The Christian Worldview (1): Introduction

When we speak of the Christian Worldview, we refer to the ideal worldview—the true worldview, against which each of our individual worldviews is compared. As Christians, each of us has a Christian worldview which bears a close resemblance to but does not equal the Christian worldview. The Christian worldview, then, is the worldview God has for us—the best approximation a human can get to His perfect understanding of reality. The entire Bible is the standard for this worldview: it is the only infallible embodiment of God’s perspective on world and life within it. The Christian Worldview is, then, the whole of the Bible. If systematic theology is defined as “the application of the Word of God by persons to all areas of life,”1 then systematic theology is the articulation of the Biblical worldview in a concrete setting.  I would define a worldview as a comprehensive framework through which an individual interprets and acts within the world.2 Because a worldview involves the actions we take, the things we think, and way we feel, the ways to communicate and argue for a specific worldview are innumerable. In a series of articles to follow, I will give a brief sketch the Christian Worldview as far as I understand it, only touching upon the major points. I will outline the Christian perspective on metaphysics, then epistemology, and finally life (ethics).3

Part 2 – Metaphysics

Part 3 – Epistemology

Part 4 – Ethics

This article adapted from the first appendix of my paper, To Love God with All One’s Heart Soul and Strength.

[1] John M. Frame, The Doctrine of the Knowledge of God, A Theology of Lordship (Phillipsburg: P&R Publishing, 1987), 81. For Frame, “the Word of God” refers to all God’s revelation, but the Bible is has a special function as the standard by which we understand God’s revelation and evaluate our interpretations of it.
[2] Keller notes that James K. A. Smith critiques the overly cognitive views of worldview in his book Desiring the Kingdom, arguing that a worldview is more than just bullet point beliefs consciously adopted. I agree with this: a worldview involves beliefs as well as the things we do and our affections. Each of these is a perspective on the other, we build cognitive beliefs by doing and feeling, actions by thinking and orienting our affections correctly, our affections by acting in line with right thinking. The ideal worldview, that which no human embodies, sees perfect convergence between actions, affections, and thought—where looking at any one reveals the other two. In practice, our actions and affections are often at odd with our beliefs and vice versa. Timothy Keller, Center Church: Doing Balanced, Gospel-Centered Ministry in Your City (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2012), 199.
[3] Each of these is reciprocal, a perspective on one another: one does not consider metaphysics for long before touching on epistemology and ethics. The same goes for the others. Metaphysics considers all of reality in terms of ontology, existence—what exists? what is its nature? Epistemology considers all reality from the perspective of knowing—how do we know what exists? what is our basis for knowing? how can we be certain of what we know? Ethics considers all reality from the perspective of morality—what is the appropriate way for me to act towards the world, to know, to think, to feel? Though I disagree with him on various details, I am largely indebted to John Frame for the categories and methods by which I present the Christian Worldview and for the broad contours of its content. John M. Frame, Van Til: The Theologian (Phillipsburg: Pilgrim Publishing Company, 1976); Frame, Doctrine of Knowledge; John M. Frame, Cornelius Van Til: An Analysis of His Thought (Phillipsburg: P&R Publishing, 1995); John M. Frame, The Doctrine of God, A Theology of Lordship (Phillipsburg: P&R Publishing, 2002); John M. Frame, The Doctrine of the Christian Life, A Theology of Lordship 4 (Phillipsburg: P&R Publishing, 2008); John M. Frame, The Doctrine of the Word of God, A Theology of Lordship (Phillipsburg: P&R Publishing, 2010); John M. Frame, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Christian Belief (Phillipsburg: P&R Publishing, 2013); John M. Frame, A History of Western Philosophy and Theology (Phillipsburg: P&R Publishing, 2015).

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