Big Worldview, Little Church

According to its advocates, Christian Worldview is a transparent application of basic biblical teaching. For example, consider the basics of creation, fall, and redemption; certainly it’s counter-intuitive to argue they are not biblical teachings that make a difference in our thought life. (In time we can discuss whether they make as much difference as advertised). It would seem that all of worldview could be a footnote to “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

It is indeed tempting to think of worldview as an uncontroversial application of Romans 12:2, but that’s only because – please enjoy the irony here – our worldview keeps us from seeing that worldview is more than worldview. If that’s too smart-alecky, here’s another way to say it: evangelical-style worldview is not a clear pair of glasses but, rather, glasses that have a philosophical tint.We can see the evangelical-style worldview in How Now Shall We Live by Charles Colson and Nancy Pearcey, out of which has sprung a devotional and a study guide. There we are told that in “every step” we take

we are either advancing the rule of Satan or establishing the reign of God.. . . Genuine Christianity is a way of seeing and comprehending all reality. It is worldview.. . .

A lot could be said about that, but for now just note that if every step we take is a matter of advancing heaven or hell, it’s hard to say the church and what happens on Sundays is more important than other institutions on other days.  But fear not, the authors have a role for the church:

the church can take a role in supporting artists in their services: They can invite musicians to write and play music; ask poets and writers to create dramatic presentations for religious holidays…

In other words, the church can be a useful support for the important things that happen Monday through Saturday. Figuratively, worldview glasses see a city in which the various institutions of the world are skyscrapers and the church is built under their shadows.

Now let’s compare worldviewism with an alternative way of perceiving our days under the sun.  What if, for example, one was to think the church is of pre-eminent importance among our institutions?  Such a worldview heretic might further say that Christ has especially established the church as an institution that is necessary for the well-being of the Christian.  He might assert that the preaching and sacraments of the church are more important than all the worldviewing you can do Monday through Saturday.  He might be so bold as to say that Sunday is a day more important than other days. Or, going entirely off the rails, he might even say the state of the church is of greater importance than the state of the world.  Figuratively, his church is prominent in the silhouette of the city.

Going back to the worldview proof text, we are told to not conform to the pattern of the world. But isn’t it the pattern of the world to have a high view of the world and a low view of the church? In terms of relative importance, “big worldview” seems to go along with “little church.” And, if that’s worldview, get me a different pair of glasses.


Filed under Church, Sabbath Day, Worldview

8 responses to “Big Worldview, Little Church

  1. Good piece, I used to be so into that worldview stuff. It is a big burden off your back once you really believe that God is in providential control of the world and the best thing we can do is get involved in the life of the Church each Sunday on a regular basis. Not having to take over the culture is a big relief. Unfortunately, one of my sons is really into influencing the culture for Christ – both he and his new wife (who thinks she has a prophetic ministry- she is from Zimbawbau, Africa and a very smart girl). They don’t listen to much of what I have to say so about the only thing I can do is watch them crash one day like I did.

  2. Hopefully, I will be able to comfort them with the Gospel when that day ineveitably will come.

  3. 3821, is there much worldviewism in Lutheran circles? I suppose there would be in the ELCA but I’m wondering about the more conservative denoms like LCMS.

  4. I do want to respond to this but I have to go to work. I will try to respond tonight when I get back or tomorrow morning. There definitely is not as much as there is in the Reformed world. Remember, I attended Calvin College and have more experience in the Reformed world than I have in the Lutheran world. They are an interesting but kind of hard to get to know group. At least the ones in the congregation I am involved with are. Worldview does make inroads into Lutheranism though:

  5. I kind of get a kick out of Worldview Everlasting but my Pastor rolls his eyes at him, ie., Jonathan Fisk that is. I should not be ruining your site with my comments so I will make it a rarity.

  6. Thanks MM, I will continue to drop in then. You always have interesting things to say.

  7. Richard

    Man, this is good–and I’m going through DVD’s book, right now, “Living in God’s Two Kingdoms,” where he speaks of the value of the church. This is good stuff.

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