An old story illustrates how easy it is to be conditioned into a wrong thinking pattern. A husband asked his wife why she always cut off the end of the rump roast before roasting it.
She replied, “I’m not sure why. I’ve never thought about it. My mother always cut off the end of the rump roast, so there must be a reason.” A few weeks later Mother visited the family. The man asked his wife’s mother, “We were wondering, why do you always cut off the end of the rump roast before you roast it?” She replied, “I don’t know. I have never thought about it. My mother always cut off the end of the rump roast, so there must be a reason.”
This made them all curious. They decided to call the wife’s mother’s mother—the grandmother—to ask her. Grandmother answered the phone. The husband asked her, “Your daughter, granddaughter and I were wondering, why do you always cut off the end of the rump roast before you roast it?” Grandmother replied, “Oh, my roasting pan was too small. I had to cut it off it for it to fit in the pan!”
Assumptions Determine Values, Influence Behavior, and Shape Culture
Our assumptions effect how we read and interpret the Bible. To really understand Scripture we must dig through layers of a mountain of man’s influences shoveling off and discarding man’s traditions, theories, interpretations, and philosophies from Greek and Roman civilizations, Aristotle, Constantine, Marcion, etc., Then we can get a clear picture of the lives of the first century Christians.
Our actions are shaped by invisible thoughts, deep in the unseen world of the human mind and heart. What factors influence those invisible ideas? For people who live in the Western world, the answers can be found by examining the two major roots of Western thought–the ancient Greeks and the ancient Hebrews.
The worldview book Assumptions That Affect Our Lives takes the reader back to the roots of the modern conflict between Christianity and secular humanism through a comparison of ancient Greek and Hebrew culture.
Getting a grasp of how we think the way we do is life changing. Christian Overman, the author of Assumptions That Affect Our Lives presents a “Think Again!” workshop in churches around the country. Earl Oliver, a pastor in Tacoma, WA, taught this workshop. This short video is an interview about his experience.
Excerpt from the Preface
When a business or an organization shows signs of decline, an outside consultant is sometimes brought in to help. Why? Because the people who live and work within a particular industry become so accustomed to the way things are, they lose sight of the way things really should be. A good advisor, then, looks at the problems from a different angle, and helps those within an organization to see things from a fresh perspective. As a result, when old problems are approached with new insights, creative energies are revived and positive results occur.
We currently live in a culture in decline, and moral regression is a recognized sign of our times. If we are to see a reversal in the downward trend we have experienced over the past forty years, it would help if we could gain a fresh perspective on ourselves and the problems which surround us. To stand back and see our condition from a different angle is an important step in reviving our health. This book attempts to do just that, to step back and look at the foundational assumptions that currently guide our culture â€“ assumptions that go all the way back to ancient Greece.
The similarities between our culture and that of ancient Greece during its later stages of decay are many and sobering. Apart from a broad-based reformation and action, I believe our society will continue its moral descent like decadent Greece did some 2,400 years ago. But looking at what we should not do is no solution. We must examine what we should do and why.
This book was written with the belief that a reversal of our current moral decline is possible, and the keys to such a change are found in an ancient Hebraic Book. By viewing our present situation through the eyes of the ancients,. Not only will we be better able to see the issues for what they are but also understand what must be done to effect change. And change we must.
Since the term “Hebrew model” appears throughout this writing, a word of clarification is necessary. The Hebrew model refers to the model of thought, given by the inspiration of God, which we call the Bible- both Old and New Testaments–written almost entirely by Hebrews. The Word of God enables man to understand who he is, why he is, and how he is to relate to others. More importantly, it tells us who God is.
Second, the term Hebrew model refers to the model of the nation of ancient Israel itself. However, this aspect of the Hebrew model (that is, the way they actually lived) was not always in harmony with the model of God’s Word. Sometimes the model of the ancient Hebrews demonstrates what we should lo, and at other times it demonstrates what we should not do. In either case whether positive or negative, their experience is a model, an example from it we are to learn.
As a people chosen to be God-honoring culture in a pagan world the Hebrew bore a great responsibility. They were chosen to be a distinctive culture in which the ways of God were applied throughout all of life: in their families, their jobs, their economy, and their government. They were to be an example to other nations of the blessings which come when a culture loves God, and they were to be an example of what happens when God is forgotten. Their â€œchosenessâ€ was not so much a matter of special preference or privilege, but rather a special obligation. In this sense, they were to the ancient world what the church is to todayâ€™s world: “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession,” for the purposes of proclaiming His excellence in the earth. (see ( 1 Peter 2:9 ; Exodus 19:5-6 ).
Yet just as in the Body of Christ today we have various actions of men which cloud the clear message of what a God-honoring people should be, some Hebrews developed their own traditions which lead them down the road of dead religion, emphasizing the letter of the law and neglecting its spirit. Such aspects of Hebrew custom are to be set aside, even as Paul admonished Titus to pay no attention to â€œJewish myths and commandments of men who turn away from truth ( Titus 1:14 ). In this respect, the Hebrew model, as used in this writing may not always represent â€œJewish thinking per say or Jewish practice, whether past or present.
Even so, Christians must realize that the biblical foundation stones of Israel are also their own. It is important to dust them off and view them a fresh from the perspective of the ancient Hebrew, so we can more effectively enter into the cultural transformation necessary in exchanging our Western, Greek foundations of thought for different stones upon which to build. For we all have a great deal of remodeling to do.
This eye opening book provides a compelling understanding of what the biblical worldview is all about, and why it matters! By viewing our current situation in the context of the ancient Greeks and Hebrews, we can be better equipped to deal with the challenges of living in a predominately Greek-based culture today.
Overman examines society’s historic answers to five core worldview questions—regarding God, creation, humanity, moral order, and purpose–and offers a plan for change based on the Word of God.
Assumptions That Affect Our Lives is a must read for every Christian.
Questions for You
Have you read this book? What did you think? Do you recognize the impact Greek vs Hebrew worldviews? How have your assumptions affected your Bible study? Your Christian walk? Please leave feedback in the comments section.
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