Having laid the foundation for the importance, indeed the necessity of truth within the Christian worldview, it is now appropriate to consider what the truth-claims of Christianity are. There is no use speaking passionately about truth or why Christians claim to know the truth, if the content of that truth is absent. Once again, Christianity purports to correspond with reality as it has been revealed by a personal and omniscient God.
It’s important to point out that, historically, Christianity has claimed that it is an internally consistent worldview without logical contradictions. When weighing worldviews, one must look at the beliefs of Christianity and competing truth-claims to evaluate which one actually corresponds to reality and is therefore true. At this point, one may ask if there really are differences between the world’s religions and philosophies, or are they all essentially saying the same thing. It is my contention that all religions cannot all be true. Though, from a distance, there are similarities, under closer inspection one notices the superficiality of those similarities. In reality, there are significant differences between them, which include crucial foundational issues. Gary Phillips and William Brown point out:
“The nature of God, of matter, and of man are all defined differently by various religious systems. Therefore, when man confronts God, nature, and self, the worldviews that arise will be different. Is life after death a new sphere or level of personal existence, or are we simply absorbed into a transcendental impersonal force? How do we come to know God? Is it through asceticism…, through mysticism…, through the works of self-discipline, or by grace through faith.
What about Jesus Christ? Is Jesus an eternal being, or was He a created being? Was He truly God and truly man, or was He exclusively human? Did He die for the sins of mankind (Christianity), did He die a disillusioned and misunderstood itinerant rabbi (Judaism), or was He taken up into heaven without dying at all–and therefore is not a Savior (Islam)?”
If two truth-claims contradict one another, they cannot both be true in the same way and in the same relationship. Therefore, it is now important to consider the criteria to be employed in examining a worldview.
To consider the Christian worldview, I will examine the five worldview elements drawn from two of Ronald Nash’s books and will additionally consider the person and work of Jesus Christ.
Next time we’ll look at the first three of those elements: God, Metaphysics, and Epistemology.
Grace and Truth,
Challenging the Darkness: Toward a New Christian Renaissance Featuring Dr. Os Guinness
As we discuss how the church can engage an increasingly post-Christian culture in the west, it is helpful to take a step back from our own times and historically examine how Christianity has dealt with cultures that seemed implacably opposed to it. Christianity was never expected to convert the Roman empire; nor was it expected to convert the barbarian tribes after Rome fell. Yet, it both cases it succeeded despite the odds. Similarly today, Christians must hold onto hope for a revival in the modern west.