Foundations for a Christian Worldview: Begin Here (1)
For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?” John 5.46, 47
We are today beginning an introductory study of the Christian worldview.
Before you stop reading, consider: Everybody has a worldview. I have a worldview. You have a worldview. All our neighbors and contemporaries have a worldview. Worldview is not a subject for elite academics or pop theologians alone. It’s a topic for everyone to understand, especially Christians, because everyone’s worldview plays a defining role in the lives we live and the happiness we enjoy.
A worldview is just that – a way of viewing or thinking about the world and our lives in it, expressed in the way we think, desire, and live. Worldviews are defined by the way people understand the world; our beliefs and convictions about things like values, priorities, the good life, culture, and society; and the ways we conduct our relationships, roles, and responsibilities. We may not be very conscious of our worldview, so that explaining it to others would not be very effective. Or we may be quite conscious of and deeply committed to our worldview, so that we talk about it, urge others to consider it, and do our best to live it to the fullest in every aspect of our lives.
Worldview defines the patterns of our lives and guides the way we organize our time. Our worldview entails a raft of priorities and values, and these shape what we think about, desire, and do. As far as it is in our ability to do so, we want our worldview to line up with two foci: (1) what we hope to realize as the good life, and (2) how we understand the way the world actually works, since we’ll never realize the good life if we’re misguided about this, and therefore always struggling against the currents of reality.
So worldview seems like an important subject. In this series we will outline the broad parameters of a Christian worldview, showing how that worldview begins to take shape in the earliest parts of the Bible, and how it comes to fullest expression in Jesus Christ and the Kingdom over which He rules. And we will endeavor throughout this 7-part series (49 installments in all) to present the Christian worldview as something greatly to be desired and readily within our grasp.
All worldviews share similar characteristics and features. We’ll be considering some of those as we work through this study. Yet the Christian worldview is unique in that it alone seeks to reflect God’s understanding of and rule over the world. It does this by taking the Bible as God’s Word and, beginning where He began, seeking to understand the world and our lives in it according to His revelation. We should expect the Christian worldview, therefore, to provide the best explanation of the world and how it works, as well as the clearest guidance for how we may know full and abundant life – the Good Life – within God’s world.
We’re going to take as our touchstone for this study the revelation of God through Moses, contained in the first five books of the Bible, the Law of God. We begin here because the Law of God is the acorn to the oak of divine revelation. What we learn here about Christian worldview should guide all the rest of our study of Scripture, as we pursue the lifelong calling to understand, embrace, live, and enjoy life and the world as the Word of God directs.
We don’t often think of the Law of God as a starting-point for discussing Christian worldview. Or, these days, for much of anything else, either. The Law of God is largely neglected on the part of Christians today. Indeed, respected church leaders in our day not only neglect to preach and teach the Law of God; they actively insist that the Law is no longer relevant for Christian life.
It is perhaps for this reason that many – perhaps most – Christians are not living a Christian worldview, but something less, much less, than that.
There are good reasons for beginning here, and in our run-up to this study of Christian worldview, I want to examine some of those reasons – beginning with the most important reason of all.
The focus of Christian worldview
Anyone who knows anything about Christian worldview – or about Christianity, which is just another name for Christian worldview – knows that Jesus factors large in the subject. He is the Fount of all wisdom and knowledge (Col. 2.2, 3). In Him the entire cosmos coheres and holds together (Heb. 1.3). He is the very Word of God, the Logos – the Explanationor Reason – undergirding and defining everything that is, was, or ever will be (Jn. 1.1-5). Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (Jn. 14.6). He insisted that all Scripture is about Him (Jn. 5.39).
So any worldview claiming to be a Christian worldview has to have Jesus front, center, and throughout. But where do we find the information and insights we need concerning Jesus?
Obviously, by turning to the Scriptures, which are the Word of God written, and which have Jesus as their primary focus and theme (2 Tim. 3.15-17; 2 Pet. 1.19-21).
And if we’re going to search the Scriptures in order to discover what they have to say about Jesus and the worldview that attaches to, orbits around, and unfolds from and in and toward Him, we should start with the writings of Moses, the Law of God.
For, as even the Lord Jesus Himself explained: “Moses…wrote about Me.”
1. What is a worldview? Are there other worldviews operating in our world today? Such as?
2. Is it a good idea to be ignorant of the worldviews that are shaping our lives? Can we hope to know full and abundant life in Christ apart from a growing understanding of the Christian worldview? Why not?
3. Can we understand Jesus as fully as we should apart from understanding the Law of God? Explain.
Next steps – Conversation: Make a copy of today’s installment, or email the link to a friend. Invite your friend to go through this study of Christian worldview with you. Set a time every couple of weeks when you can get together to discuss what you’re learning and pray about growing in your Christian worldview.
The Christian worldview focuses on Jesus. Do you know Him? Our book, To Know Him, can help you answer that question confidently, and equip you to tell others about Jesus as well. Order your copy by clicking here.
At The Ailbe Seminary, all our courses are designed to help you grow in your Christian worldview. Watch this brief video (click here) to get an overview of our curriculum, and to see again the place of Jesus in the Christian worldview.
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission.