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June 14, 2021 2:14 pm
Chris talks developing a solid, traditional Christian worldview with scholar, historian, and founder and president of Every Square Inch Ministries, Dr. Glenn Sunshine.
This is Robbie Gilmore from the Christian cargo.
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It's one of America's most important, influential and respected voices on cultural and political issues and apologist Christian political advocate and author. Here is the founder and tuning of the citizen for America foundation, Dr. Chris, welcome to the Christian perspective.
Really looking God's word in order to develop a Christian worldview and modern culture. I'm Chris she's in today. We have one of my heroes of the faith in one of the nation's leading scholars and historians.
Dr. Glenn Sunshine is a senior fellow with the Colson Center and he serves as Prof. emeritus at Central Connecticut State University is a true scholar, Dr. sunshine teaches a wide range of courses including Renaissance and Reformation history early modern European history the Black death. The Crusades and one of my favorite things he covers is a history of Christianity. He also knows a lot about economic history, military history, but you know what it was all that he does. Glenn Sunshine's true passion is teaching Christians how to live with a biblical worldview. He has a great ministry that I hope you'll check out if you listen the biogas today called every square inch ministries you're going to be blessed as I know we we listen now to what Glenn Sunshine has details. Glenn, thank you so much for being here today on the Christian perspective what we were excited have have you here and I know you recently retired, even in academia for years and boy I I just want to thank you because we have so few Christians that are teaching and colleges and universities today.
I know it had to be pretty tough for you but thank you so much for taking a stand for Jesus as a professor on a college campus age ever have any trying times while you're doing that. Oddly enough, you know the a lot depend on the kind of university that you are in. It would go to research one University. One of the big boy for current doctorate like that you got a lot more pressure on you. I would set a lower tier college and as a result, they pretty much didn't care what I did as long as I did my job well. You are lucky a lot of professors really experience a lot of persecution, as do a lot of students on campus today so you you recently tire before we get into talking about worldview tells about what you're doing now and until people little bit about your ministry. Every square inch ministries. Well I am I got several different things that that I'm working on the fellowship that at the coping center.
I have been writing articles for them for years. Right now I'm doing more collaborations jump on three grading breakpoints also teaching the Colson Fellows program there, which is an excellent worldview training program really designed around addressing the challenges that were taken Christian culture today along with that I am working with Ken Bella who is probably the most wide-ranging thinker I've ever met candidate everything from hard-core apologetics Bible science stuff, things like that all the way to spiritual formation in the literature for home use thick on and on and on it he is really a pretty incredible person and I got the privilege of working with them or collaborating on several writing projects and I'll be doing other things within his ministry. And then of course I got every square inch, which is a ministry that I started several years ago and inspired by a quote from Abraham Piper who said there is not a single square inch in the whole domain of human experience over which Christ, who is Lord of all, does not cry mine.
The idea is that every area of life needs to be under the authority of Christ, and I try to address a variety of these through our writing teaching webinars and things like that offered through the website and a few other things coming up in the future, but they're not ready yet so will there that is so powerful because I think many Christians don't realize today that God yet he was the creator and he is involved in every single aspect of the world that we live in today and I wish more Christians understood that you know the most fundamental confession that Christians have held.
Since the early days of the church at the Jesus is Lord now in the Roman Empire that would been inescapably political statement what it meant is Jesus is Lord and Savior. If it but you today. If US Christians what Christ is Lord of most of them will be able to go very quickly to the him and thank you for all the question that I have is what is not included in all and when you think about it if we really confess that Jesus is Lord of all that means is Lord of every area of our life is Lord of our not just their spiritual life for our salvation, but is Lord of our family feud Lord of their friends is Lord of our relationships within the community of Florida politics is Lord of our job to go to the recreation board of all and we need to take that seriously, and that's fundamentally what a biblical worldview is about the shortest definition I had.
I know of for a biblical worldview with understanding what the Lordship of Christ means in every area of life is fundamentally what about will what would you say maybe maybe some of our listeners don't even know what a worldview is Glenn. Can you can you share with them what the worldview is and then they can see how they apply that with a biblical perspective.
Sure about your worldview is a set of ideas that you hold usually unconsciously very rarely think about these things. There things that you think of common sense about the world. There the filters you use to make sense of the information that's coming into you in a lot of ways it's sort of like a pair of mental eyeglasses, you know, without my eyeglasses. I don't see very well, nothing is clear. When I put on the eyeglasses things get sharp and I can understand what it is that I'm looking at recognizing since I want worldview functions like mental eyeglasses that it takes the idea if he experiences the things you see around you in the world. All of this stuff and puts it into focus. Now the important thing to realize here is that different worldviews really genuinely do interpret the world in radically different ways.
For example, gelid let's let's take a simple example like let's close you ran into me in a Starbucks and I'm looking I'm looking really become disheveled. I'm yellow it look like I haven't I haven't taken a shower in a week. I'm here. I'm just I'm really looking a mess on my at my eyes are bloodshot. Everything is looking terrible and you know you know me and you come up to me they going with what's wrong if you get what you feel terrible what happened, and I said you know I can't sleep I can't eat. There's this thing that you have been eating away at me. I just don't know what to do with it, and the school will what is it Philip 888 it's it's this it's a question that and that is just driving me not, I can't. I just can't figure out the answer and you will what what what the question nice I look at you nicely look at maybe you can help me with this, the physical universe isn't real or isn't it chances are the first thing that going through your mind. If you haven't just been drinking the coffee cake because of course the answer to that question is patently obvious to anybody the physical universe is not real, it's a dream in the mind of God because were Hindus away were not Hindus. It's an illusion because were Buddhist owner were not Buddhists were Native Americans so it's sort of real but the world of dreams is more real.
Every one of those is a common sense answer in their own culture. That's a fundamental part of their worldview and what comes out of that is how they think about life, how they approach life how they approach pretty much everything. So this is why worldview is so important.
You need to understand number one that worldviews exist number two that there are differences in worldview. Number three you be really need to look at your own and examine what some of your own assumptions about the world are in for well if you're Christian you need to make sure that the way you think of the world what you think of his common sense about the world aligns with what God has told us is true about the world so important for us to understand when I heard a sermon Sunday were guest speakers at a church I was visiting in and he said that by the mid-20s. Most people have developed their worldview and whatever set in them by that age is pretty much can be there worldview for the rest of their lives. Would you agree with that statement probably true because again, this is not to say that you can't change your worldview. I know many people who have that much older age is not, but for most people that's kind of the way it does work because they didn't buy that point they've gotten a set of answers that they think works for themselves and unless they are really rock my state that really is challenged in substantial ways. It doesn't it won't change and they will live out of that perspective. They've gotten by then until something for something out of it you will will now I want to come to delve into an area where you really are, in my opinion the most renowned expert in the world and that's on biblical and church history. So were talking about worldview.
What are some of the ways that biblical worldview has shaped history which led to has led to the culture that we have today will what I would have to say there is that the biblical worldview has shaped culture, certainly, but over the last several decades we have been running rapidly away from where ending up in a world that is abandoning the truth that are taught in Scripture that God is as revealed to us and in the process.
We are also creating a much well frankly worse world, and in many respects, so let let's start from the beginning.
The idea of human rights. The basic idea that people all people, regardless of who they are, have certain rights that government should not encroach on is an idea that comes out of biblical tradition. It comes really ultimately from the idea that we are that all people are made in the image of God and along with that the New Testament teaching that the plural spiritually and morally equal after the centuries, various theologians have tried to tease out what that meant and so what you find is the development of an idea called unalienable rights. Rights that are given by God that no one has the right to take away from us to deprive us of, and you can think about these as the rights that God gave us in the garden prior to the fall. So God gave us life. Therefore, there is a right to life God has been that has given it to us. We don't have the right to arbitrarily take away from another person, or for that matter, garlic her about to take take her own life either because it is not ours.
It is God's people and gave it to us liberty. God told Adam and Eve and the concept of liberty is one of the things that we frankly lost in our culture, and the skin is a product to a large extent of the biblical worldview. Liberty is the idea that you have freedom to act within boundaries there certain boundaries that are set by natural and divine law that were not allowed to cross. But within those boundaries.
We have freedom directly freedom to choose, we can do what we want to within those boundaries that feed classical understanding of what liberty is and when Jefferson talks about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Liberty is that's what he has in mind of liberty. He does not mean what in the 18th century was called license which is the freedom from restraint to freedom from boundaries. No one in the no one in political history has argued that we have the right to act without boundaries yelled that there are moral laws. We are not supposed to transgress. Unfortunately, since we have frankly lost the idea of objective truth in the area of ethics natural law divine one of those kinds of things liberty. It is dead and all were left with his license freedom test today means freedom from restraint, freedom to act any way we want to, but in any event, the idea of liberty comes to us from the garden of Eden. Again, God tells Adam and Eve. You can eat the fruit of any tree in the garden except that one so he said boundaries for them, but he gave them complete freedom within these very generous boundaries that he established you can do whatever you want to just only going to come poison you 1/3 one that you see in the garden. This is a little more subtle is the idea of all property rights and we see that were God tells Adam need in the garden and eat the fruit what that amounts to is you have the right literally to the fruit of your labor.
When you work for something you learned you have the right to own it to consume it. So this is good.
It's on its labor theory of property and this is where John Locke, for example, got the idea of properties and unalienable rights. Although before him.
You see, the idea of property rights is unalienable going back into the Middle Ages so you know these kinds of things that set of ideas.
There are a legacy of a Christian tradition, Christian political theology moving from their women's rights in the Roman Empire. Women were basically had very few rights. They were looked down upon.
They were frankly treated with contempt, and this is true in most of the ancient world how your Christianity comes along and says that men and women are spiritually equal before God. Therefore, women are worthy of respect. Christianity was, frankly, the best thing that ever happened with you when it comes to pushing the rights we can look at the abolition of slavery. A lot of people think of this as a note that this South use the Bible at the justify slavery. That's actually an aberration in church history. For the majority of church history. Christianity is been antislavery and we see this in Thomas Aquinas where he argues that labor is a violation of natural law.
It may be part of what he calls the law of nations or positive lot may be part of what nation could do but it's contrary to natural law and therefore the sense different popes during the Renaissance condemning the Atlantic slave trade is pot with the Smith movement is spearheaded by evangelicals and Quakers you so and that's just in the realm of human rights we could keep going but there are lots of other areas where we see similar sorts of things happening yet you probably really stir the pot with that with hell.
Critical race theory is is entering the church today there not to like what you just said what you said was true.well critical race theory has its own series of problems it based on fundamentally anti-biblical assumptions about pretty much everything and it is also contrary to well findings of sociologist anthropologists coming on and on and on. We can your critical race theory as it is its own issue and it probably deserves a longer treatment than we can do here but it's some it jump like that. It's got a massive series of problems on both the biblical and the practical level, you're right.
And that's a huge issue facing the church today but yet are so many issues you mentioned EOL abortion suicide homosexuality transgender that are the Christians are facing today. So what does the biblical worldview have to say about contemporary issues. The Christians face will we have to recognize is that we live in a world that was created by God and was created good, so the world are our bodies, our minds everything about us starts good but the problem is the second step is that the problem is that sin has infected everything know if you read Romans eight you'll find that Paul talks about the way sin as really frustrated be the purposes of all of creation. Joe is smart our minds. It affects our bodies that it certainly affects our souls a relationship with God. All of these kinds of things so we live in a world that is broken. However with Christ. Redemption has come into the world and Jesus intends that redemption to extend to all areas of life.
Everything that the broken is repaired in the kingdom. Maybe not immediately, but the elements that are needed to fix what's wrong in ourselves and in society. Resources are all there in the gospel and so what we need to do is number one. Take a clear eyed view of the problems that exist in society of the challenges that were facing, and so on number two look try to assess and evaluate these things from the perspective of what Scripture tells us what God has said is true in the number three live that out try to work out the implications of that edit as far as the way we deal with are the challenges we face in whether it is issues of race, whether it is on the problems surrounding abortion and homosexuality transgender in some your picture problem UVB ecology. Now it doesn't matter. All of these things find their proper solution in a four biblical worldview, and to the degree that you deviate from that worldview can create more problems than you can solve this mess so true. I think for a lot of Christians today.
They they don't really know what their identity is or who their identity comes from. In an effort you speak it as some Colson events and other places about talking about the image of God, can you share with us what is the image of God and how does that apply to Christians today. In order to understand what Genesis means when it says were made in God's image. We need to look to the ancient near East that was a term that was used throughout the world throughout the Middle Eastern world in at the time when Moses was writing and when someone claimed to be the image of God, or as an image of a God what they were saying is that that God had named them had picked them to be there official regent representative on earth and thus they had a right to rule under the authority of that God. And in the name of that God felt when Genesis says that were made in God's image.
What that points to is the fact that we want it says let us make man in our image, and let them have dominion. Those two are linked.
It's basically the same idea.
We are God's representatives on earth. We are to rule the earth, not as owners but is Stewart's remember we are representative of God. Scripture is clear that the earth is the Lords it's not ours, but nonetheless we been given authority on the earth to well developed at an end to rule. If you take a look at the trajectory in Genesis the first three days yelp it says that the earth was without form and void and other was without form and empty the first three days. God is spending forming the world the next three days in creation, God spends filling it and then he sorta hands the job over to Adam in the garden any suspend and protect the garden to jump development develop its resources and provides Adam with massive amounts of resources. One of the points of Genesis when it's describing where Eden is and what's present there. He provides Adam with massive amounts of resources sends them to attend a project begun to develop it, and so on and so Adam's job basically is young God hands off the baton to Adam, you live five God formed the world I created the animals. Now it's your turn your form and fill it so we have reproduce and multiply, fill the earth and subdue it.
Form it development. So those are our unique responsibilities as people made in the image of God. We are to form the world and fill it weird to develop culture and were to do that under God's authority of the problem is we decided multiple times through the Bible to follow our own ideas about how to do this rather than God's note starts with eating the fruit, he continues with the Tower of Babel and someone so what do what I would point to with the image of God is this calling that we have developed culture which starts with our own families having children, and so on. Starts there but then it extends out to our influence across the world and with that the other part of this is that God is given us a whole lot of tools and frequently people mistake the tools for the image.
The tools like a like reason why creativity like mob morality, spirituality, all of these things are tools that we are to use to help us in our task of building the world developing world.
Developing culture under Christ's authority and that's what Christians need to see today is a image a while ago that God gave us dominion. We don't own the service we gave us dominion over, and we did and he did provide us the tools to be engaged in the public arena and to have dominion as he commanded us really to do, and you cover that we don't have much time left limits you cover that integrate fairly new book you put out called slang Leviathan on limited government and resistance in the Christian tradition of oil would encourage our listeners to go to Amazon or wherever you purchase your books or go by me. Probably has on his side, but Glenn Tellis real quickly.
What is the Leviathan on and what is the Christians battle against Leviathan on the name of Ivonne comes from a book by Thomas Hobbes in the 1600s, where he argued that government that the king specifically in his case had authority over everything he made decisions about religion and everything else in society. He was an absolute complete ruler directing everything that happens within society of Ivonne extends its tentacles into everything.
This is completely contrary to the Christian tradition all the way from the first century Christians have always insisted that Caesar is Lord. Exiting Jesus is Lord and Caesar is not that we are to give to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, but not everything belongs to Caesar the things that belong to God, and those can only be given to him. In other words, there is limits on human government. What I what I do and slang Leviathan on his trace how people understood what those limits were and then what what happens at how we should respond when government transgresses those limits and so ultimately that the punchline is that the founding documents in America are sort of the culmination of a long Christian political theological tradition and then things change when the French Revolution happens really purely secular version that dominates politics from that point to today is a great book and I would encourage all of our listeners get a copy because a lot of people today don't realize that the role that the Bible played in the founding of our nation and many of our founding fathers were Christians and I just thank you for all you do and thank you for being our show. We have to have you back as you just year we sweetheart ran a lot of different subjects, but you are an expert is so many areas and I'd love to have you back again to talk about this in more detail, but don't want to thank you for being with us details real quick, how they find your website to learn more about your ministry.
The website of every French ministry.
So each square inch.org ESQ you ART IN CH.org you can find me there and if you go to the Colson Center under their articles. I got a whole bunch of articles there as well and you have a podcast to can you tell them how to find that yacht. The podcast is called the theology hug Kaspersky UG cast. We started recording it in a pub in the area called the corner pug so we called it the theology podcast I do it with two other guys, Chris Wiley, who is a pastor and former philosophy teacher and Tom prices a systematic theologian and ethicist, so three of us we we talk about all kinds of crazy things and minutes you is if you can find it on any podcast that or you can go to the FLS network at the FLS at that site left feast FLS app get it through.
There is a great podcast or should I say podcast we so much enjoyed having you here you you you really influenced me in more ways and you would ever know your your writings and your your speaking engagements.
You really do a lot to call to further the cause of Jesus Christ of the culture today want to thank you all for joining me time Chris Hughes and this is the Christian perspective, thank you for listening subscriber like a podcast and please share with your friends on social media Ellis to change the culture for Jesus Christian perspective with Chris Hughes. Learn more about impacting the culture for Jesus is a Christian perspective, US. This is the Truth Network