John 1:1—“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Jesus was in the beginning (He had no beginning), He was with God, and He was God. The grammatical structure of the passage supports the idea that Jesus was the Word, and that He was God, but that He was not the Father or the Spirit, as both persons are distinguished clearly from Jesus (e.g., Jn 15:9, 26). While the concept of the triune God, or the trinity is prevalent in the New Testament, it is not simply a New Testament concept, as it is found in Old Testament as well (e.g., Isaiah 48:12, 16).
Colossians 1:15-17—“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” That He is the firstborn of all creation means that He is sovereign over creation, not that He is the first created thing Notice the parallel reference to Jesus as the firstborn from the dead in 1:18. Clearly this shows His sovereignty over death, as the one conquering death. The passage is not indicating that He was the first to die.
Christian higher education often suffers from a split personality. It professes a Christian religious allegiance, but practices a variety of secular professional agendas, consciously or unconsciously. But schizophrenia, no matter from which root it springs, is as lethal to a healthy institution as it is to healthy psyche.
I have read some but not all of the philosophers John Frame canvasses in this book. That almost certainly describes you, too. So you’re probably in precisely the same boat I’m in when it comes to Western philosophy—that creaky boat full of hopefuls traveling from the land of ignorance to the land of knowledge. But (and please bear with this analogy, ahem) we hopefuls need guides to get us across the water. (Keep bearing.) We want the kind of guide who will say, “That’s a rocky coastline; you don’t want to land there” or “That’s a good harbor.”
It simply isn’t advisable—or even possible—for most hopefuls to navigate the massive waves and hidden sandbars of philosophy without a guide. That’s true even though firsthand knowledge of that sea is the ultimate goal some of us, at least, ought to be shooting for. We ought to aim to become capable skippers ourselves, guiding others across the perplexity.
One of the themes of John Frame’s own theological work is the moral obligation we have to pick the right guides, to get knowledge righteously. And one of the primary ways we accomplish this feat is by trusting the right authorities. Ultimately, of course, divine authority is the only one that validates knowledge. But that very authority has gifted His church with teachers like Frame (Eph. 4:10).
Read the series so far.
I want to move forward a bit now to the subject of evidence. Probably many of you have heard the old dictum that scientists “follow the evidence wherever it leads.” Often scientists themselves promote this idea, and others catch on and parrot it. It sounds very dignified—almost pious. And, as philosophers of science like Thomas Kuhn and Michael Polanyi have shown, it is almost totally false.
Several years ago, a well known, oft-published physicist named Robert V. Gentry published a book entitled Creation’s Tiny Mystery, which cataloged his research on Polonium 218 radiohalos. The book makes fascinating reading, and it has never been gainsaid. All the same, Gentry’s researched has been shunted to the side by evolutionists because, well, it provides compelling data for the assertion that the earth is young.
Read the series so far.
Last time I drew attention to some fallacious ideas which circulate on the airwaves and in popular culture. There are many more. In fact, even Christians have manufactured some pretty misleading mottoes and aphorisms which they use as watchwords instead of Scripture. Perhaps I’ll come back to that later, but right now I want to press on with the subject of worldviews.
As we have seen, a worldview is essentially an interpretation and outlook on life and its meaning. This outlook often lies behind the basic beliefs of people, although it must be added that people very often let their worldviews go unexamined. Let’s illustrate this with an example:
Many people will go to well known burger franchises and buy a cheeseburger even while knowing the ingredients are less than healthful. It’s the same with chicken nuggets, which are often made from gizzards and other unmentionables. If we gave critical thought to what we’re eating perhaps we would go for something else? In a similar way, if people tried a bit of critical reflection on their underlying beliefs, perhaps many of them would realize that these worldviews fail to provide healthy support for day to day experience or the societal values they deem important.
Last time we looked at the importance of commending a biblical worldview to our children. If we can communicate that, then we have given them a solid frame of reference from which they can comprehend the world about them and make decisions about which directions to take in it. That is a valuable gift; and it is one that will be increasingly needed in the years ahead.
I said last time that we would begin to see how the right worldview helps us do this. Let me start by listing again those pat catch-phrases which are frequently met with in the world:
Read Part 1.
I have begun this series with this three-part introduction, trying to bring attention to the matter of Truth and the authenticity of our allegiance to it as Christian parents. My concern is that Christians nowadays do not prize Truth for what it is—an attribute of God—but rather treat it as something they can use a bit of when they think it needful. Francis Schaeffer used to say that the Church should live out what he termed “true truth” before the world. But the Church has forgotten the importance of Truth, and its role as the witness to the Truth in this dark and deceitful age. Truth must come first. Our preferences are not that important.
I realize that in putting matters this way I am not going to make many friends. But I am not concerned with making friends so much as with telling it as it is. And the fact is young people raised in Christian homes and attending evangelical churches are leaving those churches in droves.
According to a Barna poll 66% of these kids are deserting their Christian upbringing. And the figure may be even higher. A survey conducted by the SBC asserts that 88% of young people walk away from the faith never to return. And there is no sign of any abatement. Something is badly amiss, and Christian parents especially need to stop pretending everything’s okay so long as their kid or teenager has a good time at church.