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Rethinking Worldview: Learning to Think, Live, and Speak in This World Paperback – October 5, 2007
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"Rethinking Worldview throws off sparks able to light the dry tinder that many Sunday school classes and seminary seminars have become. Bertrand's four worldview pillars, his explanation of how to move from consumer to critic to contributor, his discussion of personal unity and diversity within the Trinity, and much besides, make this book worth having and giving."
—Marvin Olasky, Editor in Chief, World Magazine
"The strength of Bertrand's book is its comprehensiveness, as the author turns the prism of worldview until every angle has been illuminated. Bertrand maintains our interest throughout with an incipient narrative thread in which his understanding of worldview is told as the sum of his own discoveries and experiences in relation to worldview. The book actually has the quality of a suspense story in which the reader is led to wonder what Bertrand discovered next in regard to worldview."
—Leland Ryken, Emeritus Professor of English, Wheaton College
"An engagingly written work to strengthen believers in their efforts to engage the world in a winsome and effective manner. This excellent book provides an illuminating and thoughtful way forward for the twenty-first-century church to think, live, speak, and worship. Bertrand has made a splendid contribution to the ongoing conversation regarding Christian worldview thinking. After reading this book I wanted to shout, 'Yes and Amen!' I heartily commend this book and trust it will receive a wide readership."
—David S. Dockery, President, Trinity International University
"For those of you suffering from 'worldview fatigue,' or who think it's a theologically unhelpful concept, or who are new to the notion altogether, read this book. It's like a satisfying draught of ice-cold, refreshing water on a hot summer day! Bertrand's book is a rich gift to serious citizens of the kingdom of God."
—David K. Naugle, Chair and Professor of Philosophy, Dallas Baptist University
About the Author
J. Mark Bertrand earned a BA in English from Union University and an MFA in creative writing from the University of Houston. In addition to teaching on the faculty of Worldview Academy, an academic summer camp for high school students, he is the fiction editor at Relief Journal. Bertrand lives with his wife, Laurie, in South Dakota. He blogs at www.jmarkbertrand.com.
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Top Customer Reviews
So although we never used the term worldview, since it was not commonly used in Christian circles then, I grew up with a basic concept of worldview thinking. When the Christian worldview bandwagon came along and I read a little about it, my first thought was "ho-hum." I'd been examining other people's worldviews and finding them wanting for years, and I wasn't afraid to ask the sort of questions that showed the incoherence of their systems. Yet, while the exercise was helpful in firming up my own faith, I couldn't point to one person who had come over to my worldview, even when answering my questions tied them up in knots as they tried to make a coherent system out of their incoherent one. And as I understood it from my surface level reading on the concept of worldview, the whole point was to show how my faith made more sense than their ideology in order to bring them over to my side. Well, it hadn't proved to be a sure-fire weapon for me!
This leads me to one of the reasons I like Mark Bertrand's Rethinking Worldview: he takes the concept of worldview thinking beyond the area of apologetics into other areas of our lives as Christians. His conviction is that "any treatment of the intellectual dimensions of worldview that doesn't lead into a discussion of how to profitably live and speak in this world is incomplete." Worldview thinking, he writes, "must help make us better believers and doers of the truth." This book, then, lead us to consider things we may not have examined previously in the light of a biblical worldview, like sanctification and suffering and even our reading.
Toward the end of the book there is a section that looks at worldview thinking as it relates to Christian imagination and the art that flows from it. It's clear that as an artist himself, this is an area Mark Bertrand has thought through carefully. This section will be of special interest to you if you enjoy creative work, either as an artist or as someone who values the creative work of others.
Style-wise, Rethinking Worldview is much like a chat over the dinner table. Mark Bertrand makes good use of his storytelling ability in raising his questions and making his points, so you shouldn't be bored or struggle to understand as you are reading. If you are new to the idea of worldview thinking and you're a little scared that it will all be too difficult for you to understand, this book is a good place to start. Or maybe you're more like me: You think you've heard it all before and you're a little jaded. I'd be willing to bet that you, too, will find a few things here to make you rethink what you thought you knew.
Bertrand demonstrates this emphasis on practice even in the flow and argument of the book. (Re)Thinking Worldview divides into three major sections. The first section deals with the topic of worldview in general. In this section he defines worldview as "an interpretation of influences, experiences, circumstances and insight." (p. 26) In other words, your worldview is something which helps you interpret the world around you and which you may not even be fully aware of possessing. Throughout the rest of this first section he comes at the concept of worldview from three different angles to help the reader grasp the fullness of the term. In the chapter describing worldview as a starting point he gives 4 fundamental pillars that form the basis of the Christian worldview. These pillars are creation, order, rationality and fear. Next worldview is described as a system. Scripture presents God's truth as an organized system. This helps us to see the major differences between our view of reality and that of other worldviews. Finally in this section, he describes worldview as a story. In all our systematizing we have to remember our worldview is made up of the gospel story.
The second section of (Re)Thinking Worldview transitions from a discussion of the basic understanding of worldview to the topic of wisdom. At first glance, this may seem like a massive jump, but the transition is quite purposeful. "One of the blind spots of much worldview chatter is the failure to connect thinking and living." (p. 115) The concept of worldview cannot be divorced from the practical outworking of wisdom in the life of a believer. Under the topic of wisdom, Bertrand gives a helpful chapter on what true wisdom looks like. Wisdom is not detached from practice. "Wisdom, then, is the consistent outworking of belief, action, and discernment from worldview." (p. 133) It is easy to see how wisdom fits perfectly into the discussion of worldview. Our beliefs and understanding of the world work themselves out into our decisions and actions. As an example of putting wisdom into practice, Bertrand gives a chapter on the importance of learning to read. Reading must always be done with a critical eye for the purpose of understanding the worldview assumptions of the author. We must not only do a worldview critique of books, but also of movies, music, and television programs in an effort to recognize the author's agenda.
The third and final major section of this book is appropriately titled witness. The progression is intentional. We move from an understanding of worldview to the outworking of that worldview in wisdom to the expression of that worldview in our witness. In the section on witness Bertrand deals with some issues of apologetics and also provides a helpful chapter on unbelief. We must be prepared because inevitably our worldview will clash with other worldviews.
As has already been hit upon, (Re)Thinking Worldview is structured in a very intentional manner to help the reader see the progression from right belief to right practice to right witness. Bertrand also writes in a style which is engaging and easy to read. He mixes didactic sections with interesting illustrations and stories to keep the pages turning and the reader on his toes. I think this would be a great book to open up the discussion of worldview with a group of college students. A proper understanding of the concept of worldview and the basic structure of the Christian worldview are vitally important for believers to grasp. Sometimes, we need to step back and look at the big picture of our system of belief and our notion of reality. A book on worldview is just the tool to help us in that endeavor.