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March 14, 2007
MarketFaith Ministries is an equipping ministry which is focused on helping Christians become more effective in living out their faith in the midst of the increasingly diverse worldview environment of modern society.
Introduction Today’s article is the last of the series related to defining the various worldviews. Over the last couple of months I have given you an overview of Naturalism, Animism, Far Eastern Thought and Theism. Today I will complete this series by looking a Relational Revelation. Just to be clear, Relational Revelation is actually a form of Theism. It is just that it is the worldview expression which represents the way reality is actually organized. It is important to have a firm understanding of this because it is what God wants us to conform our lives to. It is my great desire that this explanation help you in your quest to conform your life more fully to Christ. Let me also take a moment to encourage you to explore the resources on the MarketFaith Ministries website. We are continuing to add more and more articles and other assets which can greatly help your understanding of worldview, and which can give you tools to be more effective in your faith life and witness. Almost everything on the website is free. The only things you can buy are my books. We are doing all we can to create one of the best worldview libraries anywhere. There are also a couple of ways you can help us, and I would like to ask for your consideration at this time. (Continued on page 2) What is Relational Revelation? Something is truth. That is to say, reality is organized in some way. And whatever that way is, it is not something else. Any description that strays from the way reality is actually organized is not the truth. It is totally and completely illogical that it could be organized in more than one way. Relational Revelation is a term that I have coined to represent what Christians deem to be the ultimate truth about the nature of reality. Though I have chosen to create this new term, it actually represents traditional Biblical Christianity. Relational Revelation is a form of Theism. And while it Obviously there are disputes as to what that “one way” is. matches up with many of the basic elements of Theism in This is why an understanding of worldview is so critical. The general, there are some specific elements which make it different worldviews are simply attempts by human beings unique in its own right. We will look at those special eleto understand and describe that truth. Since every worldments below, and once those are explained it will be possiview literally contradicts every other worldview, only one ble to compare them with other forms of Theism to see can possibly be right. All of the others are necessarily where the differences lie. wrong. I have already mentioned that there is one understanding of This kind of exclusive approach to understanding truth is reality that is true and that all others are necessarily wrong. very much out of vogue in many circles. But the fact is, Relational Revelation is that one True belief system. Thereeven those who don’t like the idea of exclusivity exclude everyone who does not agree with them. (Continued on page 2)
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(Introduction - Continued from page 1) First, I would like to ask if you would please take a moment to forward this issue of Worldview Made Practical to every Christian that you know. We would like to make as many people as possible aware of this resource. Encourage them to sign up to receive it for themselves. As you know, this is absolutely free. Secondly, we are looking for opportunities to share the worldview seminars with churches and other Christian organizations. Would you please share this with your pastor or leader and have that person contact us about the possibility of bringing this great resource to your organization. Finally, I would like to ask for your financial support. At this point our expenses are not very high, but it does take a certain amount of money to keep the website maintained and to purchase office supplies. We are currently running slightly in the red and would deeply appreciate it if you would consider a tax deductible contribution to MarketFaith Ministries. Please let us hear from you concerning things you would like to know about worldview and let us know how we can serve you better. God bless, Freddy (What is Relational Revelation? - Continued from page 1) efore, it is essential that we understand it as fully as possible and learn how we can conform our lives to it, to the broadest extent possible. Basic Premise and Implications of Relational Revelation Basic Assumption: There is a personal, infinite, transcendent God who is Creator and Sustainer. He created mankind for the purpose of relationship with himself and has specifically revealed himself and his ways. He provided the means for accomplishing this relationship through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Implications: Relational Revelation lends itself to an impact on culture that is both moral and positive. It does all of this in a way that puts a priority on a personal relationship with God as the motivation for fulfilling his purposes. It is not just the end result that matters. The means by which the outcome is brought about is also vital. The proper means for accomplishing the purposes of God are conveyed by personal instruction from God himself to individual human beings. Relational Revelation is a specialized form of Theism and is the only worldview that allows for a completely coherent and comprehensive understanding of our perceptions of reality, and which has a basis for backing it up. This does not mean that we have answers to every question that we would like to have the answer to. There are certainly some things that we long to know which are beyond our human ability to understand. The pure view of Relational Revelation, though, does cover all of the bases. There are categories for understanding the part of reality that we interact with physically, and for understanding that part which is beyond the reach of the senses. And it does all of this in a way that matches up with the way human beings actually experience life. As human beings, we: experience life as personal, self-aware beings, have a sense of transcendence, experience life in relationships, experience life based on spiritual qualities, experience life based on natural laws, are capable of knowledge, have a sense of morality, experience time as linear, and experience the world as objective. Every worldview has to deal with these issues, but only in Relational Revelation do all of these things fit neatly within the worldview. Every other worldview must somehow “finesse” some of them. How Relational Revelation Answers the 7 Worldview Questions What is the nature of ultimate reality? There is a personal, infinite, transcendent God who is Creator and Sustainer. He, himself is eternal and dwells in an eternal reality, which extends beyond the physical universe. This greater part of eternal reality is divided into two parts - that part where his presence exists (usually referred to as heaven) and the part where his presence does not exist (usually referred to as hell). Other created spiritual beings also exist, some which are aligned with God and some which are not. (Continued on page 3) 2
(What is Relational Revelation? - Continued from page 2) Those which are not dwell in that part of eternity which is separated from God. Beings which exist in the spiritual part of reality are able to interact in some ways with humanity. What is the nature of material reality? The material universe was intentionally created by God in order to accomplish a specific purpose in his economy. It operates on the basis of natural law. Because he is the creator, God is able to interact with material reality in a way that does not disturb the natural order – we refer to this kind of interaction as a miracle. What is a human being? Human beings are a special creation of God and were created for the specific purpose of interacting with him. Human beings are created “in God’s image” which means that they are, in essence, spiritual persons which have the same basic personal characteristics as God himself – characteristics such as eternalness, self-awareness, knowledge, purposefulness, creativity, etc. Individuals are able to establish a relationship with God by personal faith in Jesus Christ. What happens to a person at death? At death, the physical body dies, but the eternal spirit continues living. At physical death, the spirit is transferred to either heaven or hell depending on how the person responded to the overtures of God in their physical life. Why is it possible to know anything at all? Mankind has the capacity for knowledge because he is a creature who is created in the image of God, who himself has that ability. Mankind is also able to know some things that reach beyond physical reality because God has revealed certain spiritual truths. How do we know right and wrong? Morality is based on transcendent truths which emerge out of the very essence of God. God himself is holy and he has established a moral law based on that holiness. Human beings are able to know the nature of right and wrong because God has revealed this knowledge to man. What is the meaning of human history? Time is a linear succession of events that began with God’s creation and is moving toward the fulfillment of his purposes. What are the Practical Implications of Relational Revelation? Life Issues - Abortion, Euthanasia, Suicide, Genocide, Murder, “Right to die,” Terrorism, War The teachings of Relational Revelation reveal a high regard for the sanctity of life. It is particularly clear that murder is not acceptable, as the taking of innocent life. There are cases where the taking of life is acceptable, even if unfortunate, but none of those cases involve the taking of innocent life. Abortion, euthanasia, suicide, genocide, “right to die” issues, murder, and terrorism all fit into the category of taking innocent life. War can go either way depending on the particular circumstances of the war. Sexual Issues - Adultery, Bigamy, Polygamy, Exhibitionism, Fornication, Homosexuality, Pedophilia, Pornography, Bestiality, Prostitution, Rape Relational Revelation views proper sexual activity as being within the context of the sacred spiritual union of marriage – between a man and a woman. This activity was designed to be exercised only within the bonds of marriage, and any activity outside of the marriage relationship is considered wrong. Additionally, improper sexual activity also has a (Continued on page 4) 3
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(What is Relational Revelation? - Continued from page 3) degrading effect on others by objectifying individuals. This is understood to be the wrong way to interact with other humans who are created in the image of God. Personal Integrity Issues - Cheating, Fraud, Greed, Lying, Profanity, Revenge, Theft The Bible teaches a standard of holiness that is based on the very character of God. Each of the activities in this category specifically contradicts the revealed character of God and thus are wrong for individuals to practice. Rather, believers are encouraged to strive to put these things out of one’s life. Physical Health Issues - Alcohol abuse, Drug abuse, Gluttony, Obesity, Smoking, Overwork, Lack of exercise The teachings of Relational Revelation reveal a high view of the body. It is considered to be the “Temple of the Holy Spirit,” which is the dwelling place of God in this world. As such, it is considered wrong to do anything which will cause the body to be less effective in carrying out the purposes of God. Industriousness Issues - Gambling, Hedonism, Laziness, Begging, Mooching The teachings of Relational Revelation consider lifestyle issues to be of utmost importance. The most important passion is to please God, not self. The misarrangement of these priorities breaks down the fellowship a person is able to have with God, which completely contradicts God’s purposes for mankind. Relationship Issues - Bigotry, Child Exploitation, Domestic Violence, Hatred, Divorce, Prejudice, Slavery, Torture The teachings of Relational Revelation assert a high view of the value of the family and the individual. As each of these attitudes tends to denigrate humans, they are definitely not to be seen as normative. Church-State Issues - Posting of Ten Commandments, Religious symbols on public property, Praying in school, Praying at public institutions, Government money to religious schools, Government money to religious charities, Religious organizations meeting on public property, Religious symbols included in public symbols, Religious words in the pledge of allegiance Within Relational Revelation, there is a variety of opinion related to this topic. In general, however, it is desirable for the purposes of God to be expressed in every aspect of life. This does not mean that a theocratic form of government is desirable. What is desirable is a situation in which individuals are free to express their faith in the public square in ways which acknowledge God and accomplish his purposes. Summary Indeed, something is Truth! To the degree that we, as individuals, are able to align our lives with that truth, we are able to live personally fulfilling lives and accomplish the purposes which God put us here to fulfill. The greatest hindrance to the accomplishment of these important goals is our uncertainty about the objective reality of our worldview. If we can truly understand the Truth and live our lives in the context of that Truth, our lives will have deep personal meaning and we will accomplish great things for the Kingdom of God.
Coming in April - How the Christian faith matches up with the way human beings experience reality.
Find these books along with other great worldview resources at www.marketfaith.org