An Historian’s Christian Worldview
I don’t know if it’s possible to describe history in one word, even four or five. There are two very important layers to address simply from the title alone: Christianity and History.
Layer 1: I am a practicing Christian.
As we know, Christianity is a belief system — one religion in a pool of others. It affects not only how I see the world, but how I act, interpret, and approach it. Thus, my understanding of history will be filtered through the lens of Christianity when I communicate it.
Layer 2: I am a student of History.
History is not only an active event that no one can escape, but it is a subject of study. It is always increasing in information. My job as a History student is to research and communicate history in such a way that is most understandable to the public. How I go about communicating it will greatly impact how it is remembered.
So, what is an Historian’s Christian Worldview?
I will first explain it in a factual sense, and then proceed to express it in further detail. In the basic meaning of the phrase, an Historian’s Christian Worldview boils down to an individual who believes in and practices Christianity, allowing it to affect their understanding and explanation of History as a subject.
In my opinion, I believe History is the most valuable subject anyone can study. As a young woman, Christian, American, and student, History knows no bounds. It applies to my life in ways that I often never think about. It affects how I see the world, why I do what I do, and where I want to go. It is an active subject and always updates itself. For instance, studying history teaches me more about the country that I live in. It inspires feelings of courage, pride, and brotherly affection. Without History, I surely wouldn’t feel the way I do about America. The same could be said about any subject and any people. History is what binds us together.
As a Christian, it teaches me that the truth is deeply crucial to society. No matter how good or bad our history gets, it is most necessary to record and communicate the truth of it all. In this way, it helps us make better decisions moving forward. Do I like that World War II happened and ultimately burdened millions of Jews with sorrow and grief over the severe loss from the Holocaust? Absolutely not. However, if no one remembered the Holocaust or Black Death or any other bad thing that happened in History, no one would learn to improve. No one would have such an incentive to change their actions. We would be forced to repeat our hurtful actions forever. We would always live in sin with no justification to change our ways.
Being a Christian, I know that there is so much more to life than the physical realm. There are always spiritual results to our actions. The Holocaust, for example, was a great sin against humanity. God condemns every type of sin and encourages us to live our lives in such a way that we would honor Him. Whether Hitler accepted Christ as his Savior, I don’t know for sure. However, what I do know is that there will be consequences for his actions. Truly loving someone means that there must be consequences. Meaning, if your parents truly love you, they will reprimand you if you make a wrong decision. In the same way, God does this with His people. We all sin and fall short of the glory of God — but He gives us second chances every single day. Thus, History is a way of recording those mistakes, then turning around and learning to do better.
An Historian Christian Worldview means that we approach the world with love. We use God’s love letter to us (His Word) and look at the world through His eyes. When we fall short and sin, He reminds us that we have been saved by grace through His sacrifice on the cross. He tells us over and over in the Bible how we can be better and how he used certain individuals to His glorious purposes. Joseph didn’t know he would save all of Egypt when he was still living at home; also, he didn’t know that he would suffer in prison and be treated horribly by his brothers. Still, his recorded history continues to encourage us today— to keep trusting in God even when life gets tough, to love others even when they don’t deserve it, and to offer grace whenever we can.
That’s what it means to have an Historian Christian Worldview. To remember our mistakes, learn from them, and be more like Jesus.