him is a success. And failure is an essential part of success. “ For a righteous man may fall seven times and rise again, but the wicked shall fall by calamity.”  The only way to never fail is to never attempt. So don’t be afraid to attempt that which God is leading you to do through prayerful and Biblical wisdom. Don’t fear and believe the lie of “I can’t.”
“God won’t help me.” “God won’t forgive me again.” “God won’t hear me.” God won’t love me.” These are real cries of the hurting heart. And God is ready for that: “Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.”  God is not frustrated at our weaknesses and failing. Ask Peter after his denial of Christ. Ask the woman who was so ashamed that she could not even look up, but washed the feet of Christ with her tears. But he is severe to those who stubbornly persist in rejecting his grace. It’s Okay to be weak, but we must guard our hearts against being willfully and stubbornly resistant of God’s grace. The key differences? Sincerity and repentance. “The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.t.” 
This is a lie from Satan, “the accuser,” much too close to the first recorded lie. His approach to Eve was that God did not have her best interest at heart. She could have more than God was offering. Although she had known only good, she could know both good and evil. And that experiential knowledge of evil brought pain and misery.
God cares. “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things??” 
And people care. It is natural to retreat from people when we hurt, to hide, to isolate ourselves. It is natural, but it is counterproductive. The healing comes as we choose the supernatural, God’s plan. And God’s plan involves accepting the provisions God has made, including people. That is one function of the church: “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching..” That may take letting some people inside your life, opening yourself up, sharing your hurts when you just want to hide. But God intends to use his people. Will everyone respond rightly? Maybe not. In fact, probably not. In any group of people, some will let you down, but in a good church, there will be someone with whom you can connect. One function of pastoral leadership is to help people make those connections. If you are in our area, we would like to help. Please feel free to contact us or come for a visit to a service soon. We are here to listen and we care.
I don’t matter
You matter to God. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  You are worth God assuming human flesh, dying on a cross to take the punishment for your sins, and rising again.
You matter, not because of what you can do, not because of who you are, but because of whose you are, if you are a child of God. A loving parent cares for the child, even in the child’s failures. Your own parents are, or were, fallible. But your heavenly father is not.
Yet we know by observation and by scripture that God’s children—and all people—suffer. The “why” behind suffering is a topic of its own, and has been a lifelong passion of Phillip Yancey, who wrote the book Where Is God When It Hurts.” This is a good source for deeper consideration of this topic.
It’s too late
This is a powerful lie of the devil. The feeling of urgency which should prompt us to action becomes his tool to intensify despair and fear. The feeling of guilt which should prompt us to repentance, this the devil uses to make us hide from God because of fear instead.
But what does God say? The mercy of God is “new every morning.”  I love Psalm 103:8—“The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy."
—because it begins and ends its description of God with his mercy.
And lost opportunity? True, yesterday cannot come again. But should we throw away today because of that? You might be surprised at how encouraging it is to do something rather than to stagnate in yesterday’s sorrow.
This has all been written for the perspective of a person who has a relationship with God. It’s never too late to start. The first step in truly dealing with fear based on the lies of Satan is to begin a relationship with God. For more about knowing for sure of the forgiveness of God, having a real relationship with him that can bring peace and relief from fear, click here.
 John 8:44
 Philippians 4:13
 Proverbs 24:16
 Psalm 103:13-14
 Psalm 34:18
 Romans 8:32
 Hebrews 10:25
 John 3:16
 Lamentations 3:23
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Have you finished your Christmas shopping yet? It’s that time of year when many of us are scurrying to find the perfect gift for each person on our list. As we watch the sales and scour the ads, we’re also thinking through our family, friends, coworkers, neighbors, etc., to make sure we don’t leave anybody out. Most of us enjoy giving presents just as much as, if not more than, receiving them. We love the satisfaction and joy of knowing that the recipient likes what we gave them. But maybe some of us are forgetting a very important gift. This gift would benefit the recipient in immeasurable ways, while also liberating the giver from increasing bondage, providing vivid testimony to the gospel, and showcasing Christ-like love to the unsaved world. What gift could do all this? It’s the gift of forgiveness.
In his book Unpacking Forgiveness, Chris Brauns helps us understand that forgiveness is not only right (in that it glorifies God by obeying His will), but it is also best. God, as the standard of holiness and goodness, will only require of His people those things which are best for them. Our joy is completely full only when we live in submission to God’s design for our lives. And part of God’s good design for us is forgiveness to those who’ve sinned against us. Forgiveness is not a bitter pill to swallow; it is the doorway to maximum joy and peace.
Our ability to forgive others is a result of God’s forgiveness of us, and our desire to forgive others is based entirely on His forgiveness of us (Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 3:13). Brauns highlights three ways in which our forgiveness must mirror God’s forgiveness of all those who’ve been redeemed:
1. Forgiveness is gracious (Eph. 2:8,9; 2:4; I John 4:10).God’s forgiveness toward us is a gift motivated by His love for us (Eph. 2:4). But though this gift is graciously offered to all, this gift wasn’t free: God paid for it with the blood of His Son’s death (I John 4:10). In the same way, our forgiveness of others must be freely offered even though it is costly. There is nothing that we have done or ever could do to receive God’s forgiveness; He graciously offers it because He is gracious. Our offer of forgiveness toward others must not be dependent upon their efforts, their remorse, or anything else we want them to do, feel, or say. And it will be costly. We will need to die to ourselves, our desire for revenge, and our pride.
2. Forgiveness is conditional.God’s forgiveness is graciously offered to all, but it’s only given to those who repent and believe (Acts 20:21). God’s forgiveness is dependent; it is conditional. Like any present, God’s gift of forgiveness in Christ must be accepted, or “opened.” As we graciously offer forgiveness to those who have legitimately wronged us, we pray and plead that they will accept it by humble repentance, just as God pleads with all to accept His forgiveness by repentance. Forgiveness is conditional in that both parties involved must be committed to the new life together. Forgiveness is not possible where humility is not present.
3. Forgiveness is a commitment. When God’s gracious offer of forgiveness (that is motivated by His love and costs the death of His Son) is accepted through repentance and faith, God justifies that person. He commits that He will no longer hold that person’s sin against them. There is a legal transaction that frees that person from the condemnation and punishment that was deserved. When we forgive another individual, we make a similar commitment. We enter into an agreement that, though wrong was done, we will no longer hold that sin against that person. Our forgiveness has freed them from the debt that they had accrued.
And this commitment is not temporary or insignificant. True forgiveness means that we are committing to never bring up the offense again – not to that person, not to another person, not to God, and not to ourselves. This is the commitment that God makes to us in Christ. He commits to remove our sin “as far as the east is from the west” (Psalm 103:12). What tremendous hope is found in this truth! “If you, O LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness…” (Psalm 130:3,4a)
Of course, forgiveness does not mean that all consequences of wrongdoing are immediately eliminated. Because sin affects others, consequences of sin must sometimes be carried out. And it is in this very process where forgiveness can be most sweetly displayed: Those who are truly repentant and have been forgiven are most ready to accept the consequences of their sin.
Forgiveness frees us from the captivity of revenge. This world tells us that revenge is our right, and that we ought to get even with those who’ve wronged us. But this is in direct contrast to God’s Word. See, in God’s economy, those who forgive others are carrying out the very essence of the gospel. Those who have been forgiven are to be the ones who forgive, and they are to forgive in the very same way they’ve been forgiven. As a result, joy and peace will flood into our lives.
So, what is forgiveness? As author Chris Brauns has said, it is “a commitment by the offended to pardon graciously the repentant from moral liability and to be reconciled to that person, although not all consequences are necessarily eliminated.” This Christmas, consider giving that gift to some family members, coworkers, neighbors, and friends. You just might be the greatest benefactor of the gift you give another.
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Articles are written or selected by our Pastor Keith Carnahan