“Christianity is the greatest intellectual system the mind of man has ever touched,” wrote Francis Schaeffer. When we consider the Christian worldview, it is to be contemplated in the context of total reality. Only then can we begin to explore what it is and how to think within its massive structure.
Os Guinness professes that everyone thinks from their worldview, but only a few thinks about it. Our worldview is that lens from which we process life. It is a pair of glasses we look through to interpret the world. Sometimes the pair of glasses has been melded from a variety of sources along with scratches, smudges, and smears of dirt. Our worldview has been shaped from life experiences, education, books, television, podcasts, movies, parents, teachers, pastors, leaders, peers, marketing, as well as the technology and the products we use daily. All these things affect how we think. They grow in influence when we do not become those who think about our worldview and forms it on purpose.
The Christian Worldview
What we want to have is a healthy Christian worldview. But to do that we need an idea of what is meant by a Christian worldview. The Christian worldview is a worldview that is deeply informed by the Bible and its application throughout Christian history. While what we want is a Christian worldview that rightly informs our thinking, Christianity has had such a profound effect upon Western Civilization that in some sense we all live within its domain. Much of what we know as secularism or secular humanism is borrowing its core from Christian presuppositions. It borrows the ideas of justice, humanity, equality, philanthropy, health care, marriage, liberty, etc. from Christianity. These ideas would not exist today without their foundation in the Bible and their reemergence in The Reformation.
The Secular Worldview
The secular worldview is derived from the Christian worldview. Vishal Mangalwadi rightly labels secularism as “Christian heresy.” Muslim nations reject secular human rights treaties because they are “Christian.” Evangelical Christians look at those same treaties of the United Nations as secular, not Christian, failing to understand that the very concept of human rights is part and parcel of the Christian Worldview.
The Broader Context
Knowing that the Christian Worldview encompasses derivative worldviews, it is not easy to nail down the Christian worldview into a tidy definition. However, for those of us who desire the truths of Scripture to mold our thinking and living we look for the Christian Worldview to be that which is the closest approximation of the content to be taught pursuant to The Great Commission of discipling nations. We want that way of thinking that is the truth that sets us free to live whole sanctified lives that are a blessing to our nation. We want that thinking that builds great nations that bless other nations. We want to think well in accordance with truth without the murky waters of secularism landing us and our society into the quagmire of quicksand.
Drawing from Francis Schaeffer again, “Christianity provides a unified answer for the whole of life.” That answer is the Christian worldview. Developing it requires an intentional discipleship of every area of life under the tutelage of Scripture with the help of the Holy Spirit. There are many resources that aid in this development. It is more than apologetics or church doctrine. Biblical truth worked out and applied informs our way of thinking about family, church, marriage, government, nations, children, education, science, technology, business, entertainment, economics, finances, burial practices, leadership, agriculture, one’s home and lawn, language, literature, etc. The list is endless.
The Christian Worldview and Apologetics
I once wanted to be an apologist. I have read dozens of books on apologetics. I thought the best way to establish Christianity in my nation was to win individuals through astute arguments on the merit of Scripture, The Resurrection, the Deity of Jesus, and more. In so doing, I would counter the secularism of the universities and save America. My vision was not big enough.
Apologetics, while a great discipline, does not establish a Christian worldview that benefits a nation. It has helped many people come to know Jesus. But as any evangelism it often stops at conversion. It establishes the truth that Jesus is The Way but does not fill in the details of what The Way looks like once we have entered it. Some ministries do more to this end than others. I have deep respect for Ravi Zacharias and RZIM as they go a long way to helping the believer think and answering cultural questions with biblical truth.
Reading Francis Schaeffer showed me that there was more to the Christian Worldview than I had yet encountered. Reading beyond Francis Schaeffer to one who once sat under his teachings opened a whole new world for me. Where I could once only see a glimpse of how Christianity impacts the world, I could now see in full color ever expanding panorama.
Reading Vishal Mangalwadi’s The Book That Made Your World shifted me into a new level of understanding of the power of The Christian Worldview. I accompanied reading that book (now 3 times) with hours of his lectures and additional reading.
The Christian Worldview Shapes Nations
The Christian worldview has indelibly shaped America, but the more this nation becomes post-modern and post-Christian the fewer people remain with a robust Christian worldview to disciple the nation reforming it to the path it was once set upon. We have lost the idea of discipling nations having exchanged it for making converts, thereby reducing discipleship to moral instruction or lessons in church doctrine or spirituality.
Nancy Pearcy, another student of Francis Schaeffer, writes, “typically it takes several generations for a worldview and all its implications to thoroughly permeate a society.” Thus, if we begin now to be those who intentionally regain a Christian worldview, we can be the harbingers who gift the generations that follow us with the tools to see a more Christian society once again.
The reason our nation is decaying rapidly is that we have long since abandoned the theology that disciples a nation. We have reduced discipleship, if occurring at all, to Sunday School and home groups teaching daily spiritual practices, Christlikeness, or basic Bible lessons. The truth of Scripture is so much more comprehensive. From its pages and the application thereof came hospitals, banks, business, book-keeping, history, science, courts, government, church, families, personal property, land ownership, innovation, etc.
Regaining the Christian Worldview
The Christian Worldview is all the components of thinking biblically and the thinking derived from biblical applied theology which has been developing for thousands of years. It is robust thinking that requires intentional discipline to acquire. The basic presuppositions – the first things – should be taught within the home, the church, education, and through arts and media. It should be deep in the structure of our institutions and culture. But first it must get deep into us so that we can disciple generation to generation. If we do this, we will reform a nation.
Resources for Developing a Christian Worldview
The Book That Made Your World by Vishal Mangalwadi
This Book Changed Everything by Vishal Mangalwadi
The Bible America’s Source of Law and Liberty by Stephen McDowell
Liberating Nations by Stephen McDowell
Fierce Convictions: The Extraordinary Life of Hannah More by Karen Swallow Prior
Total Truth by Nancy Pearcey
Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce by Eric Metaxas
Martin Luther by Eric Metaxas
Impossible People by Os Guinness
Christianity’s Dangerous Idea by Alister McGrath
Lectures on Calvinism by Abraham Kuyper
Naming the Elephant: Worldview as Concept by James Sire
A Free People’s Suicide by Os Guinness
Surprised by Hope by N.T. Wright
The Complete Works of Francis Schaeffer
Back to the Future: Rebuilding America’s Stability by Karla Perry
The Reformation of America by Karla Perry
Available Now on Amazon.
To reform a nation, you need to know what makes a nation truly great. Understanding America’s beginnings creates a pathway forward for all nations. From America’s first President, to the birth of capitalism, to the shaping of its institutions, Karla Perry shows the reader what makes nations flourish.
“Karla has important insights into some of the critical issues of our times. She has the ability to articulate them in an interesting and engaging way that is also practical.”
Rick Joyner, Founder and President, MorningStar Ministries
“An enemy is not needed to destroy a great civilization. It can self-destruct by forgetting the ideas that made its language, literature, family, education, politics, economy, laws and judiciary great. Many feel the need to re-form America that no longer knows what is love, marriage, divorce, male and female, family or nation. In this powerful premier, Karla Perry explains what made America great in the first place and how it can again become a blessing to its citizens and a light to the world.”
Dr. Vishal Mangalwadi, Author of The Book That Made Your World