Preface: Christian Overman is a guy who has been teaching about the Christian worldview and how to apply it for many years. His current focus is to help Christians to develop a Biblical ethic for work and the marketplace. We need more men like him who know how to apply the Bible specifically to all areas of life. I hope you enjoy this interview and check out his ministry. – Israel Wayne
Israel Wayne: What led you to first begin studying worldview and apologetics issues?
Christian Overman: As a young man, I was asked to serve as principal of a Christian school in Seattle, where I had been teaching for several years. As part of that transition, I was sent to pursue a Masters of Education degree through Seattle Pacific University, where I studied under Dr. Albert E. Greene, an expert in the field of philosophy of Christian education. Through Dr. Greene my eyes were opened to the critical importance of biblical worldview, and how an understanding of biblical worldview is key to the matter of “thinking Christianly.” I finally understood how important biblical worldview understanding is in shaping ideas that influence culture. This led me to focus on ways of helping my staff to be effective in teaching every subject at our school through “the grid” of the biblical worldview. I was also motivated at that time to help parents and the upper-level students to grasp the importance of “the grid,” which led me to write my book, Assumptions That Affect Our Lives.
Israel Wayne: One of the main themes of your book, Assumptions That Affect Our Lives is a discussion of the distinction between a “Greek” worldview and a more Hebraic worldview. Why do you believe that distinction is important?
Christian Overman: One of the best ways to help people become aware of the serious problems that secularized thinking leads to is to see how it affected the ancient Greeks. Contrasting the worldview of the ancient Greeks with the worldview of the ancient Hebrews provides an opportunity for comparative analysis that is instructive and helpful. This is not to say the Hebrews were always successful in living out the Truth (many times they were not). Yet even their failures are instructive, and the successes they did have are timeless. Contrasting the Judeo-Christian worldview with the history of the Greeks can alert us to the pitfalls of embracing secularized thought. There are so many parallels between the decline of the ancient Greeks and the decay of the West today, it’s quite sobering. Secularized thought was born in ancient Greece when the Ionians dismissed the idea of any kind of supernatural realities. Once the gods were dismissed, man became “the measure of all things.” A similar pattern has occurred in America, where many have rejected the God of the Bible in favor of the same naturalism and secularized humanism the ancient Greeks embraced. The effect upon our culture has been profoundly negative. Pointing out the lessons from history, and upholding the Biblical worldview alternative, was my goal in writing the book.
Israel Wayne: What do you see as being some of the greatest challenges to applying Christian Apologetics in our day and age?
Christian Overman: The greatest challenge to applying Christian Apologetics is applying it! It is important to understand the reasons behind our faith, and to be able to defend it, but if the study of Apologetics does not lead to healthy applications of what we know to be True, we’re like the “sounding brass and clanging cymbal” mentioned I Cor. 13. The focus of our particular organization, Worldview Matters, is more on the application of Truth than the defense of Truth. Other great worldview organizations do a much better job in the area of Apologetics than we could do, for which I am thankful. The Church needs these efforts. But I don’t see a lot going on today in the area of applying the biblical worldview to the workplace. “Theology of work” has fallen off the radar. It was standard fare in the days of Jonathan Edwards, but I call it the “Missing Curriculum” of today [see http://www.biblicalworldview.com/The_Missing_Curriculum_Article_Reprintable.pdf]. Making the connections between selling shoes and the biblical worldview is a lost art. Helping followers of Christ who drive FedEx trucks to see how their truck driving is “the work of the Lord” requires a robust understanding of biblical worldview, and this is our focus. Can you imagine what would happen if every follower of Christ went to work on Monday morning to make relevant connections between the biblical worldview and their work? Luther and Calvin did a lot to restore the biblical view of work, but the ball has been dropped. It’s time for a comeback.
Israel Wayne: Fifty years from now, what do you hope would be the long-lasting fruit remaining from the work you are doing today?
Christian Overman: The mission of Worldview Matters, our organization, is “to invigorate workplaces, renew communities, and transform culture by helping followers of Christ to align the biblical worldview with their everyday work, and experience God’s pleasure in doing it.” Our vision is “to equip 20 million people over the next 20 years to make intentional and relevant connections between the biblical worldview and their work.” Both of these statements are humanly impossible. And to whatever degree they are fulfilled, and remain a reality fifty years from now, we give the glory to God in advance.
Israel Wayne: What is some advice you would give to parents who wish to help equip their children with a Biblical Worldview?
Christian Overman: Pray for wisdom. Get the series published by Apologia Educational Ministries, called, “What We Believe” and read it with your children. Use family mealtimes to discuss Scripture, like the parents of Max DePree did (former CEO of the Herman Miller Company) [see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pxFxOc3QeX8]. When they reach the 8th grade, go through the More Than A Paycheck series with them, God’s Pleasure At Work and The Difference One Life Can Make, or convince their Christian school or homeschool co-op to put this into their curriculum [see http://www.biblicalworldview.com/Suggested_Plan_Of_Action.pdf].
If you would like to subscribe to Christian Overman’s weekly blog, “Worldview Matters,” visit: www.biblicalworldviewmatters.blogspot.com.