By Bev and Phil Haas
A few years back Phil was sitting in a class at Regent University as part of his doctorate of education program when the professor mentioned worldview. A fellow student leaned over and asked him, “What’s he mean by worldview?” There is a definite buzz around the concept of worldview, not to mention more than a little confusion. So first let’s define what we mean by worldview.
What Is a Worldview?
A biblical worldview provides a framework to understand the world around us from God’s perspective. Focus on the Family’s The Truth Project states, “A comprehensive biblical worldview is one that includes and fundamentally understands God’s truth claimed over every area of life. Our personal worldview then is the total set of truth claims that we have bought, consciously or subconsciously, which drive our emotions and what we think and do in unguarded moments.”
Simply put, our worldview is our way of making sense of the world around us. You might say it is the biblical or secular lens through which we see the world.
What Is Your Worldview?
Phil and I (Bev) both have blurry vision and astigmatisms that must be corrected if we are to see clearly and function well in our world. Without prescription lenses, our world is fuzzy and out of focus. Unfortunately, the worldview is fuzzy for the vast majority of American’s, including Christians. According to a Barna survey conducted in 2009, only 9 percent of American’s hold to a traditional biblical worldview. The percentage for Christians is not much better. What’s even more of a surprise is that only one in 200, or 0.5 percent of emerging adults (ages 18 to 23), have a biblical worldview. What about you? Do you have a biblical worldview? Barna used the following questions in his survey to determine if someone held to a biblical worldview.
1. Do absolute moral truths exist?
2. Is absolute truth defined by the Bible?
3. Did Jesus Christ live a sinless life?
4. Is God the all-powerful and all-knowing Creator of the universe, and does he still rule it today?
5. Is salvation a gift from God that cannot be earned?
6. Is Satan real?
7. Does a Christian have a responsibility to share his or her faith in Christ with other people?
8. Is the Bible accurate in all of its teachings?
So how did you do? Did you answer yes to all these questions? Only 19 percent of believers did. For most people today, including Christians, their worldview is more secular than biblical.
Instilling a Biblical Worldview
Start with your own worldview. It’s important that your children (and grandchildren) see you reading the Bible and that you talk about what the Bible says with them. Make sure they know that you rely upon God’s Word and make life choices based on the Bible. We cannot pass on to our children something we do not possess.
Recently, we took our grandson to see the new Monster University movie. In one scene the two main characters, Mike and Sully, are at odds because Sully cheated to help his friend Mike win a contest. That’s when Caden (age 5) turned to Phil in the theater and whispered, “Which one do you think is right, Papa?” What a teachable moment! Caden wanted to know whether his papa was following the typical worldview (win at all costs) or a biblical worldview (always do what’s right). After a brief pause, Papa sided with Mike. As Deuteronomy 6:4-9 teaches, we are to talk about God’s commandments in the morning, in the evening, and everywhere in between (including the movie theater).
The Barna Group discovered that most peoples’ worldview is firmly in place by the time they reach the age of 13. It is refined through experience during the teen and emerging adult years; and then it is passed on to others during their adult life. So the parents’ and grandparents’ role in framing life for the next generation around a biblical worldview is both important and urgent. Hopefully, we’ve helped you understand what your church means by a biblical worldview and pointed you down a path that will help you seize every opportunity to develop in your children a worldview that is biblical. If we do nothing as Christians, the world will gladly teach them its view.
Phil and Bev Haas are involved in education and family ministry in Cincinnati, Ohio.