Saturday 13 December 2008

Books on Christian Worldview Formation

The items listed here discuss the significance of developing a Christian worldview based on Scripture. I think Hardyman and Ryken are best for those who are new to the area; any of the others will do for those who are already off the starting blocks and want to think further.

J. Mark Bertrand, (Re)Thinking Worldview: Learning to Think, Live, and Speak in This World (Wheaton: Crossway, 2007).
As the title suggests, this is a call for readers to rethink their own perspective on the nature of reality, as well as to think about the idea of ‘worldview’ itself. Its three main parts address worldview, wisdom, and witness. The full text of the book can be freely browsed online at the publisher’s website, where a pdf excerpt can also be downloaded.

Charles Colson and Nancy Pearcey, How Now Shall We Live? (London: Marshall Pickering, 1999).
A big book, but not a difficult read. A full exploration of the importance for Christians to adopt a biblical worldview perspective with which to engage alternative worldviews.

Michael W. Goheen and Craig G. Bartholomew, Living at the Crossroads: An Introduction to Christian Worldview (Grand Rapids/London: Baker Academic/SPCK, 2008).
A follow-up volume to their widely-acclaimed The Drama of Scripture: Finding Our Place in the Biblical Story (Grand Rapids/London: Baker Academic/SPCK, 2004/2006), this promises to provide a general introduction to Christian worldview thinking, how it interfaces with the western story of modernity/postmodernity, and how it applies to key areas of life such as education, economics, and politics. Baker provide an excerpt on their website.

Julian Hardyman, Glory Days: Living the Whole of Your Life for Jesus (Leicester: IVP, 2006).
Not a theoretical exploration of ‘worldview’ as such, but 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.

Paul G. Hiebert, Transforming Worldviews: An Anthropological Understanding of How People Change (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2008).
Less on a ‘biblical’ worldview as such, but a thorough and excellent exploration of the topic from a missiological perspective, with implications beyond reflection in the area of mission. Baker kindly provide an excerpt.

J. Richard Middleton and Brian J. Walsh, Truth is Stranger Than it used to Be: Biblical Faith in a Postmodern Age (London: SPCK, 1995).
An important follow-up to their 1984 book, The Transforming Vision (see below under Walsh).

David K. Naugle, Worldview: The History of a Concept (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2002).
A fairly technical treatment of the concept of ‘worldview’. Chapter 9 can be downloaded as a pdf file from the Eerdmans website. Perhaps more useful, David Naugle has kindly made many of his papers on this topic freely available via his website, and these are well worth checking out.

Nancy R. Pearcey, Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from its Cultural Captivity (Wheaton: Crossway, 2004).
A full discussion of Christianity as a ‘worldview’, based on Scripture, and applied to various issues of contemporary concern, particularly from a USA perspective. An excerpt can be downloaded here from the publisher’s website. The book was republished in 2005 with a 31-page study guide, which is also available as a separate downloadable document.

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.

James W. Sire, The Universe Next Door: A Basic Worldview Catalogue, 4th edn. (Leicester: IVP, 2004).
Now in its fourth edition, this has proved to be a significant book for several decades. You can browse samples of the book via the IVP USA website.

James W. Sire, Naming the Elephant: Worldview as a Concept (Downers Grove: IVP, 2004).
A slim, helpful book taking a largely theoretical look at the notion of ‘worldview’. Excerpts are available here. See Naugle (above) for a fuller treatment of the same sort of area.

Brian J. Walsh and J. Richard Middleton, The Transforming Vision: Shaping a Christian Worldview (Downers Grove: IVP, 1984).
An influential book, approaching its quarter century, arguing for a Christian vision to transform the world. See also their more recent work above, under Middleton.

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. Eerdmans offer the first chapter as a pdf excerpt.

N.T. Wright, The New Testament and the People of God, Christian Origins and the Question of God Vol. 1 (London: SPCK, 1992), esp. 38-44, 47-80, 122-39.
This is the place where Wright’s influential understanding of ‘worldview’ is most clearly laid out.

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