“And the whole city was filled with confusion: and having caught Gaius and Aristarchus, men of Macedonia, Paul’s companions in travel, they rushed with one accord into the theatre.” (Acts 19:29, AV)
I remember turbulent times during the era of the Vietnam conflict. There were protests in the streets and in the universities. People were pitted against one another. It was quite a time in our history. There was a significant clash in world views between those who believed that our engagement in the Vietnam situation was warranted and those who believed we should have never engaged in that conflict. It was a clash of worldviews.
People are passionate about their worldviews and this can cause social unrest and often riots. This is not a new phenomenon. In the Apostle Paul’s day, there was a significant clash between worldviews. It was a clash between the Christian worldview and the non-Christian worldview. There are many worldviews that conflict with Christianity. In Paul’s day there was a clash between Judaism’s view and the Christian view. In Ephesus, there was a clash between worship of Artemis and the Christian view.
The clash in Ephesus resulted in a riot that lasted about two hours. It was characterized by “confusion” (v29, 32) and flared tempers (v28). It does not appear that there was looting or any destruction of property, but things seemed pretty intense. The cause of the problem was that Paul was preaching the truth of Christ in a city that worshipped Artemis. There was a clash of worldviews.
We often have the idea that when we take Christianity to a place, that peace and harmony will rule the day. However, that is not always the case. Jesus even warned of this.
51 Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division: 52 For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. 53 The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. (Luke 12:51–53, AV)
We should not be surprised when the message of the Gospel tends to ruffle some feathers. It can happen in the workplace, in civic organizations, families, and even in our country. At this time, it is unlikely that we will see riots in our streets over religion. Yet, some of the principles we stand up for as believers might create some division. If you take a stand for biblical marriage, the sanctity of life of the unborn, or a variety of other contemporary issues, you will likely create a stir. However, we cannot compromise biblical truth due to fear of opposing worldviews.
In this age, the church needs to stand firm and proclaim the truth of God’s word. We cannot afford to compromise. To knowingly do so is to deny the truth of God’s word. What are we to do? First, do not be shocked when you find people who are opposed to a biblical worldview. Second, stand form on what the Bible says. Third, pray for those who hold to a different worldview. Fourth, learn how to express biblical views on these issues with clarity and grace. We cannot afford to discuss these views with a heated or angry demeanor for this would be counterproductive. Always be gracious and refer to the character of God and the truth of His word.