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August 01, 2005



I'm with that... no "building" a Christian world view... but working to see the Kingdom of God "on earth as it is in heaven"... I love your incarnation comment!

Sivin Kit

good to have you back ... and back with a bang!

if we need to use this "worldview" language ... would you say in the light of your last paragraph that eventually it will be some kind of development or emergence of a variety of Christian worldviews each incarnated in their context while the constant would be that this view is immersed in the Gospel?

Kerry Doyal

Are these mutually exclusive, if given their proper place? Doesn't it take one to make the other?

Worldview bashing seems a easy strawman at times. Even such talk comes from a worldview.

Just my thots

Let's press on with / for / like Jesus. Peace.


The sense that there is one correct Christian Worldview is just sooooo flawed. It misses the complexities of culture and epistemologies that muddy daily life and seems to want to boil them all down to 'one way', which obviously predictably will be American late capitalist. If that Christian person wants to really establish their business on these principles then for starters I suggest that they pay the employees the same regardless of whether they worked a full day of just the last hour... and if there are any rich workers, they should given all that they have away to the poor... and they should definately pay any Chinese workers sub-contracting in sweatshops under a different country's industrial relations laws the same also! (I always ponder the fact that 'What Would Jesus Do' WWJD bracelets are made in Thailand under cheap labour rules! Ain't life complex!

Tyler Watson

I agree that creating a specific Christian worldview is difficult if not impossible given that the gospel is supposed to go across cultures. But I also wrestle with the fact that Jesus and others in the Bible made some rather radical worldview shaping statements. E.g., "Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand," "I, Yahweh your God am one," "I will not conform any longer to the patterns of this world but be renewed by the transforming of my mind," etc.

Can we define worldview? I believe that most in this conversation would affirm the biblical quotes above, but say that the worldview Ryan's friend seeks to establish is something different than the reality that the biblical authors were trying to get their audiences to see and live in. I assume the worldviews we're discussing have more to do with epistemology, etc.

Tyler Watson

Doh, that should read, "be transformed by the renewing of my mind."

(Pick up a Bible when you're quoting it, Tyler.)



I'm tracking with you, but I identify with Sivin, finding that for my context the phrase "world view" may be a necessary evil (you have to pick your battles).

Consequently, I would want to use the phrase, but imbue it with your underlying assumptions. namely that a Christian world view will manifest itself in different ways in innumerable different subcultures.


p.s. welcome back!

Ryan Bolger

Great discussion!!
Sivin, David, Tyler, Kerry, If we want to use continue to use the word worldview it would need to be severely chastened and lose its primacy. Christian practices would be prior -- hospitality, generosity, recognition of the outcast, kingdom stuff (like what Andrew and Patrick mentioned). That produces the right 'view' of things.

A missional perspective of culture takes the many practices of culture as givens, then flips them over when the kingdom requires it, e.g. include the outsider when the culture pushes towards inclusion.
In addition, a muslim follower of Jesus in the middle east, a hindu follower of Jesus in Bangladesh, a Buddhist follower of Jesus in Japan, a base community leader in in South America and a Reformed follower of Jesus in Switzerland are all going to have vastly different 'worldviews', and I would argue that one is not inherently more Christian than the other.

What makes one more or less a Christian, I would argue, is to what extent the kingdom manifests in their midst, not with the worldview handed to them by their culture and experience....


aaron peterson

Hey Welcome back Ryan.

You are so right. Christendom Worldview is not really a discipleship worldview.

Benjamin Sternke

I like the thoughts about Christian practices being prior to teaching a correct 'view'. It emphasizes obedience and action over intellectual assent.

But how, in your opinion, would this square (if at all) with the assertion (ala Dallas Willard) that the first job of discipleship is changing people's REAL beliefs (not what they know how to recite to get the good grade). If people's actions betray their real beliefs, then can we emphasize action first, thinking belief will follow? Or would this foster legalism?

ryan bolger

Yes, our actions demonstrate our real beliefs -- but we must be clear that this action is not 'thoughtless', but actually embodies our thoughts.

I don't think a focus on thoughtful action needs to lead to legalism -- it is much like learning a trade. If you want to be a bricklayer, you need to lay bricks. If you want to be a Christian, you need to participate in these distinctive activities -- not simply obtain a certain set of disembodied rational thoughts...

As one participates in this kind off life, he/she will begin to think Christianly...


Ryan, I responded to one of your comments here over on my blog and it has turned into quite the discussion. Check it out here.

Ryan Bolger

Timbo's blog has an excellent discussion on these points (see above). I responded with a couple points I'll put here as well:

A follower of Jesus can remain culturally a Muslim or Hindu, but with distinctive practices and worship of Jesus (but they are not calling themselves Christians). I could say xyz country, city, caste, etc, but I was speaking in more general terms, because their religion has strongly influenced their cultural forms and vice-versa.

I meet missionaries who are doing just this -- they are forming communities of believers within these cultures around the reading of Scripture. Do they come up with a Greek or Northern European worldview as they read? No. Do they continue to participate in their religion? Possibly yes, possibly no. Do they critique their culture/religion, way of life where Scripture demands, yes. Does their entire worldview change, in some ways, yes, in many ways, no...Are they theologizing, coming up with a theology that makes sense in their world, yes. Do we need to bring them theological books from the West to keep them on track? No. Would they benefit in conversing with others globally as equal members of the body of Christ, yes.

The comments to this entry are closed.


  • Hi, welcome to my former blog! My name is Ryan Bolger, and this is where I posted my thoughts on Jesus, culture, new forms of community, among other things. Come visit me at my new blog: http://www.ryanbolger.com. I still teach at Fuller Seminary in Southern California where I'm doing some writing as well. Feel free to bounce around the new or old website -- I hope it might stir your imagination -- feel free to stir mine as well by leaving some comments, preferably at the new site... Peace...


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