As culture changes and transforms, new thoughts about life emerge. New worldviews come into play. Some are similar to old ones, while others are completely new. However, not all worldviews fall into the big categories, like theism, atheism, animism, etc. There are plenty that are sub-cultural worldviews, that most people ascribe to often without realizing it — even Christians. These are the ‘hidden’ worldviews that Steve Wilkens and Mark Sanford tackle here.
Let me just give you the bottom line: I love this book. It’s apologetics, but it’s also not. The authors even state in their first chapters that it’s not your normal apologetics book. They care about the reader, and want them to understand that what makes these worldviews so unique is that they are subtly hidden behind our modern culture, thus making them easily integrated into our lives. As stated before, the book reveals that most Americans, in some way or another, live out several aspects of a few of these sub-cultural takes on life. On another note, they also bluntly state that they are writing this book from a Christian lens, so that non-Christians get a better idea of the angle of the book.
Wilkens and Sanford did careful research for their data, and have locked onto eight of these worldviews — Individualism, Consumerism, Nationalism, Moral Relativism, Postmodern Tribalism, Therapeutic Religion, New Age, and Naturalism. Looking at each one per chapter, the authors basically stick to three things. First, they give a brief history of the worldview, and how it came to be as it is today. Secondly, they give the strengths of the worldview, as in what we can learn from it (humbling coming from Christian authors!), and they end with giving logical, rational problems which make the worldview unhealthy and illogical. They usually end each chapter with a specific take on how Christians have the better alternative to the specific worldview examined.
Going into the book with the understanding that those eight outlooks on life pretty much are followed by everyone at some level really opens your eyes, to others and yourself. As I read through the book, I couldn’t help but be convicted as I saw elements of some of the worldviews, like consumerism, in my own life. Since I’ve finished it, I’ve already been able to see different elements in the lives of those I meet, which is a tremendous help in communicating with, loving, and ministering to them. There are levels of personal reflection and introspection here that are uncommon in most works of apologetics.
My favorite part has to be the last two chapters. There Wilkens and Sanford outline what a tue, healthy Christian worldview looks like and how it’s made up. They also explain the specific methods they used in analyzing each worldview in the book as well as whenever they cross a new one. According to the authors, knowing what tools to use is of infinite value as worldviews will surface and change as culture does. Again, I can’t state how amazing these last two chapters are! Tons of Christians have a distorted view on what they believe, and these chapters help set up some core foundations which will be refreshing to those deep in their walk with Christ.
This is a book every Christian needs to have on their bookshelf. I think this one is going on my Top 5 List. I’m sure it will make it up there for you as well!