Books shed new light on Christian worldview

Professors at the College of Theology have produced two new volumes on the Christian worldview. (Photo by Ralph Freso)

“We said, ‘We’re going to ask really fundamental questions about how people think and how they live. Who are we? Where do we come from? What is our goal? Where do we go from here? This sort of thing, people respond implicitly – they don’t even know they are answer. Dr. Jason Hiles

The world has changed dramatically over the past two decades.

Should the teaching of the Christian worldview change at the same time?

Dean of the College of Theology, Dr. Jason Hiles

The answer, Grand Canyon University concluded the leaders, was a resounding yes. This was the impetus to revise and update GCU’s two books for Christian worldview classes with the goal of spreading these teachings to the world beyond, including K-12 education and churches. .

It all started with a conversation College of Theology Dean Dr. Jason Hiles had with the president of the GCU Brian Müller.

“Brian basically said, ‘Hey, you’ve got this amazing content. You do this with students all the time. We will have between 21,000 and 22,000 Christian worldview seats each year. Why do we keep this to ourselves? We have this amazing content that professors have written,” Hiles recalls.

“It’s an introduction to Christianity from a Christian perspective on the world. How does the Christian worldview fit into what we do as a university? We have never told this story before.

The result is a GCU-wide collaboration led by Dr. Rich Holland and Dr. Dan Diffeywritten entirely by COT faculty, facilitated by Canyon Specials and made available at Lope Shop and, in the form of audio books, on theologycommons.org:

Volume 1, titled “The Beginning of Wisdom: An Introduction to Christian Thinking and Living,” is for Christian Worldview 101 classes and explores reverence for God, understanding who he is, and how that shapes life in today’s world.

Volume 2 – “Walking in Wisdom: The Way of Life and Peace” is for the more advanced classes of Christian Worldview 316 and provides tangible ways to build a life in Christ – cultivate virtue, interact with others , immersing oneself in a community in a healthy way and integrating faith into an academic discipline.

It’s not always easy conversation these days, but the books are designed to help readers overcome the divisions of the world and find unity and peace by understanding the Christian perspective of the world.

The best way to do this was to have a perspective based on what is happening today.

“What you would call worldview assumptions underlie everything we do during the day,” Hiles said. “When you see Republicans and Democrats banging heads, it feels like it’s political, it feels like it’s public, it feels like it’s a conversation based on facts. problems, but it actually taps into deep beliefs about the nature of the world we live in and our place in it.

Dr. Rich Holland

The project, the fourth revision of material first written in 2015, required writers who live in this world and understand it. This is where the COT faculty comes into play.

“The collection of scholars we have to write these chapters are well seasoned people,” Holland said. “These are people who live the Christian life, are engaged in Christian ministry, study theology and philosophy, and have been teaching theology and philosophy for a very long time. I think the collective wisdom of living the Christian life does come out of each of these chapters. I think they did a fantastic job.

Says Diffey, “We don’t just live in our ivory towers. We have boots on the ground. I think if we were the guys who were just in academia it would be very difficult because we write to a 100 level audience. We write to an audience that comes from different backgrounds, different beliefs. Writing in the way they understand without using too much Christian jargon is difficult. We want to use the words of Christianity, but we still want to be clear, we want to be able to define them well, and we want to use them when they are needed.

For example, Diffey wrote a passage about work:

Dr. Dan Diffey

“Most people don’t like work. They think work is a bad thing. They think work is something horrible that they have to do. Even in Christian circles, people often think that. Work is the result of God’s good design for mankind. The fall of mankind into sin leads to futility in the work. But the work itself is actually very good.

He also wrote about the creation story, another flashpoint between Christians and the secular world:

“I haven’t tried to focus on all the ongoing controversies. We all know what people think of Genesis versus modern scientific theory. That’s not what the book is about. The point is, what does the Bible articulate, how does it articulate it, and what is the purpose of the chapter? The purpose of this chapter is not to discuss modern controversies. It is to confront old problems which are still problems today.

When Holland wrote the first chapter of Volume 2, he said his goal was “to frame the biblical invitation to follow Jesus. I try to help the reader understand that Christianity is not an abstract set of ideas, but an invitation to live life a certain way.

Diffey and Holland pointed out that faculty writers connect with the church today — and the world today. (Photo by Ralph Freso)

The key is to know how to live life today. Hiles noted that every step of the way this was the goal:

“We said, ‘We’re actually going to have to present the biblical scenario to the students because they don’t necessarily come with that understanding.’ It’s a different day and different age. In the 1950s, maybe everyone knew who Jonah was, but in the 2020s, people don’t – they say, “A whale, a prophet, I don’t understand.”

“We do a Christian worldview and a biblical introduction, but we also try to speak to 21st century students. We’re not trying to have a conversation with your mother and father in the 1960s. We have to make it sound like it’s important now, because it is. It’s not that the Bible or the Christian worldview is irrelevant; it’s that you have to demonstrate relevance for the lights to come on.

GCU’s K12 Educational Development Team distributes the books at Canyon Christian Schools Consortium visits, and they will also be available at Christian Educational Leadership events hosted by the University.

Cecilia BosmaK12 professional development manager, has written and started training on “Integrating a Biblical Worldview into Learning”, which K12 schools or individuals can use to accompany the Christian Worldview manual.

“I think it will help educators as much as it will help students, if not more,” Diffey said.

But books are for everyone. Not just GCU students. Not just educators. Anyone who wants a life guide – and who doesn’t need this these days?

I think it will help educators as much as it will help students, if not more.

Dr. Dan Diffey

“Theology teachers asked themselves, ‘What are the students struggling with?’ They face mental health issues and these incredible stressors in their lives,” Hiles said. “Talking about peace is like a longing in their hearts that we try to connect to, and it immediately resonates with them.

“What Jesus leads us to is peace. It’s shalom. It is this kind of deep well-being which is linked to what God does and has to do with a balance between your relationships, between your activities. It is something different from what the world generally offers. There’s a lot of noise, there’s a lot of bustle and there’s a lot of pressure, a cacophony of tension in our lives, but this is different. We’re aiming for it, and we haven’t gotten there until we talk about it a lot.”

The key is knowing how to start the conversation – and keep it going – by understanding the Christian worldview.

And then act accordingly.

Contact Rick Vacek at (602) 639-8203 or [email protected].

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