To speak of a “Christian worldview” may sound foreign to many people who claim to be Christians. This is because they are used to thinking about Christianity solely in terms of spiritual salvation. Salvation is a distinct aspect of the Christian faith, and an exceedingly prominent one at that. But the notion of salvation does not encapsulate the whole of Christianity.
Again, many Christians have a narrow vision when it comes to Christianity. A professor of economics at a Christian college opens his class each semester by asking his students what the Bible says about money and economics. He says that he is met with blank stares. Only a few of his students recognize that the Bible talks about the issue in great depth.
When it comes to politics, many Christians choose to simply avoid the topic. Or, if they do get into it, they simply choose to follow the platform of the Republican Party or the daily expressions of Rush Limbaugh. (It should be noted that this is changing! Many evangelicals were said to vote for Barak Obama in 2008.)
The Dutch theologian Abraham Kuyper expressed the sentiment of the Christian worldview when he said, “In the total expanse of human life there is not a single square inch of which the Christ, who alone is sovereign, does not declare, 'That is mine!'” This was his way of communicating the fact that Christianity is an all-encompassing worldview. He himself not only understood how the Bible touched every aspect of life (be it politics, education, economics, family, etc), but Kyper was a living expression of it. During his lifetime he served as a pastor and theologian, a politician, a journalist, and contributed significantly to the world of education.
Another way of talking about this subject may be seen in the following quote. A man once said, “The Bible is an expert in every subject with which it deals, and it deals with every subject
under the sun.” Remember that a worldview is an all-encompassing perspective that helps one think about every issue of life. As such, the principles that Christians derive from the Bible are there to help us deal with law, politics, economics, education, business, the family, social sciences, the nature and state of humanity, and every other possible concept imaginable. In other words, God has not left us in the dark when it comes to understanding the world He created and governs.
We might illustrate what we have been talking about in the following manner.
Each circle represents one aspect of life (or a “sphere” of life). Within each sphere are numerous questions and issues with which we must deal—as we shall see below. However, for the Christian, God’s Word transcends them and gives wisdom on how to understand each of these spheres. The principles contained in the Bible allow one to properly understand how life in God’s world is to be lived.
Let’s take an example of a couple of these spheres. The following are a few issues from within the sphere of the family:
1. Gender & Marriage --Homosexual marriage / Civil unions? (note: sodomy)
2. Feminism and the role of women
5. Cohabitation (Note: “living in sin,” “shacking up”) & sexuality
6. Discipline of Children
7. Education of children
As a Christian, we must determine how we handle these issues. Should we accept them or reject them? The answer lies in “What has God said?”
Again, these are only a sample of the many issues that one would confront in this sphere. Moreover, each of the other spheres has its own matters of dispute. We might look at the governmental sphere. Some of its topics include:
1. Should we even have governments?
2. What is the basis for law?
3. What are the powers of the state?
4. Death penalty
5. Welfare & Social programs/ Redistribution of wealth
6. Separation of church and state
7. Extent of power
9. Who should vote (better yet, should we vote? i.e. absolute monarchy, despotism)
We could go on and detail many other issues (and perhaps many other spheres). The fact of the matter is that your worldview will determine how you answer these issues. What is important now is that you understand that Christians have a sure answers to these questions because of what God has revealed in Scripture.
At this point you might be asking, “What’s the point in all this?” Here is the point: you must live responsibly in God’s world. You are called to follow Christ. This means that you are to emulate Christ as much as possible in your daily life and uphold truth and righteousness, just like he did. But to act like Christ, you must first think like Christ. The Bible tells us to have the “mind of Christ.” That is to say, we must attempt to think His thoughts after him (i.e. through the study of Scripture) and let our lives conform to His as much as possible.
We can have a practical illustration of this in looking at today’s headlines. This morning’s main headline is about a large snowstorm that was ready to bear down on the Northeast corner of the United States. It is being talked about in terms of a natural disaster (but is it really?). The other main stories have do with 1) the states battle against ObamaCare; 2) a manhunt for an ex-cop who is wanted for multiple killings; 3) a public school’s fight to keep a picture of Jesus hanging in its facility.
We must first ask whether or not God cares about such things? If so, what does he think about them?
Answering all these questions is not something that can be accomplished in one class. It ought to be acknowledged that it is a lifelong process. This class is not designed to give you all the answers. It simply serves to impart some basic principles with which to work and introduce you to the concepts of competing worldviews. It is to be expected that you will continue to study Scripture and work out the implications of the faith.
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Matt is blessed to be a husband, father, and pastor in Ashland, Ohio.