In his book, “Ancient Future Faith” Robert Webber examines the crucial connection between faith and worldview. Webber outlines the major periods of Western thought and how each age has impacted the Christian’s ability to live out Faith with integrity.
“It is now common to think in terms of six discernible paradigms of time that can be traced in the complex history of the Western church. While these divisions are somewhat artificial because history does not change abruptly, we can nevertheless speak convincingly of the following periods of Western thought: primitive Christianity (the first century); the common era, with the emergence of classical Christianity (100–600); the medieval era, with the formation of a distinct Roman Christianity (600–1500); the explosion of the Reformation and the growth of Protestantism (1500–1750); the modern era, with the growth of denominations (1750–1980): and the postmodern period now emerging (1980– ).
In each of these periods of history, Christianity wrestled with unique sets of philosophical, scientific, and cultural factors. Throughout history Christians have always struggled to incarnate the faith in each particular culture. Consequently, a style of Christianity successful in one era changes as another era begins.” (Robert Webber, Ancient-Future Faith : Rethinking Evangelicalism for a Postmodern World (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1999), 13.)
Faith plays a role in every worldview. Understanding faith’s role in each system of thought is essential if hope to communicate the Gospel across cultural and philosophic boundaries. The Kingdom worldview is unique in its ability to integrates reason and meaning so that faith is not devoid of a scientific, historical, or moral foundation. The figure below shows how faith is treated in each system of thought.
Faith has a role in each philosophy, but is limited by the foundation upon which it is built. Most significantly, the Kingdom worldview is rooted in the relationship of Divine Trinity and thus is the only system that allows us to truly create and maintain meaningful community.