Worldview Reflections: Hindrances to Flourishing (3 of 3)

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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.” 

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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)

    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
    9. 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.
    10. 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.

 

This content was sent by email to our exclusive Kingdomizer Network. Kingdomizers advance the truth, goodness, and beauty of God’s Kingdom in the world in which they live. The Kingdomizer Network is for those who have been deeply impacted by DNA’s teaching, and desire to grow deeper in their understanding, joining other like-minded Kingdomizers around the world to learn together, dream, strategize, organize, and more effectively disciple the nations. If this describes you, be sure to sign up for our Kingdomizer Network.

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Olusegun Owopetu
Olusegun Owopetu
8 months ago

“Beliefs & Values of Africans/Muslims that may hinder Transformation (Part 3 of 3)”

Thank you asking me to share my comments and join the conversation!

I will start my discussion with this culled out statement “…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.”

Our worldviews are picked mostly from the society where we have found ourselves and what they revered (physical or spiritual). We also found ourselves where we were born – an abode that ought to be the harbinger of truth – “the pillar and ground of the truth” have so many factions (denominations!). I was a victim of such multi-voices on what ought to be very clear.

Garry Tissingh – I decided to find out more about him – his discussion on Leadership and Transformation in Africa was of great value to me. So, I now know where he was coming from and where he was heading to concerning Africa on his ten points on “Beliefs & Values of Africans/Muslims that may hinder Transformation (Part 3 of 3).”
Garry Tissingh’s points can now be appreciated as he was writing from a vantage position as an insider.

“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.” Great words.

Going through “Beliefs & Values of Africans/Muslims that may hinder Transformation (Part 3 of 3)” or better still Beliefs & Values of Africans/Muslims that will hinder Transformation – I found everything listed as potential hindrances to transformation and reformation. The question now is – how do we dismantle these? No doubt our first task is to pray. Secondly. we should ask what were the root causes of these beliefs and values? With 2 Corinthians 5:17 in mind. Thirdly, like Paul lay out in order to teach the people painstakingly and they in turn teaching other disciples. The Africa Church needs to be discipled.

The only people that can effectively with the Biblical worldview bring impact to the society that for centuries have been birthed with Beliefs & Values of Africans/Muslims are the Christians who are rooted in Biblical worldview.

By 1800 Christianity was already in my country – Nigeria and the question is what impact we can say have been since then, now and foreseeable future. With what I grew up to know when I became a believer – my assessment is that the Church in Africa needs transformation and reformation and her life sustained with a very strong Biblical based education – I mean education and not Sunday school alone. I don’t know of any aspects of my society that we don’t need transformation and reformation. We must also bring to mind that the North of Africa was once populated by Christians. Augustine of Hippo hailed from that region. So, what happened for that civilization to disappear just like that.

Garry Tissingh statements are very true and are also rubbing on the church in Africa, However the no 6 on the list, our people especially my tribe (Yoruba) are effusive when thanking or showing gratitude.
At my entry point to the church – we were birthed with Sunday School Bible studies which I would say were not sufficient against the strong winds of prevailing Beliefs of Africans/Muslims. Although most of these beliefs and values did not rubbed on me. I came into the faith looking for God of the Christians through my search for Him through reading the Bible and which ultimately the LORD used in bringing me to Himself.

The little knowledge about God that I had reading through the Bible affected my life. The Bible was the voice of God to me and nothing else, even when I did not have all the clues about God. Sorrowfully then, no one discipled me until several years later when I was introduced to discipleship basics and subsequently I had the opportunity to attend a Vision Conference where the seed of Biblical worldview was planted. This shaped the direction I am taking today.

Garry Tissingh did not miss or exaggerate on any of the issues he wrote about – He captured the beliefs and values succinctly and one is left ashamed as these are very prevalent on the continent – however his writing was not to shame us but for us to pray about them and allow the Holy Spirit rule our lives and for us make amendments and teach our people what is true (Ezra 7:10). As this would be looked into further, his observations will affect our Christian education curriculum.

REFLECTIONS

HOW HAVE I BEEN ABLE TO RESPOND AND SEE A SUCCESSFUL WHOLISTIC TRANSFORMATION?
I see the need to go back to the LORD on all the issues raised and use the outlines listed for preparing the way forward. And we can produce literacy materials addressing these issues.

THE WAY FORWARD
From the Biblical lens of Garry Tissingh, as himself said while discussing – Leadership and Transformation in Africa that we all come together for a transformed Africa church.

After several years in the church I was able to put together some fifteen points – five above of Garry Tissingh identified in solving these problems confronting the church in Africa and I have been taking steps in implementing them. Simply put as Literature Development: Discipling the Nations – Nigeria. I believe if we have disciples of Jesus Christ who are well informed, we can always put our confidence in God that He will shape the continent very appropriately.

Thanks to Garry Tissingh sharing his thoughts. Thanks also to Shawn Carson and DNA – the team challenging our faith, looking forward for a continent where those who are saved will be instructed very well as Luke the beloved physician did with “most excellent The-ophilus” – Luke1:1-4; Acts 1:1-2.

Garry
8 months ago

Dear friend, Olusegun Owopetu, thank you for interacting with the thoughts and observations shared in the article. Where you finish is exactly it; how do we interact with these values, see them change as the Kingdom enters in amongst the people. That is the real challenge in the continent, starting in the church.

Masubi Mashi
Masubi Mashi
8 months ago

What a great reflection learning from Garry’s submission I want to strongly agree with him looking at the Nigerian context, though I have some different view on number six (6)”gratitude and thankfulness” it is a virtue in our community, infact children learned it from childhood because of the reward and punishments attached to it.

In addition, the issue of Syncritism is another problem in my traditional cultural and Islamic worldview most especially when it comes to issue of marriage where even churches do ask the couple’s if cultural demands are made completely? In some cases these obligation are demonic initiations which I called ungodly activities because is outside the biblical Teaching and is in conformity with the pattern of this world that Christians are warn not to.( Romans 12:1&2)

shawn
8 months ago
Reply to  Masubi Mashi

Thank you for sharing, Masubi. You’re absolutely right, we all need to be examining our practices from a Biblical perspective. When they are outside of God’s intentions, we should work to change them. His ways are higher than our ways and His ways promote flourishing for everyone. I think we often lack the understanding that God has a perspective for EVERY area of life. (I know I wasn’t discipled to think that way.) Even the church needs to let go of some of our practices because they are cultural but not Biblical.

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