A Review of Albert M. Wolters “Biblical Basis for a Reformational Worldview”
Review by: Dr. Cheryl A. Durham
Influenced by the ideas of Lesslie Newbingin, and N.T. Wright, Wolters rewrote “Creation Regained” to broaden the concept of worldview in order to link it more closely with a “grand narrative of scripture and the centrality of mission.”
The original edition, written in 1985, has been translated into eight different languages, and is used worldwide by Christian academia. He credits his coauthor, Michael W. Goheen, with the ability to link his older work with the new goals. Wolters gives a succinct historical definition of the term worldview, which he says, is more than a philosophy. Life perspective or reformational vision, he states, would be acceptable as synonyms for the term worldview. He defines a worldview as “the comprehensive framework of one’s basic beliefs about things.” (Wolters 2) Beliefs are not just feelings, Wolters cautions, they are reasoned opinions based on cognitive claims about knowledge that can be argued.
It is all this knowledge about things that begin to form a framework that is a worldview. Wolters claims that a reformational worldview is such a thing, and that it is based on the bible and the history of the various attacks made upon it that the church has battled. Much of what we know of Jesus has not changed, even after 2000 years, however, in each generation; the church must wrestle with how the word of God speaks to that generation. This is why it is called, “reformational,” a worldview, on the lens through which people see everything affects everything we do.
The reformational worldview, based on God’s grace carries three scriptural themes creation, fall, and redemption. In creation, God has set all the laws of “the way things work.” His sovereignty is total. Creation itself testifies to His existence, His power, His glory, and creativity. When God put man in the garden, He created man in His image and commanded him to develop creation. God’s creation is good and despite the fall, which damaged and distorted things, there are good things in Creation. Christ’s act of redemption was not just for “souls,” but also for all of creation. The new kingdom ushered in was not something that we have to wait for, but for most inlets and purposes can be experienced now. Our ministry of reconciliation received after conversion is not just for persons, but for creation as well. (2 Corinthians 5:17-21)
Wolters looks at how different faith expressions both right and left have distorted this concept and as people; we are bound to do this once in awhile. However, grasping a present reality redemption will affect our here and now significantly. In the last, roughly 40 pages, Wolters tells us how to apply these Kingdom ideas to life here and now. His suggestions are good and practical. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a new perspective on Christian life and mission. It is certainly one I will reread.