In a reflection on Revelation 21:23-26, DNA co-founder Darrow Miller shares about God’s love for the nations and the splendor that the nations will bring to Christ on his wedding day at the consummation of time.
He concludes with the problem that we see around the world, which is the problem of taking a personal religious faith and overlaying it with an unexamined cultural worldview. According to Darrow, we rip chapter 10 out of the Book (a message about salvation for heaven) and insert it into our unexamined cultural worldviews, whether that be a secular and materialistic worldview in the West or an animistic worldview in Africa, etc. This is problematic.
However, examining our worldviews alongside a biblical worldview will help us learn to live and share the full transforming story–“a story that has the ability to transform individual lives, to lift communities out of poverty, and to build nations that are free, just and compassionate.”
Here’s the video transcript:
God has a heart for the nations–a love for the nations. That’s why he raised up Abraham to be a blessing to the nations and he raised up the church to disciple the nations.
Because at the end of history, the kings of the earth–the nations of the earth are going to be gathered into the city of God. And the kings of the nations will bring something with them to the city. What are they going to bring? They’re going to bring the glory and the honor of their nations. They’re going to bring the artifacts and creativity of their nations into the city of God as gifts for Jesus Christ on his wedding day.
In Genesis 1, we saw that God put the man and the woman on the earth to do something with what God had made–to take it and use it to create things of beauty and things of goodness. We have not always done that well. But there are people who consciously stand before God and say, “Lord, help me to take what you have given me and to do something lasting with it–something that honors you.” And at the end of history those things will be taken as gifts by the kings of the earth to Christ.
And now, we come to the end of the story. It begins in Genesis and ends in Revelation. It begins in a garden and ends in a city.
It’s a story that has the ability to transform individual lives, to lift communities out of poverty, and to build nations that are free, just and compassionate.
But we have a problem. The church in our generation and our parents’ generation has not been telling the whole story. What we have done is taken chapter 10 [a message about salvation for heaven] and we have ripped it out of the Book and thrown the Book away. And we’ve said chapter 10 is the whole story.
Chapter 10 is not the whole story. The Bible does not begin with John 3:16. Where does it begin? It begins in Genesis 1:1, but the church is not telling the whole story–we are taking chapter 10 of the Book and putting it in somebody else’s story.
This is the reason we have been looking over the observations from Kingdomizer Garry Tissingh related to Africa. The more we can understand our culture’s worldview and places that do not align with the biblical worldview, the better chance we have of communicating the full and unabridged transforming story to our cultures and communities, so that we can witness the Kingdom of God coming more fully into all areas of our lives and society.
After reading part three of Garry’s reflections below, please take time to share your questions, reflections, and testimonies. Have you seen something similar in a culture where you live and serve? How have you been able to respond and see successful wholistic transformation?
Beliefs & Values of Africans/Muslims that may hinder Transformation (Part 3 of 3)
- Failure and sin are only that when discovered and become public. Then it is seen and recognised primarily as corporate shame and not individual guilt. If possible, the community must cover it up, so negating the shame.
- Truth is not an objective value but deemed and determined only to be that as it is convenient and appropriate to individuals and especially the community. As a result, truth can be totally illogical as well and therefore not telling the truth is acceptable.
- Events appear to take precedence over responsibility. All routine commitments are easily dropped in order to participate in a community event. Privilege wins over responsibility each time. Relationships and obligations to them always take precedence over responsibility. The relationship is the higher value over responsibility. Therefore, keeping an appointment is easily interrupted by meeting a friend or family member on the way.
- Responsibility and decision making is always pushed up to the head, the leader, the patron, so that consequences are not on a lowly individual and usually implicates the whole community. Individuals will often manoeuvre matters so that they are absolved of individual responsibility and often this will mean that the culpability rests with the community.
- There is often a victim spirit cycle which is expressed in a poor me/us attitude and that is difficult to break out of or be set free from. There is often this sense of being trapped in a box and one can’t get out. My condition is the fault of others, not me. So, this leads to a real sense of not being free and empowered to determine one’s destiny, rather you are the victim.
- Gratitude and thankfulness do not have high value as it is assumed, expected that things are owed to them. Many local languages have no word for thank you in Africa. If you have, but I or my community do not, then you owe it to me.
- Responsibility is not desired or sought after as a positive thing and when one has responsibility they despise it, reluctantly accept it, become burdened by it and often, normally abuse it.
- There is no real value of respect either for people, material items, property, events or time. This is seen over and over in relationship to any stuff, events, and appointments and so on. There is a false sense of respect when it comes to the status of people or obligations because of position but otherwise genuine respect is not often evident.
- There is not significant respect or honouring for schedules, appointments, etc, as this is really for slaves and servants not for people of position, leaders, or those who have ‘arrived’. So not adhering to strict times is an indication you are of higher status.
- Most relationships are based not on true friendship but rather on expectations and reciprocity of what one can get from the relationship. Family connections and tribal ties build stronger expectations than other relationships but in general it’s about what can be gained from the relationship connection. This is true at all levels all the way through to political heads. A genuine friendship relationship, where there is no expectation of gain from it, is uncommon, even rare.
Don’t forget to share your comments, feedback, and interact with others in this post. Perhaps you could share a testimony of how you have responded to these worldview hindrances, or ask a question of others. Maybe you could share a Scripture that has been useful to you. If you missed it, here is a link to part one and part two in this series. If you would like to go deeper with this content, be sure to enroll in the completely free Kingdomizer Training Program.
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