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Thursday, September 29, 2011

What is a Worldview?

Romans 1:18-32 shows us that the natural inclination of fallen man is to eradicate God from the mind.  v28, says that they did not see fit to acknowledge God.  A more literal translation would be, they did not approve of having God in their knowledge.  They wanted to remove God from their conceptual framework.  The rest of v28 shows that because of this, God gave them up to a debased mind, which resulted in their practicing all forms of ungodliness.
Removing God from the picture inevitably leads to lawlessness.  But there is another way in which seeking to scrub God from consciousness affects the human mind.  It leads to a faulty understanding of the world as a whole and how it works.  It leads to a faulty worldview.
Most of us have heard the term worldview, but we may not know what it is.  A worldview is a conceptual scheme by which we consciously or unconsciously place or fit everything we believe and by which we interpret and judge reality. It provides the framework for how we live our lives. 
Everyone has a worldview, whether they realize it or not.  Everyone interacts with the world.  Everyone has beliefs, which affect the way they understand the world.  Everyone lives in accordance with that understanding.  The big question is, what is informing our worldview?  On what is it based?
In a world that has largely rejected the notion of the God of the Bible, we should expect there to be many different faulty worldviews, worldviews that cannot sufficiently explain reality, worldviews that are inherently inconsistent, worldviews that do not accord with human experience – in short, worldviews that are wholly at odds with the truths of Scripture.
In our first Wednesday night teaching series beginning October 5, we’re going to be taking a look at the concept of worldview.  That may seem like a completely cerebral endeavor with little practical significance, but nothing could be further from the truth.  Our culture is becoming increasingly pluralistic, that is, society has embraced the notion that there are many avenues to truth, many avenues to God.  Large groups even in the church have accepted this.  For this reason, I see four reasons why an understanding of the major worldviews will be a benefit to us in our everyday lives.
First, understanding worldviews will help us to defend the faith.  The Christian worldview is at its core exclusivistic.  We do not believe that there are many ways to God.  There is one way – salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.  As time passes, we will be more frequently challenged about our beliefs.  We must understand our own worldview so that we can speak the truth in love, answer those challenges, and show that the Christian worldview is the only worldview that accords with reality. 
Second, understanding worldviews will strengthen our faith.  We have become so ignorant of our own worldview, as taught in Scripture, that we are ripe for attack from skeptics who would cause us to doubt the faith.  This happens all the time.  For example, young people are going off to college, perhaps knowing what they believe, but not why.  Secular professors are preying on these students, shaking their faith to its core and sometimes destroying it.  Understanding what the Bible teaches about reality will bolster our faith and prepare us for the attacks of an unbelieving world.
Third, understanding worldviews is an invaluable tool in sharing the gospel, specifically, in answering objections.  Though people deny belief in the Bible and belief in God, everyone presupposes the existence of absolute truth everyday.  It is impossible to live otherwise.  The ability to discern a person’s worldview enables the evangelist to know how to bring Scripture to bear on that specific person’s life and beliefs.
Fourth, understanding worldviews will reveal the greatest influences in our personal lives.  As we learn the characteristics of the various worldviews, it may become clear to us that we have been more influenced by our secular culture than by God’s Word. This provides a great diagnostic tool to correct our thinking and help us in our sanctification.
A great book on this subject is James W. Sire’s The Universe Next Door: A Basic Worldview Catalog.  It is a thorough and easy to understand primer on the subject, demonstrating the superiority of the Christian worldview as well as the incoherence of all other major worldviews.  It would be a great supplement to our study.
I look forward to next Wednesday evening. Our time together will run concurrently with the AWANA activities – 6:30-8:00.  I hope to see you there.
Posted by Greg Birdwell

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