“Worldview” . . . that’s a word I used to have to define when I’d talk about it with youth workers and parents 15 years ago. I was finding that it was a relatively new and unfamiliar concept, term, and matter of discussion in the church at that time. Now, it’s something familiar to us all thanks to good discussions about “Worldview.” But I wonder if we need to rethink and maybe redefine the meaning we’ve given to the concept, term, and word.

I got to thinking about this over the weekend as I read Richard Mouw’s amazing little book about one of my heroes of the faith, Abraham Kuyper. Ever hear of Kuyper? If not, he’s someone you need to meet. I first heard about Mouw’s book Abraham Kuyper: A Short and Personal Introduction – from Byron Borger, proprieter of the world’s greatest book store, Hearts & Minds. (If you’d like to buy the book, it would be great if you would do so from Byron!).

I love Mouw’s chapter on Kuyper and “World-Viewing” so much that I thought I’d pass on a little bit here. Mouw reminds readers that Kuyper’s understanding and development of the concept of Worldview is all about how we, as Christians, are called to see things in new ways. We need to care about what God cares about, to rejoice in what makes God’s heart glad, and to grieve about what saddens him. It’s all about discernment. We need to learn how to do that ourselves and then we need to teach our kids how to do the same.

What I find especially helpful in Mouw’s chapter on Worldview is how we say we have to “have” a Christian worldview. Mouw says we need to go beyond that understanding. We tend to talk and live like a worldview is something we possess rather than something we engage in and do. It’s a subtle yet significant distinction. . . and it’s a good one! Mouw says that instead of thinking about “having a worldview” we should be about the business of “engaging in worldviewing.” Mouw writes, “It is something we do on a journey. . . . being a Christian worldviewer means allowing the Bible to shed light on the paths we walk.”

Our task is clear. . . we are called to walk the path of life under the illumination of God’s Word, shining the light of God’s Word on every old and new reality we encounter along the way. I’m indebted to Abraham Kuyper for the concept of worldview. I’m indebted to Richard Mouw for a deeper understanding of world-viewing.

6 thoughts on “How Do You “Look?” . . . .

  1. i’ve been thinking and writing a bit about worldview, too, and i don’t think it’s on many christians’ radar.

    i appreciate the point that it is an ongoing process that we engage in actively. this key is missed and it’s part of why kids graduate from our ministries and faith at the same time.

    good challenge.

  2. Walt, You continue to enrich us all, with the best ideas, the best books, and succinct clarity about why it matters. You glorify God by helping us with these good insights.

    And thanks for the exceedingly nice remarks about BookNotes and Hearts & Minds. We’re really grateful. Thanks.

  3. Mouw says that instead of thinking about “having a worldview” we should be about the business of “engaging in worldviewing.”

    When is the Church going to “engage” the catastrophic problem of exponential population growth ? I bet that no one can point to one statement issued by any Christian Fundamentalist Church (CFC), promoting birth control. Instead the CFC glorifies and praises the likes of the 24 biological children of the Duggers as representing the biblical epitome of “go forth and multiply”. Elementary exponential math and common sense tells us that growth has to have a sustainable limit.

    What exactly is the CFC’S position on birth control ? I know that Compassion International is firmly against its use. This information I received from talking to a representative when requesting that my intended donation be used strictly for birth control information dissemination.

    Remember, birth control is not abortion. If you are under the belief that, “Well, but you are possibly preventing a baby from being conceived”, yea so, what’s biblically wrong with that? Also then, couples that refrain from having sex for even a single night, or day, are then likewise guilty.

    The following is a reprint from CNN, Oct.15, 2011, by Jeffrey D. Sachs, the director of The Earth Institute, Columbia University.

    (CNN) — Just 12 years after the arrival of the 6 billionth individual on the planet in 1999, humanity will greet the 7 billionth arrival this month. The world population continues its rapid ascent, with roughly 75 million more births than deaths each year. The consequences of a world crowded with 7 billion people are enormous. And unless the world population stabilizes during the 21st century, the consequences for humanity could be grim.

    A rising population puts enormous pressures on a planet already plunging into environmental catastrophe. Providing food, clothing, shelter, and energy for 7 billion people is a task of startling complexity.
    The world’s agricultural systems are already dangerously overstretched. Rainforests are being cut down to make way for new farms; groundwater used for irrigation is being depleted; greenhouse gases emitted from agricultural activities are a major factor in global climate change; fertilizers are poisoning estuaries; and countless species are threatened with extinction as we grab their land and water and destroy their habitats.

    The economic challenges are equally huge. Population is growing most rapidly in the world’s poorest countries — often the places with the most fragile ecological conditions. Poor people tend to have many more children, for several reasons. Many live on farms, where children can be engaged in farm chores. Modern methods of contraception maybe unavailable or unaffordable.


  4. Continued…

    When poor families have six or eight children, many or most of them are virtually condemned to a lifetime of poverty. Too often, parents lack the wherewithal to provide decent nutrition, health care and education to most of them. Illiteracy and ill health end up being passed from generation to generation.

    Governments in poor countries are unable to keep up, their budgets overmatched by the need for new schools, roads and other infrastructure. And modern methods of contraception may be unavailable or unaffordable. So the arrival of the 7 billionth person is cause for profound global concern. It carries a challenge: What will it take to maintain a planet in which each person has a chance for a full, productive and prosperous life, and in which the planet’s resources are sustained for future generations? How, in short, can we enjoy “sustainable development” on a very crowded planet?

    The answer has two parts, and each portends a difficult journey over several decades. The first part requires a change of technologies — in farming, energy, industry, transport and building — so that each of us on average is putting less environmental stress on the planet. We will have to make a worldwide transition, for example, from today’s fossil-fuel era, dependent on coal, oil and gas, to an era powered by low-carbon energies such as the sun and wind.

    The second key to sustainable development is the stabilization of the global population. This is already occurring in high-income and even some middle-income countries, as families choose to have one or two children on average. The reduction of fertility rates should be encouraged in the poorer countries as well. Rapid and wholly voluntary reductions of fertility have been and can be achieved in poor countries. Success at reducing high fertility rates depends on keeping girls in school, ensuring that children survive, and providing access to modern family planning and contraceptives.

    We face an urgent task: to adopt more sustainable technologies and lifestyles, and work harder to achieve a stable population of some 8 billion or so by mid-century, rather than the current path, which could easily carry the world to more than 10 billion people by 2100.

  5. Life-VIEW…HOW?

    • “How do we best live life on planet earth?” Thom Wolf
    • Which of the major world-views will we adopt?
    • What are the implications of choosing a particular world-view?
    • How will this impact on my family and peer network?
    • What difference will it make in our world?


    • Which societal context should we prepare for…agricultural, industrial, information, design, or …?
    • Where are the geographical centers for our professions & points of view?
    • Who are the “associations” for emerging societies?
    • Where are the emerging opportunities for creating a different future for our small world?

    Life-VOICE…WHAT & WHY?

    • What roles will we play personally and professionally?
    • What issues will we focus on that will make a difference personally & professionally?
    • Who will we champion to become the heroes by 2025 as effective 1st-followers? (Geeks to Heroes:1980-2000)
    • Most importantly, why will we pursue these options?
    Assumption: If an 18 year old 1st Follower has a LIFE-VOICE revolving around God’s mission and their passion equaling a high school project, then very few would drop out of their relationship with Christ and his Father when they leave home.

  6. Bill Wilkie, I found your comment interesting and well thought out, but somewhat confusingly expressed. Perhaps more detail is needed.

    Back up to Ralph’s comment. Unfortunately and shockingly, the tenet of faith condemning birth control, other than the rhythm method, has infiltrated and is now firmly planted in far too many of our Christian Fundamentalist Churches, having been adopted from Roman Catholic dogma.

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