Last week I shared how the soil in which a tree is planted is a major factor in the future growth and health of the tree. I also equated the soil with the prevailing worldview held by our families, churches, schools and communities. Finally, I pointed out that there are two worldview options that can make up the soil in which our children can be planted — a biblical worldview or a secular worldview. The first is God-centered and grounded in truth. The second is man-centered based on human opinion and falsehood.
There is a profound truth in Scripture that must be applied to this analogy of growing healthy trees (future generations). In John 8 we find Jesus making this powerful statement.
Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:31-32 (NKJV)
Most Christians are very familiar with the last statement of Jesus that truth shall make (set) you free. It doesn’t mean Christians are free to do whatever they want. Instead it tells us that knowing truth frees us from the captivity of sin and false ideas. We must keep in mind that truth is the person (see John 14:6), Jesus Christ. We also know that Jesus Christ is the Word (see John 1:1-5, 14). This is why Jesus is saying that if you want to know truth, you must continue in His Word. Here is the key thought. Truth frees us — it brings freedom.
Since this statement being true, the opposite is also true. Lies enslave us — they take us captive. With this in mind, let’s go back to our analogy of trees being planted in different kinds of soils or worldviews. A secular worldview is man-centered and based on lies and falsehoods. Therefore, this type of soil would look something like this picture.
The soil formed by a secular worldview would lack the necessary nutrient of truth that is needed to produce a fruitful and healthy tree. It is important to point out that even the most secular or atheistic worldview will contain some elements of truth. For example 2+2=4 is true in any worldview. So we will be able to find some truth in the soil of a secular worldview.
In contrast to this type of soil, stands soil that is based on a biblical worldview. A biblical worldview is grounded in truth. So this type of soil can be characterized like this picture. If you study this picture, you will find that the soil contains some falsehoods. We must always remember that we live in a fallen world. This means that no matter how strong of a biblical worldview that an individual or organization develops, it will also contain some error. We can never achieve a completely renewed mind that is based totally on truth.
As we consider this analogy, we must ask the question what is the prevailing worldview of most Christians? This is important because the worldviews held by Christians will determine the worldview that is prevalent in our homes and churches. Just growing up in a Christian home and church does not guarantee that all parents and church leaders have developed a biblical worldview. In fact, most studies have shown that just the opposite is true. In one Barna study I read found that only 9-10% of pastors have a strong biblical worldview. This would lead me to surmise that a lower percentage of Christian parents have a biblical worldview.
When it comes to schooling, we find an even more troubling dilemma facing Christians who want to grow their children in soil that will cause them to grow into strong, healthy and fruitful trees. The majority of Christian children are in schools that are based on a secular philosophy of education. Thus the dominant worldview in this type of school is a secular one.
A biblically-based school is built on a biblical philosophy of education (I call this a kingdom education philosophy). Therefore, the dominant worldview in this type of school should be a biblical worldview. To illustrate the difference in these two schooling options, consider the following picture. Here we find the two philosophies of education that a school will operate on and the corresponding worldview soil for each type of school.
As you can see in the visual, parents will “plant” their children in some educational soil. Their children will be nurtured and admonished in accord with the philosophy of education and worldview of the schooling choice. This raises two questions that must be answered by all parents and Christian educators. The first question is for Christian educators.
What are you doing to make sure that a biblical worldview is the soil from which your students will receive the nutrients necessary for their healthy growth?
The second question is for Christian parents.
What type of soil are you going to “plant” your child in?
The answers to these questions will determine if the next generation will develop into strong, healthy trees that can impact the culture for Christ.