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  • Worldview Thinking as a Wartime Activity

    Posted in ,
    October 4, 2017

    Ours is a world at war. Beneath the everyday pleasantries of civil society lies a battle for the allegiance of every man and woman. This is a war between two rival, though unequal, kingdoms. This war takes the form of two, and only two, camps: Those who worship and serve the creature, and those who worship and serve the Creator (Rom. 1:21).

    The Dominion of Darkness (Col. 1:13), ruled and ultimately directed by the great Dragon, the Prince of the Power of the Air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience (Eph. 2:2). He is a murderer from the beginning and the Father of Lies (Jn. 8:44). On the opposing side stands the Prince of God’s Kingdom, His Beloved Son (Col. 1:13). His army is made up of former members of the enemy who were rescued, restored, and pardoned by the King himself, the Light of the World, the Last Adam, and the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, namely King Jesus.

    And so the battle of all the ages rages on. “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds” (2 Cor. 10:4). Our weapons are uncommon due to the nature of our enemies. “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm” (Eph. 2:12–13).

    As citizens of the kingdom of God, we are to think through the implication of Christ’s lordship over all of life. What does it look like to approach life as those who recognize their creaturehood and recognize the Holy Other as the architect and sovereign ordainer of their lives?

    The ministry of the truthXchange has long been a platform for wartime armament in biblical worldview thinking. Here I want to consider how worldview equips us with wartime resources.

    Assessing Worldview

    Before we go any further, it’s only appropriate to define the central term under discussion: “worldview.” As I define it, a worldview is a spoken (or unspoken), consistent (or less consistent), often assumed, though rarely articulated, comprehensive vision of life.

    Here is a more technical definition: A worldview is a network of guiding assumptions about the nature of reality (i.e. metaphysics), knowledge and truth (i.e epistemology), about what we value (i.e. value theory), and about how we should live (i.e. ethics).

    Worldview Thinking as Discipleship

    With this definition, we are in a better position to see that everyone has a worldview, and each kingdom depends on its citizens to step onto the battlefield of the mind.

    The Battlefield of the Mind

    Christians become more self-conscious in their worldview development by exploring the riches of a biblically twoist framework. King Jesus gave us marching orders to love God with all our mind (Lk. 10:27), and Paul follows his Captain by insisting that we take every thought captive in obedience to Christ (2 Cor. 10:5).

    We cannot afford to sit passively, soaking up beliefs, assumptions, and convictions that are in line with the unbelieving Oneism of our surrounding culture. Scripture is clear: we cannot serve two masters (Matt. 6:24). Both Oneism and Twoism demand total and unwavering allegiance.

    The Struggle for Worldview Consciousness

    In the first definition above, I noted that worldviews are “often assumed, though rarely articulated.” In his now classic work, The Conflict of Visions, Thomas Sowell defines “visions” (closely aligned with what I’m calling worldview) the “silent shapers of our thoughts.” Worldviews usually aren’t fully known, even to us. Rarely do people think through, or even think in terms of, a self-consciously held worldview. They are the underlying operating system of our minds, the source code that interprets all the conceptual and ideological data we encounter each day. To deny having a worldview does not leave you without one. It just means you haven’t consciously thought about it.

    At first, self-conscious worldview development is laborious, but with time we grow into it and process the world in terms of it without much effort. Learning to play the piano or ride a bike is difficult at first, because you need to be aware of so many things at once. Yet, over the long run, a worldview (any worldview) becomes as natural and unconscious as the virtuoso’s music or the biker’s downhill coast. Why? Because now, this trained thinking has become second nature to us; we inhabit “the system,” which becomes an extension of who we are.

    To say that Christians should consciously seek to develop their worldview is merely another way to say that we should aim to think Christianly. It’s a call to spiritual reformation. Thinking in scriptural categories is an aspect of the Holy Spirit’s renewing and sanctifying work (Rom. 12:1–2).

    Worldview Thinking: Naturalism and Neo-Paganism

    The schemes of Satan are cunning. One need only read C. S. Lewis’s classic work, The Screwtape Letters, to grasp the idea that the spiritual forces who oppose us are crafty. They have no scruples and will use  anything and everything to coax us into believing and supporting The Lie (that God is not Lord, that we are not accountable, and that the answer to all our ills lies within ourselves). C. S. Lewis put it this way:

    There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight. [2]

    These are the twin poles of a Oneist worldview: materialism and magik, secularism and spiritualism, naturalism and the New Age, physicalism and pantheism.

    Contemporary apologetics is still fighting the war on modernism (materialism, secularism, naturalism, and physicalism) and hasn’t yet turned its attention to postmodern neo-paganism (magik, spiritualism, the New Age, and pantheism). Both are forms of Oneism, but the apologetic literature is wildly disproportionate in its defense against materialist secularism.

    In speaking with non-Christians, we can wrongly assume that they believe in scientific, moral, and logical absolutes. Do apologetics approaches push unbelief to reckon with this concept? Yes, and we should employ them whenever appropriate. Yet, to most neo-pagans, these are strictly (though mistakenly) modernist ideas. Naturalistic Oneism looks for answers in a mixture of impersonal laws of creation and socially constructed “rules” for rational thought. Neo-pagan Oneism has little time for rules or laws that aren’t shaped by the subjects themselves. It’s difficult for a Christian to speak to someone who doesn’t believe that truth is absolute, that morals are objective, and that there is an absolute-personal God who exists over and above this creation, a God whose nature and plan determine the course of history.

    The Worldview of Twoism

    All Oneists, whether the materialist or the mage, are on a dead-end path:  “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened” (Rom. 1:21). Neither the materialist nor the mage has a fixed point of reference, because both are mired in subjectivism, which ultimately leads to skepticism.

    The biblical Twoist worldview, on the other hand, promises the riches of God’s gracious revelation. It is only upon the bedrock of Twoism that we can truly develop a biblically informed worldview.


    Here we learn the nature of  reality, which is not all one thing, but ultimately two: God and everything else (creation). God does not inhabit creation the way the soul inhabits a human body. Creation is not an extension or emanation from God’s essence. Humans are not divine. In fact, human finitude is not something to be overcome, it is a good gift of God, and sets a boundary we ought not to seek to cross.


    We live in a world shot through with the revelation of God. In his gracious provision, he has given us channels through which we come to know the external world. He has given us our gifts of rational inquiry and our powers of sensory observation. But supremely, he has provided us with his Word, the supreme norm for those who seek to believe and live in a God-honoring and reality-grounded manner.


    History is not the endless and ever-repeating cycle of life-death-rebirth. It is not the story of the universe coming to self-realization.  History is the stage on which God is working out his cosmic drama to glorify himself through the redemption of a people.


    We determine what we ought and ought not to do not by connecting with nature or by looking deeper within. Twoist ethics grounds its ethical framework in the nature and plan of the good God who designs, rules, and reveals. We have direct commands that shed light in dark places. And we have wisdom and instruction that shape our consciences as we navigate the choppy waters of a world spiritually lost at sea.

    The battle lines are drawn. Satan is out and about, prowling as a Lion, seeking whom he will devour (1 Pet. 5:8) through his original lie: You will be as God (Gen. 3:5).

    But the kingdom of the Son marches forward, made up of those delivered from the Lie. Their citizenship has been transferred from darkness to light through the redemptive and pardoning cross of Calvary. The citizens of this kingdom warmly embrace the fact that they are beloved sons and daughters of God, not gods themselves. They have been bought with a price (1 Cor. 6:20, 7:23). Their security and significance is not anchored in Oneist spirituality; it is hidden with Christ in God (Col. 3:3).


    [1] This was inspired by the definition provided by James W. Sire in Naming the Elephant: Worldview as a Concept, 2nd edition (Downers Grove: IVP, 2015), 19.

    [2] C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters (originally 1942; New York: Harper Collins, 1996, reprint) ix.