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Thinking Like a Christian—Teaching Textbook

Thinking Like a Christian—Teaching Textbook

Understanding & Living a Biblical Worldview

Worldviews in Focus
by David A. Noebel, Chuck Edwards
Publisher: Broadman & Holman
Softcover Textbook, 184 pages
Current Retail Price: $19.99

While a lot of parents want their kids to have a good understanding of worldviews, they often demure when it comes to instruction because they aren't familiar with the key concerns themselves. Thinking Like a Christian was written with specifically that problem in mind, and not only teaches kids about secular and Christian worldview, it teaches their parents as well. A three-piece curriculum (we don't carry the VHS), it introduces ideas, teaches students how to engage and discuss them, and compares everything to a conservative understanding of Scripture. While other programs are flashier, few are easier to use or more friendly to those with little or no worldview background.

How Does This Work?

Author David Noebel first introduces the concept of worldview from a Christian perspective, citing the primacy of the Bible, the religious nature of some non-Christian worldviews, and the futility of a secular/sacred divide. He goes on to explore the secular and Christian understanding of ten areas of intellectual investigation—including history, philosophy, science and psychology—by framing each in question form. (For example, the section on biology asks the question, "What is the origin of life?") Noebel concludes with a chapter examining the practical implications of understanding opposing worldviews, as well as offering brief summaries of some of the more prominent secular ones. Four appendices provide helpful comparison charts, teaching aids, and a list of resources for further study.

This is the principle element in the Thinking Like a Christian curriculum designed as a primer course for junior high and high school studentsbefore using the more comprehensive Understanding the Times. A VHS course with lectures adds much more depth and context, but is not necessary to completion of the program. (The VHS is currently unavailable, and difficult to find used.)The teaching textbook is for parents, and along with the CD-Rom included in the back, provides all the information needed to present the information. There are twelve chapters, each representing a one-week lesson that parents can read or have their students read (Noebel suggests the parent read the chapter and present the content orally). The CD-Rom contains lesson plans, PDF exercise pages and class handouts, etc. The companion student journal presents 12 lessons including reading and exercise portions to be completed by the student; lessons are typically around 20 pages, with assignments planned for five days a week.

Though this course can easily be used to accomodate a single child's schedule, it is ideal for use in a group setting (whether co-op, classroom, or Sunday school). The success of the program depends largely on discussion, as the best way to grapple with ideas (especially new ideas) is to express, respond and then reflect on them. Noebel evidences a theological and political/economic conservatism that, while not offensive, may bear further elaboration or balance on the part of parents. This is a course about investigating ideas; while you could potentially hand your kids the two books and turn them loose, that would in large part defeat the purpose. Since the goal is to get them thinking in a way preparatory for interaction with others, having them hone their skills under your guidance is crucial. If you don't have much background in worldviews yourself, don't worry—Noebel gives you all the background and information you need to teach each concept thoroughly.

Our Honest Opinion:

Thinking Like a Christian isn't going to tell you everything about worldview, but it will provide an excellent introduction and basis for further study. While he spends far more time developing the Christian concept of worldview than secular interpretations, two arguments could be made to support this approach. On the one hand, the course is designed for Christians, and while Noebel understands the importance of familiarity with other views, he primarily wants to educate Christian students about defending their faith. On the other hand, worldview is primarily a Christian concept, and though secularists have to some degree adopted it (though by no means universally), it stands to reason anyone exploring the idea would do so in the context of the terms origins. For ease of use and thoroughness, Thinking Like a Christian is an excellent place to begin your exploration of worldview.

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