ENGLISH VERSION - Bulletin Nº 47 August 08, 2021
What is a Christian Worldview?
by Rev. Renato Souza Prates
The term worldview, means the way in which a person sees or interprets a reality. The German word is Weltanschau-ung, which means a “world and a view of life”, or “a paradigm”. It is the framework through which a person understands the data of life. A worldview greatly influences the way a person views God, origins, evil, human nature, values, and destiny. Francis Schaeffer said that the vision “is the filter through which a person sees the world (Book: How We Will Live). There are seven main world views. Each one is unique. Let's look at some of them:
Theism - An Infinite and personal God exists beyond and in the universe. Theism says that the physical universe is not all there is. There is an infinite and personal God beyond the universe, who created it, sustains it, and acts supernaturally in it. It is the view represented by traditional Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
Deism – God is beyond the universe, but not in it. Deism is theism without miracles. God made the world but does not act in it. He "wounds up" the creation and lets it work on its own. Some examples of theistic thinkers are: Voltaire, Thomas Jefferson and Tomas Paine.
Atheism - There is no God other than the universe. Atheism asserts that the physical universe is all there is. There is no God anywhere, not in the universe or beyond. The universe is self-sufficient. Some of the most famous atheists were: Karl Marx, Friedrich Nietzschee Jean-Paul Sartre.
Pantheism – God is the Whole/Universe. Everything is God. The creator and creation are two ways of denoting a reality. God is the universe or All, and the universe is God. Pantheism is represented by certain forms of Hinduism: Zen Buddhism and Christian Science.
Polytheism – Many gods exist beyond the world and in it. It is the belief in many finite gods, which influence the world. When a finite god is considered chief over others, religion is called henotheism. The main representatives of polytheism are: the ancient Greeks, Mormons and Neopagans (Wiccan adherents - It is a religion based on fertility cults that originated in Europe. Frequently, Wicca includes the practice of various forms of High Magic)
How to Develop a Christian Worldview?
For the Christian, the Christian worldview will place the understanding of the universe as God's creation, and all spheres of knowledge, possible to be present in humanity, as proceeding from the one true God, Lord of the universe, communicated to us by Christ " ...in which are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Col. 2.3)”. In our days, a very intense movement is underway, in the evangelical milieu, for the establishment of evangelical schools, which teach all subjects from the Christian perspective of life. For this, there is a need to teach and spread a Christian worldview. The Christian faith is no longer a “religious issue” for Sunday, but returns to assume its original position, which had been rescued by the 16th century reform. This movement by Christian schools has interdenominational characteristics. The Reformed faith has always emphasized the issue of the Christian worldview. Now this treasure is being sought after by segments that until recently rejected anything that had the most remote relationship to Calvinism.
What preachers and authors, for years, have not achieved, God, in his sovereignty, is doing – with the absorption, by necessity, of the concepts transmitted in the idea of a Christian worldview. In this sense, God has been preached as the real Sovereign of the universe in theologically Arminian communities. Church schools that “flee” from Reformed theology don't blink when books such as Calvinism (by Abraham Kuyper) and And Now, How We Will Live (co-authored by Nancy Pearcey – who studied with the Calvinist philosopher and theologian Francis, Francis Schaeffer), are recommended, presented and their ideas taught. Such circles have understood that it is impossible to practice true education in the spheres of knowledge without the cohesion provided by a reformed Christian worldview, in which God is truly ruler of the universe, and not a mere spectator, who reacts to circumstances, seeking to “fix " things.
That is why it is necessary that the Christian pastor and leader, and even we lay people, have a good understanding of this topic. Because we also need to guide our brothers and sisters in this understanding. Christian worldview, too, has everything to do with the study of Government and Economics, and other areas of knowledge and human activities that, in order to be properly understood and exercised, cannot be divorced from the principles contained in the Scriptures (Solano Portela). The Christian worldview offers humanity the most forceful answers to its greatest questions. Who we are? Where we came from? Where are we going? What is the purpose of life? Why does evil exist?
Some approaches to the Christian worldview are:
Creation – Where do we come from, and who are we? - While several theories about the creation of the universe and the origin of man are invented and studied by science, God reveals in his Word that the entire universe was created by Him (In the beginning God created heaven and earth Gen 1.1).
Fall – What happened wrong with the world? Sin brought death into the world, physical death and, worse, spiritual death. Also, the soil became less fertile and food scarcer. Man started to work more to get less. Humanity would also soon realize the effect that sin has on human relationships: cruelty, murder, lust and disharmony. Paul put it this way: “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord,” Rom. 6:23. Therefore, what went wrong, and the reason for suffering in the world, is exactly the original sin committed by man.
Redemption – What can we do to fix this? Jesus Christ is the only Way through which man can be forgiven and live eternally with God. The interesting thing about the Christian worldview is that it is simple, as C. S Lewis said, as the subject of his book, "Christianity Pure and Simple." However, simplicity is not synonymous with untruth or error. On the contrary, the greatest truths are simple. So much so that Christian thought has, throughout its history, overcoming all the challenges that were proposed to it, from the early Church, where Christians were persecuted, through the period of rationalist enlightenment, the time of communism, and, currently, the relativistic postmodernism. In all these contexts, the Christian worldview, guarded by God himself, did not succumb. After all, as Jesus said: "The gates of hell will not prevail!" Mt. 16.18.
We are called to know theology and ethics, to treat the biblical text with reverence, but also to have an inquiring mind that meditates, reflects, builds thought, which moves towards a Christian worldview of human reality. It's good to read classic works of literature – the great novelists and philosophers help us to see the world with new eyes, without losing our Christian reference. Are we really using Scripture as a text, or as a pretext? Do our preachings arise from an experience of the heart and an intelligent mind and generate transformation? Have all these preachings and Bible studies produced men and women more like Jesus Christ? LORD: “…you rule over everything, in your hand is strength and power; with you is magnification and to give strength to everything.”(1Ch 29:12)- “…in you is the fountain of life; in your light we see the light.” (Psalm 36:9).
(Research sources: Fundamentals of Christian Moves - Valmir Nascimento Milomem; Christian Worldview (a simple explanation) - Presb. Solano Portela; How will we live - Francis Schaeffer; The God who intervenes - Francis Schaeffer; Christianity pure and simple - C.S Lewis)
From this Sunday on, you will enjoy a Revelation Series with Dr. Joel Beeke. It is amazing studies from which we can learn more about this instigating book.
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