Putting it All Together: Developing a Christian World View

 

I.     Why develop a Christian World View?

 

World Views are a set of foundational presuppositions which one holds explicitly or implicitly about the basic foundational nature of the world. They are largely assimilated through one’s culture  They are the foundational part of a belief system that affects one’s perception of the world and one’s action in the world. World views constitute a vision of life and a vision for life.

 

A.    Understanding one’s world view facilitates Christian Transformation (Rom 12:1-2;

Gal 5:16).

 

1.    Therefore: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service. And be not fashioned according to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Rom 12:1-2).

 

2.     The Word of God in Scripture is a necessary beginning and provides the foundations for Christian transformation and the foundations for the Christian World View. However, it is not sufficient by itself. Transformation into Christ’s image (Rom 8:29; II Cor 3:17) also requires: Faith in God and Christ, which begins with hearing the Word of God (Rom 10: 17); The indwelling help of the Holy Spirit (Rom 8, Gal 5:16), who also works with Scripture (Excurses: see “The Holy Spirit and The Holy Scriptures); and Christian Discipleship. 

 

B.    Understanding and practicing a Christian world view honors Christ’s Lordship and keeps one from serving idols (Eph 1:10, Col 1:13-22; I John 5:21, Rom 1:18-32)

 

       1.    Christ as been made Lord of All (Eph 1:10, Col 1:13-22)

 

       2.    “Guard yourselves from idols”: (I John 5:21 21)

 

               *     What is an idol?

 

                       - Literal Idols: From symbols to the spirits of false gods. [God is the only True  God, and the source of truth (Gen 1; Pslm 119:160; Rom 1:25; et. al)]  Idols of Culture and Idolatrous Cultures (Rom 1:18-32)  Metaphorical Idols:  inflated domain ® exaggerated ® exclusive allegiance

 

C.     Developing a Biblical world view helps makes living the Good Life in the Kingdom of God possible.

 

1.    With Christ came the Kingdom and Rule of God (Matt 3:2, 4:23, 6:10, 9:35, 12:28, Luke 4:43, 10:9;Rom 14:17-18).

              

2.    Living good as a member of the new Kingdom community requires: repentance from sin, and loving concern for one’s neighbor.  Effective concern requires that one also know what the true good is. 

 

                      Repentance involves: no longer doing things according to the ways of the world (“Repent, for the kingdom …. is at hand”, Matt 3:2), and leads to a fundamental   change of the whole of life (Acts 26:20). As one does things by the new way (the way of Christian love, see subsequently) the old way is put away (Gal 5:16, 22; Eph 4:22-24; Col 9-10). 

 

               Christian love should mirror God’s love and includes social justice and good works as well as regarding the individual with personal affection and loving concern  (Matt 22:34‑40; Mark 12:28‑34; Rom 13: 8-10, Gal 5:14). Alan Davies captures the idea well when he says, “By ‘love’, I mean the inner disposition that is the source and mainspring of all righteousness; by ‘law’ I mean the moral demands and regulations that arise when love is refracted through the prism of human affairs.”

 

D.    Understanding one’s world view and the world view of others helps one to witness to Others.

 

               “Go and make disciples, … teaching them to observe all that I have taught…” (Matt 28:19-20).

 

This present world is passing away because the world is being re-oriented in Christ (Eph 1:10, Col 1:20, II Cor 5:17).

 

II.   What is a World View?

 

A. Belief  and Behavior.

 

1.    Beliefs: Are what one believes to be true about the nature of things; They are not discontinuous with knowledge; There is a continuum from provisional understandings to commitment (more than  mere knowledge, a believer is intellectually, psychologically & emotionally  engaged); not irrational, but can be “pre-rational” (e.g. some traditions).

 

2.    Behavior: One’s behavior should flow out of and be integrated with one’s beliefs.

 

B.    Belief Systems and World Views.

 

1.     Belief systems are a set of interconnected beliefs which make up a framework for understanding the world and a framework of meaning for living in world; a belief system affects one’s perception of the world and one’s action in the world, it is a vision of life and a vision for life.

 

2.      There are various levels of beliefs that make up a belief system (e.g: world views, paradigms, theories or doctrines, and simple ideas; see especially Heibert).  

 

3.    World Views : are a set of foundational level presuppositions which one holds explicitly or implicitly about the basic foundational nature of the world. It is largely assimilated through one’s culture.

 

a.      Example of types of questions a world view would seek to address: What is the nature of:  i) ultimate reality, ii) the external world, iii) human beings, iv) knowledge, v) ethics, morals and the good, vi) history, and vii) death.

 

b.     World views function to:  explain, evaluate, integrate, and provide psycho-logical reinforcement.

 

c.    World views are: held by individuals (but can be communal in scope), are internalized (so their ideas may go unquestioned), suggests matters of ultimate concern (determine domains of life which are considered relevant/important), descriptive and normative providing a vision of life and for life.

 

III.  What is a Biblically Informed Christian World View?

 

A.    The nature of ultimate reality: God is transcendent, infinite, personal, immanent in history, sovereign, and good.

 

B.    The world is real, created by God, created ex nihilo, structured-- a uniformity of natural causes in open system.

 

C.    Human beings were created in the image of God: they are: self-transcendent, creative, thinking, loving, personal, moral, social, etc.  Post-fallen humanity is also corrupted.

 

       D.    Knowledge of one’s self, and everything else is both real and possible.

 

       E.    Ethics are based in God, transcendent, real, not ultimately relatively, etc.

 

       F.    History is linear, meaningful, and purposeful.

 

       G.    At death the person faces judgment and its consequences--reward, punishment.

 

 

A Christian World View Bibliography

(General Sources About or Related to World Views and the Christian World View)

 

World View Books:

 

Arrington, Lael F. World Proofing Your Kids. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1997.*

Colson, Charles. How Now Shall We Live. Tyndale, 1999.*

Craig, William, and J.P. Moreland.  Philosophical Foundations for a Christian World View.IVP, 2003.***

Holmes, Arthur.  Contours of a World View. Studies in a Christian World View. IVP, 1983.**

Momen, Moojan.  The Phenomenon of Religion. One World, 1999.(For other religions)***

Naugle, David. Worldview: the History of a Concept. Eerdmans, 2002.*** Definitive academic history of the concept of world view.

Schaeffer Francis. The God Who is There; Escape From Reason; and He is There and He is Not Silent. See also his True Spirituality.*

Sire, James. The Discipleship of The Mind. Inter-Varsity Press, 1989**.

________.  The Universe Next Door: A Basic World View Catalogue. 3rd Rev Ed. IVP, 1997.*

________. Why Should Anyone Believe Anything At All? InterVarsity Press, 2000*.  Critically looks at various reasons (psychological, sociological, religious, and philosophical) for holding beliefs.

Staton, Knofel.  How to Know the Will of God. Standard, 1980.*  Examines how to discern God’s free and general will for one’s life.

Walsh, Brian and J.R. Middleton. The Transforming Vision: Shaping of a Christian World. IVP, 1984.***

Wolters, Albert.  Creation Regained: Biblical Basics for a Reformational Worldview. 1985.**

 

World View Journal Articles:

 

Heibert, Paul.  “The Missiological Implications of an Epistemological Shift.”  TSF Bulletin 8 no. 5 (1985): 12-18.***  Important also for its presentation of the various levels of  beliefs that make up a belief system.

Jones, W.T. “World Views: Their Nature and Their Function.” Current Anthropology 13 (1972): 79-109.***

Olthuis, James H.  “On World Views.”  Christian Scholars Review 14 no. 2 (1985): 153-164.***

 

Bibliographies on World Views 

 

Naugle, David.  “Appendix A: Synopses of Additional Evangelical Worldview Contributions,” pp. 349-356 in his Worldview: the History of a Concept. Eerdmans, 2002.**  Succinctly presents an overview of Olthuis’, Walsh’s and Middeton’s, Wolters’, Holmes’, Sire’s and Colson’s, works on world views.  

 

________.  “Appendix B: A Bibliography of Books on World Views Not Already Addressed in This Volume,” pp. 357-359 in his Worldview: the History of a Concept. Eerdmans, 2002.*  

 

Sire, James.  “Appendix: Reading With a Plan”, pp. 171-179 in his, How to Read Slowly: Reading for Comprehension. 2nd ed. Inter-Varsity Press, 1978**  Presents an excellent fictional reading list for both prose and poetry in the various world view categories of: Christian Theism, Deism, Naturalism, Nihilism, Atheistic Existentialism, Theistic Existentialism, Eastern Pantheistic Monism, and New Consciousness.

 

Walsh, Brian and J. Richard Middleton.  “A Bibliography We Can’t Live Without,” pp. 219-243 in Sire, James. The Discipleship of The Mind. Inter-Varsity Press, 1989.**         Bibliography covering world views, and books and articles presenting the Christian perspective in the various academic disciplines.

 

Christian Apologetic Books: 

 

Craig, William; and Steve Cowan. Eds. Five Views on Apologetics. Counterpoints Series. Zondervan. 1996.***

Geisler, Norman L.  Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics. Baker, 1999.** 

Horvath, Tiber. Faith Under Scrutiny. Fides (Notre Dame), 1975.***

Lewis, C.S. Mere Christianity, and  Miracles.*

Lewis, G. Testing Christianity’s Truth Claims. Moody, 1976.**

 

Christian and Other Critiques of Idols and Idolatrous Cultures:

 

Barrett, William.  The Death of the Soul. 1986.**

Beckwith, Francis J.  Relativism: Feet Firmly Planted in Mid Air.  1998*.

Bennett, William J.  The Index of Leading Cultural Indicators: American Society at the End of the Twentieth Century.  1999.**

Bork, Robert H.  Slouching Towards Gomorrah, Modern Liberalism and American Decline. NY: Reagan Books of Harper, 1996**

________.  The Tempting of America: The Political Seduction of the Law. Touchstone, 1990.**

D’sousa, Dinesh.  Illiberal Education. 1991.** Critiques the destructive consequence of Political correctness in education.

Groothuis, Douglas.  The Soul of Cyberspace. 1999.*

Groothuis, Douglas.  Truth Decay: Defending Christianity Against the Challenges of Post-Modernism. IVP, 2000.***

Hendrik M. Vroom, Religions and The Truth, Philosophical Reflections and Perspectives. 1989.*** 

Hunter, J. D. Culture Wars. 1991.**

Lasch, Christopher.  The Culture of Narcissism. 1979.**

Lyons, David.  The Steeple’s Shadow: On The Myths and Realities of Secularization. 1985.**

McCallum, Dennis.  The Death of Truth. 1996.*

Montgomery, John W. Human Rights and Human Dignity. 1986**

Newport, John P.  The New Age Movement and the Biblical World View. Eerdmans, 1998.** 

Peck, Scott. People of the Lie. 1983.** Penetrating and engaging look at ordinary evil from a clinical perspective.

Postman, Neil.  Amusing Ourselves to Death. 1985.*  A critique of our image culture.

Schlossberg, Herbert.  Idols for Destruction. 1983.***  A Christian critique of the Western idols.

Schultze; Quentin; Anker; et. al.  Dancing in the Dark. 1991.** A Christian look at music.

Steele, Shelby.  The Content of Our Character. 1989.*

Vitz, Paul.  Psychology as Religion: the Cult of Self Worship.1973.*

Walker, Tony.  Enemy Territory. IVP, 1976.*

Walter, Tony.  Need: the New Religion. 1985.**

Watkins, William D.  The New Absolutes. 1997.**  Contrast the ten new absolutes of our contemporary American culture that have replaced the ten older Christian baaed values.

 

The Christian World View’s Influence on Western Culture

 

Schmidt, A. Under the Influence: Christianities Influence on Western Culture. 2000.*

 

Various Representative Christian World View Perspectives

 

Dockery, David; and Gregory Thornbury. Eds.  Shaping a Christian Worldview: The Foundations of Christian Higher Education. Broadman & Holman, 2002.*

Hasker, William. “Faith-Learning Integration: An Overview”  Christian Scholars Review 21.3  (1992): 234-246.***

Monsma, Stephen et. al, Eds. Responsible Technology. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1986.**

Tiemstra, John P. “Christianity and Economics: A Review of the Recent Literature,” Christian Scholars Review 22:3 (1993) 227-247.***

Van Leeuwen, M.S.  The Person in Psychology. Studies in a Christian World View. IVP,1985

 

Christianity and Science:

 

Bube, Richard.  Putting it All Together: Seven Patterns for Relating Science and the Christian Faith.  1995.***

Bradley, Walter; Reynolds, J.M.; and J.P. Moreland. Eds. Three Views on Creation and Evolution. Counterpoints Series. Zondervan, 1999.**   

McGrath, Alister.  Science and Religion: An Introduction.  Basil Blackwell, 1999.**

Polkinghorne, John.  Belief in God in an Age of Science. Yale, 1999.***

Russell, Colin A. Cross-Currents, Interactions Between Science and Faith. Eerdmans, 1985.***

 

Note: *, **, and *** Indicate: Basic level, Intermediate level, and Advanced levels respectively.

 

James D. Strauss; Adapted from Richard A. Allbee,

“Putting it all Together: Developing A Christian World View”,

Heartland Community College