“But the salvation of the consistently righteous is of the Lord; He is their Refuge and secure Stronghold in a time of trouble. And the Lord helps them and delivers them; He delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they trust and take refuse in Him” (Psalm 37:39-40).
There is no one-worldview-fits-all. Even trying to find a consensus a biblical worldview is difficult. The Old Testament is the historical and spiritual story of the Hebrew nation with their preferences and paradigms. The New Testament has at least two dominant worldviews which are Hebrew and Greek. The Gospels outline Jesus’ worldview. The Epistles speak to Greeks rather than Jews, so when Paul especially writes to the non-Hebrew audiences, he has Greeks in mind. Jesus’ worldview according to Charles H. Kraft:
“As a human being he (Jesus) had a set of perspectives on life, most of which he shared with the rest of his society—including his enemies. But there were certain distinctives—in Jesus’ understandings that did not originate in the society in which he lived his early life. These came directly from God the Father and are normative for us, his followers.” (Page 103)
Dr. Charles Kraft goes on to tell us why there is not one “approved” worldview.
“If then, Christian principles and values can operate within any given worldview, it is misleading to use a term as ‘Christian worldview’. For if God were advocating a totally Christian worldview, the implications would be that there is one divinely endorsed set of assumptions, values and commitments designed to compete with those of every cultural worldview.” (Page 81)
Okay, then! What is a Christian worldview?
Dr. David S. Dockery has helped me understand the complex meanings.
“Christians everywhere recognize there is a great spiritual battle raging for the hearts and minds of men and women around the globe. We now find ourselves in a cosmic struggle between a morally indifferent culture and Christian truth. Thus, we need to shape a Christian world and life view that will help us to think Christianly and live out the truth of Christian faith.”
“A Christian worldview is not just one’s personal faith expression, not just a theory. It is an all encompassing way of life, applicable to all spheres of life.”
As I studied this subject, I increasingly felt that the Apostle’s Creed was a one-page description of a generic Christian worldview.
Google Apostle’s Creed and you’ll find differing versions depending on denomination and even version of the source being quoted—whether traditional, reformed or modern. That makes me smile.
The way the world really is
Who God is
Who we are
How God genuinely feels about us and what He intends for us
What life is about.
Let’s again look at the definition of Worldview:
“…the culturally structured assumptions, values, and commitments underlying a people’s perception of reality. Worldview is the major influence how we perceive REALITY. In terms of worldview assumptions, values and commitments, a society structures such things as what its people are to believe, how they are to picture reality, and how and what they are to analyze. People interpret and react on this basis reflexively without thinking.” (Page 20)
What do we mean when we say or think “Christian Worldview?” How does our faith in Jesus Christ become a standard for behavior? A psychologist says accepting Christ and inviting him into our life, “replaces self (ego) on the throne of our life and installs Jesus.” Jesus becomes the central element and reference of our life.
Here are some changes that happen in our personal throne room when we make Him Lord:
A New View of God.
A New View of Self
A New View of God’s Present Activity
A New View of God’s Love
A Kingdom Family
My worldview is a Christian view—this Christian’s operational assumptions, but not the Christian worldview. There is no guarantee that this (the author) Christian’s worldview is accurate or holy. Worldviews are extremely personal tools we use to figure out what is real—from our perspective. The more of God’s Word we involve in our presumptions, meshed with an intimate relationship with Jesus, the closer we will be to God’s REALITY.
To dig through, contemplate, define and freshen our presumptions, gives us a way to determine who we assume we are in Christ. Are we thinking, acting, feeling like He does?
David Dockery says a worldview must seek to answer questions like:
Where did we come from?
Who are we?
What has gone wrong with the world?
What solution can be offered to fix it?
Do I Have A Biblical Worldview?
Ask George! It used to be George Gallup. Now it is George Barna if you are wondering about church or religious beliefs and practices. Barna feels to me like a member of our extended family who may show up for Thanksgiving. His American Culture and Faith Institute conducted a nationwide survey about what is and who has a biblical worldview. They used 50 questions. Fifty-one percent of American adults believe they have a biblical worldview. Research shows based on specific questions that only 6% have a biblical worldview.
Barna also observed that about 70% of U.S. adults claim to be Christians. “Of those, 84% claim to have a biblical worldview. However, the American Worldview Inventory reports only 19% of self-professed Christians actually hold a biblical worldview.”
Barna suggests we think about our own presumptions, perceptions, assumptions and beliefs. You may want to write your thoughts down.
- The existence, nature, character, and purposes of God.
- The nature, character, and purpose of human beings.
- The existence, source and application of absolute moral truth.
- The reliability, relevancy, and validity of the Bible.
- Whether or not people need to be saved from their sins, and if so, how.
- The existence of life after death, and the dynamics of that experience.
- Any existing spiritual or supernatural authorities, and define their powers and domains of influence.
- The definition of success for your life on earth.
Hey, George! We are not all theologians! I find David Dockery’s four questions above easier. Barna’s are more complex and more comprehensive. Neither give you a complete view of your worldview but will give you data upon which you can compare to biblical teachings and principles.
“A biblical worldview enables you to think like Jesus so that you can live like Jesus. Because your worldview is the filter through which you make all of your decisions, developing a biblical worldview is one of the foundations of a truly Christian life.” (George Barna)
Is that helpful? The purpose of this chapter was to answer “what is it?” I also wanted to think through if all things were changed by becoming a Jesus Follower. Yes, everything is changed in our relationship with God. We are new creatures before Him. It feels right to me that our ultimate filter is “I believe in God, maker of heaven and earth.”
I like Barna’s use of the words “developing a biblical worldview.” It fits with “by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2). Making God Primary sets us on a lifetime of inviting Him to restore and heal us totally and completely. Active and participatory.
“The secret is this: Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27).
©2021 D. Dean Benton
Excerpted from Mining Rhyme, Reason, Reality (©2021 D. Dean Benton Publish Fall, 2021)
Please be in touch with questions or comments. I dig reality.