Understanding the Times
by David A. Noebel
Years ago I served as the creative editor for Understanding the Times by David A. Noebel, so I’m pretty biased about this textbook—you’ll have to take this review with more than a grain of salt. Even after factoring in my emotional attachment, however, I would argue that this book is an extremely useful resource for Christians.
David Noebel was one of the first teachers to grasp the importance of what Francis Schaeffer was saying about worldviews, and he has been training students to think biblically for more than 35 years. The model that he uses to help students understand the radical difference between the Christian worldview and non-Christian worldviews is a simple chart that became the foundation for Understanding the Times. This chart compares Christianity with Humanism, Marxism, Islam, Postmodernism and the New Age movement across ten different disciplines, ranging from theology to philosophy to psychology to economics.
The strength of this model—its specificity—can also be a weakness. It’s a shame that this textbook doesn’t address other dominant worldviews like Hinduism, Buddhism, or Mormonism. And it’s a mistake to overlook a comparison of the Christian view of the arts with non-Christian views.
But within the parameters Noebel sets, Understanding the Times works wonderfully. Though modern professors may argue “what’s true for you is not necessarily true for me,” this textbook makes it clear that the claims of the Christian worldview and those of any rival worldview cannot both be true. Either Christianity accurately describes reality or it doesn’t—and as this text makes clear, Christianity is much more consistent and coherent than worldviews like Humanism or Islam.
by Jeff Baldwin