Commentary

From Worshiping to Spending, Who Calls the Shots?

By Robert Knight | April 16, 2020 | 4:28pm EDT
A cross stands in a field. (Photo credit: David Silverman/Getty Images)
A cross stands in a field. (Photo credit: David Silverman/Getty Images)

Often, our modern cultural gurus tell us that it doesn’t matter what you believe, as long as you believe in something.

But that’s a misconception; it replaces truth with relativism, the idea that we can make up our own “truth” to suit our needs and desires. This is the fundamental philosophy taught at nearly all colleges and universities and which trickles down to the K-12 schools. Popular culture plays this tune constantly.

Christians are not immune to this siren song. If not fortified and educated by biblically sound pastors, we’re apt to absorb the many relativistic and hedonistic messages around us. As such, we’re tempted to act and think not very differently from people with a pagan worldview, especially when it comes to spending and investing money.

Our first mistake is thinking the money we have is ours—not God’s.

The Apostle Paul predicted an era like the one we are in: “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.” (2 Timothy 4:3-4, NKJV)

Modern paganism teaches that humans were not created by God but merely evolved by chance, that morality is a vestige of an oppressive, obsolete belief system and that therefore right and wrong are in the mind of the beholder. Ironically, many modern pagans who promote relativism believe religiously in non-negotiable items like sexual anarchy, man-made climate change and forced economic redistribution, all with a need for heavy government enforcement.

So where does this leave believing Christians? According to pollster George Barna, only 6 percent of American adults have a biblical worldview and “only one-fifth of those attending evangelical Protestant churches (21 percent) have a biblical worldview, as compared to one-sixth of those attending charismatic or Pentecostal churches (16 percent). The study finds even smaller proportions in mainline Protestant (8 percent) or Catholic (1 percent) churches."

Here is a summary of basic Christian doctrine:

  1. God is timeless and created the universe and everything in it.
  2. He created the Earth as a place for his crowning creation—man—to flourish.
  3. He created male and female in His own image and joined them in marriage.
  4. Adam and Eve were tempted by Satan, a fallen angel, into sin. This brought death into the world, a circumstance still afflicting us.
  5. Jesus was born into the world as fully God and fully man 2,000 years ago as not only the prophesied Messiah in Scripture to the Jewish people but as the Lamb of God Who was to be sacrificed for the sins of the whole world.
  6. Jesus was crucified, was buried and rose on the third day.
  7. Before departing for Heaven, He appeared before hundreds of people, including His disciples and several devoted women followers, and promised eternal life to all who believe in Him.
  8. At His appointed time, Jesus will return amid a new Heaven and a new Earth. He will destroy all evil and gather all of his spiritual children who will live forever with Him in Heaven.

There is much more, of course. The Bible’s 1,700-plus pages contain an unparalleled collection of wisdom, teaching, history, and theology. But the above is the bare minimum for a biblical worldview. America is in trouble today because we have left these beliefs—and the Bible—behind and have pursued our own interests as we see them, meaning we call the shots, not God. For many people, God has become, at best, a sort of consultant—until He gets in the way of our plans. Then we seek out other sources of enlightened excuses for our behavior.

The Scriptures are replete with warnings about pride being our downfall, beginning with Adam and Eve’s rebellion at the dawn of humanity: “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.” (Proverbs 14:12, ESV)

The more that our culture drifts from a biblically grounded worldview, the worse our consequences. Perhaps "drift" is the wrong word. We have been running pell-mell from our Christian heritage at breakneck speed over the last few decades. In Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus gave the Great Commission: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (ESV)

Revealing how lukewarm the church has become, Barna Group found that nearly half of Christian millennials directly reject the Great Commission, agreeing that: “It is wrong to share one’s personal beliefs with someone of a different faith in hopes that they will one day share the same faith.”

Christians, of all people, should boldly shine with the hope within us due to the presence of the Holy Spirit and the knowledge that God loves us. To borrow a well-worn phrase, it is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness. The Spirit should permeate everything we do, including how we handle our money—a topic the Bible addresses in more than 2,300 verses.

In 1994, Art Ally lit a candle in the darkness: Timothy Plan. As the pioneer of Biblically Responsible Investing (BRI), Art has been used by God to give Christians a way to invest our money without unwittingly aiding immoral causes. Timothy Plan’s mission is strikingly simple—Being “committed to maintaining portfolios that do not contain the securities of any company that is promoting an agenda contrary to the teachings of scripture, or is actively participating in activities that may prove destructive to our communities at large.”

Art has inspired many to embrace BRI, which not only deprives evil doers of support but allows us to better provide for our families and to give to ministries and other good causes, just as Timothy Partners does. Above all, the Timothy Plan founder is adamant for us to understand this: Timothy Plan was never his plan—it was God’s.

Robert Knight is a writer for Timothy Partners, Ltd. He is a regular weekly columnist for The Washington Times, Townhall.com, OneNewsNow and others. His latest book is “A Nation Worth Fighting For: 10 Steps to Restore Freedom.” He was previously director of the Culture and Media Institute, a division of the Media Research Center.

(This article is excerpted from the Foreword by Robert Knight in “Invested with Purpose: The Birth of the Biblically Responsible Investing Movement” by Arthur D. Ally with Robert Knight. Knight is a writer for Timothy Partners, Ltd., as well as regular weekly columnist for The Washington Times, Townhall.com, OneNewsNow and others. His latest book is “Liberty on the Brink: How the Left Plans to Steal Your Vote.”)

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