Towards a Christian Worldview
The Nature of a Worldview
A worldview is a way of looking at and understanding the world. A Christian worldview is a Christian way of looking at and understanding the world. We all have a worldview, although we are not always conscious of it. It is like a pair of glasses - we look through them rather than at them.
Few people would regard their choice of partner, job, political party, even food or drink as a reflection of their worldview. Yet, whether you are conscious of it or not, your worldview shapes your choices in all the areas of your life.
Because of the way God has made the world we cannot escape any dimensions of life. Some of these dimensions are healthcare, education, art, politics, family, church etc. Living in a society, we have to relate to all of these. The question is how we do so and as Christians it is fundamentally important that our vision of and for the world is that of Christ. One of our ministries should be to help people to become conscious of their worldview so that they can see just what view of the world they are acting out from day to day.
Dualism is an incorrect way of dividing up the world into 'sacred' and 'secular'. Church activities are considered to be 'more spiritual' and the more you engage in these, the more spiritual you are considered to be. Hence being a 'full-time church worker' is seen to be the ideal. However, we are all in full-time ministry!
With a dualistic worldview, the areas of art, education, politics, healthcare etc., are either seen as good ponds in which to fish for souls or otherwise as areas to be avoided altogether if possible. Our Christianity has become entrenched in a dualistic worldview.
The effect of a Christian Worldview
If we ignore these areas of life we leave them to non-Christians to develop as they see fit and often the result is devastatingly contrary to the will of God.
Merely claiming to be a Christian is not enough. In apartheid South Africa, virtually the entire white population professed Christianity, whilst imposing an unjust and inhumane system on others, many (if not most) of whom were family in Christ. More than three quarters of Rwandese claimed to be Christian at the time of the 1994 massacres. Some of Hitler's strongest defenders were professing Christians, and many of the soldiers fighting his war for him were church-going. Christianity is not a 'once-off' choice, but an ever-deeper renewal, a reshaping of our sinful, deeply entrenched worldviews to conform to the example of Christ. The 'renewal of the mind' spoken of by the apostle Paul in Romans 12:1-2 is not attained by sitting back and doing nothing, but by disciplining ourselves to be attentive to God's word.
The Bible is very clear that all of creation comes from God, who created it and said, "It is very good!" He calls people to serve Him in all areas of life, to live under His reign (kingdom) and to exercise dominion over the earth (work in all areas) so that the whole of creation will resound to His glory.
The effect of the fall was to open up the possibility for all aspects of creation to be directed against God rather than towards Him as they were intended to be. The fall does not make healthcare bad (or art, or politics or any other part of creation - including theology!); it only means that these spheres of creation can be, and often are, directed in a way that is contrary to the will of God.
God is to be served in all aspects of our lives. Every Christian is in the full-time service of the Lord - the only difference is where we serve Christ. Christ came and died to redeem the whole world. We need to share the wide vision of His atoning work. We need to take seriously what we pray for in the Lord's prayer: "Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as in Heaven!"
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The Universe Next Door by James Sire (IVP 1998)
How now shall we live? by C Colson with N Pearcy (Tyndale Press, 1999)
Creation Regained by Al Wolters (Paternoster Press, 1996)
Heaven is not my home by Paul Marshall (Word, 1998)