This story was originally published in The Crown, Redeemer’s student newspaper, and has been republished with permission.
“Being and Knowing in the Digital Age”: it’s an appropriate goal to strive for, isn’t it? As Christians in the 21st Century, it’s imperative for us to understand our Reformed Christian worldview—its history and its relationship with Scripture.
Further, having a Reformed Christian framework, getting a proper context of idolatry, and understanding the major ‘idols’ of our time is a significant part of what it means to be a Christian in our society and context.
By talking about and coming to a deeper understanding of the idols of today, we as students begin to develop and apply a Christian worldview to both our discipline and to disciplines other than our own. Through it all, we can begin to communicate our ideas appropriately, engaging with classmates and peers in serious conversation on how to live our lives, how to deal with sensitive and difficult issues, and how to live properly as models of Christ.
If you haven’t caught on yet, all of the above statements are the desired learning outcomes for Redeemer’s first-year core course, CTS-110. Of course, these learning outcomes are valuable for every student at Redeemer; but will the course reach its learning outcomes, and if so, how?
The revamped CTS outline follows the path of two books. The first is called Creation Regained: Biblical Basis for a Reformational Worldview, by Albert M. Wolters. This book offers a valuable insight into what a Reformed worldview is. It helps to understand the differences between worldview, philosophy and theology. It also outlines human history—creation, fall,redemption—and applies it to a Reformed perspective and way of thinking. It highlights the importance of the fall and its implications, and what this means for the world, for us, and for our worldview today.
The second book is Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex and Power and the Only Hope that Matters, by Timothy Keller. This book helps to point out the idols of our day, putting them into a Scriptural context. Keller works to reveal how we take the good things of creation and make them our primary motivation, and in doing so, make gods for ourselves. He points us to “the only Hope that matters,” which is Christ, who is worthy of all worship.
Both of these books get to the heart of questions that are asked in a Biblical worldview class: What is a Biblical basis for a Reformed worldview? And how can we apply that today? Why is that important? The course material parallels nicely with the readings and makes for an easy way to connect readings with lecture material, giving students space to ponder and ask questions that may arise.
CTS-110 explores the foundations of the Reformed perspectives through drawing on the required readings and the works of prevalent Reformed thinkers of the past and of today. In this way, the course brings students to a deeper understanding of Christian thinking. At the same time, it is only sensible to then bring into the picture the idols and temptations of today, and how to deal with them.
Some of today’s idols are highlighted—most prominently those of sexuality, materialism and the desire for power. When these idols are seriously considered and discussed in the context of a Reformed Christian worldview, it encourages students to identify their own idols in a healthy, yet inevitably uncomfortable way.
The work that was put into reworking CTS-110 has made for a valuable, logical and important course for Redeemer students. It promises to fulfill its course outcome goals, which are worth spending time on for any Christian. The value of a robust Christian worldview can not be overestimated.
It is appropriate, and I would say necessary, for a Christian university such as Redeemer to have all of its students take a course that helps them come to a deeper understanding of Reformed worldview and Christian thinking. It is something which Redeemer students can appreciate and be thankful for!