Beeke’s Book of the Month for January 2024 is The Beauty and Glory of the Christian Worldview, edited by Dr. Joel Beeke. Featuring addresses from the 2016 PRTS Conference, speakers, including Derek Thomas, Mark Kelderman, Michael Barrett, and more, remind us how the Word of God establishes God-centered thinking, engages faithful living, and energizes ardent feeling for the kingdom of Christ in this world and the world to come. Enjoy this excerpt from the preface to discover the varied and relevant subjects covered in this profound collection of addresses. (Note: All of the references in this article are properly footnoted in the full text of The Beauty and Glory of the Christian Worldview.)
As we grow older, our vision tends to cloud. In some cases, cataracts develop. After the cataracts are removed, people often testify how they can see more clearly and with brighter colors. They gain a whole new view of the world. In a similar manner, when God saves a sinner, it’s like he gains a new pair of eyes. Everything is clearer, brighter, and more beautiful. The sinner has gained a new worldview shaped by the Word of God. Over time, the Holy Spirit uses the Word to increasingly conform our worldview to the mind of Christ.
What is a worldview? To put it most simply, our worldview is like a pair of lenses through which we see and evaluate everything. It is the assumptions that control how we think, feel, and act. As Christian missionary and anthropologist Paul Hiebert (1932–2007) said, a worldview is “the fundamental cognitive, affective, and evaluative presuppositions a group of people makes about the nature of things, and which they use to order their lives.” It is not just a pair of glasses or contact lenses that we can take off at will; a worldview is more like our eyes, an organic part of who we are. As Christ said, “The light of the body is the eye” (Matt. 6:22).
Just as we view a mountain differently when we stand at its base, climb to its summit, or fly over it in a helicopter, so the Christian may view life from different perspectives, for there are many facets to our lives. At the Puritan Reformed Conference held in August 2016, we explored the Christian worldview from various angles. This book contains the substance of messages delivered at the conference.
The first part lays down foundation stones upon which a Christian builds his understanding of the world around him. A Christian view of reality must begin with God. Derek Thomas starts at the beginning with the essential Christian doctrine of the Trinity. Michael Barrett’s chapter follows with a beautiful and awe-inspiring perspective on God’s supremacy gleaned from the book of Ecclesiastes. Then, the chapter that I co-authored with Paul Smalley draws upon the writings of the Puritans to discover how faith in God’s fatherly providence shapes our view of godliness, family, and church, with special attention given to Puritan views of economics and politics.
The second part of this book considers how basic biblical perspectives form the Christian’s practical life. Derek Thomas discusses Colossians 3:1–17 to show how the Christian’s battle against sin and pursuit of holiness arises from knowing who he is and who he will be in Jesus Christ. Mark Kelderman tackles the controversial subject of human sexuality to show how the Bible remains God’s Authoritative and sufficient Word in this age of confusion and wickedness. Brian Cosby teaches us how to view our suffering through the biblical lenses of God’s sovereignty and loving purposes for His dear children.
In the third part of the book, Christian truth is ignited like fuel to energize the heart and motivate action. Charles Barrett’s exposition of 1 Peter 1:1–9 motivates the believer to stride forward as a joyful pilgrim on his way to his heavenly homeland. Gerald Bilkes’s message from Matthew 28 calls us to cast off fearful unbelief and to follow the risen Lord Jesus in our mission to live as disciples and make disciples of all nations. The book closes with Charles Barrett’s exhortation from Hebrews 12:1–3 to look unto Jesus—the heart of our worldview—and to run the race of the Christian life with eyes fixed on Him.
This book is just a sampling of the edifying messages presented each year at the Puritan Reformed Conference. We invite you to join us each August in Grand Rapids. May the Lord use these chapters to illuminate the eyes of your heart with a beautiful and glorious view of our God and His ways.
—Joel R. Beeke