This month’s Baptists Today commentary by publisher John Pierce asks the rhetorical question about the “worldview” of Jesus. As expected, Pierce doesn’t think that the worldview that can be attributed to Christ is the one held by conservative Evangelical Christians, which is the real point of his editorial. For once, in a critique of this nature, he doesn’t mention the conservative leadership of the Southern Baptist Convention.
It is clear, from the outset, that Pierce doesn’t agree with the worldview of those who promote what they call a “Biblical Worldview” through “like-minded” Christian schools or home school networks. To drive this point home, he picks out a single provider of a particular resource which separates “worldviews” into the categories of “Moderate Christian, Secular Humanist, and Socialist,” as opposed to “Biblical Theism.” If he’d done his homework, he would have found a diversity of views and a variety of expressions of “Biblical Worldviews” among conservative Christians, and while they generally tend to agree on the basic elements, they do not all express them in the same way. He would also have found that the particular group and categories on which he focused are probably not representative of most of those who promote their view through “like minded” home schooling networks or Christian schools. But that wouldn’t have allowed him to make his point.
Pierce says, “Such educational endeavors tend to dismiss evolutionary science, use the Bible as the primary educational text and downplay the highly successful U.S. experiment in full religious liberty in favor of revisionist tales of an intended “Christian nation.”
It’s hard to “dismiss” something that essentially doesn’t exist. Theories are dismissed based on a lack of evidence existing to support them, or evidence that has been produced to prove them incorrect. To call what is commonly cited as proof for evolutionary theory “science” is quite a stretch. The essential proofs, the very pieces of evidence that evolutionary scientists have been telling us for years are the necessary proofs of evolutionary theory, the “links” that pull all of it together, are still missing. Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.
There is nothing wrong with using the Bible as a primary educational text. Education is the process of discovering truth, not creating it. What value is education, claiming to be based on truth, if it does not have an objective source? And if you believe that God is the source of all truth, then how can you educate without acknowledging the authority and accuracy of the one written source of God’s revelation to humanity? Now I know that what Pierce means is that those who integrate the principles of scripture into their educational curriculum only teach what is in the Bible and ignore everything else. That’s not accurate. Those who acknowledge the Bible as their primary educational source use it as a measurement of truth, and apply its principles and standards in measuring what is presented as truth. Any educational process that doesn’t do that is just a dispensary of inaccurate information.
As far as “downplaying the highly successful U.S. experiment in full religious liberty in favor of revisionist tales of an intended Christian nation,” Pierce leaves that statement sitting there without substantiation. There’s no citation of a historic document that would prove his point, perhaps because there are no existing historic documents that would prove his point. Using words like “revisionist” and “intended Christian nation” are intended to paint with a broad brush. The burden of proof is Pierce’s, both to point out the specific “revisionist” theories that can’t be substantiated by historic documentation, and to point out where the Christians to whom his critique is directed have “downplayed” religious liberty. That there are those who interpret this differently than Pierce, or other Christians, is clear, but “downplay” is a word that requires proof.
Pierce acknowledges that there is a starting point for those who want to see the world the way Jesus saw it, and notes that there are many things, such as self-interest, fear, and cultural blinders which get in the way of our ability to do that. That’s true, and Pierce cites Paul, who acknowledges the human weakness we bear as proof of his point. But Paul doesn’t stop there. He goes on to acknowledge the power and strength of the Holy Spirit, and that where we are weak, God is strong for us. Christian faith is all about going beyond our own weaknesses and lack of vision, and seeing what God wants us to see by relying on the Holy Spirit. Pierce quits too soon. Considering his perspective on the infallibility of scripture, how does he know that these words are really Paul’s, or that Paul really meant what he said literally? Just a question.
“While we may reject the narrow politics and doctrines of some who claim a “biblical worldview,” and willingly admit that we can never fully grasp the Christian worldview of seeing all things from the perspective of Jesus, our ongoing attempts at such faithfulness are commendable and good.”
That’s all there is? Sounds more like an opportunity for a “dialogue” than an opportunity to pursue the “mind of Christ,” which Paul says we already have. Pierce misses the point with this editorial. The Christian worldview is the view of Jesus, and it is expressed in the missions ministry of Christians all over the world. The conservative Evangelicals who express their interpretation of it, while willing to acknowledge that their view isn’t perfect, are modeling their expression of a Christian worldview after the words of Christ recorded in scripture. Apparently Pierce thinks there is another source for determining what Jesus said and did, or he doesn’t believe what’s recorded in scripture is accurate enough to draw a conclusion.