Naturalistic Ministry Philosophy

In any area of life, what we believe will determine what we do, how we do it, and why we do it. This belief system is often referred to as a “worldview”. In our day there are two dominant worldviews, and they affect ever area of our lives.The first is a biblical worldview. Most of us are familiar with this, and would even claim it for our own. The second is naturalistic. It claims that natural causes alone are sufficient to explain everything that exists. There is no God, no supernatural realm, or absolute truth. There is therefore no purpose to our lives; we are only cosmic accidents emerging from the primordial slime.

Society is reaping the results of the humanism and naturalism in the controversial issues of our day. Abortion is excused because the “fetus” (they refuse to call it a baby) is nothing more than a mass of tissue. It has no soul because there is nothing more than what can be explained in nature. Deviant behavior is tolerated because the person was “born that way.”

Individual responsibility is out the window. There can be no wrong or right because there is no absolute standard of right and wrong. A person’s actions are controlled by nothing more than chemical impulses in the brain. They have no choice but to be this way.

This philosophy has crept into our homes, our schools, and our individual lives. If we are not careful, it will shape the underlying philosophy of the church’s ministry. It is in this area that the principle stated at the beginning is especially relevant.

“What we believe will determine what we do, how we do it, and why we do it.”

We can easily agree on the purpose of the church. For the glory of God, we fulfill the Great Commission (all of it). We understand WHAT we are to do, it’s the HOW and the WHY that give us fits.

Is it true that the methods we use are unimportant as long as the message is intact? Does the end truly justify the means? How far are we to go in “reaching the lost”?

In my next post on this subject, I hope to address the “HOW” of ministry, and where “naturalism” and “pragmatism” have changed the way we view the role of the church, the pastor, and even God.


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