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Without Knowledge We Perish

An introduction to knowledge and worldview
This sermon is part of the sermon series "Can Smart People Believe in God?". See series.

The story behind the series (from John Ortberg):

This series actually was inspired by Dallas Willard's book, Knowing Christ Today. The title of the series came when I saw a sign with a question on it: "Can smart people believe in God?" (I think it was at a church that was doing the alpha course.) It's a wonderful question—edgy enough to attract people's attention, and of course, most of us tend to put ourselves in the 'smart people' category; at least in the sense that we think our own opinions and judgments are usually right. Our church is located close to Stanford, and in an area where education is valued highly and where Christianity is of thought of as an out-dated non-option, so looking at these issues in a fresh way is a high need.

The first message was a high challenge from a content side—showing how "people perish from a lack of knowledge." The notion that knowledge is an important part of spiritual life is not thought about widely today and can be abstract (though crucial), so it was a challenge to present it in a compelling way.

The second week was the most fun. I asked Dallas if he'd be willing to come and face difficult questions, and he agreed. So we did a weekend called "As the Smart Guy." People sent in terrific and difficult questions ahead of time, and we sat through four services with difficult questions at each one. The hunger for answers is so deep that we actually set an attendance record by having people come listen to a philosopher talk about moral epistemology. Go figure.

The third message was aimed at an invitation to follow Jesus. Once the structure of it became clear it almost wrote itself—what is the bestreason to believe? This gave a chance to walk through some of the most compelling ...

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John Ortberg is pastor of Menlo Park Presbyterian Church in Menlo Park, California.

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Sermon Outline:


I. The claim to have knowledge

II. Knowledge is indispensable.

III. We must be responsible with knowledge.

IV. Everyone has a worldview.

V. Jesus’ worldview