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From March 28–30 I was speaking at the Cincinnati Homeschool Convention. I was amazed to hear how so many people in attendance have been influenced by the work of American Vision. It was humbling to learn that our work has changed so many lives, especially in the area of a comprehensive worldview. Their previous fragmented worldview came into sharp focus once their eschatology changed. There is a growing worldview shift taking place. How do I know this? First, by the number of people who are abandoning dispensationalism and its dead-end theology. Second, by the refusal of most dispensationalists to defend their position publicly unless they get to control the debate. Third, Christians are beginning to see the connection between personal salvation and a broader transformation and how eschatology is a factor.
Zacchaeus not only found Jesus, he also found a new life after using his office as a tax collector and the power of the Roman civil government to line his pockets at the expense of his own people (Luke 19:1). He restored what he had unlawfully taken from others (Luke 19:8; cf. Ex. 22:1; Lev. 6:5; Num. 5:7; 2 Sam. 12:6). Jesus’ public ministry was the perfect mixture of evangelism, personal, social, and worldly concern. He went about teaching and preaching (Matt. 4:23; 9:35) and doing good and healing (Acts 10:38). James warned the rich what would happen to those who defrauded workmen of their wages (James 5:1–6).
The first efforts of the early church were to minister to the worldly needs of its members. This included seeing that widows were not “being overlooked in the daily serving of food” (Acts 6:1). In our modern welfare economy, those least able to care for themselves are most often turned over to government agencies for assistance and made dependant on the State, so their last state has become worse than the first (Luke 11:26). James writes that “pure and undefiled religion” consists of visiting “orphans and widows in their distress” (James 1:27). In the same verse, he exhorts Christians to keep themselves “unstained by the world.” Therefore, it cannot be considered “worldly” to be involved in activities that are not solely evangelistic. On the other hand, works of mercy often lead to evangelistic opportunities: “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16; James 2:16).
Paul makes a similar application of what a new creature in Christ is to do: “Let him who steals steal no longer; but rather let him labor, performing with his own hands what is good, in order that he may have something to share with him who is in need” (Eph. 4:28). In another place, Paul exhorts Christians to settle disputes not requiring capital punishment by using the government of the church and its officers: “Does any one of you, when he has a case against his neighbor, dare to go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints?” (1 Cor. 6:1–11).
Henry Morris explains in his book The Biblical Basis for Modern Science, that the Bible’s approach to worldview issues is comprehensive and includes science, technology, the humanities, commerce, law, civil government, and education, in short, every facet of human culture:
[L]ong before [the Great Commission] another great commission was given to all men, whether saved or unsaved, merely by virtue of being men created by God in His image. It also had worldwide scope, and has never been rescinded. It had to do with implementing God’s purpose in His work of creation, just as Christ’s commission was for implementing His work of salvation and reconciliation.
Morris says that the command to subdue the earth means “bringing all earth’s systems and processes into a state of optimum productivity and utility, offering the greatest glory to God and benefit to mankind.” The problem is, Morris’ eschatology does not allow any of this to happen. He believed the beginning point of the “this generation” of Matthew 24:34 was around 1917. The following is found in his Defender’s Study Bible: “The generation which sees all these signs (probably starting with World War I) shall not have completely passed away until all these things have taken place” (1045). Young Earth Creationists have not come to terms with this problem. Some YEC organizations claim that they don’t want to deal with eschatology because they believe it provokes unnecessary controversy. These same YEC movements will rightly criticize the Intelligent Design Movement because it does not acknowledge that the God of the Bible is the Designer, but they will not discuss the end-point of Creation—eschatology! Until creationists start treating the end of the Bible the same way they treat the beginning of the Bible, the creation movement will be little more than an academic exercise. “OK. I’m a creationist. Now what do I do?”