Jun P. Espina         9 min read
Updated on August 24th, 2022
Dispelling the Worldview Noise 1
Worldview noise always hinders gospel preaching. What is it? On the surface, it means miscommunication, or a preconceived notion of deity. Or it is a culture practiced by a tribe or class of people in opposing, rejecting, or ignoring the message of the Christian Gospel. For example, many people regard the story of Christ’s death, resurrection, and ascension as being similar to their myths and fables, with a few exceptions. Preaching Christ thus requires the preacher to understand the varying obstacles or worldview noises present in most gospel opportunities.
Every non-Christian or non-biblical religious teaching and practice makes worldview noise. The Mary worship of the Catholics, for example, or the Seventh-day Adventism’s salvation by perfect obedience to the Ten Commandments, is a gospel obstacle. We need to puzzle it out first if we want our Christian message to bear fruit.
The Mouk People’s Worldview Noise
The conversion to Christianity of the Mouk people in Papua, New Guinea, by the white missionaries has been commented on negatively by non-Christians over the Internet.
One commenter says that it was but the destruction of the Mouk’s primitive culture. The one who was defending such a mission, however, wrote about the difference now that the missionaries converted the Mouks. He also wrote about the erstwhile cultural and religious practices of the Mouks.
Here is one commentary on the Mouk’s faith system:
The Missionaries Address the Mouk’s “Worldview Noise”
I watched this documentary about the Mouks’ conversion. They danced for two hours and a half after learning about Jesus and His forgiveness. There was regular preaching for over two months before they received the Lord. My observation was that the white preachers adequately addressed their “worldview noise.”
For example, they first presented a map of their village to give them a mental picture of their land in relation to the whole big world and also to Israel, where the story of Jesus happened. Then the missionaries took pains to present the Gospel according to the types of Christ as mentioned in the Old Testament. Such stories as the Passover Lamb, the brass snake on a pole, etc., were examined without even mentioning the name of Jesus Christ.
They Did Not Preach the Cross Right Away
Then, after studying the foundation of the Gospel from the Old Testament, the missionaries presented the Good News of the New Testament. The Mouks discovered for themselves the truth about immortality in Christ logically outside of the usual preach-the-cross-right-away approach of traditional Christian evangelists.
Dealing appropriately with the worldview noise, first, was the primary factor used by the Holy Spirit that resulted in the conversion of the Mouks to the Christian Faith.
The Gospel Versus the World
Dr. Jeremiah’s study outlines the difficulty Christians are facing in effectively spreading the Gospel of Christ, not only to Muslims, but to a global audience as well. The Buddhists, for example, have a noise that is preventing them from clearly understanding the Gospel. That in Christ, we can have eternal life and immortal bodies in heaven. They are teaching, for example, a doctrine “that attachment to a permanent self in this world of change is the cause of suffering and the main obstacle to liberation.” 3
We depend on Christ, through faith in Him, for our salvation. But the Buddhists depend on their mental powers to overcome “the main obstacle to liberation” from suffering. The Hindus, the Judaists, even the Catholics, the Seventh Day Adventists, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Mormons—all of them have their own version of worldview noise. Rejecters of Christ as the only Giver of eternal life always have good reasons for their unbelief. How to stop this noise for the gospel to be heard clearly?
Dealing With Worldview Noise
Well, I don’t think we have a canned solution as long as the devil is free to deceive the world. Understanding a particular noise is our only available avenue where we can effectively communicate the Gospel—not to mention the anointing power of the Holy Spirit.
A worldview noise, in reality, is even heard within the households of worshipful Christians. The love for this world embattled the children of believers, even the children of pastors. The Herculean influence of TV, computers, the smartphone, and the Internet is there to choke the gospel of free salvation from ever spreading.
But defeat in this arena of worldview noises is not an option because God commanded everyone to hear the good news of free entrance to heaven through faith in Jesus. We need to understand any worldview noise, any obstruction to the preaching of God’s Good News, as what the apostle Paul did in every place where he preached Christ for his church-planting missions.
READ MORE The Born-Again Christians: Who Are They?
Noise of Ignorance
In Athens, for example, Paul tried to connect the people’s natural religiosity with the Gospel of Jesus by addressing the people’s “noise of ignorance.” (See Acts 17:22-31.)
In this beautifully crafted speech, Paul told his audience that since they worshiped an unknown God, he would proclaim to them who that God is. The excitement of hearing who He really is, the known God of Paul, quieted the “unknown God” noise.
We can calm down the noise of ignorance if we have a way of pointing out the people’s needs and supplying the answer to such a need. For example, Deacon Philip followed the same approach by trying to connect the Ethiopian eunuch’s noise of ignorance with the Gospel. “Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this Scripture, he preached Jesus to him.” (Acts 8:35)
Philip preached the Gospel of Christ from the very verse the eunuch got confused about.
I believe there is a way to cut through thick noise if we only use the template from biblical approaches.
Noise About the Wrong God
Paul understood and thus emphasized in his Areopagus discourse the truth that one’s ignorance of God is the ignorance of His primary attributes. He is All-knowing, All-present, and Almighty.
Before revealing who this unknown God is that Paul promised to tell his audience, he first gave them doctrines about God’s powers. And that He is not a mere work of art. From this worldview noise of having the wrong god, Paul gave the people the truth in a way within the bounds of their experience.
In Lystra, for example, Paul addressed the people’s worldview noise of believing that he and Barnabas are gods by saying, “In the generations gone by He permitted all the nations to go their own ways; and yet He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good and gave you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness. Even saying these things, with difficulty they restrained the crowds from offering sacrifice to them.” (Acts 14:16-18)
The Wrong-God Noise vs. the Power of the Truth
The crowds were being controlled, for the people understood the truth that the “rains from heaven and fruitful seasons” and the good food that they had enjoyed for many years could not have been given by their visitors, Paul and Barnabas. The force of the truth, when communicated in a way that is relatable to people’s daily lives, always silences the noise of the false god.
In his sermon on Mars Hill in Athens, Paul also tried to connect the known God he promised to unveil by presenting a quite engaging argument. What was it? That judgment was certain because God had raised the Judge from the dead. The teaching about the resurrection of Christ is one dominant doctrine used by Paul throughout his ministry. As Christ’s clear evidence of His deity, His resurrection is always a very sharp tool in crippling the might of the noise of the wrong god.
Noise of Fanaticism
I want to confine our thesis to this section on fanaticism, or the evil of shallow faith. Religious fanaticism “comes not from deep faith, but from a lack of it… The more he believes, the more he has to do to show it… The fanatic believes that his simple faith is not enough. He must do more. And if there is nothing reasonably more to do, he’ll invent something.” 4
It happened when Paul preached the Gospel at Ephesus. The people “shouted for about two hours, ‘Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!’” (Acts 19:34) They were just irrationally fearful that their goddess would be dethroned, as the Apostle said that “gods made with hands are no gods at all.”
According to the Scripture, the people joined in the uproar, not understanding anything.
Fanaticism Even Exists Among Christians
Even among Christians, some fanatics engage in unscriptural behavior at Christian weddings or birthday parties. Some liberals also charge some faithful Christians with being fanatics.
A Christian’s opinion, for example, against gay marriage or evolutionism—including obscene movies, liberalism in the church, or unfaithfulness in marriage!—is seen by most people as sheer fanaticism.
Timothy Keller wrote:
We should recognize fanaticism as a part of man’s non-biblical religious belief system. The devil is the author of confusion and the father of lies. Fanaticism is difficult to calm down.
The reality of worldview noise as a gospel stopper is there, and all that we can do about it is to understand and face it.
I heard a story about a desperate ship captain calling “Mayday, Mayday… we are sinking,” to which the German control tower replied: “What… are you thinking?” From this incident, we can glean one lesson about miscommunication as an active factor in not being able to reach people with the Gospel of Christ.
Contemporary church leaders want to dispel worldview noises, which include fanaticism, by using the services of one grand solver, which I’d like to call sensuous faith.
Affecting the Five Senses
I attended a prayer meeting once where I noticed our leader wanting to arouse our emotions first before giving his highly namby-pamby prayer. What he wanted to hire was the power of sensuous faith, which is now standard in most Christian pulpits, particularly within the Charismatic and liberal groups.
“Affect the five senses,” goes the principle. And so you’ll become an effective preacher.
Today’s healing crusades, speaking in tongues, drums, and worldly music in the church, etc., are invented to affect a sensuous faith.
The Charismatic Movement applies sensuous faith. And it snowballs. We may conclude that—despite some of its dubious teachings—it is effective in presenting Christ’s Gospel amidst varying worldview noises.
But is it God’s will for the church to compromise on fundamental teachings to get the gospel past a variety of barriers and skeptics? No.
“For the time will come when they will not tolerate sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance with their own desires, and they will turn their ears away from the truth and will turn aside to myths.” (2 Tim 4:3-4)
Sensuous faith is not a sound doctrine.
Toning Down Pagan Idolatry by Introducing a Cross-Based Idolatry?
Catholicism embarks on a pattern of introducing Christ by meeting halfway with people’s indigenous culture and belief systems. Idolatry, for example, is never supported in the Scriptures, and yet Catholicism teaches it, perhaps to tone down the “idolatry” noise.
Most church leaders adopt the fusion of worldview noise into the teachings of the Holy Bible to sound relevant to the times.
Determine a Worldview Noise
The identification of a particular worldview noise is essential in our gospel presentation. Millions of people in Russia or China, for example, are ignorant of the gospel message. The substitutionary death of Christ is meaningless to them.
Flawed teaching as sensuous faith, however, can make matters worse if we use it to diffuse a worldview noise. Sensuous Christianity is carnality clothed with a Bible verse. It only deepens non-Christians’ spiritual malnourishment, confusion, and sensuality.
Thomas’ sensuous faith is better explained in this verse: “Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.” (John 20:25) In this verse, the senses of touching and seeing are required by Thomas for him to believe that Christ rose from the grave.
“Blessed are they,” Jesus said, “who did not see, and yet believed.” Blessed are those whose faith is not sensuous but Bible-based. In short, Christ is against the teaching of sensuous faith, even if it proves to calm down a particular worldview noise.
Pastors and Christian missionaries continue to reach the world for Christ, notwithstanding people’s varying, let alone deafening, noises of rejection. But there’s no antidote for worldview noises more powerful than the truth of Scripture being given by a godly man as the Holy Spirit of God used him.
1 Corinthians 2:1-5
“And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.”
1 Evangelism & Discipleship Training Manual (Copyright © 1. 2007 by Sow and Harvest International – info@SowAndHarvest.com) pp. 7-12. Said Manual was distributed by Gil Thomas, et. al., during a training on February 11-13, 2010 held at Harvest Baptist Church, Davao City, Philippines. Visit www.GoodSoil.com for more information.
2 https://www.unexplained-mysteries.com/forum/topic/137593-story-of-the-mouk-tribe/, (accessed 3-11-2010/7-27-2015/2-27-20).
3 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhist_philosophy (accessed 4/30/2015).
4 www.leegruenfeld.com/essays/fanatics.htm (accessed 4/30/2015).
5 Timothy Keller, The Reason for God (New York: Dutton, 2008), pp. 56-57.