Why Worldview Matters

What is the mission of the Church? That was the sermon topic one Sunday two years ago when I visited a friend's church, but as I listened I found my mind wandering. I had just signed a contract to write a book on Christian worldview, and I was experiencing writer's remorse. Did this book really need to be written? Suddenly the pastor's words caught my attention. The mission of the church, he said, is to prepare for Christ's return in five ways: prayer, Bible study, worship, fellowship, and evangelism. In that instant, all doubts about writing the book evaporated. Of course, these five spiritual exercises are central to the church's life; but we can never overlook our responsibility to redeem all of culture as well. Though well intentioned, the pastor's words were a prescription for the continued marginalization of the church. Just like this pastor, many evangelicals define faith strictly in terms of personal salvation. Yet soul-winning is not an end in itself. We are not only saved FROM sin, we are also saved TO something-to the task of cultivating God's creation. Genesis teaches that on the first five days, God Himself did the work of creating. But on the sixth day, he made human beings in his image to carry on His work--to develop the raw materials of the world He had created. This is the "cultural commission," and it is just as binding as the "great commission." It means our faith is intended to encompass every part of life, every sphere of work, every aspect of the world. In short, our faith must be a complete worldview, the basic set of beliefs that function as a grid or glasses determining how we see all reality. If God is creator and sovereign over everything, as we confess He is, then everything finds its identity and meaning in relationship to Him--not only our spiritual life but also our work, politics, science, education, and the arts. Developing a Christian worldview is not some ivory-tower exercise. It is crucial for every believer--affecting every choice we make. The doctrine of creation tells us that God made the world with a moral and physical order--that there are God-given norms for every aspect of creation. Moral laws tell us how to govern our behavior. Laws of logic tell us how to think clearly. Norms of justice tell us how to run a government. Aesthetic norms guide the creation of beauty and the arts. If we don't know the norms God has ordained for every area of life, then we're living blindly and are bound to make wrong choices--hurting ourselves and others. We're like a person who walks into a room blindfolded and bumps his shins against the furniture. Well, in the end, I did write that book on worldview. It's titled How Now Shall We Live? co-authored by the executive editor of "BreakPoint," Nancy Pearcey. Over the next several days I'll be giving highlights from the book. The mission of the church is indeed prayer and evangelism, just as the pastor said that Sunday. But to be effective, we must also develop a comprehensive worldview. And that, too, is the mission of the Church in a post-Christian world.


Chuck Colson



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