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Monday, January 31, 2011


I know ... high-sounding but not much value, right? I mean, seriously, do we really need a "worldview"? Isn't this just all theoretical stuff? Well, truth be told, just like creeds, while many people decry them, everyone has them. In creeds, "No creed but Christ" is a creed. In doctrines, "I don't believe in God" is a doctrine. And we all have a worldview, even if it is the view that no such thing exists.

So ... what is it? Briefly, it is the way in which we view the world. ("Oh, really, Stan? I got up today to read this?") No, what I mean is that it is the way in which we interpret our world. A worldview is a comprehensive structure that determines how we explain the world -- where we came from, what we think is coming in the future, what we believe is right and wrong, how we determine what is true or false, all of it.

Easy example. Materialism is a worldview. In this view, the premise is "all is physical". Thus, we did not come from a Creator. We are not headed toward any sort of "sweet by and by". Right and wrong are pragmatic choices that make this life more comfortable. True and false are determined solely by their correlation to physical facts. Thus, since "God" is defined as supernatural, no God. Miracles cannot occur. Life has no extended purpose, so make what you can out of it now. That's one (simplified) example.

Me? Well, there is, of course, the "Christian worldview", but my personal preference is a biblical worldview. You might think the two are synonymous, but I'm finding more and more that amazingly few people who call themselves "Christian" are particularly interested in shaping their view of the world around them by what the Bible says. It's typically the other way around.

What do I mean by a "biblical worldview" that differs from a "Christian worldview"? Well, a Christian worldview is more generic. Sure, there is a God and sure we're saved by Christ and all that, but reality is determined by how I see it rather than what the Bible says it is. If the Bible says "There is none who does good, no, not one" and it can be demonstrated that this appears to be what it actually means, a biblical worldview would say, "Well, I can see that there appears to be people around me doing what I would consider 'good', so apparently I'm mistaken on that point." A Christian worldview would typically say, "I agree with the Bible", but when the Bible says, "I do not permit a woman to teach or exercise authority over men", a Christian worldview would divide from a biblical worldview because the Christian (not committed to a biblical view) would interpret that Scripture from the world's perspective rather than the text and context ... and discard it. "That was then; this is now."

I'm not suggesting I have a superior perspective. I'm suggesting that it's simply different from the typical, even among Christians. I do know this. As I examine Scripture and see what it says and attempt to understand it as it is written rather than how I'd prefer it to be, I find that it often runs up against other worldviews. I find that my own thinking has to change because I held a different view. I find that the Bible defines reality in a different way than most other views. The question I ask myself repeatedly is "Am I going to define Scripture by my worldview, or am I going to let Scripture define my worldview?" So far, I've chosen the latter. It's not winning me many friends, but "winning friends" isn't part of that worldview, is it?

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