Monday, January 16, 2012

Understanding the Times -- Book Review

A little over three years ago, Karla and her husband kindly invited us to their home Bible study. They were about to begin a curriculum from Summit Ministries called Understanding the Times. We were a little hesitant at first, because the title sounded a lot like prophecy dogma, something we weren't interested in. When we discovered it was actually about worldviews, we gave it a try. And we've been going ever since!

Of course, this particular study ended ages ago. The group portion was spent watching videos and discussing, while the reading was to be done at home. Obviously, I fell behind, since I just completed the book today!  It's large and crammed full of information with a chapter each devoted to theology, philosophy, ethics, biology, psychology, sociology, law, politics, economics, and history. In each of these chapters, Christianity is compared and contrasted with several other worldviews.

I often found myself wanting to cheer or share what I learned. It helped me understand better why Christianity is superior to other worldviews. Not that I needed any convincing, but it's wonderful having my beliefs reinforced with lots of solid arguments and facts. Unless something better comes along, I plan to go through it again with Kylen in upper high school. (It's designed for 12th grade and addresses many mature topics.)

From David Noebel's introduction:

Competing worldviews are breaking out everywhere . . . They are propagated at newsstands and on the evening news and played out at the United Nations, in the halls of Congress, and most assuredly at Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Duke, UC Berkeley, and yes, even the local community college.

When we consider the tug-of-war between and among worldviews that currently rages in America and around the world, we tend to think of the battle mostly in terms of political and ethical issues that divide those who hold traditional Christian ideas and values from those who hold various liberal/radical Humanist views (i.e., Secular, Marxist, Cosmic, and Postmodern) or who espouse the beliefs and practices of historical Islam.

But this battle for the minds and hearts of young people encompasses much more than politics and ethics. As believers in and followers of Jesus Christ, we need to consider how our commitment to Him affects not only our political and ethical convictions, but also the way we think and act about theology, philosophy, ethics, biology, psychology, sociology, law, politics, economics, and history. This collection of convictions is what we call a worldview. And it is in the arena of worldviews that one of the greatest battles of our time is now being waged 24/7 in each of the ten areas of thought listed above.

This book is about these competing worldviews. Its goal is to help Christian students recognize the significance of some of the most influential ideas and values prevalent in our non-Christian culture and to understand the unbiblical, unrealistic, and yes, even irrational assumptions about reality from which they arise. If we understand the real differences . . . we will be better prepared to love, live, and defend God's truth as revealed in the Bible and in His Creation. A clear understanding of these six worldviews will not only help protect us from deception by grounding us more firmly in the Christian faith, but it will also give us tools to more effectively witness for Christ in these conflicting times.


katrina said...

THANK YOU for this post! I am always looking for new books and this looks great! and Greg are both excellent writers! Has been fun finding his blog (loved the costumes!!) and even mfc has read some (he is not a big blog visitor)Anyway, I appreciated the book review and hope you are having a lovely Monday.

Farrah said...

Thank you for your lovely comment and compliments, Katrina! It's wonderful to hear when someone enjoys our blogs! And encouraging! For the glory of God! :-)

Karla Cook @ Roads to Everywhere said...

That was a good study, wasn't it? I'm so glad you joined us and have continued to come even after that study finished. I'm looking forward to learning more about the Early Church next. I appreciate your friendship!

Farrah said...

I appreciate your friendship, Karla! :-)

Andrew Clarke said...

Quite true when you say commitment to God changes our world view. If you know God is real then He features in all things and it changes the way we view reality altogether.

Farrah said...

Thank you for stopping by, Andrew! Good to "see" you! :-)