Bringing God’s Truth to Bear

  In the nearly dozen years that I have been doing "BreakPoint," I've seen interest in Christian worldview grow at a phenomenal rate. Christians have come to understand that discipleship and evangelism are impossible without understanding the culture within which we're operating. Two of the best examples of this emerging interest in worldview can be found on college campuses five hundred miles apart: Union University and Dallas Baptist. My first introduction to the outstanding work of David Dockery, president of Union University in Jackson, Tennessee, came through a speech of his that I read several years ago. In it, he committed to integrating Christian worldview into every aspect of the curriculum at Union. And that's just what he has done. Union has become one of the first Christian schools to establish a chair in Christian worldview. Virtually every course taught at Union reflects what Dockery calls "a passion for learning based on the supposition that all truth is God's truth" -- a passion that is also available to students enrolled in Union's online learning program, which, I'm happy to say, I help teach. This passion is on display in Dockery's most recent effort at making good on his commitment: The excellent new book, Shaping a Christian Worldview: The Foundations of Christian Higher Education, is edited by Dockery and Professor Gregory Thornbury. In the book, Union faculty members discuss the importance of integrating Christian worldview into every discipline: art, healthcare, business, education, and communications. Reading the book, you get a sense for the approach that has propelled Union into U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT's top tier of Southern liberal-arts colleges. Dockery's book is not the only recent effort by a Christian scholar to examine the importance of worldview for the Church and the academy. David Naugle's new book, Worldview: The History of a Concept, makes another important contribution. In his book, Naugle, a professor of philosophy at Dallas Baptist University, characterizes the "conceiving of Christianity as a 'worldview'" as "one of the most significant events in the recent history of the Church . . . " Though Abraham Kuyper, the great Dutch theologian of a century ago, brilliantly expounded on the subject in his famous Stone Lectures at Princeton, the popular concept and term of worldview really took root with evangelicals only following World War II. Then, as now, the idea of Christianity as a worldview was conceived of as a way to help Christians resist the corrosive effects of the surrounding culture that reduced faith to a matter of personal piety. It provided the Church with a "fresh perspective" on the nature, dimension, and applications of faith -- not just in the personal lives of believers, but in our engagement with the larger culture. As Naugle reminds us, while the word worldview may be, for most of us, a recent addition to the Christian vocabulary, there's nothing new about having a "grand, systematic view of the faith." Such a view can be traced back to the Church fathers and through the Magisterial Reformers -- a history that Naugle skillfully recounts. Dockery and Naugle are only part of a growing movement of Christian thinkers and scholars. Not only is this, to use Naugle's word, "significant," it's healthy. It's a good sign that Christians have begun to understand the role that God's truth and the life of the mind are supposed to play in the life and mission of the Church. For further reading: Online registration is now available for the Wilberforce Forum's Certificate Program in Christian Worldview Studies. The first of four courses begins February 17! David Naugle, Th.D., Ph.D., Worldview: The History of a Concept (Eerdmans, 2002). David Naugle, Th.D., Ph.D., "'After the End of Art,'" Findings, Winter 2002/2003. David S. Dockery, Ph.D., Shaping a Christian Worldview: The Foundations of Christian Higher Education (Broadman and Holman, 2002). David S. Dockery, Ph.D., "Toward a Foundational Worldview," Findings, Fall 2002. Abraham Kuyper, "Lectures on Calvinism," L. P. Stone Foundation lectures delivered at Princeton University, 1898 (courtesy: The Kuyper Foundation). Sara Horn, "Colson Chair of Faith & Culture announced at Union University," Baptist Press, 15 March 2002. Learn more about Union University and Dallas Baptist University. If you're interested in teaching worldview to teens, see the study guide developed by Nancy Fitzgerald for ideas. BreakPoint WorldView magazine make a great gift for friends, family, and college students you know. You can send them a year's worth (ten issues) when you donate $25 or more to BreakPoint.


Chuck Colson


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