This review appeared in the Oct-Dec 2010 vol. 167 no. 4 issue of Biblotheca Sacra, DTS’s quarterly academic journal.Subscribe Today
Making Sense of Your World: A Biblical WorldviewSheffield Publishing Company, Salem, WI April 12, 2008
Phillips is a pastor in Chattanooga and a former professor of biblical studies at Bryan College in Dayton, Tennessee. Brown is former president of Bryan College and current president of Cedarville University in Cedarville, Ohio. Stonestreet is director of programs for Summit Ministries and teaches at Bryan College. Together these colleagues and friends have written a helpful introductory textbook on worldviews. In the first section they define the concept of worldview and summarize several major worldview options. In the second part they describe and defend a distinctly biblical worldview and compare it with other perspectives on several issues, including the problems of evil and suffering and religious pluralism. In the third section they apply their worldview perspective to the individual, the family, the church, and the world, arguing that a distinctly Christian view makes a difference in the way one relates in these spheres.
The authors define worldview as “the framework of our most basic beliefs that shapes our view of and for the world and is the basis of our decisions and actions” (p. 8). These basic beliefs are fundamental to all other beliefs and determine both values and behavior. Accordingly a Christian worldview “is the responsibility, and the opportunity, of Christians to think and live in accordance with the view of life and world set out in the Scriptures” (p. 92). Thus, they argue, a Christian views the world and acts in the world in a way that differs from those with different worldviews.
As the authors indicate in several places, there is no single biblical, or Christian, worldview. Their intention is not to provide the only legitimate interpretation of the Bible or the only possible Christian perspective on the world. They write from a believers’ church position, for example, and those with a covenantal view of the people of God would hold a different view of the church and her functions and purposes. But they avoid emphasizing sectarian and denominational distinctives as much as possible.
This helpful book is written on a basic level, making it accessible to a wide audience. The authors avoid using unnecessary theological jargon and define terms as they use them so that nonexperts can understand. They include helpful illustrations and examples that connect the theoretical to the practical quite well. They defend Christian orthodox beliefs in a winsome and appealing way. The book is highly recommended for a refresher on the subject, for an introduction to worldviews for laypersons, and for an opportunity to engage interested non-Christians in conversation about Christianity. Also it would make an excellent small-group discussion text; it includes study questions at the end of each chapter.
—Glenn R. Kreider