Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Worldliness

Recent conversations I've had with Christian friends have reminded me of the importance of biblical discernment in making lifestyle choices and the danger of doing so by unbiblical rules which lead to legalism. This is not a tangential issue. If we cling to a list of rules instead of to the Cross we abandon the gospel itself. But if we live without discernment we deny the holiness to which the gospel saves us. Therefore, I'm happy to recommend a new, excellent, little book on this topic designed to help us on both counts: Worldliness, edited by CJ Mahaney. Here's a taste to whet your appetite:

Some people try to define worldliness as living outside a specific set of rules or conservative standards. If you listen to music with a certain beat, dress in fashionable clothes, watch movies with a certain rating or indulge in certain luxuries of modern society, surely you must be worldly.

Others, irritated and repulsed by rules that seem arbitrary, react to definitions of worldliness, assuming it's impossible to define. Or they think legalism will inevitably be the result, so we shouldn't even try.

Ready for a surprise? Both views are wrong. For by focusing exclusively on externals or dismissing the importance of externals, we've missed the point. John - inspired by the Holy Spirit - takes the debate to a whole other level. He takes it inside, for that's where worldliness is. It exists in our hearts.

1 comment:

Ben Duncan said...

Of course Mahaney is correct in noting that worldliness is primarily, or perhaps better stated: basically, a matter of the heart. However, let's not create a Platonic distinction between our inward thoughts and our external words/actions. The latter flows from the former. There is a relationship.

Show me a person who is acting wordly, and I'll show you a worldly person!