Uncommon Courage and the Common Christian by David Fowler

In his blog post last week, megachurch minister Rick Warren said, “In a world full of ideas and beliefs that go against God’s Word, God wants you to have an uncommon courage and stand up for what you know is true and right. Everyone else is speaking up and telling you their worldview every day. Why shouldn’t you stand up for what you believe?” I agree. But there’s a problem. There’s a form of courage that’s even more uncommon than that which Pastor Warren seeks to call forth.

Based on my eighteen years of engaging others on cultural issues and meeting ministers all across the state, there’s an elephant in the “church room” that few ministers want to talk about. But before we identify that elephant, let’s make it a bit clearer what  Pastor Warren is talking about:

To stand courageously, you have to know what the world believes and what God says is the truth. This is called a worldview — what you base your beliefs on. Everyone has a worldview.…

Your worldview includes how you see God, yourself, others, the past, present, and future, money, time, good and evil. It influences everything in your life.… Your worldview influences every choice you make. (emphasis added)

It is absolutely crucial, then, that you base your worldview on God’s Word, which is the only truth.

He is absolutely correct in what he’s saying to Christians. And it does take a lot of courage to communicate views based on a Biblical worldview to those who are not Christians.

But what requires even more courage is for ministers and leaders in the church to provide the training that is needed in order for Christians to see the issues in our public square through the lens of a Biblical worldview. That’s the elephant in the room that few want to talk about.

You see, those kinds of issues are often deemed “political,” and we don’t want to talk too much about helping those in the church think Biblically about them. To those who think that way, their  Biblical worldview doesn’t really influence “every choice” they make but only the choices related to their personal lives, in other words, choices related only to matters of personal piety.

For example, churches don’t want individuals to think unbiblically about money. So they offer courses by Crown Ministries or Dave Ramsey. That’s good and needed. But have you ever been in a church that didn’t want you to think unbiblically about money when it comes to economic and monetary policy and offered a course on that? If so, your experience is by far the exception.

Based on what I’ve observed over the last eighteen years, the courage to speak within the church to those issues often deemed “political” or “controversial” in today’s culture is even more uncommon than that which is needed to speak to those issues in the world.  Until we’re willing to do the former, we can’t expect to see much of the latter.

But before we rank and file Christians go too far in condemning our ministers and church leaders for a lack of courage, maybe each of us needs to ask ourselves if we’ve lacked the courage to equip ourselves on these issues and then offer to provide such training. Maybe we need to ask ourselves if we’ve lacked the courage to approach our leaders about the need?

As I think about it, maybe the common thread to the absence of the uncommon courage Pastor Warren spoke of is a much too common belief that our God is really just not that great. Maybe that’s why it’s so easy – and convenient — for us to keep Him in our private little boxes and our views to ourselves.