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Hidden Worldviews: Eight Cultural Stories That Shape Our Lives Paperback – October 22, 2009

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Editorial Reviews


"Hidden Worldviews is a well-written and helpful book. Preachers will find a wealth of information that will aid them in identifying and understanding the worldviews of the people sitting in their pews on Sunday mornings. The book will also give insight into how these 'hidden' worldviews can be confronted with the gospel of Christ." (Joseph R. Buchanan, Journal of the Evangelical Homiletics Society, March 2011)

"A timely call for the integration of confessional beliefs and values with actions makes this book well worth the read." (Ewen Butler, Religious Studies Review, December 2010)

"Wilkens and Sanford briefly yet comprehensively explain each worldview's core beliefs. These chapters can be useful as discussion starters about core biblical beliefs and as a tool to learn to critique cultural values." (Rachael Eggebeen, Youth Worker Journal, (www.youthworkerjournal.com), January/February 2010)

"It is wise occasionally to step back and examine the worldviews on offer around us. Especially the ones that tend to quietly stay in the background, mostly out of sight, hardly ever attracting notice. That is what Steve Wilkins and Mark Sanford have done in Hidden Worldviews." (Denis Haack, Critique, Issue 5, 2009)

"By explaining and exposing 'isms' like consumerism, relativism, nationalism, and post-modern tribalism, Wilkens and Sanford deftly demonstrate how we too often live according to 'cultural stories' that compete with the gospel." (Trevin Wax, Christianity Today, May 2010)

"Within our worldviews are heart-orienting, mind-structuring commitments that govern each person's life. Often we pay so little attention to these commitments that they lie hidden from us. Some of these commitments clash with and corrupt our ability to live a faithful life for Christ. Wilkens and Sanford identify and unmask eight of these, showing how they affect our commitment to Christ. This work will serve as an excellent complement to my own The Universe Next Door." (James W. Sire, author with Carl Peraino of Deepest Differences)

"Like undetected germs that make us sick, there are also a variety of worldview stories that are infecting the thought and lifestyles of Christians today, yet often without their awareness. It is essentially a form of 'heart' disease caused by several lived perspectives to which the Christian community is surreptitiously but effectively exposed in the contagion of the surrounding culture. Wilkens and Sanford, as if they were physicians, analyze these 'hidden' worldviews that are causing so much affliction, and offer the remedy of a robust Christian one. This book is good medicine for a serious illness that is plaguing many in the church today." (David Naugle, author of Worldview: The History of a Concept, and professor of philosophy, Dallas Baptist University)

"This is an unusual book in two regards that commend it for the beginner in worldview thinking. First, it is not about theistic apologetics in the traditional sense, nor about worldviews philosophically developed, but about worldviews as ways of experiencing life. Eight hidden worldviews have infiltrated contemporary culture, reshaping human experience and our perceptions of life's purpose. The authors uncover the tacit assumptions, and take stock of the actual proposals in the light of insights from a variety of disciplines. They conclude by inviting the reader to develop a theistic worldview that integrates every aspect of life into a consistent whole, under the guidance of the Wesleyan quadrilateral (this is the book's second unusual regard): Scripture, tradition, reason and experience." (Arthur F. Holmes, Professor of Philosophy Emeritus, Wheaton College)

About the Author

Steve Wilkens (PhD, Fuller Theological Seminary) is professor of philosophy and ethics at Azusa Pacific University. His books include Hidden Worldviews, Faith and Reason: Three Views, Christianity & Western Thought (volumes 2 and 3) and Beyond Bumper Sticker Ethics. He has also taught as an adjunct faculty member at Mount San Antonio College, Glendale Community College, Fuller Theological Seminary and Azusa Pacific University's C. P. Haggard Graduate School of Theology.

Mark L. Sanford (M.Div., Nazarene Theological Seminary) is instructor in practical theology and facilitator of discipleship groups at Azusa Pacific University in Azusa, California. He previously served as relationship ministries pastor at Pasadena Church of the Nazarene, chaplain of Eastern Nazarene College and singles pastor at First Church of the Nazarene in Pasadena, CA.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 218 pages
  • Publisher: IVP Academic (October 22, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0830838546
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830838547
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #92,188 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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This is a book seemingly written for seminary students, but certainly applicable and understandable for any person who desires to understand the cultural world around us. The authors define and discuss 9 different cultural worldviews: Individualism, Consumerism, Nationalism, Moral Relativism, Scientific Naturalism, Postmodern Tribalism, Salvation by Therapy, and (finaly) a Christian Worldview.

What is remarkable about this book is that it is not really about defining and defeating non-Christian worldviews. Instead, it is written practically, with the understanding that many people incorporate aspects of each of these worldviews into life without realizing it. As such, the authors want to help us understand that our worldviews are not something that we choose, like choosing bacon instead of ham for breakfast. Instead, we aquire a worldview in a much more organic way as we are influenced by the stories and people all around us all the time. Their basic premise then is that even strong Christians may not have a strong Christian worldview, but may incorporate many other elements throughout life. The call then is strong and clear: we must reject those ways of thinking that are not Christian, and adopt a truly Christian worldview.

To aid in this each chapter gives not only a precise definition of each worldview, but also the positive elements and the drastic problems with each. This structure makes hard concepts easier to understand and makes it relevant to all of us.

Highly recommended.
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The authors share what's good and what's bad about things like consumerism, materialism, naturalism. And they do it fairly, academically, and through the lens of a biblical worldview.

If you're a follower of Jesus, you'll leave this book more solid in your faith with a desire for your whole worldview to be under Jesus' kingship.

If you're not a follower of Jesus, you'll be challenged to re-examine the inconsistencies of the prevailing cultural stories that shape the worldviews of the masses today.

Easily one of my favorite books that I've ever read.
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I personally did not like that much the first chapter. This is my personal judgment, and more akin being subjective than objective. I do not favor word "story" at all. If you're coming from engineering or sciences, or philosophy, I would think you would favor more precise terminology. Word "story" simply sounds first as ambiguous, and second as intrinsically something subjective and generally sounding as a piece of postmodern narrative writing. "Narratives", "meta-narratives", "stories" and similar words to me devalue the conciseness of book, and it makes it read is if it was written by an English professor, rather than philosophy professor. I don't know if other people share my feelings about that...
Anyways, other than that, the idea to write this book is not surprising. This is very relevant topic, and someone should have written about this already.
Generally speaking, selection of topics to cover could be a bit different, but I think it is relevant in light of the scope how much those "worldviews" claim, statistically speaking.
I also have to admit that each of those "worldviews" could be subject of separate volume (and I would love to see the work being expanded), with more thorough analysis of key figures, more in-depth analysis of the characteristic of a particular "worldview". Especially how it is portrayed in the media, pop culture, literature, etc.
Another thought I had, is that sometimes it is hard to classify those as worldviews. Hence my use of quotes surrounding the term.
For something to be a worldview, it should have dominance of one's view of reality. It is true, that there are some people whose views of reality can truly be categorized alongside one of the "worldviews", but for the vast majority it is more like a blend of various proportions.
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This is a well-written and concise description of several prominent views that have influenced our culture. I am using it as one of my primary resources for a high school Sunday seminar on worldviews. While James Sire's "Universe Next Door" is an excellent "catalog" of worldviews, this work focuses on those viewpoints that are "lived out" among us and have a subtle influence on our thinking.

I would recommend this book to anyone interested or concerned about the influences within our lives and culture that conflict with a biblical perspective. The summaries of Christian worldview and examples of alternate beliefs are well-crafted and instructive.
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The topic of worldviews addressed in books, journal articles, and university lectures tends to be examined from a predominantly scholastic perspective, which is to say the ideas, ideals, and philosophies behind the dominant worldviews which shape our culture are typically the focus of these studies. Certainly the ideologies and philosophies underlying worldviews are important subjects for examination, after all, what apologetics student has not been warned that ideas have consequences? However, what is often lacking in these worldview lessons is an assessment of these worldviews on the "street level." How does the concept of worldview play out in the life one's neighbor, coworker, brother or sister, or local school board president? Steve Wilkens and Mark L. Sanford, the authors of Hidden Worldviews, seek to address the concept of worldviews on the "street level," and more importantly they endeavor to, "isolate areas where hidden worldviews, alien to Christianity, have crept into our thoughts and lifestyles."
The contents covered in this work include such worldviews as "Individualism," "Consumerism," "Nationalism," "Scientific Naturalism," and "Postmodern Tribalism," among others. In this reviewer's estimation Wilkens and Sanford have done an excellent job defining and describing eight worldviews (or cultural stories as they identify them) which not only permeate our culture, but have also subtly crept into the worldview of many professing Christians. Readers of this work will find it very easy to identify with the defining elements of each of these worldviews.
Some of the treatments of these worldviews are better than others.
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