The phrase “Christian Worldview” is one that is open to wide interpretation. If you think about it, there are actually as many worldviews as there are people that identify themselves as Christians. That is because all of our life experiences affect how we see our past, present and our future. A Christian worldview means recognizing that Christianity has made significant impact throughout human history, from the formation of nations and empires to the hearts and minds of a significant portion of the global population. It also means that the actions of many, working for the health and well being of others worldwide are performed in the name of Christ, as a demonstrative way of expressing a worldview. But what makes a personal Christian worldview is incorporating Christ into how you see the world, the way it is at this moment and what it will be.
You could spend years in training at college and divinity school, studying the concept of a Christian worldview. You can read about many denominations that have their traditions centered around the history of Christ and his impact on how we can and should live our lives today. Methods of worship along with tithing and other expressions of giving, allow the putting into practice a worldview that acknowledges Christ’s importance in our daily lives by devoting our time and resources that have been so graciously given. It means taking and recognizing that all that we have is from him: “All things were made by him, and nothing was made without him. In him there was life, and that life was the light of all people” (John 1:3-4 New Century Version).
What makes a personal Christian worldview is incorporating Christ into how you see the world, the way it is at this moment and what it will be.
While different Christian denominations may differ in practice of worship, they share this common aspect, incorporating a faith in Christ in an outlook for the individual life and for the world in general. One idea that is common through many expressions of a Christian worldview, is the idea of “the world to come.” This is the final phrase of the Nicene Creed, a responsive reading that is used in Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant churches. This simple four word phrase expresses the ideal of seeing the world as a believer, which is looking forward to something better. This better thing that we are promised is mentioned throughout the scriptures, but is expressed simply by the Apostle Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians: “No one’s ever seen or heard anything like this, Never so much as imagined anything quite like it. What God has arranged for those who love him. But you’ve seen and heard it because God by his Spirit has brought it all out into the open before you. (1st Corinthians 2: 9-10 The Message).
While it is easy to focus all of our attention to this world to come, we may forget our place in this world at the present and where our efforts can have the most impact. Which means that while we can have an outlook incorporating following Jesus that goes beyond our neighbors, our town, or even our nation, much of the most meaningful work can be done by helping those immediately around us. While we as Christians strive for something better, something that may not be on this earth but rather saved for a place reserved later, it’s still important to realize that the world we live in changes daily, in ways both good and bad. The constant presence of Christ allows us to find new ways to both perceive the people around us and the different ways that we can positively affect them. According to Dr. Gregory Johnson, pastor of Zion Lutheran Church in Wilmington, Delaware, there are two major components to a Christian worldview. “I have found light in the thought that God is trying desperately to save his world. Isn’t that what it was always about? ‘For God so loved the world, that he sent his only Son.’ He is using two tools – Forgiveness and Grace.”
The concept of forgiveness is one of the central themes of the Bible and if we are applying it to our daily lives it also should be central to our Christian worldview as well. The apostle Paul tells of the example that Christ has set for us and its practical application: “Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk. Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:31-32 The Message). This forgiveness and the grace that allows it should lay the foundation for our worldview. If we as Christians see the world through the filter of this redemption, we start to see the world as God sees us, mainly of what we can become. This means that we should share our focus with what God has done for us and can do with everyone to which we share this planet. Dr. Johnson adds: “Jesus Christ has shown us a way to survive–graceful living. God is challenging us to have a “world” viewpoint–where all are one so that we can all survive well together on this very small planet in the deep openness of space. There can be no “Star Wars” in our future, if we are to survive and thrive as God’s most blessed creation–in his image.”
The moment that you decide to become a believer, whether you are five or fifty, your outlook changes. There is a realization that you are a child of God, not just another citizen of planet earth. You are still surrounded by the same people as before, but others should see a positive difference in you, much as you should see the opportunity to act in a positive way to them. The Apostle Paul spoke of this practical daily application of faith and how the simple and mundane activities of daily life can be used as a blessing. He recognized that Christ did mention that we as Christians should be in the world but not of it, but that does not mean separating ourselves from those around us, but living with others and offering our work and time to others as a blessing to God. This is illustrated in The Message’s translation of Romans 12:1-2:
“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.”