Is Worldview Important for the Local Congregation?. Regent College, Vancouver Michael W. Goheen. Worldview and Academic Setting. Term ‘worldview’ introduced into English speaking Christianity end of 19 th c. Just after mid-20 th c. term very popular Primarily in academic circles
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Regent College, Vancouver
Michael W. Goheen
12% evangelicals knew what a worldview was
12% give adequate definition
4% said they needed to know anything about it!
“I didn’t realize until I took the worldview course, how much I try to make Western culture and the Biblical worldview fit together. I realize more and more that they are actually opposite and against each other. Yet I must live in this culture because I am a part of it. Many times I struggle with how to do it.”
“ . . . the deep-seated and persistent failure of the churches to recognize that the primary witness to the sovereignty of Christ must be given, and can only be given, in the ordinary secular work of lay men and women in business, in politics, in professional work, as farmers, factory workers and so on.”
The problem of leading a Christian life in a non-Christian society is now very present to us. It is not merely the problem of a minority in a society of individuals holding an alien belief. It is the problem constituted by our implication in a network of institutions from which we cannot dissociate ourselves; institutions the operation of which appears no longer neutral, but non-Christian; and as for the Christian who is not conscious of his dilemma—and he is in the majority—he is becoming more and more de- Christianized by all sorts of unconscious pressures; paganism now holding all the most valuable advertising space (T.S. Eliot,1946)
The early Christian belief [i.e.,Scriptural belief] that the Fall and Redemption pertained not just to man, but to the entire cosmos, a doctrine already fading after the Reformation, now [under secularism of 19th c.] disappeared altogether: the process of salvation, if it had any meaning at all, pertained solely to the personal relation between God and man (Tarnas).
He impels young and old, men and women,to go next door and far away
into science and art, media and marketplace
with the good news of God’s grace. . . . (CT, 32)
sent with the gospel of the kingdom
to make disciples of all nations,
to feed the hungry,
to proclaim the assurance that in the name of Christ
there is forgiveness of sin and new life
for all who repent and believe–
To tell the news that our world belongs to God.
In a world estranged from God,
where millions face confusing choices,
this mission is central to our being,
for we announce the one name that saves. (CT, 44)
To follow this Lord is to serve him everywhere,
without fitting in,
as lights in the darkness,
as salt in a spoiling world.
Incomparably the most urgent missionary task for the next few decades is the mission to ‘modernity’... It calls for the use of sharp intellectual tools, to probe behind the unquestioned assumptions of modernity and uncover the hidden credo which supports them...
- Lesslie Newbigin
Culture: Common way of life rooted in shared core of religious beliefs
The deeper the consciousness of the tension and the urge to take this yoke upon itself are felt, the healthier the Church is. The more oblivious of this tension the Church is, the more well established and at home in this world it feels, the more it is in deadly danger of being the salt that has lost its savour (Kraemer).
At the most sophisticated level we have to think of our task in a city like Madras to train our lay members who are playing key roles in the life of government, business, and the professions to become ministers of Christ in these secular situations. All of this is involved in our calling and ordination (Newbigin).
For the Christian layman who is really out in the world, really seeking to be subject for the Lord’s sake to the human institutions about which we are speaking, the political order, the economic order and so forth, really seeking to face the desperate difficult decisions that this involves, seeking to bear on his heart the obligation of his participation in these orders, to keep his conscience both sharp and clear, this man knows that he needs one thing: he needs a true pastor.