Christian Worldview

PT504 Christian Worldview

Christian Worldview Internet Bible College, Vision CollegesA “worldview” refers to a comprehensive conception of the world from a specific standpoint. A “Christian worldview,” is a comprehensive conception of the world from a Christian standpoint. An individual’s worldview is his “big picture,” a harmony of all his beliefs about the world. It is his way of understanding reality. One’s worldview is the basis for making daily decisions and is therefore extremely important.

An apple sitting on a table is seen by several people. A botanist looking at the apple classifies it. An artist sees a still-life and draws it. A grocer sees an asset and inventories it. A child sees lunch and eats it. How we look at any situation is influenced by how we look at the world at large. Every worldview, Christian and non-Christian, deals with at least these three questions:

1) Where did we come from? (and why are we here?)
2) What is wrong with the world?
3) How can we fix it?

A prevalent worldview today is naturalism, which answers the three questions like this: 1) We are the product of random acts of nature with no real purpose. 2) We do not respect nature as we should. 3) We can save the world through ecology and conservation. A naturalistic worldview generates many related philosophies such as moral relativism, existentialism, pragmatism, and utopianism.

A Christian worldview, on the other hand, answers the three questions biblically: 1) We are God’s creation, designed to govern the world and fellowship with Him (Genesis 1:27-28; 2:15). 2) We sinned against God and subjected the whole world to a curse (Genesis 3). 3) God Himself has redeemed the world through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ (Genesis 3:15; Luke 19:10), and will one day restore creation to its former perfect state (Isaiah 65:17-25). A Christian worldview leads us to believe in moral absolutes, miracles, human dignity, and the possibility of redemption.

A worldview is comprehensive. It affects every area of life, from money to morality, from politics to art. True Christianity is more than a set of ideas to use at church. Christianity as taught in the Bible is itself a worldview. The Bible never distinguishes between a “religious” and a “secular” life; the Christian life is the only life there is. Jesus proclaimed Himself “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6) and, in doing so, became our worldview.

I. Course Description

How do you view reality? What is the source of your knowledge? Do you live what you believe? Such are the questions that a worldview answers. This course examines the nature and function of belief structures, and the value of developing and living a distinctly Christian life. The course develops a Christian worldview from a redemptive history model of Biblical theology, which is then clarified using the philosophical categories of metaphysics, epistemology, and axiology. Learners will gain an understanding of modern and postmodern thought and how to critique them biblically, and are encouraged to develop and apply a Christian worldview to life and ministry.

II. Course Objectives

As a result of this course, the student will be able to:

1. Explain the functions and concepts of a worldview.

2. Inventory presuppositions and control beliefs that inform his/her own worldview.

3. Formulate a Christian worldview and evaluate ideas, values, and processes in life situations from the perspective of that worldview.

4. Analyze alternative worldviews in the categories of metaphysics, epistemology, and axiology.

5. Enact worldview principles in Christian ministry.

III. Course Texts

1. Assigned Reading:

The following texts are required reading for the course, assigned in the Course Lessons. If any of them becomes unavailable, please notify ITS; in the meantime, a suitable substitute may be used. Though helpful for the final exam, none of the textbooks is necessary for successfully completing it.

Hauerwas, Stanley and William Willimon. Resident Aliens. Nashville: Abingdon, 1989.

Sire, James W. The Universe Next Door. 3rd ed. Downers Grove: IVP, 1997.

Walsh, Brian and Richard Middleton. The Transforming Vision. Downers Grove: IVP, 1984.

Wolters, Albert. Creation Regained. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1985.

2. Recommended Reading:

InterVarsity Press series, “Contours of Christian Philosophy.”

Evans, C. Stephen. Philosophy of Religion. Downers Grove: IVP, 1985.

Hasker, William. Metaphysics. Downers Grove: IVP, 1983.

Holmes, Arthur. Ethics. Downers Grove: IVP, 1984.

Wood, Jay. Epistemology. Downers Grove: IVP, 1998.

IV. Course Requirements

1. Time:

Students are expected to spend a minimum of 120 hours in this course for 3 semester or 4 quarter hours of graduate credit.

2. Lesson Plans:

Students are required to listen carefully to the 24 lectures of recorded material by Dr. Grier, following along with the questions and note-taking helps in the Lesson Viewer. Completion of these lessons— on the grader's evaluation of their conscientious effort — is worth 20% of their grade. Many of the questions are given to assist with note-taking, and their answers are readily available in the Lesson Visuals (PDF download located under Resources). Other questions are of an interactive, andragogical nature, so their answers will be somewhat subjective. In such cases the answers will exhibit wide variety. Effort and completion will be the factors in evaluation.

3. Reading:

Required readings are provided to the student within each lesson. Suitable substitutes may be utilized when necessary. Some of the readings have follow-up questions that should be completed as a part of the Lesson Plans.

4. Research Paper:

Each student should write a 12-15 page (double-spaced) research paper using the title, “Worldview and _____________”. The student should select a topic of interest, and apply reading and the lectures to the topic so that the relevance of the student's worldview is interpreted and applied to the chosen subject.

Sample topics:

  • Worldview and Youth Ministry
  • Worldview and Family
  • Worldview and Media
  • Worldview and Missions
  • Worldview and Christian Counseling
  • Worldview and Business
  • Worldview and Church Education
  • Worldview and Medical Ethics
  • Worldview and Culture 
  • Worldview and Preaching

The paper should show the implications of the student's worldview for the chosen subject, and should also demonstrate the student's grasp of the subject (quite possibly, this will involve some reading and citation of sources from that area). The purpose of the paper is to enable the student to critique a subject from a worldview perspective and to reconstruct the subject along the lines of a Christian worldview.

This will provide an opportunity for the student to practice and develop competency for instructional objectives 3 and 5, in particular.

Recommended guidelines for the paper are those set forth in the latest edition of Kate L. Turabian, A Manual for Writers for Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations (Chicago: University of Chicago Press), or whatever style guide is in use at the appropriate institution.

5. Final Examination:

A final exam will be given at the conclusion of the course. It will test mastery of the lecture material. Insofar as the lecture material interacts with required reading, that reading is fair game for the test. However, the focus is the lecture material. The test will require students to function with the lecture material not just at lower cognitive levels (knowledge, understanding), but especially at higher levels (application, synthesis etc.).

Click here to download the course outline (PDF)

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