Bill Lawrence has been a successful physician for many years. Yet he
recently gave up his Arizona practice in order to become a chaplain to
prison inmates. Why? Because Bill, a long-time Prison Fellowship
volunteer, spent the past year studying Christian worldview, and God
used that process to call him to full-time service.
Bill is among the first graduates of our Wilberforce Forum's Centurions
program. It's designed to equip an ongoing fellowship of one hundred
mature Christians each year, enabling them to advocate the Christian
worldview in all of life. Each student studies how worldviews influence
economics and work, marriage and family, popular culture, the arts,
politics, and the like. They learn how to contend for the truth through
apologetics, teaching, and critiquing false worldviews.
This program is urgently needed. One of the reasons the Church is
having so little impact on culture today is that too many Christians
view their faith only in terms of a personal relationship with Jesus.
George Barna's research backs this up. His 2003 national survey found
that only nine percent of born again Christians even hold a biblical
worldview. And flawed worldviews have fatal consequences: Barna found
that Christians who don't embrace a biblical worldview are more likely
to condone things like premarital cohabitation, homosexuality,
adultery, and abortion.
The Centurions aim to change that. The inaugural class is made up of
people ready to do serious battle for God. For instance, software
consultant Rick Hooten recently hosted a worldview education seminar
for some thirty Houston pastors. He introduced them to the concept of a
biblical worldview, encouraging them to promote worldview education in
their churches. Dayna Garner hosts a weekly television program called
"Worldview in Focus." She recently spent thirteen weeks teaching
biblical worldview to her Albuquerque television audience based on the
book How Now Shall We Live?
Sean Copley, a Maryland graphics designer, is developing a worldview
curriculum and animation series for Christian television. Sean says: "I
believe this is where my calling resides . . . teaching worldview in
reference to the arts and pop culture, specifically to youth."
Many Christians believe we change cultures from the top down-get
righteous leaders, they think, and you'll have a righteous society. But
throughout history, the greatest movements have started from the bottom
up-ordinary people talking with their friends and before their church
groups and reaching their kids.
The great abolitionist William Wilberforce-for whom our Forum is
named-understood this. He knew it was not enough to take on the evil of
the British slave trade, but to effect a permanent change, there had to
be what he called a "reformation of manners," a moral renewal in
England. His decades-long efforts led to the abolition of slavery and,
ultimately, to the second Great Wesley awakening, which revived the
Church and the culture.
Our Centurions have the potential to accomplish the same-to raise up an
army of Christians equipped to call the Church to greater faithfulness
to God and to change our culture one person at a time by defending
biblical truth. The good news is that there are one hundred of them out
there right now doing it, and hundreds more are on the way.