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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

I am speaking at Cherry Creek Presbyterian Church on Sunday, June 10, in the adult education class. Here is my outline:

Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D, Professor of Philosophy, Denver Seminary, Head of the Christian Apologetics and Ethics Masters Degree.

Worldviews and the Bible:
Reading the Bible Rightly and Discerning False Worldviews

I.                   What is a Worldview?

A.    Philosophy of life, conceptual system, scheme of things

B.     Answers perennial questions:

1.      What is the ultimate reality?

2.      Does life have a purpose?

3.      Who are human beings?

4.      Is there an afterlife?

5.      What is the basis and meaning of ethics?

II.                What is a Biblical Worldview?

1.      The scandal of worldview ignorance

2.      Based on the Bible (epistemology): 2 Timothy 3:15; John 17:17

3.      Takes knowledge from outside the Bible (general revelation): Romans 1-2.

4.      Reads the Bible according to the author’s intension taken in its context, both literarily and culturally (hermeneutics).

No “deconstruction” (relativizing) of the text. This destroys the intrinsic authority of the biblical text.

5.      Biblical worldview essentials

a.       Creation (Genesis 1; Psalm 90:1-2; John 1:1-3)

b.      Fall (Genesis 3; Romans 3; Mark 7:20-23)

c.       Redemption (John 3:16-18; Romans 1-8)

d.      Consummation (Revelation 21-22)

III.             Two Competing Worldviews

A.    Naturalism or Philosophical Materialism

1.      Dominates elite culture in America and the West

2.      Nature is only material: physicalism

3.      Natural all that there is; a closed system of cause and effect; the causal closure principle.

4.      There is no revelation, soul, miracles, purpose in life, or afterlife

5.      Religion is a useless or dangerous superstition. See Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion (2006) and my review of it. The Bible is a collection of myths and legends. It must be “demythologized.”

6.      A few problems with naturalism

1.      The Big Bang refutes it (see Douglas Groothuis, Christian Apologetics, chapter 11)

2.      Cosmic fine-tuning refutes it (See Groothuis, Christian Apologetics, chapter 12)

3.      It cannot give meaning to humans who crave meaning (See Groothuis, Christian Apologetics, chapter 15)

B.     Pantheism or non-dualism

1.      More influential at a popular, not academic level. See Oprah Winfrey, Eckhart Tolle, Deepak Chopra.

2.      All that exists is a divine oneness (monism or non-dualism)

3.      God is impersonal and amoral—an It, not a He (see Exodus 3:14)

4.      Salvation is found within the self (“the God within”)

Misinterpretation of the Bible: “The Kingdom of God is within [or among] you” (Luke 17:21). “Among” is in ESV and NLT. This does not teach pantheism, but the presence of Christ himself in the midst of the Jews.

5.      Reincarnation and karma (see Hebrews 9:27)

Misinterpretation of the Bible: “John the Baptist is Elijah” (Matthew 11:13-14); this is taken to be reincarnation, but it is a figure of speech to refer to the character of Elijah, not reincarnation. See John 1:19-21.

6.      A few problems with pantheism (see Douglas Groothuis, Unmasking the New Age (InterVarsity, 1986); Confronting the New Age (1988; Wipf and Stock reprint); Jesus in an Age of Controversy (1996; Wipf and Stock reprint)

1.      It denies basic sense experience and intuition of a world of diverse things and the finitude of the self

2.      It dissolves any justification for objective morality, since all is one.

3.      It cannot fulfill our yearning for love and healthy relationships
4.      It distorts the meaning and person of Jesus Christ, reducing him to a guru, yogi, swami, avatar, adept, and so on. See Matthew 11:27; John 14:1-6; Acts 4:12; 1 Timothy 2:5)

IV.             Know and Spread the Truth of God

A.    Explore and develop a Christian worldview faithful to the Scripture and logic (Romans 12:1-2). Study, memorize, and meditate on the Holy Bible.

B.     Do not impose a naturalistic or pantheistic view on the Bible (2 Peter 3:16)

C.     Discern unbiblical and illogical worldviews and expose them in love (1 Peter 3:15; Ephesians 4:15)

D.    Be ready for intellectual and spiritual warfare as you battle to bring people to Christ and build up Christians in the knowledge of God (1 Peter 5:8-9; Ephesians 6:10-19)

1.      Douglas Groothuis, Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Faith. InterVarsity Press, 2011. 752 pages.
2.      Douglas Groothuis, Unmasking the New Age. InterVarsity Press, 1986.
3.      Douglas Groothuis, Confronting the New Age. 1988; Wipf and Stock reprint.
4.      Douglas Groothuis, Jesus in an Age of Controversy. 1996; Wifp and Stock reprint.
5.      Douglas Groothuis, Are All Religions One? Booklet. InterVarsity Press, 1996.
6.      Douglas Groothuis is on Twitter (#DougGroothuis) and Facebook. Join me!
7.      Nancy Pearcey, Total Truth. Crossway, 2005.
8.      James W. Sire, The Universe Next Door: A Basic Worldview Catalogue, 5th ed. InterVarsity Press, 2009.
9.      James W. Sire, Scripture Twisting: 20 Ways Cults Misinterpret the Bible. InterVarsity Press, 1980.

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