Does Worldview Deliver Presidents?

Worldview, promoted as a necessary and transforming enrichment of Bible-believing Christianity, has itself been transformed over the years. What started with Abraham Kuyper, Dooyeweerd and others from the Dutch Reformed perspective has become property of the Evangelical church through people like Francis Schaeffer, Charles Colson, Nancy Pearcey and Focus on the Family. Then of, course, numerous small groups and Sunday School classes explain Christian Worldview tinted by the perspectives of individual churches.

So rather than consider an academic explanation of Christian Worldview, it may be more helpful to consider an explanation by an actual, non-academic (as far as I know) pastor. One such pastor describes it as follows:

As the Reformed Christian looks at life, he does not make a dichotomy between sacred and secular. All of life is sacred and to be lived under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Believing not only that the Scripture is authoritative for one’s life individually, the Reformed Christian proclaims that the Scriptures inform all areas of life

…Any gospel, however, which does not affect the political and social structures in which it is proclaimed is a truncated gospel. The Christian’s job is to proclaim the gospel of Christ in the political, social, and cultural issues of the day. The Christian must proclaim that one cannot solve social problems apart from the redemptive work of Christ.

…many Christians speak of certain areas being amoral or neutral. If God has created all things, then all things have moral implications.

If this is popular worldview, then worldview consists of 1) a rejection of the sacred/secular distinction, 2) an assertion that the scriptures inform all of life, 3) a declaration that Christ’s redemptive work applies to political, social, and cultural matters, 4) a call for the Christian to transform politics and culture based on the scriptures and, related to but distinct from #2, 5) everything has a moral implication. No doubt there is more to it, but for now we can call these the Five Points of Worldviewism.

People who call themselves Evangelicals tend to have a bit of a bandwagon mentality – in part because of their self-perception of belonging under the Evangelical tent – and they may have hopped on board the Worldview Express with the general idea of living Christianly when, really, the worldview commitment is more specific and theologically loaded than that.

This isn’t the time to open up all that is involved in worldview, but in this political season it’s fair to ask how how it’s fared in Republican politics. In Iowa, the first test of the Presidential candidates, it certainly didn’t deliver a single worldview candidate. In my previous post I mentioned the Bachmann/Santorum politico-evangelicals, and, though their supporters may reference “worldview,” their politico-evangelical support was largely due to their consistent positions on hot-button moral issues related to abortion, homosexuality, and the family; however you want to describe that, it wasn’t some kind of comprehensive worldview approval.

The Ron Paul politico-evangelicals actually rejected the spirit of worldviewism in supporting a candidate that doesn’t think he’s supposed to morally and religiously transform the country by top-down federal coercion.

Politico-evangelicals who will vote for Gingrich seem to value his experience, perceived ability, and a traditional conservative perspective. Again, it’s hard to see worldviewism directing their choice.

Frankly, I’ve never gotten a sense as to why Perry voters like him other than the fact that he looks more like an evangelical pastor than the others. Then there will likely be less vocal group of evangelicals who will vote for anyone-but-Obama-Romney.

The fault isn’t with the voters; it’s with worldview. What does worldview say about federal enforcement vs. state enforcement of marriage and abortion? What does it say about immigration? Does it tell us whether Iran should have nuclear weapons? Subsidies for ethanol? Tax reform? The answers are “nothing” and “no.”

The moral of the story? If you want delivery, call Herman Cain (Domino’s) because worldview doesn’t deliver.


Filed under evangelical politics, Evangelicalism, Worldview

9 responses to “Does Worldview Deliver Presidents?

  1. If all of life is sacred then nothing is.

    But speaking of not delivering, did you notice that the two candidates who were personally told by God to run for the presidency have dropped out of the race after a single caucus?

  2. GAS

    mm, I won’t object that contemporary Evangelicals and Reformed Christians have bastardized Kuyper’s thoughts. Yet Ron Paul has a worldview; a calvinistic one I would argue. I don’t see how a politician could NOT have a worldview.

    • The question is whether voters can definitively select a candidate by looking through worldview lenses.

      If the candidates were to engage reformed blogging I’m thinking Paul would be a comfortable 2k-er and Santorum/Bachmann would be Kloostermanesque.

      Here’s another difference: some Santorum/Bachmann voters will say it is unchristian to choose Paul. I don’t think Paul supporters say it is unchristian to vote for Santormann.

      • GAS

        The problem is that the worldview lense that most people use to view the candidates leaves them near-sighted and they fail to see the full picture.

        Paul’s campaign slogan, revolution, is somewhat subtle, with the word love spelled backwards highlighted; as in love your neighbor.

        If that’s unchristian then I’m not christian. To vote for Sanatorium is not unchristian, just crazy.

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