Friday 28 August 2009

Six of the Best 3: Books on Biblical Worldview Formation

This is the third in a series of ‘Six of the Best’ books in a particular area related to engaging with Scripture which are first posted on the website of the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity.

The first one profiled books for beginners on interpreting the Bible, and the second one looked at books on biblical themes. This one highlights biblical worldview formation.

The resources listed here discuss the significance of developing a Christian worldview based on Scripture. Although there are plenty of good treatments of worldview from a philosophical and theological perspective, this list is limited to those books which discuss the relationship between the Bible and worldview – particularly how a Christian worldview is shaped by an understanding of Scripture as one unfolding story of redemption. If you’re new to this area, begin with the books by Hardyman or Ryken; any of the others will do if you’re already off the starting blocks and want to think further.

Michael W. Goheen and Craig G. Bartholomew, Living at the Crossroads: An Introduction to Christian Worldview (London: SPCK, 2008).
A follow-up to their widely-acclaimed volume The Drama of Scripture: Finding Our Place in the Biblical Story (London: SPCK, 2006), this provides an excellent introduction to Christian worldview thinking based on the scriptural story of creation–sin–restoration, how it relates to the western story’s move from modernity to postmodernity, and how it applies to key areas of life such as education, economics, sport, and politics.

Julian Hardyman, Maximum Life: All for the Glory of God (Nottingham: IVP, 2009).
First published in 2006 as Glory Days, this is not a theoretical exploration of worldview as such, but provides an excellent semi-popular and shortish exploration of the ‘worldviewish’ notion that God is as concerned with our family, hobbies, and politics as much as he is concerned with our prayer life, Bible reading, and church attendance.

Philip Graham Ryken, What is the Christian Worldview?, Basics of the Reformed Faith Series (Phillipsburg: Presbyterian & Reformed Publishing, 2006).
A short booklet, and a very useful way into the topic for those new to the area.

Brian J. Walsh and J. Richard Middleton, The Transforming Vision: Shaping a Christian World View (Downers Grove: IVP, 1984).
A classic and influential exposition of how a worldview informed by the biblical story of creation–fall–redemption challenges dualism – the separation of our lives into ‘sacred’ and ‘secular’ realms – with some reflection on the biblical worldview in action.

Michael E. Wittmer, Heaven is a Place on Earth: Why Everything You Do Matters to God (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2004).
Similar to Hardyman (above) in its ‘whole-life’ emphasis; it takes its cue from the book of Genesis whilst also showing the reach and implications of the entire biblical story for a faith that encompasses all of life.

Al Wolters, Creation Regained: The Biblical Basis for a Reformational Worldview, 2nd edn. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2005).
This was first published in 1985, and has been a very influential work outlining the creation–fall–redemption schema as the basis for a biblical worldview. The revised edition comes with a final chapter co-written with Michael Goheen which links Wolters’ approach to similar emphases in works by Lesslie Newbigin and N.T. Wright.

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