Thursday, July 2, 2009

Should Christians Be More Worldly?

How can John (in 1 John 2) say: “ If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him,” when John himself explicitly reported (in John 3) that the "love of the Father" is a love of “the world”?

In one sense, don’t you think Christians should be more worldly?

18 comments:

  1. I think that it is saying dont love the things of this world and the flesh more than you love God, but love the people of the world as God loves them.

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  2. I would say that in the 1 John verse he's referring to loving the ways of this world. As Paul says:

    "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will." -Romans 12:2

    I think when the mind is transformed by the Spirit, rather than BY the world, you will have a better grasp on God's will, which in turn, fosters a love of the world (aka the "lost").

    I don't think this is an excuse to ignore the world; we just must be conscious not to conform to it. Jesus reminds us that we are called to plumb the depths of the Sodom and Gomorrahs and we are giventhe strength and grace to come out in victory:

    "And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.

    Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles.

    But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you." -Matthew 10:14-20

    We cannot have THAT kind of influence on the world, unless we know something about it! :)

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  3. More wordly? I don't think so. The only thing I know is that Christians need to learn how to receive the people from the world like Jesus did. He was a friend for sinful men. Nowadays I see this very seldom in our churches. Many churches don't receive such people..I think it is such fear. Churches are scared to be profained. But sometimes church isolates itself from the world cause they think that it's right..((
    So..I think every christian need to get strong and learn to love)
    These are my thoughts, John

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  4. More wordly? I don't think so. The only thing I know is that Christians need to learn how to receive the people from the world like Jesus did. He was a friend for sinful men. Nowadays I see this very seldom in our churches. Many churches don't receive such people..I think it is such fear. Churches are scared to be profained. But sometimes church isolates itself from the world cause they think that it's right..((
    So..I think every christian need to get strong and learn to love)
    These are my thoughts, John

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  5. Loving the world doesn't mean that you love the things of the world but instead you love the things on earth that we created by God

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  6. I think we should love the world in the sence that we are trying to reach them. However to be like them is to be "worldly" Jesus was "in the world, but not of it...." I Peter 2:11 Says that we are aliens and stranges. We need to be strangers to the world in the sence that we are unlike them. We need to be uncommon like our father in Heaven!

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  7. "Worldliness happens when fail to see the world as our mission and embrace it as our companion!"

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  8. For me, I think the term "worldly" is a legacy from the previous generation, when Christians thought holiness was expressed by separating from those outside the faith. I think the Biblical categories are "in the world" and "of the world." Jesus is the perfect picture--he came into the world, because he loves the world, yet the world had no hold on him! So he could hang with anyone, sinners, hookers, tax guys, and express his genuine love for them without letting their weaknesses become his weaknesses. Good luck in Brazil!

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  9. God saw what the world could become, what it should be, and loved it by changing it. That's good. If we love the world for what it is, indulging in its perverted pleasures, we sin. Our love should be an incarnational restoring love like the Father's, not a self-centered love. Maybe that's the difference.

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  10. thats true.
    pretty wise words

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  11. i feel like christians are sometimes too worried about "doing bad things/not sinning" that they totally miss the point. people should love the worldly, not do things the worldly do. its almost like being "green" just towards people.

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  12. Yes in many senses, actually. There needs to be an elimination of the us-them mentality that pervades the Church.
    There is the love of the world that means we value the things of the flesh more than the things of God, and then there is the love of the world that means we love everyone and everything in and on the world in the same way that God does. The latter love is our goal. We need to love the world unconditionally and freely.

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  13. You reminded me of Petra’s song “Rose Colored Stained Glass Windows” (+2 points for reference to 80’s Christian rock). If someone’s involvement in the world includes Jesus how could it be bad? I think we should debate how to better include Jesus in our lives more than exclude particular items of the world.

    I live in the world, I want to simply and honestly engage it instead of condemn, exclude, and segment it. If I have issues I want it to be because I’m apart of what’s around me instead of keeping what’s around me at a safe distance. So agreed, I think Christians should be more worldly!

    I’d guess that the love of the world that excludes Jesus is what John was condemning. The love of the world that includes Jesus must have been what Jesus was proposing. Enjoy your thoughts!

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  14. Wow.. All of this makes me want a beer and a smoke. :-) Or some really good wine at the end of an awesome party!

    But seriously... I have been thinking about this a lot lately... about the whole, "in the world but not of it."

    It reminds me of a quote that I just read, it is a book by Shane Claiborne - "Irresistible Revolution"


    "I did a little survey probing Christians about their (mis)conceptions
    of Jesus. I learned a striking thing from the survey. I asked
    participants who claimed to be "strong followers of Jesus" whether Jesus
    spent time with the poor. Nearly 80% said yes. Later in the survey, I
    sneaked in another question. I asked the same group of strong followers
    whether they spent time with the poor, and less than 2 percent said they
    did. I learned a powerful lesson: We can admire and worship Jesus
    without doing what He did. We can applaud what He preached and stood for
    without caring about the same things. We can adore His cross without
    taking up ours. I had come to see that the great tragedy in the church
    is not that rich Christians do not care about the poor, but that rich
    Christians do not know the poor.

    When the worlds of poverty and wealth collide, the resulting powerful
    fusion can change the world. But that collision rarely happens. I long
    for the Calcutta slums to meet the Chicago suburbs, for lepers to meet
    landowners and for each to see God's image in the other. It's no wonder
    that the footsteps of Jesus lead from tax collectors to lepers. I truly
    believe that when the poor meet the rich, riches will have no meaning.
    And when the rich meet the poor, we will see poverty come to an end."

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  15. I agree with some of what was said. I think that we should be worldly in that we shouldn't back away from hanging out with certain people or doing certain things or coming off with an attitude that we're better or that we're too good to be doing what everyone else does. I know we need to live holy lives, but we can't pretend as if what goes on in the world...doesn't. As if once you're a Christian, only a select Christian world exists. For example, we can't act like there's no music but "Christian" music, there is a lot of good music out there that we would miss out on if we just labeled it secular and refused to listen to it. We can't do that to the world. I think we need to find God in everything. That's my two cents.

    p.s.: I think your dad preached at my church today and it was great!

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  16. I love what the Father loves... makes it more simple.

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  17. We should be in the world not of the world. And I am with KJ... love what and who the Father loves. Make yourself a slave to them so as to win them (1 Cor 9:19). There is nothing wrong with using more modern methods to reach people, and that might be considered "worldly". For example, many people think that "rock music" for worship is an assault on God. But for me worshiping to contemporary music has so much more power than most hymns!
    Again, in the world and not of it. God will lead us through and show us how to love others in a way that honors Him.

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  18. I know I'm a few months late on this, but writing things out helps me think.

    I think we should definitely be more worldly as Christians. And what I mean when I say that is very similar to some of the things that have already been said... particularly eliminating the "us-them" mentality that has been so pervasive in Christian sub-culture since it's birth. As a matter of fact the very presence of a Christian sub-culture is in direct contradiction to the kind of lives we are called to live as disciples.

    Furthermore if we really believe all Scripture is God-breathed, then we must also take into account Colossians 1.15-20; ALL things were created through Christ and for Christ. And 1 Tim. 4.4-5 states "Everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer."

    If we have a love for God that exceeds all else then we will see all creation as it is; a means to experience the character of our Creator. It's when we use "worldly" things for any other reason than the glory of God that they become sinful.

    So then, being "in the world but not of it" does not mean Earth is a waiting room for heaven; it means we enjoy God's creation as it was intended to be, and that is for His glory.

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