Earlier this month, from September 16th through the 18th, Christian scholars and students gathered at Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, Michigan for a conference provocatively titled "After Worldview: Christian Higher Education in Postmodern Worlds." In the surge of intellectual and cultural engagement that began with the influence of Francis Schaeffer in the 1960s, few ideas have been more influential among evangelical thinkers and activists than the concept of "worldview." As David Naugle showed in his landmark study, Worldview: The History of a Concept (published by Eerdmans in 2002 and later reviewed as a B&C Book of the Week by Dan Siedell of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln), the notion has a long history, beginning in the Enlightenment with the philosopher Immanuel Kant and widely employed by Christian thinkers from the late 19th century onward.
In our own time, its foremost practitioners include figures such as Schaeffer, Jim Sire (whose book The Universe Next Door, reissued this year in a new edition by InterVarsity Press, has introduced the concept to a couple of generations of students), and a number of prominent apologists as well as many leading activists who regard worldview as an indispensable tool in arming Christians for the culture wars. Today, you can go on the web and take a quiz that will tell you what your worldview is. Several friends of mine have taken it, only to be informed that they don't even have a Christian worldview.
But if worldview analysis is so well established in the evangelical world these days, why the theme "After Worldview"? Critics come at it from many angles, but if you polled a random sampling of scholars at a Christian college you'd get a goodly number who find the concept ...1
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