The American Heritage Dictionary (4th edition, 2000) defines the term “worldview” this way: Worldview (n). 1. The overall perspective from which one sees and interprets the world. 2. A collection of beliefs about life and the universe held by an individual or a group. Secular worldview authorities agree that the following questions are the “Big 5” that determine one’s worldview.
• Where are you?
• Who are you?
• What’s gone wrong?
• What’s the solution?
• What happens at death?
Google the term “worldview” and you will find that a worldview is a theory of the world, used for living in the world. A worldview is a mental model of reality; a framework of ideas and attitudes about the world, ourselves, and life; a comprehensive system of beliefs with answers for a wide range of questions. The article goes on to say that some worldview questions are about God.
• Can we know whether God exists?
• Does God exist?
• If so, what characteristics does God have?
• And, what was/is God’s relationship with the universe?
• Have miracles occurred in the past, as claimed in the Bible, and do they occur now?
• Was the universe self-creating, or did God create it?
• What is God’s role in history? Is there a purpose and meaning in history?
The fact is, from the Christian perspective, all worldview questions are about God and how He relates to the world He created. Questions like, how does God expect His highest creation, mankind, to relate to Himself and to the rest of His creation? Specifically, how should Christians relate to the culture? How does a Christian worldview affect the way we raise our children? Or, the way we relate to the government? Does a Christian worldview dictate what ought to be our place in society?
I know, this is getting deep—a little too philosophical for a country boy like me.
But, what are the Christian’s rights and responsibilities in the secular world? Does a Christian worldview have something to say about what ought and/or ought not to be taught in Christian schools? What about public schools? How does a Christian worldview shape the teaching and practice of the modern church? What does it really mean to be in the world but not of the world?
Sort of makes your head spin doesn’t it?
Simply stated, a worldview is the framework of ideas and beliefs through which an individual interprets the world and interacts with it. A Christian worldview implies that we see the world through the prism of God in us. In his latest book, Radical, David Platt urges Christians to rethink the “American dream,” their faith—and whether the two can co-exist.
Can we, genuinely, live out the Great Commandment and fulfill the Great Commission while chasing the American dream? That is the central question for 21st century American Christians and it will be the focus of the following speakers at the upcoming MBC Worldview Conference:
Russell D. Moore is the Dean of the School of Theology and senior vice-president for academic administration at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Moore will speak in two sessions of the conference. He will open the worldview conference with an “Introduction to a Christian Worldview.” Later in the day Moore will return to speak about “Parenting with a Christian Worldview.” Moore, who writes extensively and speaks regularly on the subject of a Christian worldview, is the author of The Kingdom of Christ and Adopted for Life and he is a senior editor for Touchstone: A Journal of Mere Christianity. Moore has gained a national platform regarding adoption and Christian parenting and will speak to us from a theological/academic perspective.
The Honorable Zel M. Fischer is a judge on the Missouri Supreme Court. Judge Fischer will speak concerning “The Christian’s Rights and Responsibilies Under the Law.” Judge Fischer was educated at William Jewell College and the University of Missouri at Kansas City, eventually earning the degree juris doctor with distinction. Fischer, an active member of the Tarkio First Baptist Church, is an outspoken Christian in an anti-Christian world. You will be impressed with his Christian testimony, his sincerity, his knowledge of the issues and his eloquence as Judge Fischer speaks to the conference from the judicial/legal perspective.
Roger Moran will speak on “The Church Presenting a Christian Worldview.” Roger Moran is well-known, albeit controversial, to Missouri Baptists as one of the primary architects of the MBC conservative resurgence. He has done extensive research on Christian worldview issues, including study on the impact of contemporary trends in the modern church and exploration of the doctrine and practices of the emerging church. Moran is the owner/operator of Brooks Brothers Trailer Manufacturing Company, Inc. and a member of the Maranatha Baptist Church, an independent Baptist church in rural Lincoln County. No longer a Missouri Baptist, he comes to the Christian worldview discussion in Missouri Baptist life, “from the outside looking in,” bringing the layman’s perspective to issues that affect the church—from the pulpit to the pew.
Don Hinkle, editor of The Pathway, will wrap up the event speaking on the all-inclusive subject, “The Christian Worldview Permeating Society.” Hinkle, who is well-known to Missouri Baptists, brings to the table the journalistic/societal perspective. In 2008, Hinkle won an award from the Evangelical Press Association for his Christian worldview editorial on the homosexual marriage battle. He is one of about 800 Centurions trained to go “into the world” and teach a “Christian worldview.” Centurions are commissioned by BreakPoint Ministries, an organization founded and led by Chuck Colson.
There is little doubt that the upcoming Worldview Conference will generate much interest, even some controversy. This event certainly will be an
“… iron-sharpens-iron” type meeting. Some Missouri Baptists will be disappointed in the choice of one or more of the speakers. Others, recognizing the far-right, ultra-conservative nature of most worldview conferences, will be wary of the subject matter. But, the Rev. Lyman Beecher, co-founder of the American Temperance Society and a Presbyterian minister prior to the Civil War, was well acquainted with the controversy associated with standing for truth and righteousness. Beecher once said that “no great advance has been made in science, politics or religion without controversy.” I am praying that Missouri Baptists will look past the controversy to see the benefit of brothers and sisters coming together to apply the truth of Scripture to the world we live in.
The MBC Worldview Conference will be held at Memorial Baptist Church in Jefferson City on Sept. 27, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Lunch is provided for pre-registered participants. I hope to see you there.