Monthly Archives: February 2008

Gospel Centered Preaching by Tim Keller

In Him We Proclaim: Preaching Christ from All the Scriptures, Dennis E. Johnson provides a synopsis of Tim Keller’s Gospel Centered Preaching. Since it is so informative I’ll quote in full (pages 55-60). Personally, no other preacher continues to shape my mind and heart the way Dr. Keller continues to, always making the Gospel of Jesus Christ the epicenter of all things.

1) What both the unbeliever and the believer need to hear in preaching is the gospel, with its implications for a life lived in confident gratitude in response to amazing grace. Christians are constantly tempted to relapse into legalistic attitudes in their pursuit of sanctification, so we never outgrow our need to hear the good news of God’s free and sovereign grace in Christ. Sanctification, no less than justification, must come by grace alone, through faith alone—we grow more like Christ only by growing more consistent in trusting Christ alone, thinking, feeling, acting “in line with the truth of the gospel” (Gal. 2: 14). From this grace alone can flow true sanctification, motivated by gratitude and empowered by the Spirit. We need to repent not only of our sins but also of our righteousness—our efforts at self-atonement in lieu of surrender to the all-sufficient grace of Christ. Keller traces his discovery of this need of two-fold repentance to George Whitefield’s sermon, “The Method of Grace.”

2) The root of the unbeliever’s sin and misery is his worship (recognized or, often, unrecognized) of a false god, an idol. Likewise the believer’s frustration, resentment, lack of joy, anger, worry, fear, etc., are symptoms of lingering allegiance to various idols of I he heart that persistently reassert themselves as rivals with Jesus for stir trust, devotion, and service. Our idols are whatever (other than the triune God) we trust in to gain “salvation,” however we define idol—whatever we believe that we cannot live without. Keller cites Calvin as calling our hearts “idol factories,” constantly manufacturing rivals to the living God. Idols may include financial success, career achievement, parental approval, spousal love, sexual fulfillment, academic or artistic achievement or recognition, parenthood and grateful admiration by well-behaved children, or other things that are not in themselves evil. The god we serve defines for us what, in practice, we mean by “sin or righteousness” and “curse or blessing.” “Sin” is behavior on our part that hinders our receiving our god’s blessing. “Righteousness” is the behavior that we expect to bring us “blessing.” For the worshiper of Career, hard work and long hours on the job are “righteousness’ for which we expect our god to reward us with the “blessings” of recognition promotion sense of accomplishment, and salary increases. For the worshiper of Family, on the other hand, excessively hard work and long hours are “sin’ threatening the “blessing” of domestic tranquility in which our emotional needs are met. People need to see that every idol will fail them for two reasons: unlike the triune God who came to save his people in Jesus, (a) no idol will forgive the “sin” committed against it; and (b) every idol will be torn away from its worshiper sooner or later—no idol can promise, “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.” The idols of our hearts are unforgiving because they always belong to a system of works righteousness: fulfill expectations you will live; fail, and you die. Moreover, because every idol is a specific expression of our propensity to worship and serve the creature rather than the Creator (Rom. 1:25) and no creature lasts forever, no idol can sustain its worshiper through life and through death.

3) The preacher and his congregation assume the presence of unbelievers in their midst, people to whom the “language of Zion” is a foreign tongue and to whom biblical truths (including the very concept of absolute truth) are alien. Preaching must take account of the fact that the truths of the gospel are counter-intuitive to the unregenerate mind, and this reality is becoming more overt as western culture abandons even the shell of a biblical worldview. Therefore, preaching must incorporate apologetics—”sidebars” addressed to unbelievers where the preacher frankly acknowledges the alienness of the gospel to prevailing cultural assumptions but also respectfully challenges non-Christians to recognize the coherence of biblical truth and its superior adequacy to address the dilemmas of human life and thought.

This approach rejects moralistic attempts to attract and hold non-Christians’ attention by offering practical lists of “helpful” tips for self-remedy. While intentionally adjusting its language to make the gospel’s beauty and offensiveness intelligible to postmodern unchurched urbanites, it challenges the assumption (shared by seeker-sensitive “preachers to convert” and those who believe that edifying believers is the sole purpose of congregational preaching) that preaching addressed to the church should differ significantly from preaching addressed to the unbelieving and uncommitted. Keller insists that the same gospel that introduces people into the family of God is the power that transforms them as children of God. He therefore implicitly challenges [Jay] Adams’s view that committed Christians need preaching that, only presupposing justifying grace, concentrates on establishing godly patterns of behavior through self-discipline aided by the Holy Spirit. He also rejects the seeker-sensitive assumption that certain biblical topics should be avoided in the presence of “seekers” lest they cause offense. Rather, the whole counsel of God can and must he preached to all sorts of people, whatever their level (or lack) of commitment to Christ, because the whole counsel of God finds its integrative center and meaning in God’s sovereign grace in Christ. This also means that it is the preacher’s challenge to cross the chasms of misunderstanding and alienation that separate his hearers, including secularized, relativized postmoderns, from the biblical revelation of the living God. The preacher cannot lazily wait for his unchurched hearers to do the difficult, cross-cultural work of translation: learning church lingo in order to hear Christ’s word of life to them. Instead, the preacher himself must be the cross-cultural traveler and translator, bringing the Bible’s alien message into the indigenous language and thought-forms of those to whom God has sent him.

On pages 60-61 Johnson in footnote 73, Johnson summarizes Keller’s response to his critics.

Keller has talked with Christians who have attended Redeemer for some lime and expressed a desire for “deeper, meatier” teaching than they have found in his public preaching ministry. He has found they typically want one of three things: (1) “More theological distinctive spelled out”(different views of baptism, charismatic gifts, etc.). Keller response is that a large number of those present in Redeemer worship services need first to be taught even meatier and more offense truths of Scripture (such as those listed in footnote 70, uniqueness of Christ, divine justice and wrath, etc.) before considering, for example, the case for infant baptism (which is addressed elsewhere in Redeemer’s ministry, in classes or small groups). (2) “More doctrinal and ethical details spelled out” (divorce and remarriage, Christian schools, how to do family devotions or church discipline, politics, end times). Keller responds: “Every Christian will need to get eventually into biblical and theological details that are inappropriate for a sermon . . . during a worship service. Therefore every preacher draws a line somewhere and says, ‘If you want the details of biblical knowledge you need to know to grow mature, you will have to get into classes or groups where they can be covered: This means that almost every preacher will have someone who draws the line between ‘sermon’ and a ‘lecture’ further toward the ‘lecture’ than the preacher does, and who therefore will say ‘I want more meat.’ . . . All the old Puritans (especially Edwards) knew better the difference between a lecture and a sermon. The sermon was more ‘edifying’—more oriented to the affections and less oriented to detailed cognitive arguments:’ (3) “. . . more talk about ‘hot’ topics” (abortion, homosexuality, etc.). Keller responds: “I absolutely believe in preaching the whole counsel of God, but in an order that makes sense of it. If doctrine D, E, and F are completely premised on doctrines A, B, and C—you have to persuade people of ABC first. It’s silly to tell someone ‘abortion is a sin’ if they don’t understand the meaning of the word sin. . . . Therefore, we never at Redeemer avoid a subject because it is offensive, but we may postpone a subject and put it into classes or small group material which people work through after they’ve been brought toward Christ by the preaching” (email).


Idolatry

Very few books have I been so excited about in the first half, to be so disappointed by the second half than Transforming Vision: Shaping a Christian World View by Brian J. Walsh and Richard Middleton. Apparently, as Christians we’re supposed to all denounce capitalism for socialism.

But they did have some great quotes on idolatry, explaining in a fresh light.

Idolatry is wrong, therefore, not only because it tries to make God visible (which is precisely the human task) but because it goes about this in the wrong way. Instead of accepting and fulfilling our created responsibility to represent the Lord in the whole range of our cultural activities, we project this responsibility onto idols. We therefore deny our calling to live in such a way that God’s loving can be seen, and we begin to cultivate the earth in disobedience. Idolatry is thus the illegitimate alternative to the genuine human task to image God. It is equivalent to living a life so distorted by false worship that it ceases to reflect God’s standards. (page 65)

Idols are never appeased. They always require more sacrifices. Once we place our trust in them we become their servants. We surrender our dominion over the earth as god’s image-bearers, and we ourselves are dominated by our graven image. Our lives are transformed into the image of the god we serve. (page 141)

Some other take away moments of the book included:

To talk about sin we must look at how God’s creatures disobeyed him and how his good creation was distorted. What is salvation but the outworking of God’s love for this creation as he restores it form the bondage and effects of sin? Creation, then, although certainly no the central message of Scripture, is the underlying foundation. Indeed, without an understanding of the biblical view of creation our understating of both sin and redemption will inevitably be distorted. In world-view terms, we cannot answer the questions “What’s wrong?” and “What’s the remedy?” unless first address the issues of who we are and where we are. Answering the four world view questions will direct us the biblical themes of creation, fall into sin and redemption in Christ. These themes constitute the basic flow and movement of the Bible. (page 44)

All we do is to be done form a heat filled with love for God. If our lives are not an expression of our love for him, they will express rebellion against him. That is simply our religious nature as God’s image bearers. All our cultural life is subject to Yahweh’s norms, and we are called to respond to him in obedience. (page 69)

We experience our work life dualistically even apart from this question of how it relates to our faith. Indeed, most people in our culture have a clear diving line between their work life and their leisure life. Work is something we have to do, a necessary evil. It is worthy doing, however, because it gives us the necessary resources to engage in the other activities we enjoy more. That part of our life is called leisure. In contrast to work, we are “free” during our leisure time—free to play, free of any constraints form our employers. (page 98)


A Case for Civility

Interview with Os Guinness

He states,

There are scores of lessons we can learn from Wilberforce, but take just one: his civility. As a follower of the way of Jesus, he loved his enemies and always refused to demonize them. At one time he was the most vilified man in the world, but while he never minced words in speaking about the evils of slavery, he was always gracious, generous, modest, funny, witty, and genuinely loving toward his enemies. When one of his worst enemies died, he at once saw to it anonymously that his widow was cared for adequately. Compare this with the religious right’s demonizing of its foes. The latter is not so much uncivil as unChristian.

(HT:TC)

Similarly, Guinness in The Case for Civility: And Why Our Future Depends on It (pages 93-94, emphasis added; HT: JT):

As one who believes that the call of Jesus is to a path of suffering that shuts the door to every form of victim-playing, I am angered by organizers fo the Religious Right who play the victim card and appeal openly to Christian resentment. . . .

Do they not know that those who portray themselves as victims come to perceive themselves as victims and then to paralyze themselves as victims? . . .

But whether “victimization” then or a “war on Christians” now, such tactics of the Religious Right are foolish, ineffective, and downright anti-Christian. The problem is not that these people are theocrats, but that they are sub-Christian. They do not violate the separation of church and state so much as they violate Christian integrity. Factually, it is dead wrong for Christians to portray themselves as a minority, let alone as persecuted. Christians are as close to a majority community as any group in America; what their fellow Christians are facing today in China, North Korea, Burma, and Sudan is real persecution.

Psychologically, victim-playing is dangerous because it represents what Nietzsche called “the politics of the tarantula,” a base appeal to resentment. But worst of all, it is spiritually hypocritical, for nothing so contradicts their claim to represent “Christian values” as their refusal to follow the teaching and example of Jesus of Nazareth by playing the victim card and finding an excuse not to love their enemies. Shame, shame, shame on such people; and woe, woe, woe to such tactics.


The Goal of the Gospel is God

Perhaps one of the most heart rendering quotes that I’ve ever read is by John Piper in God Is the Gospel: Meditations on God’s Love as the Gift of Himself. It’s the main thesis of this short, but great, book.

My point in this book is that all the saving events and all the saving blessings of the gospel are means of getting obstacles out of the way so that we might know and enjoy God most fully. Propitiation, redemption, forgiveness, imputation, sanctification, liberation, healing, heaven—none of these is good news except for one reason: they bring us to God for our everlasting enjoyment of him. If we believe all these things have happened to us, but do not embrace them for the sake of getting to God, they have not happened to us. Christ did not die to forgive sinners who go on treasuring anything above seeing and savoring God. And people who would be happy in heaven if Christ were not there, will not be there. The gospel is not a way to get people to heaven; it is a way to get people to God. It’s a way of overcoming every obstacle to everlasting joy in God. If we don’t want God above all things, we have not been converted by the gospel.


Ravi Zacharias’ Thoughts on the Cross

But we live with more than pain and suffering. We also live with deep hungers within the human heart. These existentially gnaw at us with a desperate constancy. There are at least four such longings.

1.      The hunger for truth, as lies proliferate.

2.      The hunger for love, as we see hate ruling the day.

3.      The hunger for justice, as we see injustice mocking the law.

4.      The hunger for forgiveness, when we ourselves fail and stumble.

These four stirrings grip the soul. As I see it, there is only one place in the world where these four hungers converge. That is at the cross. I dare say, therefore, that in this mix of pain and longing the divine answer is restoring and sublime. For within the paradox of the cross is the coalescing of our need and God’s provision.

I would go so far as to say that until we see the price God paid for our peace in His own Son, we will be paying with our sons’ and daughters’ lives on the battlefields of our hates and brutalities, only to find peace ever eluding us.

Never has it been more obvious that this world needs redemption, and that redemption is costly. The cross more than ever, in our language and in our longings, is necessary to bridge the divide between God and us. Without the cross the chasm that separates us all from truth, love, justice and forgiveness can never be crossed. The depths of mystery and love found in the cross can never be fully plumbed, but it must be the lifelong pursuit of the Christian to marvel at its costliness and to celebrate its meaning.


The Kingdom Triangle: The Good, Part 1

Kingdom Triangle: Recover the Christian Mind, Renovate the Soul, Restore the Spirit’s Power by J. P. Moreland was a very thought provoking book.

In this blog post I’ll reveal many of the great things about this book. In the next post, I’ll show some of my concerns that Moreland’s Kingdom Triangle resolves more around us as believers and not enough around the King Himself.

His main thesis is the following:

The shift in worldview from a Judeo-Christian thick world to a naturalist or postmodern thin world has brought about … a cultural milieu that lacks the resources needed to resist the drift towards the proliferation of empty selves. In this context, men are empty selves gorged on and dulled by seeking happiness and, as a result, are individualistic, narcissistic, infantile people who approach others as objects that exist merely to make them happy. Slowly but surely, the contemporary Zeitgeist is killing our lives, our religious fervor, and our relationships. (page 105)

His answer to our (post)modern predicament is the Kingdom Triangle of:

1.      Recovering the Christian Mind,

2.      Renovating the Soul

3.      Restoring the Spirit’s Power

He compares a “thick” world versus a “thin” world.

A “thin” world is one with no objective value, purposes, or meaning. (page 26) … There are three disastrous implications of a thin world. First, nothing is important enough to rise above the level of a custom. … Second, absent of objective and ultimate meaning, purpose, and value, there can be no real drama in a thin world. (page 27)… Third, in a thin world there is no objective difference between Mother Teresa and someone who devotes this life to being the best male prostitute he can be. (page 28)

His analysis of the empty indicative a “thin” world is quite penetrating.

When people live for pleasurable satisfaction, they become empty selves and, because God did not make us to live for “happiness,” their lives fall apart. … Seligman has noted repeatedly that when people lie for “happiness,” they turn their attention inward and become shriveled selves who are anything but “happy.” In 1988, Seligman found that in the span of one single generation—the Baby Boom generation—Americans experienced a tenfold increase in depression compared to earlier generations. (page 25)

Regarding his interactions with an expert on Islam, Daniel Pipes,

Religion is a hobby to be subsumed under the demands of secular democracy, not something to be taken seriously. Assessing the truth claims of any religion … is beside the point. … The implicit framework that underlies [Pipes’] approach… is a naturalistic worldview. But if a thin world is the most plausible implication of naturalism, then Pipes’ own sense of drama for his work done on behalf of the Bush administration does not really matter at the end of the day. (page 31)

I thought his understanding of worldview was refreshing, though perhaps misleading in some ways. 

While a worldview affects what one sees, it is a mistake to compare a worldview with a set of glasses. Here’s why. Glasses stand between a person and the external world such that a person’s access to reality is mediated through the glasses. One does not have direct access to reality itself. But it is wrong to place things between knowing an experiencing subjects and the real world, things like one’s cultural, historical location, one’s tradition, or one’s worldview. One troublesome implication of such a model is that people can never correct their beliefs by comparing them to things. Yet … people, including little children, do this all the time. A better way to describe the role of a worldview in seeing reality is to depict it as a habituated way of direction our attention or inattention, as they case may be. (page 33)

Here is great summation of naturalism.

Naturalism implies that the physical world is all there is; that knowledge occurs only or most ideally within the bounds of the sense and the methods of science; that the good life is whatever you freely choose for yourself, for example, a life of social recognition and success (most likely, financial, academic, or artistic success); that a really good person is one who is true to his or her own ideals (whatever they are) and is tolerant of others; and there is virtually no advice given for how to become a good person. (page 59)

In response to the charge of naturalism theistic evolution is more than a copout.

Many theistic evolutionists simply fail to provide a convincing response to the question of why one should adopt a theological layer of explanation of the origin and development of life in the first place. Given scientism, theistic evolution greases the skids toward placing nonscientific claims in a privatized, make-believe realm in which their factual, cognitive status is undermined. Thus, inadvertently … those of [this] persuasion contribute to the marginalization of a Christian worldview. (page 46)

Concerning the rise of postmodernism,

Given that knowledge is limited to empirical since, realms of public discourse outside science—especially religious, ethical, and political discourse—are not aspects of life in which truth can be known. Thus, decision-making in these areas cannot be guided by any hope of cognitive success. As a result, tolerance and pluralism must prevail and rhetoric, image and their kin trump reason, ideas, and knowledge. The makeup man is more important than the speech writer.

… The public square, along with debates about religion, ethics, and politics, turns out to be about power (the ability to enforce compliance) and not about authority (the right to believed and followed based on possession off the relevant knowledge).

This same reason why political correctness is about power, not truth, and this is why the media, university, culture, and political interactions have become secular. Radicals and activities in the 1960s sought to change the world, but given their perhaps unwitting adoption of scientism, the only way they could accomplish their aims was through power and not through the promotion of nonemperical knowledge. Cultural power is available in university, media and political careers, and having absorbed scientism, when the activists of the sixties stormed these social structures, the inevitable result was their secularization and the emergence of coercive, political correct utilization of power. In a naturalist world, the will-to-power is all there is; authority is unavailable. (page 65-66)

Summarizing postmodernism,

Reality for postmodernisms either does not exist or we have no direct access to it. Claims to have knowledge are power moves designed to dominate those judged not to have it. More modestly, knowledge is what you community’s experts will let you get away with saying without having to defend yourself further. The good life and the nature of a good person are whatever your community arbitrarily takes them to be. Moreover, there is no clear advice given as to how to become a good person. Instead, we get mantras about being tolerant and doing whatever you want as long as you harm no one else. (page 85)

Moreland’s charge to avoid the charge for Christians to avoid the dangers of “pomo” is powerful.

Postmodernism is a form of intellectual pacifism that, at the end of the day, recommends backgammon while the barbarians are at the age. It is the easy way out that removes the pressure to engage alternative conceptual schemes to be different, to risk ridicule to take a stand outside the gage. But it is precisely as disciples of Christ—even more, as officers in his army—that the pacifist way out is simply not an option. However comforting it may be, postmodernisms is the cure that kills the patient, the military strategy that concedes defeat before the first shot is fired, the ideology that undermines its own claims to allegiance. As followers of the Lord Jesus, the postmodern option is a concession to our culture that goes too far, however well-intentioned it is. We can and must do better than this if we are to be up to the teaks of responding to the crisis of our age. (page 88)

Finally, I loved his assessment and thoughts on how the concept of freedom has made a mega-shift in our culture.

Classically, freedom meant the power to do what one ought to do. Thus, one is free to play the piano if one has the skills, training, and knowledge necessary to play it. Similarly, one is free in life if one has the power to life the way one ought to live. Sexual freedom in this context means the power to live a chaste, holy life and to engage skillfully in sexual activity in the way in which we were designed by God—in heterosexual marital union. Classic freedom is liberating, indeed, but a necessary condition of such freedom is the availability of the relevant sort of knowledge. Absent such knowledge, freedom ahs come to be understood as the right to do what one wants to do. Sexual freedom in this context means the right to satisfy one’s desires in any way one wishes, with the possible exception of not harming others.

… Christians should understand that in the thin atmosphere of contemporary secularism, if freedom means the right to do whatever I want, any attempt to limit freedom, especially if such a limitation is grounded in a substantive moral claim, will be greeted with a burden of proof that is hard to meet in a thin world. (page 98-99)

As I said, I’ll go on to critique his Kingdom Triangle for not putting in its epicenter the Gospel. But a highly recommended book nonetheless.


(Re)Thinking Through Worldviews

Recently read Rethinking Worldview: Learning to Think, Live, and Speak in This World by J. Mark Bertrand and it was surprising informative and well written. Very fascinating and interesting book.

The main thesis of the book is,

Worldview flows into wisdom which flows into witness. Witness draws strength from wisdom and worldview. Instead of discreet stages we enter into and move beyond, these categories are essential parts of a single whole. Ideally, you can’t have one without the other, which means that any time you see an emphasis on worldview that doesn’t lead to a critical maturity, or criticism that doesn’t lead to cultural contribution, something must be wrong. (page 187)

 

So we have the symbiotic relationship between worldview, wisdom, and witness, with the beginning and end of all men as worship.

The author mentions the necessity of both wisdom and witness necessarily being held together at all times in the Christian life.

Creative expression is stifled and starved in the sections of the church that have developed an unhealthy critical perspective, and it flourishes in those quarters where there is no critical perspective of any kind to feed on. Where there is criticism, there is no expression; and where there is expression, there is no criticism. We have a socket on the one hand and plug on the other, and we are left to imagine in frustration what might happen on the glorious day one is introduced to other. (page 189)

He asserts that developing a Christian worldview is essentially becoming more Christlike, having the mind of Christ.

So the key to changing your worldview turns out to be, not some profound philosophical quest, but the fundamental journey to Christlike sanctity that every Christian is called to undertake. If you want to change your worldview, to make it a more consistently biblical worldview, then the first and most important thing you must do is work out your salvation in fear and trembling, knowing that it is God working in you, both to will and to worked for his good pleasure. The concept of worldview is one that Christianity inherited from philosophy. We couch it in high-sounding words. But it would be mistake to think that this intellectual language describes an essentially intellectual process. (page 38)

The development and sustaining a worldview is a Spirit guidance process for the believer and non-believer alike.

If we acknowledge that power over our own worldview is only partly in our hands, though fully in God’s, then we must also concede that our ability to change other people’s worldview is limited. Fortunately, we understand that the Holy Spirit often uses precisely the limited means at our disposal to bring about such changes. This is one instance where an honest assessment of our limitations serves more to encourage than to discourage engagement. (page 40)

I particularly enjoyed the author’s thoughts on a Christian epistemology.

I’m both a fallen and a finite creature. There are some things I can’t know because of my built-in limits, and others I’m blinded to by sin. And because I am a creature, it is not possible for me to know what I know exhaustively, as if I were the Creator. I’m derivative, and my knowing is derivative, too. Still, the concept of revelation itself would be nonsense if it weren’t possible for finite, fallen creatures to have real knowledge. We perceive things imperfectly through the senses and through reason, but we also have knowledge that comes via revelation—more certain, in theory, than what we sense or reason, but still subject to interpretation I am held responsive by God for this knowledge, too; so which I may not be absolutely certain, I am at least culpably certain. (page 70)

Perhaps the most convicting paragraph on becoming more Christlike was the following.

How many people pray to become more Christlike and then protest when adversity is poured on them and they are called upon to make deep, scarring sacrifices? They asked but didn’t realize what they were asking for. They did not consider the means by which such a request is granted. The same thing, I believe, applies to wisdom. God is more willing to give than we are to receive. (page 119)

Ouch!

He goes to state about the need and end of Christian suffering is Christ Himself, our greatest treasure.

There are times when virtue demands that we experience pain. There are times when doing right means forgoing pleasure. Christian wisdom differs form that of the world in that it treats as means what others seek as ends. The end, for a Christian, is neither pain nor pleasure, but Christ. If to serve him we must suffer, it is good. If in serving him pleasure, it is good. But pain or pleasure aside, our lives are dedicated to service. (page 136)

I loved the charge for the pulpit to be one of worldview formation not just cultural appeasement.

The scope of Christianity’s foundational doctrines stretches farther than the four pillars [of a Christian Worldview: creation, order, rationality and fear of God], extending to the doctrine of the Trinity, the incarnation, the resurrection, the second coming, and much more. Sadly, these are the doctrines we tend to assumed rather than preach. The average churchgoer hears much more from the pulpit about his marriage, his job, and his feeling of self-worth than about the Trinity, incarnation, resurrection, and the second coming. The apostle Paul predicted to Timothy an age when men would not endure sound doctrine, and it seems clear that w live in such a time. Therefore it is all the more important for believers who take responsibility for themselves and practice the discipline of self-control to develop a worldview awareness. (page 156-157)

In terms of the need of worldview thinking in cultural engagement he states,

The reason we develop a worldview sensitivity is so that we can use discernment in evaluating the influences around us. Our own worldview, however, includes the notion of God’s common grace poured out to believer and unbeliever alike, resulting in (among other things) the presence of truth and beauty even in the world of hose who reject their Author. The goal of critical reading, then, is not to install a spiritual V-ship in the Christian’s mind, but to help the believer embrace all the truth that unbelievers know, and much more besides. (page 176)

When Paul in Acts 17 quotes Epimenedes and Aratus and the precedent for knowing culture and engagement,

A Christian thinker should have no problem reading the world of non-Christian authors, finding the truth there, and putting it tin the context of a larger truth. “What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?” It’s a first-century question that is till rattling around. To answer, you have to flip the question over. What has Jerusalem has nothing to do. What Paul understood, and what we too often forget, is that the God of Jerusalem is the God of Athens, too. The idols of gold and silver signify nothing. The trust is suppressed everywhere but the truth has a weedy tenacity. It breaks through Achaean marble as it does Judean sand. (page 197)

Regarding Evidential Apologetics typified by Josh McDowell and the whole enterprise of defending the Christian faith he states,

The evidence did not so much demand a verdict as justify a verdict that the Spirit was achieving through deeper means. That’s when I realize that apologetics is the task of giving unbelievers a way to justify what the Spirit is doing in their hearts. Like all witnessing, it is way not to accomplish but to facilitate conversion. It is Paul becoming all things to all men in the hope that some will be saved. The principal virtue in an apologist, there is the willingness and the flexibility to be used by the Spirit in a variety of situations to help many different kinds of people. (page 202-203)

I recommend this book if the topic of worldview is on your mind.