Reformed Reflections

Foundations of Christian Thought: Faith, Learning, and the Christian Worldview
by Mark P. Cosgrove. Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, Mich. 2006. Softcover, 192 pp

The university originally was a place of learning built on the foundation of one truth, the Christian faith. Today the word multi-university is more appropriate than university. Postmodernism and other isms are now entrenched in the secular academia as much as theism was in medieval universities. Consequently, Christian students who believe in God the Creator and Sustainer, who respect His Word and want to listen to it, can be confronted with great difficulties in such institutes of learning. The questions they are confronted with is: Which faith should guide and direct their thinking?

Cosgrove, professor and chairman of the psychology department at Taylor University, argues that ideas do matter, whether secular or Christian. Therefore, the worldview search is not just an academic exercise for the philosophically minded, but our lives and decisions are dependent upon how we see reality.

Cosgrove begins his book with explaining the concept of a worldview and the integration of faith and learning. He examines five worldviews – naturalism, secular humanism, atheistic existentialism, pantheism, and the New Age Movement – and states their shortcomings. Chapters on the evidence for Christian theism, why suffering exists in God's world, and living the Christian worldview close the book. Cosgrove shows that the Christian faith is able to explain reality and human nature far better than non-Christian religions and isms. He points to the relevance of the Christian faith to our lives, specifically to our intellectual and cultural lives. He notes that the Bible gives us a worldview foundation from which to do our studies in science, social science, and the arts – all subjects. He helps the reader – as if in a classroom – to ask questions that compel a carefully reasoned response. He does this through boxed questions and answers to help the reader to understand the issues. Definitions of philosophical and Biblical ideas are also provided.

Since ideas have consequences, it is important to know how to confront them. I suggest, therefore, that high school and college students should read this book. It can also serve as a basis for discussion in senior catechism classes, and at home.

Johan D. Tangelder
15 Feb 2007