By Melvin Adams
People often ask what a worldview is and how it is developed. These are important questions, so I will briefly address them. But the more pressing question to me is how a Christian or biblical worldview is formed and passed on to our children and grandchildren. Let’s see if we can find some answers.
What Is Our Worldview?
Our worldview is the set of presuppositions and beliefs that we use to interpret and form opinions and values concerning life, humanity, family, authority, justice, truth, duty, etc. It is the “big picture” and culmination of all our beliefs. It is the way we understand reality. It is the basis from which we make daily decisions.
As my friend, Christian Overman points out, if we take a close look at any worldview, we will find that it consists of underlying beliefs (or assumptions) in five key areas that make up one’s big picture of “reality.” It is relatively easy to grasp someone’s worldview (including your own) by considering answers to questions in the following five areas:
God: Is there a personal, transcendent Supreme Being to whom we are all accountable? If so, what is this God like? If not, then what?
Creation: Where did the world come from? What sustains it all? Is there a spiritual part of reality or is it all material?
Humanity: Who are we? Is there anything unique, distinct or valuable about humans? If so, what and why?
Moral Order: Who makes the rules? Do some rules apply to everyone?
Purpose: Why do we exist? Is there a reason for the world we live in or for our own existence in the world?
How Does One Form a Worldview?
Let me give you a simple formula that I hope will help you see how all of us have formed our worldviews.
What is a Christian Worldview?
A Christian worldview is a comprehensive understanding of the world that is formed by the authority of the Bible and the person of Jesus Christ. It provides unique answers to all the questions of life. These answers, in turn, provide a solid foundation for unique attitudes and actions that shape lives and history in ways no other worldview has or ever can do.
A Christian worldview is primarily formed when the things we learn are framed within the context of God’s truth claims found in the Bible and are supported by our life experience with those who taught us.
Four Ts Essential to Passing on a Christian Worldview
The Bible speaks about training children up in a way that when they are old, they won’t depart from it (Proverbs 22:6). Training is the combination of the truth claims we teach and the reality of how our pupil experiences that truth, for experience will determine the extent to which the truth claim will be trusted or rejected. Perhaps this adds fresh perspective to the statement, “Practice what you preach!”
There are those who don’t like the word tradition because they see it as old-fashioned. Let me suggest that it is not. Tradition really demonstrates itself in two ways: Things we value so much that we practice or do regularly and things so important or valuable to us that we intentionally pass them on to those we love.
My wife and I were both blessed to be raised in Christian homes. But when we started our family we decided we would do something different with our children. We committed to spend time with each one at the end of the day just talking about their day and praying with them while tucking them into bed. We did that almost without fail for each of our six children until the day they left home. It became so much a part of their lives that some asked if we’d call them at night as they were leaving for college!
One of our sons, Ben, joined the Marine Corps. After serving two terms in Afghanistan and battling severe post-traumatic stress and other injuries, he was medically discharged. Many days were very dark for him. He once told me he felt his experience had robbed him of innocence.
Then Ben called one day to tell us he and his wife were expecting their first baby. He expressed how he felt like God might give him back some innocence through this new child. Later he called again with exciting news. The doctor said their developing baby could hear. The words that followed were like music to our ears. He said, “So guess what I’ve started doing? Every night I’ve been getting down close to the baby and talking and praying with him before we go to bed.”
Questions to Consider:
Does it matter what and how our kids are taught?
Does it matter what kind of time we spend with them?
Does it matter if they learn to trust God’s truth claims through our lives and others who influence them?
Do traditions matter when it comes to living and passing on our faith?
The Scriptures are clear, and life proves these things do matter. Experience shows that proper parenting and educating of children—the discipline of making disciples—takes an incredible amount of intentionality. It doesn’t just happen because we want it to. Charles Spurgeon once said, “Train up a child in the way he should go—but be sure you go that way yourself.” Simply put, disciples emulate those who lead them.
The mission of Renewanation is to promote, support, and expand the work of making disciples of Jesus among school-age children. That is the work of Christian parenting. It is also the work of Christian education.
Volume 8 Issue 1 - The Renewanation Review