My ears perked up when I heard Chuck Colson on the air last week, recommending Apologia Press's worldview curriculum series. I didn’t know he had that discussion on his radio schedule, but I had this review on my writing schedule. I strongly agree with his endorsement.
John Hay and David Webb are writing the Biblical Worldview Series primarily for homeschool use, for students age 6 to 14. They’ve completed the first two volumes:Who Is God? And Can I Really Know Him? and Who Am I? And What Am I Doing Here? Attractive, well organized, colorfully illustrated, and flexible for use in a variety of settings or approaches, these are outstanding curriculum materials. An extensive “How to Use This Book” section guides parents/teachers in using the material.
In that section the authors ask a good question: “Why Should You Teach Worldview?” We could ask it this way, too: “Why should we teach worldview to children? Isn’t it rather a specialized field of study?” The authors’ answer reads in part:
People develop their worldviews upon beliefs they perceive to be true. Obviously, not all beliefs are true…. Diverse beliefs about reality fill the marketplace of ideas in the emerging global village…. Within this global arena of conflict and change, Christians are faced with at least two questions: “How do we know what is true?” and “How must we live our lives in relation to the truth that we come to know?”
If a parent-educator’s (or any parent’s) job is not to show their children how to know what is true, and how to live accordingly, then what is it?
Worldview questions are children’s questions: Where did we come from? Why am I the way I am? What happens after people die? Why do things go wrong? Who is God? An atheistic evolutionary psychologist named Jesse Bering wrote recently about the questions he had about God as a young boy. Today, he finds himself wondering about that, since God was never even mentioned in his home. These questions come up, not because of evolution (as this writer’s worldview committed him to believe), but because they are fitting questions to ask in God’s world that we live in.
So one thing I really like about this Apologia Press series is that it revolves around questions. Every lesson title ends with a question mark. A friend of mine tells of the decades-long shipwreck her belief in God suffered because as a child she had been discouraged from asking questions about God. Questions matter.
Theologians and philosophers have been working on worldview-related issues for centuries; in fact, philosophy has been defined as the field of study that asks easy questions with difficult answers. Part of the beauty of God’s truth is that there is something solid there for every person’s ability to grasp it. Questions like “Who is God? And can I really know him?” have answers to satisfy—and yet challenge—students at six or sixty years old.
It takes a special gift to communicate the simple answers without oversimplifying or distorting them. Hay and Webb have accomplished this, through straight instruction and also through stories that flow and develop from lesson to lesson (particularly in the first volume). The stories are particularly helpful in presenting a biblical perspective on alternate worldviews, to which today’s children will inevitably be exposed.
In Volume Two we meet Sage, whose mom “always seems to be looking for something more in life. Her mom has tried Catholicism, Buddhism, Kabbalah, and even Scientology but wasn’t entirely comfortable with any of them.” Sage has a friend named Ruby who believes “God is not a person but that God and the universe are the same thing.” We meet a Mormon named Ellie, and a Hindu boy in New York named Dev.
My children—and probably yours, too—have friends whose beliefs run the same gamut. I’ve never seen a better resource than these books to prepare children to think biblically about the pluralistic world in which they are growing up.
For make no mistake: Although I have spoken much of questions and alternate worldviews, these books are strong in biblical thinking. Volume One, for example, does a masterful job of explaining the single most important thing every person needs to know: Who Is God? It covers the character of God, the Trinity, God’s relation to his creation before and after the Fall, the work Christ did in saving us, and of course more besides.
I have a wistful sense that these books came along too late for my family. I wish my wife and I could have had them in our hands a few years ago. I’m almost tempted to try them out on the family anyway, even though our kids are well beyond the intended age. I think we would all learn a lot from them—parents included.
Well, maybe we missed our chance. If you have young children, you haven’t missed yours. If you’re homeschooling, this series is a must-buy. If you’re not homeschooling—it’s still a must-buy. Your children, our next generation of Christians, desperately need to understand worldview from a biblical perspective. They’re asking the questions. I don’t know of a better way to pass along a solid answer.
Tom Gilson is a strategist, writer, and speaker, on staff with Campus Crusade for Christ and currently assigned to serve with BreakPoint. He blogs at www.thinkingchristian.net.
Articles on the BreakPoint website are the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Chuck Colson or BreakPoint. Outside links are for informational purposes and do not necessarily imply endorsement of their content.