Unsurprisingly, this article is a pretty straightforward introduction to the concept of a Christian worldview. The author argues that worldview is something which comes from God-- by means of revelation, which he defines as the Bible. A worldview, the author continues to say, is like a pair of glasses. It does not change our surroundings but allows us to see other things clearly, as they really are. Thus, it is important to stand on the truth of scripture as the foundation for our lives. The author gives another image, that of a puzzle. The Bible is like the picture on the box and everyday we put in more pieces as we put together the puzzle. But we have to be careful not to get mixed up with pieces from other puzzles. The author finishes by concluding that our theology determines our worldview and the Bible determines our theology.
As a student of theology, I am encouraged endlessly to "think theologically" about all aspects of life. (It's even something of a joke at Brite, how much of a catchphrase that is.) So that aspect of worldview, I understand. And quite right, as Christians, our theology determines much of how we see the world.
What is interesting to me in this article is that there seems to be only one way to understand scripture, and one type of Christian worldview.
I began to understand more of the author's theology when the second word of the article reminded me that God is indeed male. (For those of you keeping score at home, a masculine pronoun was used for God 10 times in this short 950 word piece.)
For those of you who are convinced that I am a feminist nit-picking because I am left with little else to quibble with, I assure you, that is not the case. First, the implied "worldview" the author seems to be advocating for all Christians follows the usual post-Takeover route to being oppressive to women. (Oh, and look for that pattern throughout the series.)
Secondly, the use of the masculine pronoun emphasizes something I said yesterday; this is evidence of the echo chamber. Again, as a student of theology, I can tell you that no one is going to publish anything that uses masculine pronouns for God unless they are evangelical. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with being evangelical (although I maintain the language is oppressive), I'm just saying that maybe the author is talking only to an increasingly insular subset of Christians.
Further, the author proves to have continued the trend of the post-Takeover 2000 Baptist Faith and Message. In 1963, the BF&M maintained that "The criterion by which the Bible is to be interpreted is Jesus Christ." But this sentence was removed in the fundamentalist-inspired 2000 revision. Thus, Jesus is no longer the fullness of God's revelation, but God is found in the words on a page.
Don't get me wrong. I have dedicated my entire life to understanding those words on the page. But the Word of God (capital W intended) is Jesus Christ, the Word became flesh. I am not saying that the author would not affirm that Jesus is indeed the fullness of God's self revelation. I am only saying that he presents the only necessary revelation for a worldview to be the Bible.
Suddenly, it is no longer sufficient for Jesus to be the Truth (John 14.6) but we can only stand on the "inspiration, authority, and total truthfulness" of scripture. Now, I'm not disagreeing with any of those things, I'm simply pointing out that pragmatically, it makes a huge difference whether one is standing on Jesus as the Truth or upon affirmation of the words on the page.
The problem with saying there is one Christian worldview and that it is based on scripture is that scripture has been understood so variously throughout our history, that statement is impossible. When someone says, "The bible says...(x, y, z)..." what they really mean is, "My interpretation of the bible is... (x, y, z)..." There is no such thing as objectivity. And so even though the Bible may be inspired and authoritative and totally truthful -- none of us know what it means.
200 years ago, people (even Southern Baptists) held up the Bible and proclaimed that God did not intend for the races to mix in marriage.
At some point we need to acknowledge that that was our action based on words in our holy book-- and that we messed up. We read it wrong. All of us did. And certainly we haven't figured it out between now and then.
We all see in a mirror dimly, we all know only in part (1 Cor. 13:12).
If the Bible was easy to understand, why would we have seminaries? And why would we have so many denominations? All of those splits have come from different ways of understanding the same words on the page.
So, I am skeptical of an author who claims that the Bible is like glasses that make us see everything else more clearly. Surely, that is my experience sometimes. But so often, I read the Bible and it makes everything more complicated.
I am 100% agreed that all aspects of my life and thought life ought to be put under the lordship of Christ. But I am not sure what that means all of the time, and I don't think that anyone else does either. Last time I checked, all of us had a really old book that didn't come with any other instructions than read it, try your best, and trust God -- because God is faithful.
Claiming that one way of reading that book is authoritative is not the firm foundation we need.
I like the metaphor of the puzzle. But if the image on the box is God -- that's a box I'm not going to see this side of glory. So I'll just trust that the pieces that fit belong in the picture.