Foundations for a Christian Worldview: First Things (1)
Forever, O LORD,
Your word is settled in heaven.
Your faithfulness endures to all generations;
You established the earth, and it abides.
They continue this day according to Your ordinances,
For all are Your servants. Psalm 119.89-91
The inevitability of worldview
In this study we are putting down a footprint for a Christian worldview. A worldview is just what it sounds like, a way of looking at or thinking about the world, together with the hopes and aspirations we cherish, and the practices and projects we undertake in an effort to know and live the good life as we understand it.
The Christian worldview is an outlook on life grounded in the Scriptures, focused on Jesus Christ, lived toward the promises of God, and committed to increasing in the Kingdom of God and its presence, promise, and power. That worldview is settled in heaven and endures forever. Everyone has a worldview, and every Christian has a worldview. But not every Christian has a Christian worldview, at least, not the worldview outlined in the Scriptures, beginning with the Law of God.
If we want our worldview to be a Christian worldview, then we shall have to think about our lives, our world, and our callings in line with the teaching of God’s Word. And we’ll need to recognize that, because we have been learning and living some worldview all our lives, we’ll have to work hard to learn instead those distinct perspectives and practices that constitute a Christian worldview.
As we take up the study of Christian worldview, we must be willing to lay aside any worldview ideas that do not fit that footprint, even though we may have learned them early in life and practiced them faithfully for many years.
From early on
Worldview thinking begins at a very early age. Children learn by many means and from various sources to think about what’s good for them – what they should want out of their daily experience, what will give them enjoyment: the good life. As they learn, they interact with people and their environment to achieve the goal taking shape in their minds, even if that goal is only vaguely understood.
Now this doesn’t happen consciously, at least, not fullyso. Kids aren’t thinking in terms of worldview as they settle on a notion of what’s good for them and what’s the best way to achieve that. But they know what they want, or at least, they think they know. They clap hands and smile when they get it, and they whine or fuss or cry when they don’t. They maneuver around the playroom, acquire the skills of eating, make the best of bath time, and grudgingly go off to bed when led to do so. They learn, if only implicitly, that life is not all play or eating. There are times for resting and times for sitting still and times for doing chores, and that, like it or not, they must accept parental authority and try to get along with other children. Keeping their own greatest desires at all times in mind, or, at least, very near to the surface of their thinking, children acquire disciplines, submit to protocols, and settle into ways of getting along that enable them to get what they want much of the time, and to put up with what they have to the rest of it.
As children grow, they are reinforced in their choices and behaviors by loving parents and others, who condone and applaud certain ways of being-in-the-world and discourage and perhaps punish those which are not in line with the largerworldview within which the child is trying to carve out his own.
As long as they are children, certain things will be expected of them which, the older they get, will no longer be necessary, and will be replaced by values and priorities more consciously chosen. Children learn principles – such as eating well, obeying mom and dad, getting along with others, accepting the necessity of work – that take certain forms while they’re crawling around the playroom, but which will be differently adapted as they go off to school or get a job or begin families of their own.
But the basics of worldview thinking and living are set down from the earliest years. Everything we learn and do in life simply builds on the outlook and skills we began to acquire as children. Over the years, an outlook on life settles in, and certain practices, habits, and routines develop in conformity with that outlook, in the pursuit of which people hope to achieve a satisfactory measure of the good life.
To learn and live a Christian worldview, we will need to examine all our acquired habits, and be ready to set aside any that do not fit the footprint that walks in the path of Jesus.
The necessity of a framework
The worldview presented in the Bible also begins in the infancy of God’s people, in the rules and promises and protocols given through Moses. These can sometimes seem harsh, but they were intended for a people in the infancy of being God’s people, and they encode truths and principles that do not change, even though they must be adapted as the children of God mature into the Body of Christ. The focus of the Law is always the same – on the coming Seed of the woman, Offspring of Abraham, and dynastic Heir of Judah, Who is also the Lamb of sacrifice, the Tabernacle of dwelling and glory, and the very Promised Land of God. The principles set down in the Law of God focus our attention on God and His Word, and direct us how to walk in the path where His truth illuminates the way, His power fills and enables us, and His presence goes with us to protect us from the always alluring and ever-present insinuations of the lie: “Yea, hath God said?”
But before we begin to mine and arrange those principles, let’s establish a framework for thinking about Christian worldview, one that will house all the principles and protocols related to Christian worldview that are found in the Law of God and all His Word, and will enable us to build meaningfully on the first words of Christian worldview from this point forward.
In this part of our study, therefore, we will consider a way of outlining the dimensions of a worldview, so we can set our worldview footprint on solid ground and in a path that we can continue to follow through all the counsel of God.
1. What influences other than the Christian worldview affect and shape the thinking of Christians today? What about you?
2. What do you think it will take for you to learn and begin living a more consistent Christian worldview?
3. What obstacles will you have to overcome to gain the most from this effort?
Next steps – Preparation: Write out your answers to the three questions above. Take your answers to the Lord in prayer, and review them with Him. Listen for any specific next steps as He leads.
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.
If you value ReVision as a free resource for your walk with the Lord, please consider supporting our work with your gifts and offerings. You can contribute to The Fellowship by clicking the Contribute button at the website or by sending your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 19 Tyler Drive, Essex Junction, VT 05452.
Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission.