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Grad heading up worldview institute at Greenville college
November 08, 2004
By Jeff Robinson
Tony Beam, a 2002 Southern Seminary graduate, is leading the recently created Christian Worldview Institute at North Greenville College in Tigerville, S.C. Photo by David Merrifield
After 13 years in the pastoral ministry, one thing became abundantly clear to Tony Beam: Christians often do not know much about what they profess to believe.
Beam, who received a doctor of ministry degree from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in 2002, is taking direct aim at this eclipse of the Christian mind through his leadership of the Christian Worldview Institute at North Greenville College in Tigerville, S.C.
Beam, who was tapped as director of the new institute last summer, is teaching New Testament at North Greenville while the pieces of the worldview program are being put into place.
Worldview classes will begin in fall 2005.
The Ellenboro, N.C., native is also busy promoting Christian worldview thought and is daily processing hundreds of pages of reading on philosophy, theology, apologetics and other topics related to the way people think.
"Everybody has a worldview whether they know it or not," Beam said. "Many Christians believe things that aren't Christian at all. And all unbelievers also have worldviews. For example, I run into a lot of pantheism. And whether or not the people espousing it know it is pantheism, it is pantheism.
"Christians need to be able to think biblically so they will be able to identify non-Christian beliefs and take them apart with Christian truth."
One reason Beam is so concerned about worldviews is their intimate link to the way one lives. Christians often falter in their pursuit of godliness precisely because they hold sub-biblical views of God, man and grace, among other important doctrines, he said.
"George Barna's research has shown that 93 percent of all Christians do not even have a Christian worldview," Beam said. "This certainly affects the way they live because what you believe directs how you live. I appreciate this opportunity at North Greenville. Hopefully this will help pastors to learn how to communicate a comprehensive Christian worldview to the people in their churches.
"If we can't process and express a biblical worldview in every area of life, then the church will not be effective. I think this is why churches have not been effective in truly reaching people in a postmodern culture."
Beam said the institute will conduct research on issues of apologetics, evangelism and missions and will also work with the media to bring the Christian faith into the public square.
Already, Beam is busy getting the message out to South Carolinians. He hosts a daily radio show on WLFJ AM-660, writes a weekly column for a local newspaper, and contributes a monthly piece to the state Baptist newspaper, the "Baptist Courier."
"Our purpose is to be an information center," Beam said.
Several Christian leaders have inspired Beam and have served as catalysts in pushing him to develop his Christian worldview. Among his contemporary heroes Beam lists Prison Fellowship leader Chuck Colson, apologist Norman Geisler and Southern Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr., alongside the late Francis Schaeffer and C.S. Lewis.
"I have really learned a lot from Dr. Mohler," he said. "He is able to bring biblical Christianity to bear on every topic and is able to communicate that clearly. I am thankful for what Southern Seminary is doing in teaching its students to think biblically about every area of life."
James B. Epting, president of North Greenville College, says the worldview institute will serve as a key plank in the school's overall platform of being a Christ-centered institution that seeks to impact the world. The institute is a strategic part of the school's focus on evangelism and missions, Epting said.
"As we approach our education here, it is important to reach out to the world," Epting said. "Our goal is to have a world evangelism center that will house our Christian worldview center and our global missions center. … We do everything here to get one more [person] saved. We always want one more saved.
"So these programs complement everything we do and are interwoven into everything we do. Because of that, it is a top priority to us to have a strong Christian worldview program in place. Dr. Tony Beam is perfect for the job. ... Tony is helping us not just to talk about changing the world, but to do it."