The Biblical Worldview Series
By David Closson
According to a recent survey, the proportion of American adults who have a biblical worldview dropped to 7 percent in 2018, the lowest on record. The data confirmed what has long been known—a large majority of Americans are biblically illiterate and don’t understand Christian convictions. This is especially true regarding morally weighty topics such as abortion, religious liberty, and sexuality. Significantly, even professing Christians often struggle to defend a biblical ethic when it comes to these politically contentious issues.
This widespread biblical illiteracy explains why Christian beliefs are increasingly dismissed as outdated or seen as “hateful.” Perhaps more than ever before, Christians need to be grounded in the truths of God’s Word and be prepared to articulate the core beliefs of the faith in a winsome manner.
The vision behind the Biblical Worldview Series is captured in a well-known verse from 1 Peter where the apostle writes: “But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15).
This is why the Biblical Worldview Series exists—to help Christians and Christian leaders apply the teachings of the Bible to difficult moral questions. In every publication, fidelity to the authority of God’s Word, attention to church history, and clear-sighted application to the realities of the present moment will guide the discussion.
Publications in this series will address a wide range of issues—including voting, religious liberty, abortion, marriage and sexuality, and others—with the goal of providing faithful biblical analysis and application.
Without a doubt, we live in a time of acute political polarization. These divisions are inevitably exacerbated during campaign season with the barrage of candidate advertisements, Robo-calls, 24-hour cable TV coverage, and campaign literature. Moreover, the toxic tone and extreme partisanship in politics can be discouraging. Thus, it is no surprise that withdrawing from the political process has become a temptation for many Christians. After all, if God is sovereign and controls the heart of the king (Prov. 21:1), do we really need to get involved in the messy world of politics? Because political engagement can be divisive, shouldn’t Christians abandon politics and direct their energies toward more spiritual pursuits?
As those called to honor God in every area of their life, Christians are called to submit everything to the Lord, including their political engagement. We must engage, but we must engage biblically. As Christians, this requires—no more, but no less—that we are prepared to grapple with the reality of our two-party system and be willing to follow our political theology to its logical end by voting for candidates and parties that support the clear biblical values outlined in this publication.
In this publication, it will be argued that the Bible supports an expansive view of religious liberty. This is seen in the Bible’s use of persuasion, not coercion, as the means of drawing followers to Christ. Moreover, the Bible presents faith as a spiritual reality that cannot be forced on people if it is to be genuine. This is why the Bible envisions a society where religious liberty is respected and individuals make their own choices when it comes to religion.
These ideas will be unpacked in two primary areas: (1) key biblical texts that support a broad understanding of religious freedom, and (2) key theological arguments based on those texts—specifically those made by Roger Williams, which help illustrate how Christians applied the Bible’s teaching on religious liberty during an era when this freedom was denied to religious minorities in the American colonies and around the world.
With the continued prominence of abortion in American politics and popular culture, it is crucial for Christians to know what the Bible actually says about the issue of abortion. Does the Bible teach that life begins at conception or birth? Is abortion murder? On these questions and others, we believe the Bible has a clear word. Therefore, it is the goal of this publication to present the Bible’s teaching on the issue of abortion. Furthermore, and perhaps surprising to many, the church has grappled with this debate for centuries, and thus has resources from which to articulate a faithful response.
This publication presents an examination of the relevant passages in the Bible that inform how a Christian should think about abortion, the question of “personhood,” and a survey of how prominent church leaders have interpreted these passages throughout history.