04 April 2014

Review: In His Image

As a part of the Re:series, the Colson Center for Christian Worldview has released another video/study guide curriculum, again tag-teamed by John Stonestreet and T.M. Moore. I previously reviewed the excellent resource, He Has Spoken.  This most recent set of materials is entitled "In His Image" (2014). Essentially, this is a five-part study consisting of five videos and 35 short studies, so it is well designed to use over a period of five weeks.  For small groups using this material, the authors recommend working through each part and then coming together to watch the video and discuss the questions.

In the first section, they explore the question of what it means to be created in God's image. Moore opens the week by contrasting the prevailing view that humans are not much higher than lab rats with the Christian view that we are spiritual beings and divine image bearers. Understanding the bankruptcy of the materialist worldview is essential if one is to see the dignity of humans.  In the video portion, John Stonestreet mentions Peter Singer, a bioethicist at Princeton, who equates all life forms and is notorious for believing that a smart dog is of more value than a fetus or cognitively impaired child. Moore takes this further by exploring the worlds of aesthetics, social relationships, morality, work, and dominion.

The second part is dedicated to the "unraveling of evolution."  In the video, Stonestreet begins to explore in more depth what we were created to do and what went wrong.  Moore attempts to show how rather than religious belief, it is secularism that is unraveling, much to the disappointment of individuals like Richard Dawkins or Sam Harris.  He points to the flaws in how evolution attempts to explain things like artistic sensitivity and the need for work. As a psychologist, the study (12) on "The power of the word" was particularly interesting as it discussed the flaws in a purely biological psychiatry. 

In the third section, they address the question "why isn't there more evil?" If indeed survival of the fittest is true, one might expect greater levels of evil in certain realms. Contrary to a materialistic worldview, Christians believe that God is sovereign, God is good, and God restrains. Because of his character and power, he restrains evil that would not be restrained if an amoral materialism were true. 

I think that section four addresses a very important question. Simply entitled "The Lie", Stonestreet and Moore address the common perception that religion has been responsible for most of the death and destruction throughout the world. Unfortunately, this Lie has been foisted on an unknowing populace.  Moore takes this further by discussing the bankruptcy of the pursuit of pleasure. 

In the final section, they address wrong reasoning. Stonestreet calls us to develop an increased awareness of the messages coming from culture and to stay up to date and in touch with the messages that are being perpetrated. Part of being created in God's image involves our capacity to reason. Moore encourages us to make use of our reasoning and discover that it will lead us to real answers. 

There are many ways in which one can pursue the question of the Imago Dei. True to form, Moore and Stonestreet look at the worldview implications of being image bearers. They routinely contrast the Christian worldview with competing worldviews such as secular naturalism or Eastern religions to demonstrate the superiority of the Christian position. In that regard, this curriculum set is decidedly apologetic in nature. These gentlemen both possess the unique capacities to reason sharply, communicate clearly, and love well. 

There is much to commend here and very little to detract.  One concern that I had when working through Moore's study guide was the level of language employed in places. Moore is one of the smartest people I know and I wondered if his word choices might alienate some who could benefit from the series. However, these sections were few and far between. In general, Moore again demonstrates his competence in helping people to think through difficult issues with clarity.

This will be a useful series for those trying to understand some about what it means to be created in God's image. 

The Colson Center has allowed me to give away one copy of this DVD and study guide. If you are interested in being considered you can: 1) comment on this post, though I will need your email, 2) share this post on your Facebook page or Twitter (and let me know you did), or 3) retweet this post. I am sure these materials will be a blessing to you. I will do the drawing next Friday, April 11th. 

No comments: