Richard Mouw, President of Fuller Theological Seminary has an excellent correspondence course entitled, “Christian Worldview and Contemporary Challenges.” In this course, Mouw outlines 4 questions that are essential to the creation of any worldview:
1. What is the general view of reality?
2. What is the nature of the human person?
3. What is the nature of the human predicament?
4. What is the solution to this predicament?
Or stated another way,
1. Where am I?
2. Who am I?
3. What’s wrong?
4. What’s the remedy?
If as parents we are called to train up our children in the way they should go, then we must focus on helping our kids to gain a solid answer to each of these transcendent questions. They need more than just platitudes like “be good”, “don’t lie”, and “help others.” These are true, but they reduce worldview to relativism and moralism. And because of this, they are subject to change as our culture redefines what “good”, “truth” and “helping” are.
In order to oppose this moralizing and relativizing tendency, we need to impart the grand story of humanity to our children, and we need to do it in a compelling, holistic, total way. Our children need to learn that:
1. We are inhabitants of God’s created world. This is his universe. These are his people. This is his land, and so He is Lord of it all.
2. Because it is God’s world, all people are creatures made in God’s image, the pinnacle of his creation and individually of inestimable worth. We are inherently valuable and worthy of respect.
3. But we are all sinners, who are disobedient and stubbornly refuse to conform to God’s laws to Love him and love others as we love ourselves. We have all denied his authority and turned form his kingdom in order to establish our own kingdoms.
4. The solution to this problem, is the grace of God being given to people in order to love them and draw them back into the Kingdom. This grace brings forth repentance, a turning from disobedient refusal to submit, and joyful, grateful submission to God’s laws for God’s world.
All four of these Christian premises are under attack in our world, and each one builds on the one previous. Without an understanding that God is the sole creator, then it is impossible to believe we are all valuable without questions, that each person is worthy of respect and love. Without this belief, one cannot recognize that when this respect isn’t given, not only is the person offended, but God their creator is offended and sin is running our lives. Furthermore, without a belief in sin, then there is no foundation for a belief in repentance and submission to the original creator. We must teach our children these foundational truths. We must ground them in the Scriptures and teach them the stories from an early age.
Worldviews are imparted and enforced by the cultures we are immersed in. Hindu children accept the Hindu worldview because everything around them is conformed to that worldview. The same is true of Buddhist, Muslim and Jewish children. And to change a worldview requires a vast amount of psychological dissonance. It isn’t impossible, just highly difficult. So, how much of our society reflects the Christian worldview? Unfortunately, most of it is shaped by secularism, a worldview which posits that I am in a material world, as a material being, the problem is that I don’t have enough and the remedy is to accumulate as much as possible at whatever expense in order to be happy. This is simplistic, but it is true. The secular view denies God, sin, service, salvation. Do we want our children immersed into this worldview or do we want something better for them?
Returning to my earlier premises in previous posts, the best way to impart a biblical worldview is by immersing our children in situations where that view predominates. Personally, we have decided that the home is the ideal place, although others may choose alternative options like Christian schools. After deciding on where to immerse your children, the next question becomes, “How do we help them to defend their view?”
My answer: Use every opportunity available to ask your children the four worldview questions. Ask them when they read a book what was being taught about worldview. Ask them when they watch a movie or listen to a song, what is being posited about the nature of reality and the problems we are facing and the solutions needed. Take them to the Scriptures and train them. Read books yourself that challenge your worldview and wrestle with the answers that are being presented in these books. Teach your children that every position is a faith position. There is always an underlying premise that cannot be proven and so everyone must take a stand of faith at some point. Help them see this and tell them why you believe the Christian and particularly the reformed expression of Christianity are the most coherent. Finally, pray. Pray for wisdom, insight and words to speak. Pray for your children to have the gospel dwelt in deep. Pray for the gospel to become their own.
If there are other ideas out there, I would love to here those thoughts as well.