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Understanding Worldviews in Light of the World as We Know It

January 16, 2017 General

by Isaac Murton, On-Site Pastor. (Published in The Filmstrip, January 2017 edition.)

In this world, it is amazing how many people do not understand who they are or how their personal views and assumptions came to be. These people do not understand their worldviews are foundational to how they view and live their life in this current world. Having no real understanding of such knowledge is like spitting in the wind and wondering why it keeps coming back in your face. Well, a person’s worldview is the same. Without understanding what your worldview or worldviews are, you have no real understanding of why you feel or make decisions in the way you do. Most worldviews serve to benefit the individual and serve as no real foundation in life, but a Christian worldview gives you a greater understanding and perspective on our lives together, serving to honor and glorify God.

A worldview is a “foundational set of assumptions to which one commits that serves as a framework for understanding and interpreting reality and deeply shapes one’s behavior.”1 Because there is constant disagreement about the basic nature of the world and the purpose of mankind, views vary substantially and conflict regularly. Many are skeptical about the process of reaching a consensus about what worldview is preferred, since everyone already embraces one or multiple worldviews. Consequently, not many are in a position to critically evaluate their own worldview or engage their underlying convictions in this larger world of ideas.2

Worldviews determine personal value, beliefs, and moral values one places on humanity, reality, mankind’s purpose, and the need for salvation in their lives.

Worldview transformation begins for many at birth. The worldviews held by parents and friends aid in the development of the child as he or she gets older. At a certain stage in life, the person begins to establish their own defined worldviews through interactions and life experiences they encounter. The hope that a child grows up in a faithful and diligent Christ follower’s home with a strong Christian worldview is like finding a unicorn running through the city with an angel riding on the back of it.

So we must understand that  as we deal with mankind, they may or may not have the same view points as us. This again is from their upbringing, culture, life experiences, and chosen assumptions on all aspects of life. Mission-oriented Christians must understand this notion that their worldview is not the only one out there. By approaching people in a way that goes against their developed belief systems, they both alienate themselves and drive a wedge between them and those they are trying to reach. “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” (James 1:19). This approach will allow for relationships to be made, trust to be established, and God’s will to be done as He sees fit.

Worldviews can and will always be difficult to work through. But having a better understanding of one’s worldview allows them to be able to better understand the ramifications of their relationship with God. Knowing how to define and understand worldviews allows for stronger, loving, and faithful relationships that honor God.

By approaching others through Christ’s love, the Holy Spirit’s direction, and with a servant’s desire, missions will be successful. Reservations and expectations are counteractive to missions and can turn others away rather than lead them to a loving relationship with God through Christ by the power of the Spirit.

1 James Waddell, Seeking wisdom, In A. DiVincenzo (Ed.), The Beginning of Wisdom: An introduction to Christian thought and Life. Phoenix, AZ. Grand Canyon University. (2014).
2 Jason Hiles, Anna Faith Smith, Seeking wisdom, In A. DiVincenzo (Ed.), The Beginning of Wisdom: An introduction to Christian thought and Life. Phoenix, AZ. Grand Canyon University. (2014).

Isaac Murton is the adjunct professor of Theology, Ministry, and Missions and the Pastor of Residence at Huntington University Arizona.

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