The Worldview War Heats Up in the Bible Belt

By Brannon Howse

The worldview war is heating up in the Bible belt but are Christians in this part of the country equipped to deal with it as well as Christians in more liberal states that have been fighting the worldview war for many years? Shelby County, TN includes Memphis and many of the surrounding suburbs and it is the heart of the Bible belt. A Shelby County Commissioner is seeking to pass a law that provides special protection for sexual orientation. As the bill now reads, churches and business could face fines and other punitive damages, not to mention civil law suits, for dismissing an employee that is one day wearing a suit and the next day wearing a dress.

Many vocal, and out in the open, Christians in the North, East, and West sought to become skilled at defense of the faith because of years of Anti-Christian bigotry. How will the average Christian in the Bible belt fair in a culture that for many years was so Christian friendly that most Christians have failed to learn how to defend even the basics of a Biblical worldview and teach their children to do the same? It is a fact that Biblical worldview training in the Bible belt has been years behind other parts of the country because most Christians in the Bible belt saw no real need to learn how to contend for their faith in all areas of life because it was not being openly attacked.

For many years we did not hold our Biblical worldview conferences in the south because they were so poorly attended compared to other parts of the nation. In cities like Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Wichita and Richmond we would have standing room only because students and adults in these cities knew that their faith was under attack. People in these cities knew that to say they believed in the Bible, the Biblical definition of marriage, six-day creation, or the exclusivity of Jesus Christ would invite raised eyebrows if not an outright statement of distain.

In 1993, when we began to host our first worldview conferences, most mid-south Christians we talked to had never heard the term "worldview" and most saw no need for our conferences because they viewed themselves as living in such a Christian friendly culture they could not see themselves, or their children or grandchildren, being attacked for their Biblical convictions and values. In fact, we would have people tell us that the things going on in Madison, Wisconsin or Chicago would never be allowed or accepted here in the Bible belt. With the attempt by Shelby County, TN to pass a law that provides special protection for sexual orientation that would rob them of their religious freedom, freedom of speech and freedom to operate their family businesses based on Biblical values, it is clear they were wrong and in many cases unprepared for what is now here.

After listening to several hours of talk radio here in Memphis over the past few days, I have heard dozens of well meaning, self-professing Christians calling in to a local talk program and attempting to explain why they are opposed to any law that would give special rights to people based on their sexual orientation. Sadly, what I heard was good people that know what they believe but cannot give a concise defense of their position based on facts, logic, the Constitution, the Founder's original intent and a Biblical worldview. What I have heard is a lot of "I feel" statements.

The Bible belt is a great place to live because it has been so Christian friendly. I am proud to have been born here in the south and have my roots here but the Bible belt has a lot of catching up to do in the area of worldview training compared to their Christian brothers and sisters in other parts of the country. The good news from this situation is that now many mid-south Christians will see the increasing need to become an approved workman who is not ashamed but can in love and reverence give a reason for their Biblical values based on a Biblical worldview.

I am pleased to report that in 2003, Worldview Weekend started seeing a drastic increase in the numbers of Christians and pastors asking us to bring our Biblical worldview conferences to their cities and towns. These Christian leaders were aware that the Bible belt was quickly changing. Studies were revealing that their young people were walking away from the church in huge numbers and not returning, a new generation of liberal politicians were seeking to legislatively implement policies that would criminalize Christianity, and divorce was higher in the Bible belt than in other parts of the country.

Many pastors and lay leaders in the Bible belt are trying to bring Biblical worldview training into their churches and to get their church members and friends to understand the extreme necessity of such training. I pray that the increase in the assault on our faith, family and freedoms will awaken a sleeping giant here in the Bible belt. Unless our political views are based on sound, Biblical doctrine and theology, then our values are simply based on pragmatism and that is a foundation of sand. What we see happening in America reveals the need to not think politically but to think Biblically.

Our Founding Fathers had a great deal to say about the very public policy and spiritual issues we are facing today and the number one source they sited was the Bible. The Founders told us that our Constitutional Republic is based on the law of the Divine. Yet, most Christians do not know what the law of the Divine is in the area of law, science, economics, history, family, education and social issues. The only hope for the Bible belt is that we get more Bible under our belt. The entire nation must get back to the Bible. The Bible was our founding document and even Newsweek Magazine reported this in 1982. This foundation made us the longest running Constitutional Republic in the history of the world. Short of mass Biblical worldview training, America's days are numbered as a free nation.

I believe America's last hope is the Church proclaiming the Jesus of the Bible and making disciples. This could be the finest hour for the Church in America but only if our Biblical worldview is for each day of the week and not just for Sunday. Twenty-Four hours a day, seven days a week, we need to think Biblically, not culturally. However, this will come at a price. Francis Schaeffer, in his book, How Should We Then Live, explains that Christians in Rome were not killed because they worshipped Jesus inside the four walls of their churches. The radicals don't really care about our Christianity as long as we keep it confined to the church. However, as soon as our Christianity is brought into the light of the public square and applied to all areas of life, it then becomes a threat to the State. Schaffer put it this way:

"Let us not forget why the Christians were killed. They were not killed because they worshipped Jesus…Nobody cared who worshipped whom as long as the worshipper did not disrupt the unity of the state, centered in the formal worship of Caesar. The reason the Christians were killed was because they were rebels…"

One of the popular football teams in the mid-south has a rebel as the mascot. A spiritual battle is raging in the south and throughout America and we need to cease being spectators watching from the pews. We must take our Biblical worldview onto the field and become a rebel for Christ in all areas of life.