A Christian Worldview for the 21st Century
James Orr, in The Christian View of God and the World, maintains that there is a definite Christian view of things, which has a character, coherence, and unity of its own, and stands in sharp contrast with counter theories and speculations. A Christian worldview has the stamp of reason and reality and can stand the test of history and experience. A Christian view of the world cannot be infringed upon, accepted or rejected piecemeal, but stands or falls on its integrity. Such a holistic approach offers a stability of thought, a unity of comprehensive insight that bears not only on the religious sphere but also on the whole of thought. A Christian worldview is not built on two types of truth (religious and philosophical or scientific) but on a universal principle and all-embracing system that shapes religion, natural and social sciences, law, history, health care, the arts, the humanities, and all disciplines of study with application for all of life.
Followers of Jesus must articulate a Christian worldview for the twenty-first century, with all of its accompanying challenges and changes, and to show how such Christian thinking is applicable across all areas of life.
A Christian worldview becomes a driving force in life, giving us a sense of God’s plan and purpose for this world. Our identity is shaped by this worldview. We no longer see ourselves as alienated sinners. A Christian worldview is not escapism but is an energizing motivation for godly and faithful thinking and living in the here and now. It also gives us confidence and hope for the future. In the midst of life’s challenges and struggles, a Christian worldview helps to stabilize life, anchoring us to God’s faithfulness and steadfastness.
Everyone will be forgotten, nothing we do will make any difference, and all good endeavors, even the best, will come to naught, unless there is God. If the God of the Bible exists, and there is a true reality beneath and behind this one, and this life is not the only life, then every good endeavor, even the simplest ones, pursued in response to God’s calling, can matter forever.
Biblical Christianity … provides the two conditions necessary for a meaningful, valuable, and purposeful life: God and immortality. Because of this, we can live consistently and happily within the framework of our worldview. Thus, biblical Christianity succeeds precisely where atheism breaks down… Therefore, it makes a huge difference whether God exists.
—William Lane Craig
Apart from a Christian mind, we will either be taken captive by the myriad of worldviews contending for our attention or we will fail to make the Christian voice heard and considered above the din.
—James Emery White
The Christian response
Today’s cultural, societal, intellectual, secular, and moral environment, fused with widespread questioning, skepticism, and rejection of what have been accepted standards and values for years, has brought about a fundamental shift in many people’s values, ethics, worldview, relationship to authority, and their interactions with other people. For many it’s much more difficult to know what one can place trust in. While for some, conditions of the world and society may draw them to the message of the Gospel, for others the environment of today’s world makes it much more difficult for them to relate to it, much less believe it or receive it.
This presents those of us who are committed to sharing the Gospel with numerous challenges, not least of which is that we are called to bring a message about a man who lived and died and was resurrected 2,000 years ago—with the claim that this is the most important message they will ever encounter. It is therefore vital for the mission-minded Christian to find new and creative ways to express and deliver the timeless message of the love of God in a manner that speaks to the people of today’s world. No doubt Christians of the past have had challenges in their time periods as well, but today’s world is our challenge.
We are faced with the challenge of how we present Jesus in a manner that resonates with those we interact with, especially when, in the West at least, many non-Christians hold values which cause Christianity to be seen as irrelevant to their lives and worldview. It seems that in some areas of the world, where Christianity is growing, sharing the Gospel can be done more easily as people are more inclined to believe in spiritual matters, especially if they live in countries where there is more evidence of spiritual power, generally seen in evil spirits and their works. In many supposedly sophisticated countries, it can sometimes be difficult to bring up the topic of God, let alone Jesus, because widespread secularism, materialism, and intellectualism have replaced belief in God and made Him irrelevant to their belief system. Of course, Christians living in countries that don’t have a Christian heritage or culture, such as Eastern and Middle Eastern nations, face different challenges in making the message relatable.
As Christians we face the task of delivering the good news, the Gospel, God’s message of love and salvation, to the world of today. In order to do so in a relatable fashion, it’s important to understand the fundamental changes that have occurred in society, affecting many people’s worldview, values, and perception of Christianity. Recognizing that these changes run deep and bring with them fears and insecurities, as well as skepticism, can help us to better convey the message in a manner that relates to those we are commissioned to reach.
We know that the Gospel is a message for today’s world, but finding the manner to reach those who have not yet been attracted to the message, or who have been put off by it for one reason or another, is an ever-increasing challenge. The modern world has changed incredibly and rapidly within the past thirty years, and it continues to do so. Secularism has heavily permeated spheres of thought and influence with values that promote self-interest and materialism, as well as other values that are incompatible with and ultimately undermine Christian and traditional values.
One of our challenges as Christians today is to live in a manner that allows the Holy Spirit to so reflect through us that people will be attracted and intrigued by the light that they see in us. Then, in coming closer to the warmth of that light, they will connect with the One who is the light of the world and who will give them the light of life.
We are moving towards a dictatorship of relativism which does not recognize anything as certain and which has as its highest goal one’s own ego and one’s own desires. However, we have a different goal: the Son of God, true man. He is the measure of true humanism. Being an “adult” means having a faith which does not follow the waves of today’s fashions or the latest novelties. A faith which is deeply rooted in friendship with Christ is adult and mature. It is this friendship which opens us up to all that is good and gives us the knowledge to judge true from false, and deceit from truth.
—Pope Benedict XVI
There are many similarities between homicide cases and the case for the Christian worldview. As a Christian, I don’t accept the claims of Christianity as an act of blind faith. I’ve instead placed my faith in something that is reasonable and can be evaluated evidentially. Much like a juror in a homicide trial, I have the ability to examine the circumstantial case “piece by piece.” The case is comprehensive and cumulative. There are MANY items of evidence that must be considered and they cannot be considered in isolation from one another. The strength of the case for the Christian worldview comes from the cumulative depth of the evidence.
—J. Warner Wallace
Thinking Christianly is thinking by Christians about anything and everything in a consistently Christian way—in a manner that is shaped, directed, and restrained by the truth of God’s Word and God’s Spirit.
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