Tuesday, March 16, 2010

In Search of Worldliness (or at least a definition)

Worldliness is the trump card used against offense that not clearly stated in the Scriptures. Is worldliness spiking your hair or wearing clothes that are in style? Is worldliness catching a decent show at a movie theater or is it using a more modern translation of the Scriptures?

I'm sure there are some helpful definitions of "worldliness" or the "world" around, but I am still searching for them. Sidwell defines worldliness as "an attitude of friendship toward, a desire for, and a wish to be recognized by the world system." What, you ask, is the "world system." Well, the world system is "the unregenerate people of this earth as organize and dominated by Satan." Condensed, worldliness becomes friendship with or the desire to be recognized by unsaved people. This definition is far from satisfactory though. Christ accused of being a friend of sinners in Luke 7:34 (an accusation he never denied) and He loved sinners so much that He died for them.

Here is another definition of worldiness by Driscoll. I think it is much closer in some regards. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-NWsGavd0A8

I plan to thoroughly study out the issue myself and post my conclusions here, but until then, what do you think worldliness is? If you have done some study on it, please post your results. Make sure you take the poll since it's National Sensus time!


  1. Andrew - I have been thinking about your post, but hesitated commenting for a couple of reasons, mostly wanting to be sure this comes across properly. The advantage to writing is it allows time to think; the disadvantage is it doesn't always come across correctly. The last couple of weeks I have been researching a few things/people for my own information. Mark Driscoll is one of them. I have listened to some of his sermons, I have looked up what he says about himself and what others say about him. There are many Biblical errors in his ministry and preaching. There are two extremes very common among churches today: one is forgetting God's mercy, the other is forgetting God's holiness. There is no perfect church, but we need to be so careful to remember Who God is! Some of the errors Driscoll embraces are Calvinism, worldy rock music, and an irreverance for God's holiness in his attitude and preaching. Linking to a message by him on worldliness indicates an agreement with his ministry as they cannot be separated. My main reason for commenting was regarding Driscoll. Remember that I love and greatly appreciate all your family! :)
    Mrs. Blain

  2. I'm glad you commented on the post and I know you did out of love. I definitely agree with you that it is so easy for sinful people to become extremely unbalanced, forgetting either God's holiness or His mercy (or other attributes as well). It seems like we are always slipping towards legalism or license, and we are constantly in need of grace to set and keep us right.

    I would take exception with two of your points however. First, I struggle to understand how a link to something Driscoll said is a complete endorsement of the man or his ministry. He, like the rest of us, is human, and has his share of problems. I think we can appreciate and learn from the best of men while realizing that they too are human. I wouldn't completely endorse anyone (even myself) except our Savior.

    Second, I have a hard time labeling Calvinism as a biblical error. Calvinism can take on different forms depending on who is defining it. Many great men of the past such as Calvin, Whitefield, Edwards, and Spurgeon have all been staunch Calvinists, as well as great men of the faith. I can hardly fault Driscoll for his Calvinism. I'm not sure what you are referring to in regards to his "irreverence for God's holiness.” All the sermons and audio books I’ve listened gave me the impression that he takes both God and His Word very seriously. He may apply that differently than you would, but I think we should at least acknowledge that he is trying to be true to the Scriptures. Love is acknowledged as being the preeminent characteristic of believers, and it seems that we ought to think the best of him in the spirit of I Corinthians 13.
    I want to be able to rejoice wherever the gospel is proclaimed (Phil 1:18) while at the same seeking to be as biblical and as honoring to God as possible. We are both on a journey in pursuit of Christ-likeness. Can’t wait till we arrive!

  3. I really enjoyed thinking about this topic!

    Interesting to note: the Pharisees (the group that Christ condemned the most!) were anything but what we would consider "worldly." They had special rules for themselves to set themselves apart, they wore "righteous" clothes, they did everything the law required and more! However, Christ still condemned them for doing things for their own praise and recognition (Matthew 6). All the things that he condemned them for are good things!

    Growing up, I was always told that "the world" was the styles, culture, music, etc. that the world had to offer. In light of the passages about the Pharisees, though, I don't think we can conclude that dress or even particular actions make one "worldly" or not. I think they *can* be worldly, but much of it has to do with motivation (which to me *is* a way of thinking) when the Scripture is silent to an area (clothing - only modesty is prescribed; music - quite silent, etc.).

    I think the key is to remember where our affections lay. The world says to love yourself and the things around you. Christ says to love Him and others around you. Are we serving God or mammon?