Monday, April 10, 2006

Wordlview introduction

I was recently chosen by my party's Regional Executive Committee (REC) to take up the portfolio of Policy Co-ordinator. In this position I have to ensure that we as a region interpret the party's policies correctly, when necessary set new policy and train party members and candidates in policy workshops and worldview courses.
I have started putting together a Biblical Worldview course and the following is the text of the introductory chapter.

We live in a world in which truth is optional. This is what the world believes. In their minds truth is sculptured by the circumstances in which the "truth-bearer" finds himself. Therefore, according to them the truth is not an objective reality, but subjective to each person. As a result we hear phrases like "that's true for you, but not for me!" This is called a worldview.
"To say that Christianity is the truth about total reality means that it is a full-orbed worldview. The term means literally a view of the world, a biblically informed perspective on all reality. A worldview is like a mental map that tells us how to navigate the world effectively. It is the imprint of God's objective truth on our inner life."[1]
The term "worldview" refers to one's philosophy of life. What is my view of the world and how do I act on that view?
If our worldview is based on the idea that truth is relative, we will certainly not be able to live consistent lives within that worldview. Because of the relativity of truth in that worldview, what was once an abomination will eventually become acceptable.
"Aristotle began his great work Metaphysics by writing that 'man by nature desires to know.' Centuries later the poet and playwright T. S. Elliot notes, 'Humankind cannot bear very much reality.' Strangely, both are right. Out of this all-too-human tension and polarity is borne the perennially paradoxically quest for, and escape from, the truth. Truth is a daunting, difficult thing; it is also the greatest thing in the world. Yet we are chronically ambivalent toward it. We seek it . . . and we fear it. Our better side wants to pursue truth wherever it leads; our darker side balks when the truth begins to lead us anywhere we do not want to go. Let the truth be damned if the truth would damn us! We want both to serve the truth and to be served by it."[2]
Too many times Christians neglect the concept of truth themselves. As a result their worldview suffers. What we view as true about God and what God says about man's condition is inextricably intertwined into our worldview. The Greek word for "God" is qeoV (theos) and the Greek word for "word" is logoV (logos). Together they make the word theology. For many Christians this is a swear word, due to unfortunate sermons by preachers that should have known better. The fact is that no Christian can get away from the word theology. If you have an opinion about God, no matter how small that opinion, then you have some system of theology. The question is, then, Will you rather have a bad theology over a good theology? The answer to this question will have a massive impact on your worldview.
David Wells puts it this way:
"Let us not think, I said, that we really have a choice between having a theology and not having one. We all have our theologies, for we all have a way of putting things together in our minds that, if we are Christian, has a shape that arises from our knowledge of God and his Word. We might not be conscious of the process. Indeed, we frequently are not. But at the very least we will organize our perceptions into some sort of pattern that seems to make sense to us. The questions at issue, then, is not whether we will have a theology but whether it will be a good or bad one, whether we will become conscious of our thinking processes or not, and, more particularly, whether we will learn to bring all of our thoughts into obedience to Christ or not."[3]
J.I. Packer, in the foreword to the Francis A. Schaeffer Trilogy writes that Schaeffer "saw that 'ideas have legs,' so that how we think determines what we are."[4] Consequently, we need a worldview that, first of all is informed by a theology that is solidly based on the Bible and, secondly, is supplemented by what is real and not just pure fantasy concocted by the fallen mind of man.
It is in the study of Biblical Worldview that we heed the command from the apostle Paul:
See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.
Col 2:8
Just thinking...
1. Pearcey, Nancy, TOTAL TRUTH: LIBERATING CHRISTIANITY from ITS CULTURAL CAPTIVITY, Crossway Books, Wheaton, Ill, 2004, p23.
2. Groothuis, Douglas, TRUTH DECAY: DEFENDING CHRISTIANITY AGAINST THE CHALLENGES OF POSTMODERNISM, Intervarsity Press, Downers Grove, Ill, 2000, p9.
3. Wells, David, F., NO PLACE FOR TRUTH: or Whatever Happened to Evangelical Theology?, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, MI.
4. Schaeffer, Francis A., THE FRANCIS A. SCHAEFFER TRILOGY: The Three Essential Books in One Volume, Crossway Books, Wheaton, Ill, 1990, xii.

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