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First Quarter 2008 Book Review
ReThinking Worldview:
Learning to Think, Live, and Speak in This World
J. Mark Bertrand, Crossway Books, 2007, 256 pages, $13.59 (#8929)

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Let me state upfront, I like this book. I recommend this book. Get your copy today. If there is one thing Christians need to do and do better, it is to think from a worldview perspective. I will not apologize to anyone who thinks CEP overkills on this subject. A Christian worldview perspective is just too vital a part of kingdom thinking.

I like David Naugle’s comments on this book. (Naugle has also written an outstanding book Worldview: The History of a Concept, which we reviewed in Equip to Disciple.) He wrote, “For those of you suffering from ‘worldview fatigue,’ or who think it’s a theologically unhelpful concept, or who are new to the notion altogether, read this book. It’s like a satisfying draught of ice-cold, refreshing water on a hot summer day! It offers reinvigorating approaches to the priceless Christian worldview concept… Bertrand’s book is a rich gift to serious citizens of the kingdom of God.” And that it is.

There are so many things I like about this book. First, it has three sections: worldview, wisdom, and witness. I like Bertrand’s emphasis on worldview thinking that produces sanctification and witness. Worldview is not something that should isolate us from the rest of the world but should prepare and equip us to confront the world with the truth and demonstrate such truth in our lives. I like his emphasis that there is more to Christianity and making disciples than simply changing a person’s worldview. It is that, but it also requires living a godly life and having an impacting witness. Since worldview deals with interpretation and how we understand reality, we need to be self-conscious about our worldview, always seeking to determine whether it is or is not biblically and theologically sound. Often worldview is simply a given that we do not think much about, but we should. No, we must.

Bertrand sets forth what he calls the four pillars of a Christian worldview: creation, order, rationality, and fear. He says that taken together, these pillars tell us about God, the world, and how we operate within. Creation implies a creator. “If you know who made you, then you know whom you must worship and serve.” He points out “the cold logic of mid-twentieth century atheism has now given way to an era of renewed ‘spirituality,’ but it is an awakening more therapeutic than pious, more attuned to self-expression than self-denial. It is now fashionable to talk about God, though it is still deeply unfashionable to believe in him.”

Here is another example of Bertrand’s depth of insight. Christian epistemology “embraces reason, the senses, intuition, experience, and revelation, predicating each one of them on God’s decision to make us in his image and to reveal himself to us in limited, analogical, but intelligible ways.”

Bertrand reminds us that our knowledge is personal knowledge, and yet it has solid objectivity that keeps us in tune with God’s reality. “The objects of my knowledge have an existence outside of me, and this, I suppose, is where objectivity comes into play. Now, I’ve never experienced pure objectivity. I’m content to acknowledge the subjectivity of my knowledge. What I won’t do, however, is agree that subjectivity is relativity… There is knowledge apart from my experience of knowing.”

I like to point out, as does Bertrand, there is no Christian worldview but there are Christian worldviews. Christians will not see everything exactly the same; however, this provides us a chance to dialogue and think together, “iron sharpening iron.” Even minor disagreements can result in major worldview shifts, says Bertrand. Hence we work together on tweaking or fine tuning our worldview with others involved.

There are 12 chapters providing good material for group study. The book will not only help you fine tune your worldview and how it impacts the transformation of your thinking but it will also provide good teaching on communicating your worldview to those around you. If there is any truth in the idea that the medium is the message, we must work doubly hard to develop our worldview, which will impact the way we think, which in turn will impact knowing what God would have us do. You will appreciate this book.



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