I don’t know who first said it, but many Christians have affirmed it over the years: “The Bible says it, I believe it, and that settles it!” From a spiritual and theological point of view, it’s a way of saying that the Bible is the most trustworthy and authoritative source we have. The Bible was inspired by God, so trusting the Bible is equivalent to trusting God.
But what about from a secular point of view regarding world affairs? Whom do we trust when it comes to today’s always changing news? During the 1960s and 1970s in America—two of our more tumultuous decades—one American journalist came to be called “the most trusted man in America”: Walter Cronkite. For nineteen of those twenty years, Cronkite was the anchorman on the CBS Evening News television broadcast. His final words at the end of each show were always the same: “And that’s the way it is.” “That’s the way it is” meant you had been given the factual news that represented the day’s events—not a newscaster’s opinions about the day’s events.
We live in a world that challenges our biblically based worldview at every turn. We must decide whether the world will shape us or we will shape our world.
• Facing the World’s Pressures
• Finding the Word’s Principles
To paraphrase the previous statement about the Bible, many people during Cronkite’s era would have said, “Cronkite said it, I believe it, and that settles it!” Walter Cronkite was so respected as a newscaster and journalist that he was affectionately known as “Uncle Walter” and “King of the Anchormen.” He even trained himself to speak more slowly than most television journalists so that he could be understood by the average viewer.
I grew up as a young adult listening to Walter Cronkite—and thinking back on him and his trustworthiness made me realize something: There is no one in today’s world of news or journalism that is referred to as “the most trusted man (or woman) in America.” No one has replaced the man who once held that title.
Don’t get me wrong—I’m not here to glorify one individual newscaster. I’m sure he wasn’t perfect. But I am here to suggest that most of what counts as news today is perhaps less trustworthy than it should be. Instead of signing off a news show with “That’s the way it is,” most newscasters today would need to say, “That’s the way we see it.” In other words, it’s hard to know today if we are getting an accurate portrayal of our world or a broadcaster’s bias.
That’s not to fault newscasters or the people who write their scripts and load them into the teleprompter. It is simply to say that we all look at the world through bias-colored, or opinion-colored, glasses. And that includes me. I look at the world, unapologetically, through Bible-colored glasses.
So when it comes to viewing our world and viewing our Bible, what should we do? Should we look at our Bible through media-colored glasses or look at the world through Scripture-colored glasses? Said another way, should we allow the events of the world—moral, political, cultural, economic—to shape how we view God and His Word? Or should we let God and His Word shape how we view events that happen in the world?
When we rise in the morning and peruse the overnight news headlines on our phone or computer, do we let those headlines set our emotional and spiritual “blood pressure” for the day? Or at the end of the day, when we take in a half hour news program on television, do we allow the media mantra—“If it bleeds, it leads”—to fill our mind with troubling and disruptive, even unsavory, images and stories that we think about when trying to fall asleep? Or at the beginning and end of the day, do we rise and retire by meditating on the truths of God’s Word, reminding ourselves that He is sovereign and loving and oversees the world based on His plans and purposes? Does the world shape our worldview or does the Word shape our view of the world?
Facing the World’s Pressures
In 2021, I released a book that addresses this question of “Who shapes whom?”— Where Do We Go From Here?: How Tomorrow’s Prophecies Foreshadow Today’s Problems. In that book, I discuss ten different phenomena happening in our world today that have the potential for disrupting our spiritual life if we don’t respond to them biblically. Let’s consider a few of them here.
Many Americans are probably unaware that there are several outspoken socialists serving in the United States Congress. Or that forty percent of Americans view socialism favorably as a political and economic system—nearly fifty percent of Millennials and Generation Z. Socialism is based on the teachings of Karl Marx, the seed from which Communism grew. It is contrary to the basic tenets of the American system—a Constitutional republic based on private property, free enterprise, capitalism, and freedom of speech and religion. And no, Acts 2:42-45 and 4:32-35 do not prove that the Early Church in Jerusalem was socialistic based on communal sharing of property. The Early Church voluntarily shared their goods with those in need, not as a result of a government mandate.
Since early 2020, the world has felt the impact of the COVID-19 virus which has caused more than 669 million infections and more than 6.7 million deaths worldwide. The initial and understandable response of humans to a pandemic is fear—especially among the elderly and most vulnerable. But this wasn’t the first pandemic in the world, and it won’t be the last. The Bible says that the worst pandemics are yet to come—during the coming seven-year Tribulation. Thankfully, Christians will not be on this earth at that time. But how do we live without fear in the face of transmissible diseases? First, by remembering that God hasn’t given us a spirit of fear (2 Timothy 1:7). Second, by remembering that God is our Refuge and our Fortress who guards us against “pestilence” and “any plague” (Psalm 91:2, 6, 10).
Many people today are afraid of identifying with Jesus Christ or having any biblically based personal conviction or belief, for fear of being “canceled”—publicly attacked, ostracized, and shamed for being out of step with political correctness. Yielding to this cultural peer pressure will silence the voice of anyone speaking out for Christ or the values of the Kingdom of God. Think about what would have happened to the Early Church if the apostles had succumbed to what was very much a religiously based cancel culture. In Jerusalem, the religious leaders of the day warned the apostles not to speak about Jesus or they would face imprisonment (Acts 5:17-18) or even death (Acts 7:54-60). But when threatened, Peter and the other apostles told the authorities that when it came to obeying God or man, the choice was clear: They would speak boldly for God (Acts 4:19-20; 5:29).
I could go on, but you get the idea: We live in a world that challenges our biblically based worldview at every turn. We must decide whether the world will shape us or we will shape our world.
Finding the Word’s Principles
Survey firms regularly publish the results of their studies on where Americans get their news and information about current events—and the results are predictable. Young people get most of their news from social media; conservatives favor one television channel while liberals favor another; older Americans still rely on newspapers and major networks. There are so many choices available that we find a source of information that aligns with our values—all the while believing that our favorite source is giving us the unvarnished news or “telling it like it is,” to paraphrase Walter Cronkite.
That’s fine. I’m not going to tell you whom you should listen to except for this one admonition: Listen first and finally to God and His Word for these reasons:
- After all the trends and movements pass away, the Word of God will still be here.
- If the world's words don't align with God's Word, they are opinion, not truth.
- Only the Word of God will thoroughly equip you to live in a constantly changing world.
Instead of the world shaping your views, let the Word shape your worldview every day.
This article was adapted from an issue of Turning Points devotional magazine.