With great respect for his message and mission we asked homeschool dad, David Quine to address our readers. David Quine is founder of The Cornerstone Curriculum Project and author of some excellent resources designed for use particularly in the family setting. His newest course, Starting Points includes an obliging selection of living books to begin teaching worldview. His three high school courses, World Views of the Western World are masterpieces classical education entrenched in Christian understanding.
It is my passion to teach and encourage parents to build their lives and their childrens lives upon the biblical worldview. It started back in 1972 when my wife Shirley and I were working with Campus Crusade for Christ at a university campus. We realized that most students were ill prepared and inadequately equipped to give a solid biblical explanation for the faith that we have in Jesus Christ. Whether the child was in a Sociology class, a Biology class, or a Geology class, he was being challenged in his Christian faith.
Edith Schaeffer gives a beautiful word picture about the family in her book, What Is a Family? She says the family is a perpetual relay of truth. Watch the children, she says, run back and forth as they pass the flag in a relay race. If one drops it, theres a forfeita returning to the starting place. What excitement is generated! Life is like a relay race, in which it matters whether one person gets there because if the flag is not handed on, the next person cant start his or her part of the course. The primary place for the flag of truth to be handed on is in the family. Truth was meant to be given from generation to generation. There was supposed to be a perpetual relay of truth without a break. Paul was teaching Timothy, who was to teach faithful men, who were to teach others. I do not know where you are in that relay race from one generation to the next. Perhaps you have a whole heritage of Christians in your family, and you are in the third or fourth generation. Or perhaps you are the first generation in your lineage that has come to know Christ. Or perhaps your grandparents were believers, and then something happened to your parents, and they dropped the baton. Now you had to go back and pick up that baton, and God has called you to pass on the baton of truth to the next generationyour children. We as homeschooling parents are working diligently to pass on the baton of truth to our children so that they will be like Timothy to Paul and will teach others who will teach others.
I went back to school to get a degree in Curriculum Design so that I could learn how to write educational materials to assist parents and teachers in the writing and implementation of a biblical way of looking at the world. We have been involved in homeschooling since 1980 and have ten children between the ages of 10 and 26.
I believe there is no single topic of greater significance than looking at life from the biblical worldview. In the 1960s and 70s, Francis Schaeffer asked this one penetrating question, How should we then live? Dr. Schaeffers answer is that we should be living according to a biblical worldview, a foundation that is laid upon Christ. I believe that question still resounds today in the 21st century. How should we then live? Are we going to embrace the biblical view, or are we going to embrace the nonbiblical view? Today what we see happening in some segments of Christianity is the fusion and synchronization of the two. We must be careful against that. In Back to Freedom and Dignity, Dr. Schaeffer said that Christians must pay close attention to the course of events. We are going to be called upon to answer questions that we have never considered before. We must be prepared to give an answer. In short, Christians must prepare to take the lead in giving direction to cultural change. If it goes poorly, as well it might in this post-Christian world, then we must be consciously preparing the next generation for the new battles that it will face. We must be consciously working and developing in our childrens lives a foundation that is based only upon the biblical worldview.
Gladys Hunt in her book Honey for a Childs Heart says, As Christian parents we are concerned about building whole peoplepeople who are alive emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually. To train up a child, to train a childs character, to give him high ideals, and to encourage integrity, to provide a largeness of thought, creative thinking, imaginative wondering, an adequate view of God and His worldthats a large goal to think biblically. It involves squaring up our thinking with what the Bible says. Then she gives a whole series of questions. How has God acted in human history? What is His essential nature? What is the nature of man? How do we know what is true? The Bible is the gauge against which we measure our thoughts and ideas. Hunt says that our goal is a valid world-life view. This cannot be scolded into a person. We can only expose young minds to truth, discuss it with them, and then of course leave the results to God.
A Worldview is Like a Filing Cabinet
What is a worldview? One illustration is that a worldview is like the sunglasses that you look through that give you perspective. Another illustration is that a worldview is like a filing cabinet containing filing drawers. In these drawers are answers to basic questions. There are basically seven questions. Those are the questions that we answer in our book Answers for Difficult Days. The first question is, Is there a God, and what is He like? That would be like filing cabinet drawer number one. What is the essential nature of Who God is? Of course, the scriptures reveal the nature and character of God. There are other books to help us. I love The God of All Comfort by Hannah Willis Smith. It is a treasure book of leading your child into who God is. I would highly encourage you to look through this book on the nature and character of God with your children.
Society is always moving that circle out further and further in terms of ethical decisions. But there is a smaller circle within the larger circle, which says what we ought to do. We know what man ought to do not because man is so intelligent, but because God has revealed it to us in the Bible. Ethics and morality lead us to a life that is consistent with how we were designed, but they also lead us back to God Himself. Wasnt that the purpose of the Law? Therefore the Law has become our schoolmaster to lead us to Christ (Gal. 3:24). What the Law does is shows the crooked wall being crooked. It shows that our lives are inconsistent and not congruent with what Gods standard is. We know that the Law was perfect, but the Law never made anyone perfect. We know that Christ through His death, burial and resurrection has resolved the problem.
The second filing cabinet drawer of a worldview is, What is the nature of the universe, its origin, and its structure? We have been focusing a lot in the Christian community on the origin of the universe in the area of creation, which we should, but we also need to look at its structure. What I mean by the structure is that there is a seen portion and an unseen portion (Col. 1:16). To us, that is very common and has been in western culture for thousands of years, except for the twentieth century. In the twentieth century, there was a denial or a rejection of the unseen portion. We moved into a period of time in history when the unseen portion was not recognized. In fact, as Paul said in Romans 1:18, the truth of the unseen world was suppressed. It was taken away, and we moved into an era called naturalism.
The third filing cabinet drawer is, What is the nature of man? What is the essence of who we are? Where am I from, and where am I going? I love reading literature and asking our children, What is this person saying about God and the universe? What is this person saying about the nature of man? In two books that deal with monsters (Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson), one author believes that man is basically good. Shelley believes that man was created kind, benevolent, and generous, and society turned him into a monster. She says then that if you could simply correct society, then man would behave properly. This is not at all the biblical view of man. However, in Stevensons Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, you think as you read that there are two separate, distinct individuals. Then in the end you realize that hiding deep within Dr. Jekyll is a Mr. Hyde because Stevenson believed that man has an evil nature. Left to himself, the evil nature would totally control the person, which is the biblical position. Man is separated from God, and the result is that he has an evil nature. In a sense what these authors have done is taken a plot with characters and themes and tied basic ideas of life into their stories. We must be helping our children to recognize those false ideas that have been wedded to stories and recognize the true ideas.
The fourth filing cabinet drawer is, What is the basis of ethics and morality? We like to say lots of times, Well, because Mom or Dad says so. That is why we are doing these things. But what is truly the basis of the moral and ethical decisions that we make as adults and children? You can think of it in terms of two circles. A large circle represents what man is capable of doing, both good and bad.
The fifth filing cabinet drawer is, What is the cause of evil and suffering? How can you resolve the conflict between mans good and bad behavior? The Christian answer is that man is created in the image of God, but because of mans disobedience (that he believed the devils lie that he could be like God apart from God), man is now separated from God. Man being separated from God has an evil nature. He does evil things because of his rebellion against God. The New Age movement and Star Wars have a different answer. Star Wars is a picture of Zen Buddhism. Our God is a God of light, perfection, righteousness, and holiness. There is no evil in God. Yet in the force of Star Wars, there is the good side and the dark side. So we must have these filing cabinets being filled with not just information, but understanding. The Bible mentions true knowledge or wisdom. We must pray that our children will become spiritual men and women of God who are able to discern the things of God.
The sixth filing cabinet drawer is, What happens to man at death? The final filing cabinet drawer is, Does life and history have any real meaning to it? So you can think of a worldview as a filing cabinet.
A Worldview Is Like a Map
There is another way you can think of a worldview, which is the picture of a map. A map tells you where you are and where you are going, and it tells you how to get there. C.S. Lewis says there are three maps: the Judeo-Christian map, the map of western humanism, and the map of eastern mysticism. These three maps are seeking to give direction to people, seeking to convince people to go in one way or the other. Jesus said that the way to destruction is wide, but the way to life is narrow (Matt. 7:13,14). If you were to draw an outline of the continental United States and then draw the state where you were born, that states outline would be fairly accurate. The states immediately surrounding your birth state would also be fairly accurate. But the further you moved away from your birth state, the more distorted your map would become.
James Sire says that a worldview is a map of reality. Like any map, it may fit what is really there, or it may be grossly misleading. I like to look at old atlases and see the maps that were drawn of our continent as people were beginning to move over here. They did not start out accurate, but they became more and more accurate. That is what God wants to do in our lives as we teach our children from the biblical worldview. You see, He is correcting our maps. He is erasing a little here and drawing lines over here a little bit as we see Him for Who He is or we see ourselves for who we really are. When He is correcting our maps, it is not necessarily really comfortable to have the lines erased or redrawn.
Several years ago, my son Blaine and I were in Minnesota at a homeschool convention. We went to St. Anthony Falls, which had been the point of the northernmost navigation of the Mississippi River. However, in the 1940s the Corps of Engineers diverted the river, laid a solid concrete floor for the bedrock, and created a series of locks. The river had eroded the rocks so that there were falls that ships could not navigate. Now the ships could go around the falls, go through the locks, and go up further north. That is exactly what God has called you and I to do as parentsto lay a solid, biblical foundation for our childrens lives so they will be able to navigate in and out of culture because we are ambassadors for Christ.
The Importance of Teaching the Biblical Worldview
Why is the biblical worldview important to teach? You only have two basic sets of competing ideas, even though C.S. Lewis is right, there are actually three maps. The introduction of the eastern mysticism map is way, way late in Western society because it was only in the 1960s where it really entered into our culture. So it has been primarily the thoughts of the Greeks and Romans against the Judeo-Christian belief. But the Greek and Roman map and the eastern pantheistic map are powerful explanations that are trying to divert our children. There was a time period in our culture when there was a great overlap between the Christian worldview and the worldview of the culture. But now we live in a time period when there has been a great shift in the culture, so it is no longer embracing many of the thoughts of the Christian worldview.
We are lights to the world. Our children are letters of Christ to the culture. That is why it is imperative that we look beyond diagramming sentences, multiplication tables, and all the things that we do day to day and see the big picture. What in the world are we trying to do here with our children? It is a discipleship process of passing on the life of Christ to them. We have got to be careful. Our children are going to get off the path.
Dont think just because we homeschool, we have the best curriculum, we have everything all lined up perfectly, that it is going to keep our children from getting off the path from time to time. We have an evil nature, and Christ has crucified that nature. Now we are alive to Christ, but there are times when we take control of our own lives. Our prayer is that our children would know by revelation, not by experience, that the world is crooked and perverse. Pray that they wont go off the road and say, Well, I dont think God is telling the truth, so Im going to go off the road here and try this out for myself.
How to Teach from a Biblical Worldview
In conclusion, how do we teach our children from a biblical worldview? Scripture can direct you as you formulate your philosophy of education. Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up (Deut. 6:4-7). Shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock (1 Pet. 5:2,3). This is talking about elders in the church, but I personally believe it also applies to us as parents with our children as we tend and care for them.
But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence (1 Pet. 3:15). We must be helping our children to always be ready to make a defense to anyone who might ask them why they are Christians. "But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good (1 Thes. 5:21). You examine, evaluate, and embrace those things that are good and true. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things (Phil.4:8). This answers how we teach from a Christian biblical worldview perspective.
So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. Do all things without grumbling or disputing; that you may prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life (Phil 2:12-16).
Pray that your children will be faithful to Christ even in your absence when they are not under your direct supervision anymore. Paul is saying that we are living in a crooked and perverse generation. Dont hide from it or leave it. You are rubbing shoulders with it, but be lights in it, holding fast and clinging to the Lord as an anchor for your own personal life. Hold forth the Word of life to others. Let these verses guide you in the development of your philosophy of education.
Let Us Highly Resolve by Mr. Quine is a small book with a big message. When the question of math pops up Karen more frequently recommends his Making Math Meaningful.