What’s the ‘big deal’ about Worldview?

You (the Porters) talk a lot about worldview. What is the “big deal”?  

There is so much confusion about worldview. For example, a ‘biblical worldview’ is not an orthodox list of Christian beliefs, as so many teach. In that sense, we avoid using the words ‘biblical worldview’ or ‘Christian worldview’.

What is worldview?

As little children, we begin to grow and learn by means of what we see and hear, predominately from our family. The behaviors and speech-acts we saw in our parents as young children and the behaviors we ourselves first began to practice influenced how we came to consider the world around us. Over time our practices and thinking became assumptions–what we assumed to be true about the world, our ‘worldview’ assumptions. At best they are a mixed bag of fact and fable, perceptions and prejudices, science and myth, wisdom and old-wives tales.

Why are worldview assumptions so important?

It is the very fact of being unaware that gives assumptions their power, both for good and for bad. Some assert that ninety percent of what we know is unaware, lurking in the background influencing our choices, our approach to life and how we interpret the world around us. Almost in every case, our assumptions determine and trump our stated beliefs (for example, what we learn in church) and our behavior.

The primary lack in most worldview teaching is the fact that worldview assumptions are largely tacit, or unaware. This being the case, the primary difficulty or task is how to unmask or diagnose what are our real assumptions. This is what most teachers of ‘Christian worldview’ miss. They seem to think it is a relatively easy task to become aware of one’s worldview and check if it corresponds to orthodox biblical teaching.

What do you emphasize that is different from other teaching?

We welcome any teaching that attempts to help people grow spiritually and honor God. We find that all teachings on ‘biblical worldview’ have elements that are helpful.

Our particular concern is to emphasize that “unmasking” requires something powerful to bring our assumptions to light. Sometimes life universals such as a birth, death, job loss, divorce, going to a new culture, etc. are sufficient. However, we believe that Scripture is the most powerful because it is God’s light, his sharp sword. So, for this reason we emphasize that Scripture, wielded by the Holy Spirit [John 13:16]:

1. Diagnoses worldview assumptions. In our opinion, the Bible is superior to all other means for unmasking and diagnosing worldview assumptions.

2. Teaches biblical Gifts, or givens. Biblical Gifts are given to us by God in Scripture precisely because they are not available to us naturally.

Biblical Gifts are:

-known facts like an historic event such as the Passover or Pentecost

-objects such as the pillar of stones in Joshua or the Scriptures

-something bestowed or conferred such as circumcision or baptism

-instructional stipulations for covenantal living such as the Ten Commandments

-the new birth, grace, forgiveness are givens

-Jesus himself is the greatest given.

Biblical Gifts are intended to be known and daily chosen over one’s worldview assumptions (“put off the old and put on the new” as described by Paul).

3. Is to be used to induct new/young believers into the biblical, or covenantal, way of life.

Comments, rejoinders, questions, suggestions? We’d love to discuss this further with you, each learning from the other, and we’d like to jointly pursue choosing biblical Gifts over natural worldview assumptions.

About dbporter

Dan Porter, living in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Married to Bonnie, an artist. We have three grown sons, all married to wonderful women, and in turn have eight children.
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