Topic Article #3: Christian Worldview
by Dr. Eugene Clingman, Executive Administrator
Copyright 2006, International Church Council Project
(This article may be freely distributed so long as it is not altered
and this comment and the above information remain intact.)
The “affirmation & denial” document used by the ICCP for Topic 3 is widely known as The 42 Articles of the Essentials of a Christian World View. It was written in 1984 as 112 Christian leaders and theologians came together cross-denominationally to form the Coalition on Revival (COR is the sponsoring organization of ICCP). This theologically diverse group of leaders needed a clearly defined statement of true Christian doctrine which would become the foundation for other theological work they would do together in the future.
By consensus and input from many COR theologians The 42 Articles of the Essentials of a Christian World View were written. It is a generic statement of faith that incorporates 2,000 years of the Church’s orthodox, historically accepted theology, and touches on all the theological and philosophical points necessary to outline the full, Biblical view of doctrine and reality. These articles are so biblically basic to Christianity that they are agreed upon cross-denominationally. When this document was completed it was sent to as many denominations as COR was able to get an address for, and they were asked whether they could endorse the document. All feedback received was positive, except from the Catholic Church which disagreed about the number of legitimate books contained in the Bible (Catholics include the Apocrypha). These articles leave untouched, unstated, and open to Christian freedom certain differences, such as baptism and eschatology, but uncompromisingly present a true biblical/Christian worldview. No doctrinal statement of the past 200 years offers the Body of Christ a more detailed, comprehensive, generic statement of the Biblical worldview.
Why is Christian worldview an issue? In the words of Marshall Foster, respected speaker and author, “A person’s worldview will shape every conclusion he draws.” In other words, one’s worldview embraces every aspect of life and thought. Every person alive has a worldview and that worldview effects all he is and does. Should the Christian have a Marxist, Hindu, or Secular Humanist worldview? Of course not! Clearly, a Christian should have a Christian worldview. Yet today much of the Church has drifted from a truly Christian worldview. Today much of the Church has a mixture of humanistic, feminist, and evolutionary ways of thinking and viewing the world, as well as watered down Christianity, which is in other words, compromised theology.
“Doctrine!? Theology!? Yuck! Who needs it?”
There is a widespread “feeling” in the Body of Christ today that doctrine and theology are not very needed. The word “doctrine” means “what is taught.” You and I are being taught continually. Teaching comes from TV, radio, popular magazines, billboards, books, videos, friends, so on, and from the Bible. Which of these, if any, speak authoritatively about reality? The Bible alone! The Bible speaks to every area of life, has the answer for every moral question, and contains the standard of wisdom and right and wrong. It is the Bible which must be the rule by which we judge every thought that imposes itself upon our minds, our every attitude and action and those of our society, and every norm of our culture. We must bring “every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (Christ-ian worldview)” (2 Corinthians 10:5). The Bible contains teaching (doctrine), and every Christian needs it in order to have a Christian worldview. Without biblical doctrine (teaching) the world around us will impose its thoughts upon us, and we will have a non-Christian worldview, that “will shape every conclusion” we draw, and in turn effect our every attitude and action.
“Do not be conformed to this world (non-Christian worldview), but be transformed (into a Christian worldview) by the renewing of your mind…” (Romans 12:2). How shall we be transformed and get a truly Christian worldview? “To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn” (Isaiah 8:20). The Bible gives us the true view of reality (worldview), because it’s author is the Creator who made the world, and the natural and spiritual laws that govern reality.