Christian philosopher and apologist Francis Schaeffer popularized the idea of worldview. Through his books, such as How Shall We Then Live, and his L’Abri Study Center, Schaeffer emphasized the concept that every person has a basic set of presuppositions that drive their thinking and life choices. In How Shall We Then Live, he stated: “People have presuppositions, and they will live more consistently on the basis of these presuppositions than even they themselves may realize… People’s presuppositions lay a grid for all they bring forth into the external world. Their presuppositions also provide the basis for their values and therefore the basis for their decisions.” Many Christian authors such as Chuck Colson and Nancy Pearcey have continued Schaeffer’s work in emphasizing this helpful concept. In fact, Christian organizations now hold worldview seminars, worldview classes, worldview academies and worldview training. All of these helpful activities are aimed at developing a foundational and comprehensive set of Christian truths to equip people of faith to think through the secular challenges raised by our post-modern (or post-post-modern) and post-Christian society.
Unfortunately, there is a problem with worldview. Why? Worldview isn’t enough. Andy Crouch, in his book Culture Making, makes the following zinging analysis: “To ‘engage’ the culture became, and is still today, a near-synonym for thinking about the culture. It was assumed, as we observed earlier, that action would follow from reflection, and transformation would follow from information. But the faculties that were most fully developed and valued were the ability to analyze and critique, not to actually sort out how to participate in the hurly-burly of cultural creativity in a pluralistic world. It is perhaps not unfair to say that to this day, evangelicalism, so deeply influenced by the Schaeffers and their many protégés, still produces better art critics than artists.”
I will take this concept one step further. A worldview—a mental framework or way of thinking—is absolutely useless unless it is actually lived out in a way that can be viewed by the world. As much as the Christian church needs worldview training, it needs something else much more: examples of thinking Christians that integrate their worldview into their everyday lives.
The difficult question I must pose to myself and to my fellow Christians is this: Do we possess a worldview or do we exhibit a faith that can be viewed by the world?