Sunday, September 16, 2007

Thinking Like a Christian, Week 11: Review & Summary

Why Should We Understand Other Worldviews?

It is important to understand other worldviews for some significant reasons. Most importantly, so that we can better reach others who believe other worldviews with the Bible's Gospel message. Being ignorant of other worldviews makes communication of biblical truth more difficult. Notice the examples of Stephen (speaking to Jewish leaders in Acts 7) and Paul (speaking to Athenians in Acts 17)—each directed his message about Christ and salvation in a way easily understood to his audience. We also need a knowledge of other worldviews to better counter what other worldviews are teaching in our society about theology, politics, ethics, and so forth.
"Yet Christ directed His followers to provide a "salt and light" influence on society (Matthew 5:13-14). This means getting outside the confines of the church building and taking an active part in the social, political, and intellectual life of our communities. In order to have this kind of influence, Christians must gain an understanding of the times in which we live which means, at a minimum, discerning the competing worldviews that vie for our souls and the future of civilization." David Noebel, Thinking Like a Christian, p. 158.
There are three primary worldviews discussed briefly in the Thinking Like a Christian book at this point. These are summarized here:
  • Marxism-Leninism: Although this has shown to be a failure in many countries during the past century, it is still a reality in some parts of the world today. It is indeed a well-defined worldview about which many books have been written. Its major tenets include an atheistic view of God with a corresponding evolutionary view of origins; behaviorism as a psychological perspective (e.g., Pavlov); statism (communism) as a political system, and scientific socialism as an economic system. In America, you will be most likely to find its adherents in secular universities, where some estimate as many as 10,000 serve as university professors.
  • Secular Humanism: This is clearly the most dominant worldview in America and most of the western world today, especially in classrooms and governments. It is also a well-defined worldview, including among its teachings an atheistic view of God and evolutionary view of origins; an emphasis on self-actualization (see: Maslow); liberalism as a political system, with an emphasis on secular world government; and moral relativism in ethics and elsewhere. American public education is dominated by this worldview, which simultaneously seeks to thrust out a biblical worldview. Many famous and influential Americans are secular humanists (Ted Turner, Carl Sagan, Abraham Maslow, and John Dewey are just a few proud examples) who wish to "spread their gospel" to your children and mine.
  • Cosmic Humanism: Of the four worldviews discussed here, this has probably the smallest percentage of adherents in the United States, but is probably also the fastest-growing. By its very nature, it is less-defined than the others, but perhaps its most basic tenet is that truth resides in the individual—every man decides truth for himself. Whatever you decide for yourself is right....just don't be too narrow-minded or exclusive about it! Most have a pantheistic view of God (although who or what God is is not always agreed upon), and believe that the godhood of man is our evolutionary bequest. Moral relativism pervades in nearly everything, including a belief in "karma." Self-government and a "New World Order" are frequently espoused.
So what should we Christians do? There are several things:
  • Go on the Offensive: Be salt and light in this present, evil, troubled world (Matthew 5:13-16). Take the message to the world—don't wait for the world to come to you asking.
  • Spread the Word with courage and conviction (1 Peter 3:15-16). The world needs the gospel; without it, we cannot hope for much improvement.
  • Pray (2 Chron. 7:14; Col. 1:9-11), asking God how He can use you to impact the world for Himself.
  • Rebuild the foundations, and remain dedicated to a biblical, Christian worldview (Psalm 11:3) Our country once followed the biblical worldview; do your best to get it pointed back in that direction.
  • Study the Word (2 Tim. 2:15), and also study other books written from a Christian worldview. These can help you to both understand what God teaches and understand how the world thinks.
  • Understand the Times (1 Chron. 12:32): Follow the news, read current books, and see what Scripture says about them.
  • Teach and Mentor others (2 Tim. 2:2), and begin with your own family.
In every one of the ten areas we have studied, Christians (with God's help) have the potential to reclaim and redeem each for God's glory!
"In other words, in every discipline, the Christian worldview shines brighter than its competition, is more realistic, better explains man and the universe, is true to the Bible, is more scientific, is more intellectually satisfying and defensible, and best of all, is in keeping with and faithful to the one person who has had the greatest influence in heaven and on earth—Jesus Christ." David Noebel, TLAC, p. 171.

A few reminders: The book Thinking Like a Christian (ISBN 978-0-8054-3895-6) has been the basis for nearly all of the material in this series of Sunday School lessons. If you want to find the summaries of these on my blog, please click the links below:
Week 10: History
Week 9: Economics
Week 8: Politics
Week 7B: Law
Week 7A: Law
Week 6: Sociology
Week 5: Ethics
Week 4: Psychology
Week 3: Biology
Week 2: Philosophy (Part 1, Part 2, Conclusion)
Week 1: Theology
Introduction to the Series

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