Friday 11 June 2010

David Naugle on Kingdom Living: Developing a Biblical View of Life

The Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview recently came to the end of a 17-part series by David Naugle on ‘Kingdom Living: Developing a Biblical View of Life’ (see below for the individual entries and his summaries).

Naugle has written more fully on worldview in a number of places, but these 17 short articles provide an uncomplicated introduction to the three essential themes of creation, fall, and redemption that he sees at the heart of the biblical worldview.

Such a worldview, he notes in the first article in the series, takes the whole of Scripture into consideration – from Genesis to Revelation. It also provides a way of tackling the problem of dualism, what Naugle refers to as ‘the tendency to divide life itself up into airtight compartments of the sacred and the secular’, leading to a ‘false, fragmented approach to Christianity’ which ‘hands huge chunks of life over to the kingdom of darkness’.

‘In place of this sinister dualism, a Biblically-based worldview offers a fresh, motivating vision of wholeness. It embraces the entirety of life. It redefines the nature of sacred and secular in terms of obedience and disobedience respectively. It brings the totality of life under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Christianity is concerned about the whole person, the whole of life, and the whole world! For God is not a God of dualism, but of unity, integrity, and completeness.’

1. Introduction to the Christian Worldview
Every human being is shaped by his or her worldview. For Christians, understanding the worldview one holds is especially critical because a biblical worldview is shaped by Jesus Christ himself.

2. Where On Earth Are We?
Every human being is shaped by his or her worldview. One of the critical elements of the biblical worldview is that God created the heavens and the earth. Christians must understand the origins, nature, and purpose of the universe in which they live.

3. Who On Earth Are We?
Every human being is shaped by his or her worldview. Christians cling to a biblical worldview that explains the origin and purpose of the human species.

4. Why Are We Here?
Human beings are shaped by their worldviews. The biblical worldview holds that God created human beings, and that he did so for specific purposes. Understanding these reasons is critical for Christian living.

5. Man, Woman, Marriage
The biblical account of God creating man and woman provides unique and intimate insight concerning the purpose God has ordained for humankind. Humans were created in the image of God, a fact that carries highly significant ramifications for all theaters of life, particularly concerning human understanding of spirituality and marriage.

6. Humpty Dumpty: What’s Gone Wrong?
As in the famous nursery rhyme Humpty Dumpty, humanity has had a great fall. With the entrance of sin into the world through Adam and Eve, the plans God had for his creations were shattered like poor Humpty Dumpty. Fortunately for humanity, however, God provides a way for us to be put together again.

7. The Spread and Escalation of Sin (Genesis 4-11)
The opening chapters of Genesis provide the framework for understanding the rest of Scripture, and, indeed, the rest of human history. The sin of Adam and Eve resulted in the distortion of a good creation, as demonstrated through the stories found in Genesis 4-11.

8. The Fall in the New Testament: Jesus and Paul
Naugle discusses the New Testament depiction of sin as revealed in the teachings of Jesus and Paul.

9. A Theology of Creation and the Fall
Only through the lens of a biblical worldview can one pursue Kingdom living. In order to develop a biblical worldview, one must first determine an orthodox theology of creation and the fall.

10. Introduction to the Covenants
The overarching story of the Christian Bible is the story of redemption. The book of Genesis describes the creation of the world by God, the fall and distortion of this creation through the sin of mankind, and the subsequent promise God makes to redeem his creation – which he does! The biblical covenants illustrate the gracious, faithful, and loving character of God.

11. The Covenants with Noah and Abraham
Human beings are sinful; the biblical accounts of the flood and the Tower of Babel illustrate this sad fact. In his mercy, however, God has been working since the fall to redeem his creation. Part of how he accomplishes this goal is through covenants formed with Noah and Abraham.

12. Sinai, Davidic, and New Covenants
Since the entrance of sin into the world, God has been working to restore his creation. This process of redemption has been achieved through covenants, such as the ones made at Sinai and with David and culminating with the New Covenant of Jesus Christ.

13. Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God
The Old Testament ends with a note of expectation: the people were waiting for the kingdom of God. Finally, John the Baptist announced the arrival of the Lamb of God and the kingdom of heaven.

14. Redemption in John and Paul
In the books of the New Testament, there is theological diversity. What unifies the theology of the New Testament is the redemptive work of Jesus Christ.

15. Ethics and Eschatology
Christian faith is rooted in the belief that Jesus Christ came as a human being and that he will come again as an eschatological judge and king. This belief informs how Christians live their lives.

16. Christianity and Culture
Christians must determine how they are to live in the world, despite the deep divide between the Christian community and the secular world. While Scripture warns against worldliness, it also exhorts believers to engage the culture rather than retreat from it. Different Christian traditions have approached this problem in different ways.

17. Redeeming Vocation
Lay Christian believers often feel as though they are second class citizens in the Kingdom of God compared to those who serve as missionaries or pastors. This spiritual dualism is one of the things that the Protestant Reformers worked to correct, and we must again work to return to a biblical understanding of vocation.

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