In Phillip Johnson’s forward to “Total Truth” by Nancy Pearcy, he writes “that understanding how worldviews are formed, and how they guide or confine thought, is the essential step toward understanding everything else.” In this very specific sense, worldviews are an integral component of epistemology, a field of Philosophy dedicated to the theory of knowledge and how we know things. Worldviews also play a critical role in every component of our life, even our perception of other worldviews and our own. To avoid getting bogged down in details I’m going to end that train of thought there and move on to the actual point I’m wanting to explore.
Earlier this fall (2021), I did a series of videos walking through Voddie Baucham’s “Fault Lines” and while there was a large learning curve on a whole world of topics throughout the process, I was exposed to my first piece of literature that took worldview analysis to a practical level on a topic that is splitting the church at the seams in America. However, his efforts were largely at a popular level and the book was not written as a piece of scholarship, though it wielded a fair amount of scholarship within its pages. Reflecting on the statement made by Johnson quoted at the beginning of the article, I found that the following question was of immense interest to my mind. “How are worldviews impacting the discussion of racial reconciliation in the western church of America?” While some may jump into the question with a seemingly simple answer or thought, I want to ask those of you who are tempted to do so to slow down and accompany me through my thought process on unpacking the question and exposing the various academic fields participating in any answer that is academically strong and scripturally supported.
Looking at the terms used within the question, I’m inclined to select the following as representative of academic fields.
- “Worldviews” touches on apologetics, psychology, epistemology, and worldview studies.
- “Impacting” touches sociology, psychology, and socio-cultural anthropology.
- “Discussion” links the fields associated with both “worldviews” and “impacting” to the field of Rhetorical studies, linguistics, and the social conditioning of rhetoric which Alaric Naudé discusses in a related context HERE.
- “Racial” brings the discussion of politics, ethnicity, skin color, culture, and U.S. History into the mix.
- “Reconciliation” brings the idea of healing a rift or a genuine clearing of the air, note, Reconciliation is not the same as restoration.
- “Western” implies a specific analysis of worldviews that came out of Greco-roman cultural expansion into Europe leading into the dark ages and the Christianization of countries like England.
- “Church” connects the term western to a specific lens of Church History within the context of the connotations brought to bear by the term “Western”.
- Finally, “America” brings everything listed previously into the unique context of American Socialization which is a melting pot of cultures, languages, religious dispositions, and attitudes.
All of this is undergirded by an assumed worldview that I have which influences the cognitive processes that connect these words to the fields listed.
I think that if the question of Racial Reconciliation, and hopefully Racial Restoration is to be answered in any sort of authentic and Christ-honoring manner then all of these fields must be consulted so that those involved can begin to discuss the topic and their grievances with those who disagree with them from a worldview that has been informed by the best information that scholarship can provide while also being humbled by the recognition that there are genuine things that can make it difficult for them to understand the emotional subjectivity that influences their logical thought.
This has been a very brief but highly academic and verbose unpacking of my thoughts. If you have questions or think something should be clarified, please email me at walkingundergod@com so that I can address it and discuss it with you.