The Fear Power World View

(With our January 7 trip to India nearly here, I thought I’d run some blogs about one of the most basic theological differences between Indian culture and ours.  I have found this VERY helpful in knowing how to better communicate the Gospel to those from different cultural backgrounds.)

In the last 2 blogs we’ve examined to very prevalent world views today: guilt and innocence is one, shame and honor is the other.  These are two different ways of perceiving truth and our relationship to God and each honor.  But which one is right (only guilt-innocence followers would even ask such a question)? Let’s look at the first sin in Eden and see if it brought them guilt or shame.

            Genesis 3:7 saysThen the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.”  This clearly shows guilt.  Their conscience showed them their guilt.  A conscience will do that, but consciences can be silenced after a time of being ignored.  So our guilt-based view must be right, right? 

But look at the next verse, verse 8:  “Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden.”  Now this is clearly shame they are feeling.  So both guilt and shame were their responses to sin.

However those were the only responses, there is one more!  “Adam answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” (Genesis 3:10)  Now we see a third response, fear.

This brings us to the third paradigm in the world today, fear-power.  This perception of life and the world is very aware of the power of Satan and demons in whatever form they may take in their culture.  Their whole existence is one of trying to appease the gods around them so they won’t make life worse for them.  We see this in primal religions and cultures like Native Americans and those in the jungles of Africa, Asia, Central and South America.  Those into the occult and horoscopes follow a fear-power perception of life.  It is also seen in dictatorships and communism.   Various religions use fear to control people.  Many of the cults operate this way, as does a segment of legalism in evangelical Christianity.  Many have also seen this in Roman Catholicism. 

In India it is very evident, especially in the rural parts of the country.  That is why my teaching on and ministering in spiritual warfare was so effective.  It shows God’s power as greater than any other force and set those in bondage free from their fear. 

Thus we have 3 basic world views: guilt-innocence, shame-honor and fear-power.  We can compare and contrast them like this:




Legal aspect, right and wrong, law broken

Embarrassment, unworthiness in relationship

Consequences of action (or no action)

From breaking God’s LAW

From breaking God’s RELATIONSHIP

From breaking God’s TRUST


Answer:  HOPE


2. Time: Greece, Rome into Europe

3. Time: Islam spread, defeated going west so went east

1. Time: Ancient times, before Greece

To the Greeks

To the Jews

To the Barbarians

Now: Western cultures

Now: 10/40 window

Now: Jungle Africa, Asia, So Am

Geog: West of Jerusalem

Geog: East of Jerusalem

Geog: South of Jerusalem


We must understand all three of these in order to minister to people today.  No country has just one; often there is a mixture of two or even three of these.  We must understand the people we are working with so we can connect with them through their world view.  We must start with people where they are, then move them in the direction of the truth of the Gospel. 

Luke 12:4-6  “I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. 5 But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.

What are you most afraid of in life?  Why?

What do you usually do to handle your fear when it comes?

What is God’s remedy for fear?

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