I was given a copy of the book, "Assumptions That Affect Our Lives:
How Worldviews Determine Values that Influence Behavior and Shape
Culture" by Christian Overman. This book discusses the author's
opinion on the necessity of understanding many different worldviews
and the necessity of acquiring what he describes as a "Hebrew or Hebraic
perspective." He divides patterns of thinking into two categories:
Hebrew and Greek. The following pages are notes accumulated
concerning this book and related topics.
I have read many good Christian teachers who write about many different
"worldviews" as well as postmodernism, humanism, secularism, relativism
and many other "isms." The subject is very interesting.
However, studying "worldviews" and gaining an understanding of any
of them is not necessary for Christians as this author claims. "A person's worldview matters! And because it does, it is important
for Christian youth to: 1) clearly comprehend the distinctiveness
of the biblical worldview; 2) fully understand how the biblical worldview
connects with every aspect of the world around us; and 3) know why
the biblical worldview makes more sense than any other worldview out
there." (Page 161) This statement is completely untrue and unbiblical.
It is important for Christians to learn to share the Gospel!
This is what the Bible calls us to do in order to change lives.
The world the early church faced was completely pagan with no understanding
whatsoever of God. The Apostle Paul and other followers of Christ,
with no regard to the different "worldviews" they encountered, went
to the lost, boldly proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ, and
changed the world! Nowhere in the Bible are we taught that
understanding every philosophy or "worldview" contrary to the Word
of God is a necessary prerequisite for sharing the Gospel and being
an effective witness for Jesus Christ, and the reason is simple. "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the
power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth" Romans 1:16. (KJV)
The Bible clearly teaches us how to be prepared to face a lost world
and that is to know the Scriptures! "All Scripture is God-breathed
and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,
so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."
2 Timothy 3:16-17. This verse doesn't say that, by learning
the Scriptures, we will be thoroughly equipped for "some good work"
or "most good work"; it says, "every good work"! The author
apparently believes that the Scriptures alone are somehow insufficient to
deal with all the various "worldviews" Christians will encounter,
and as a result, we must spend time researching and studying many
different "worldviews", philosophies and their origins. This
belief and teaching (that the Bible alone is insufficient in its ability
to equip Christians to face a lost world) is a direct contradiction
to what the Bible teaches. It is a lie from Satan himself and
a sin against the very Word of God!
This author lists five questions, on page 8, he claims shape all "worldviews."
Whether his claim is true or not is irrelevant. For the Christian,
the answer to all of these questions is the same. Jesus Christ!
1) Who or what is my final authority? Jesus Christ. "Then
Jesus came to them and said, 'All authority in heaven and on earth
has been given to me.' Matthew 28:18.
2) What constitutes
reality? Jesus Christ. "Therefore do not let anyone judge
you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival,
a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow
of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in
Christ." Colossians 2:16-17.
3) Who am I, how did I get
here, what happens when I die, and how do I know what is true? Jesus Christ. Who am I, "Yet to all who received him, to those
who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of
God" John 1:12. How did I get here, "Through him all things
were made; without him nothing was made that has been made." John
1:3. What happens when I die, "Jesus answered him, 'I tell you
the truth, today you will be with me in paradise." Luke 23:43. How do I know what is true, "Jesus answered, 'I am the way and the
truth and the life." John 14:6.
4) How do I determine right
and wrong? Jesus Christ. "But to those whom God has called,
both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God."
1 Corinthians 1:24.
5) Is there a reason and purpose for
human life and the existence of all things? Jesus Christ. "Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son
may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people
that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him.
Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true
God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you
glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. And
now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with
you before the world began." John 17:1-5.
The real question we should all ask ourselves is this: What
does the Bible say the "worldview" of all people should be?
Simple, from Genesis through Revelation the message is the same, Jesus
Christ! This is not what this book teaches.
"Since the term 'Hebrew model' appears throughout this writing, a
word of clarification is necessary. First, and most importantly,
the Hebrew model refers to the model of thought and behavior revealed
in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible." (Page 9)
First of all, it is completely incorrect and misleading to define
any model of thought and behavior revealed in the Bible as being Hebrew!
Everything revealed in the Bible is from God! Secondly, in establishing
the New Testament Church (which now consists of all believers living
as the Body of Christ) Paul's message to the Gentiles was not based
on the "Hebrew model" of the Old Testament, the Law of Moses, or Judaism.
His message was in no way Hebrew in nature, and it is wrong to label
it as such! It was a completely new revelation. How do
we know this? Simple, it's in the Bible!
The Bible tells us many times that Paul's message was a mystery never
before known to anyone until its personal revelation to Paul by Jesus
Christ Himself. "I have become its servant by the commission
God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness (God's
revelation for believers on earth, until the Apostle Paul, was not
yet complete) - the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and
generations, but is now disclosed to the saints." Colossians 1:25-26. Paul was not merely teaching the acceptance of Christ in addition
to the adherence to the Law of Moses or Judaism. There would
have been no mystery at all in that message! That was the status
of Jewish believers since the earthly ministry of Jesus and His disciples to the nation of Israel. That is why the Jewish believers of
the day (those that adhered to Judaism and believed in Jesus as the
Messiah) had such a hard time dealing with Paul's message (as seen
in Acts 15 for example) and even questioned his authority as
an Apostle of Christ, causing Paul to write, "I want you to know,
brothers, that the gospel I preached (which is causing so many problems
among the Jewish believers) is not something that man made up.
I did not receive it from any man (he did not receive his message
from the twelve disciples), nor was I taught it (his message did not
come from his previous life and education in Judaism); rather, I received
it by revelation from Jesus Christ." Galatians 1:11-12. Paul's new message of the Gospel of Grace to all people and his authority
to preach it, were given to him personally by Jesus Christ Himself!
Jesus was born under the Law of Moses. "But when the time had
come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem
those under the law (meaning that the earthly ministry of Jesus and
His disciples, as illustrated throughout the four Gospels, was predominantly,
but not exclusively, to the Jews)" Galatians 4:4. Jesus and
His disciples were all born and lived under the Law of Moses.
He was born under the Law in order to come to the nation of Israel
as the Messiah of prophecy. As the Messiah, Jesus came to the
nation of Israel to establish His kingdom. That is why the Gospel
taught by Jesus and His disciples, as mentioned in the books of Matthew,
Mark, Luke, John is sometimes referred to as the "Kingdom Gospel",
which is not only a reference to the spiritual kingdom present in
Jesus Christ Himself, but also the physical kingdom of prophecy available
to the nation of Israel. "Jesus went through all the towns and
villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of
the kingdom" Matthew 9:35. "The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed
until John. Since that time, the good news of the kingdom of
God is being preached" Luke 16:16.
the Hebrews, as a nation, refused to repent and rejected Christ, His
physical kingdom was not established on earth at that time and God
turned to the Gentiles. "Israel has experienced (and is still
experiencing to this day) a hardening in part until the full number
of the Gentiles has come in." Romans 11:25. This initiated the
New Testament Church now referred to as the Body of Christ, a term
never used to describe believers before Paul's ministry. It
also marked the transition from living as a believer under the Law
of Moses to living as a believer by the Spirit of God under the Gospel
of Grace revealed to the Apostle Paul. This message was like
nothing else any Hebrew had ever heard before. Paul said, "Now
to him who is able to establish you by my gospel and the proclamation
of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the ministry hidden
for long ages past, but now revealed" Romans 16:25-26.
"Second, the term Hebrew model refers to the model of the nation of
ancient Israel itself. However, this aspect of the Hebrew model
(that is, the way the Israelites actually lived) was not always in
harmony with the model of God's Word." (Page 9) The obvious
question is; why is this book about following the "Hebrew model" and
not about following the model of God's Word? The two are obviously
not the same. This is a perfect example of why Christians should
not point people, especially the lost, to anything other than Christ
as a model for faith and conduct. The Bible does not teach the
world to follow a "Hebrew model." This is how the Bible describes
the saved of the Lord, "After this I looked and there before me was
a great multitude that no one could count, (from one great nation
all living like Hebrews? No!) from every nation, tribe, people,
and language, (obviously, not all speaking Hebrew) standing before
the throne and in front of the Lamb." Revelation 7:9. The early
church was a mixture of Jews and Gentiles. People of all backgrounds became
followers of Jesus. What brought these believers together was
not their race, culture, or language. Rather, their unity was
rooted in the personal relationship each of them had with Jesus! Christianity crosses all cultural and ethnic backgrounds!
"There is another sense, however, in which we can rightly say the
Bible is not a Hebrew book at all. Its actual author is
neither Hebrew nor Greek, but God Himself." (Page 15) This is
not "another sense" as the author claims. It is the ONLY sense
in which we can correctly look at the Bible! The author then
goes on to discuss the Bible throughout his entire book as if it were
indeed a Hebrew book filled with "Hebrew thinking" (giving credit
to the Hebrews for its content) which directly contradicts his own
true statement and the Bible itself.
"In an ultimate sense, then, the Bible is not the product of any culture,
Jewish or otherwise." (Page 15) Again, this is the ONLY correct
way to view the Bible. This is exactly why we do not teach people
that it is necessary to acquire a "Hebrew perspective." Since
the Bible is clearly "not the product of any culture, Jewish or otherwise",
the Jewish culture and customs are obviously not our model.
Our model is Jesus Christ!
words, the Bible did not come from Hebraic culture, it came through
it." (Page 15) It's interesting that these last three quotes
are made as a small side note at the very beginning of the book when
they should be the basis for the entire book itself. This true
statement totally discredits the entire premise for the book concerning
the "Hebrew model."
Looking back through
history and stopping at the Hebrew nation and culture as our "model"
for living is to stop short of the real "model" and commit an injustice
against Jesus Christ Himself. This is simply not what the Bible
teaches believers to do as Spirit-led Christians living under the
New Covenant of Grace. Christians recognize that the true source
for everything needed for living is God Himself! We find that
instruction in both the Old and New Testaments. The Bible is NOT a Hebrew book. The Bible is NOT a collaboration
between God and the Hebrew people. It is the Word of God, not
the word of the Hebrews, and we do not ever label it or its message
as such! The Bible was merely written by Hebrews. They
are only the instrument God used to write the Bible. To give
even the slightest impression of credit to the Hebrew people or their
culture (by advocating that "Hebrew thinking" is what the Bible contains)
for any part of the Bible is just as foolish as an author giving credit
to his computer for helping him write his novel and requires a person
to ignore Scriptures which directly contradict this belief. "And we also thank God continually because, when you received the
word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word
of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work within
you who believe." 1 Thessalonians 2:13.
No person, people, nation, race, or culture can claim the Bible as
theirs. It is the inspired Word of God. Everything in
the Bible is from God, not the Hebrews. Everything good about
the Hebrew culture or ANY other culture is given by God. We,
as followers of Christ, don't hold up any people, their culture, or
their "perspective" as being our "model" or synonymous with the Word
of God or the Will of God. As Christians, we have "the mind
of Christ" and we have the personal, practical, specific instructions
of the Word of God and the leading of the Holy Spirit, available to
each of us, to direct our lives. We need not look anywhere else
for direction! To look to anything else other than Jesus Christ
as our model for righteous thinking and behavior, whether it's a culture,
a nation, a tradition or a "Hebrew perspective," is to take glory
away from God and place it somewhere else. That is pure idolatry! God does not share his glory! "I will not yield my glory to
another." Isaiah 48:11.
The Bible does
not teach righteous living through a "Hebraic view" as this book and
many in the Messianic Jewish movement teach. God forbid!!
The Bible teaches righteous living by the renewing of our mind and
the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit! "Do not conform any
longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing
of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what
God's will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will." Romans 12:2.
"I have written you quite boldly on some points, as if to remind you
of them again, because of the grace God gave me to be a minister of
Christ Jesus to the Gentiles with the priestly duty of proclaiming (the "Hebrew model"? No!) the gospel of God, so that the Gentiles
might become an offering acceptable to God, sanctified (by their "Hebraic
view"? No!) by the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:15-16. As disciples
of Christ, we teach, preach, and live Jesus Christ! Period!!
It was the intervention of God into the lives of the Hebrews that
distinguished their beliefs from the Greeks or any other culture.
Nothing from within the Hebrew people made them any different from
all the other sinful people on earth. Even Abraham came from
a pagan family. "Joshua said to all the people, 'This is what
the LORD, the God of Israel, says: 'Long ago your forefathers,
including Terah the father of Abraham and Nahor, lived beyond the
River and worshipped other gods." Joshua 24:2. It wasn't until God
intervened in his life that Abram knew the true and living God.
Even with the presence of God in their lives, the ancient Hebrews
of the Bible were still just as sinful as the Greeks. They turned
their backs on God all through history. Even today, Israel as
a nation, rejects Jesus Christ. They are a nation that does
not know God. Jesus said, "If God were your Father, you would
love me, for I came from God" John 8:42. They are a nation living
in sin just like every other pagan nation on Earth that rejects Christ.
This is why we do not teach people to follow a "Hebrew model," past
or present! We teach people to follow Jesus Christ!!