Destroying The Secular/Sacred Divide

By September 20, 2015Public Blog, Uncategorized

Eraser changing the word Uncertainty for CertaintyI recently commented on the need for Christians to tear down the wall of the secular/sacred divide.  In order to do this we must answer a couple of questions.

1. How can we tell if we are guilty of this?

2.How do you tear down the wall if it exists?

In James 1:7&8, Paul tells us that we cannot expect to receive anything from the Lord if we are “double-minded”.  Being double-minded is the biblical term for what some people call “dualism” or “compartmentalization” of life.  We are double-minded when we try to live part of our lives according to one worldview and another part of our lives according to a different worldview.  The result is that we live fragmented lives with no comprehensive, over-arching meaning.

To understand if we have succumbed to a dualistic, compartmentalized way of life let me share with you something I proposed a while ago to a group of parents.  We had just completed going through the Focus on the Family’s Truth Project.  As we were discussing the importance of developing a biblical worldview, I presented this scenario to the group.

You are on your way home from church and you ask your 10 year old what he learned in Sunday School.  He told you that they studied the creation account in Genesis 1.  Being pleased to hear that, you probe a little deeper into what they learned.  Your child explained that they were taught that God created everything.  However, science has shown that God took billions of years to create this world and that human beings came from a group of hominids that God decided to give rational powers to.  From this group, man came into existence.

I asked this group of parents what they would say and do.  There was very open outrage over their child learning evolutionary ideas in SS.  They said they would immediately go to the teacher and demand that this type of false teaching stop.  When I asked them what they would do if the teacher explained that science has proven this so he would continue to teach it, the parents said they would go to the children’s pastor and demand that the teacher be removed.

I further complicated the situation when I said that the children’s pastor supported what the teacher was telling the children.  There was very lively discussion and several said that if this were true, they would leave the church and find another one that would teach their children the truth of creation from a biblical perspective.  Everyone agreed.

Then I asked the following question.  What if this took place in the school classroom?  A deafening silence came across the room.  After what seemed like a couple of minutes, one dad softly said, That is a much more difficult question to answer?  What these parents were saying was that something that they would never tolerate being taught in SS they were willing to tolerate, and not even question, being taught in a school classroom.

They had built up a secular/sacred wall in their minds.  They lived their “religious” life according to one set of beliefs but the rest of their life was lived by a different worldview.  If we want to know if we are guilty of living a dualistic lifestyle, we simply need to ask ourselves this question.  Is there anything in the Bible that I believe is wrong for church but is right outside of church?  If we were honest with ourselves, I believe that many of us would have to say we have done this in some aspect of our lives.

To break down this secular/sacred divide, we must develop a completely different mindset when it comes to how we view life.  In his worldview training, Think Again!, Christian Overman presents two models that will help us understand how we must look at life.  The first figure shows what a dualistic compartmentalized life looks like.

Secular sacred

This is how many people view life.  They have their religious life but they also have their secular life.  Many of the things we believe are true in the sacred aspects of our lives, we either don’t believe it applies or simply ignore it in the secular aspects of our lives.

Nancy Pearcey, in her book Total Truth, puts it this way.

We have to insist on presenting Christianity as a comprehensive, unified worldview that addresses all of life and reality. It is not just religious truth but total truth.

Overman presents another model that reflects the truth that Pearcey is stating.  He believes we must look at life as a total entity as the figure below illustrates.

Total life

Now life is a whole.  There is no compartmentalization.  However, notice what Overman is illustrating in this model.  He shows how there are two kingdoms, the kingdom of “light” and the kingdom of “darkness”, that are fighting over control of each and every aspect of one’s life.  What we must do is submit every area of our lives to the kingdom of “light” which means we must address each area of life from a completely biblical perspective.

Most Christians do not even realize that they have succumbed to living a dualistic life.  However, if we start analyzing each area of life and see how what we believe and what we do in that area lines up with Scripture, we will know whether or not we are double-minded or not.  Remember, a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways (James 1:8).

I would love to read your comments on this important topic.


Glen Schultz

Author Glen Schultz

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Join the discussion 6 Comments

  • Besides Total Truth, another excellent book on this topic is Creation Regained, by Albert Wolters.

  • RIck Yost says:

    Oh, if we could just have Christian parents give this serious consideration………… really give it more than a passing thought!!! Our Christian schools would be overrun.

  • Let’s get this word out to Christian parents so that our Christian schools flourish and so we can disciple the next generations of world changers!

  • Shantell says:

    Dr. Schultz, what you’ve written this week is exactly why we have purposed in our hearts and are working toward sending our son to a Christian school…the problem now is to find schools that don’t simply have ‘Christian’ in thier titles, but those that are actually operating from a biblical perspective. It’s hard enough attempting to live and teach our son at home in this way…having him in an educational environment that supports our beliefs would be a tremendous help!

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