Thoughts on Evangelicalism Moving Forward, Part 3: Worldview
Three nasty by-products of a half-century of evangelical cultural disengagement and anti-intellectualism were that secularism, pluralism, and post-modern-pragmatism were allowed to run amok. Divinity schools where Pastors were trained for ministry became Religious Studies departments where we put religions in a box to poke them and take notes.
Moving forward, evangelicalism must rediscover the Biblical worldview that they have neglected. I can think of no better starting point that evangelicals everywhere reading Nancy Pearcey’s Total Truth. Every undergraduate, mom, working person, or clergy needs to read this book. Later I will be doing a series of Top5/10 posts on different books in different genres. This books is on my Top 10 All-Time across all categories. It is not an arrogant statement, but a truthful statement, to say that Christianity accounts for everything in the Universe. This is not tantamount to saying that individual Christians fully understand or comprehend all things or that there is no mystery for us. But it does mean that, as Augustine put it, “all truth is God’s truth.” Universities used to be the unity of Christ as total truth uniting the diversity of various academic disciplines that all had their center in his logos. In other words, the University was much like a bicycle tire, where Christ was the unifying hub and each field was a spoke that owed its stability to the hub and owed its inter-relatedness to other fields also to that same hub. Now, the University is a place where you get completely different mutually exclusive worldviews in different departments. This was my experience at University of Florida. I got diametrically opposed pictures of reality in the Religious Studies and Philosophy departments. Both were frustrating because both were wrong. The Religious Studies department was certain that nothing was certain. The Philosophy department was certain that everything was certain (via modernistic rationalism). I believe that the University is ripe for the plucking because none of these worldviews being espoused have any substantial veracity. John Summerville has a game plan that I wrote on earlier for on how to redeem the University.
In my view, secularism, pluralism, and post-modern-pragmatism (I will define this term in a later blog post), are ultimately unlivable and provide a really fertile soil for the Gospel. Evangelicals must take their faith seriously in mind, heart, and practice.
Up next, we will look at how energy, the Peak Oil debate, urbanization, telecommuting, and the suburbs may present a substantial threat to evangelicalism.