Video Transcript – slightly edited
(From a Steve Childers’ seminary classroom lecture – recorded live)
To see true transformation, we must bring people the Gospel in a way that answers the deepest questions they’re asking about reality.
1. Question of Origin: “Where did we come from?”
2. Question of Evil: “How did things get so bad?
3. Question of Redemption: “What is our hope for the problem of evil?”
4. Question of Afterlife: “Is there anything that lies beyond?”
In this session, you’ll learn how the gospel provides the ultimate answers to the worldview questions. If you remember from our last session, we looked at the first three categories of our ministry focus group: behaviors, underneath that, the values that were driving the behaviors and the beliefs that were underneath the values.
We are now looking at the core concept of worldview, where every human, because they are image-bearers, is asking some form of the question, “What is real?” That may not make a lot of sense right here but I’m going to break down this question. Whereas the behavior question is, “What is done?” The value question is, “What is good?” The belief question is, “What is true?” Now we turn to what is underneath that in terms of the core worldview. Here the question, “What is real?”
Now we turn to what is underneath that in terms of the core worldview. Here the question, “What is real?”
Every culture has, at its core, a worldview.
By “worldview,” what I mean is a conceptual grid that people use to understand life and define reality. Some people believe that reality exists only in what can be seen and what can be touched and felt, and many believe there is an unseen reality beyond the mere physical senses. That’s just an example of worldview, your perception of reality. What is reality? What is ultimate reality? Is there an invisible sphere of this world that is real? Those are worldview questions.
Let me orient you to the concept of worldview and then we will see the application of the gospel to the fundamental question, “What is reality?” as we break if down into four categories. I’ve given you here four questions that are the core of every worldview and every culture. This is Anthropology 101, in terms of, what are sometimes called, ultimate questions. People hardly ever say, if asked, “Oh yes, I have four ultimate questions I’m trying to answer all the time.” They’re not conscious of this, but when human beings are actually carefully studied, and we’re talking about exegeting culture, and cultures are studied across the spectrum, human beings are found to be asking ultimate questions. I’ve categorized them into four.
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Where we’re headed with this is, show you how the ultimate questions, that all people are asking, find their ultimate answers in the Gospel. When you’re bringing the Gospel to a nation, or you’re bringing the Gospel to a culture, to your ministry focus group, there’s a whole new understanding of what it means to bring the Gospel to these people. Rather than a preconceived set of propositions that we simply drop on them that just doesn’t connect with them at all, what we’re actually doing is bringing the very essence of the Gospel to them in a way that answers the very deepest questions that they’re asking about reality.
With that background, let me show you the four questions.
1) The first question: often called “the ultimate question of origin.” Sometimes this is called “the question of meaning” or “morality.” It’s often expressed like this: “Where did we come from? Why are we here? What is right and wrong?”
Again, like you did with behaviors, values, and beliefs, I’m going to ask you now to be thinking in terms of worldview, and what their answer would be to each of these four fundamental questions, and what the answer is according to the Gospel.
So notice, question of origin, their answer; the Gospel answer. An example, “I believe that I came from a big bang that happened billions of years ago as a mysterious result of energy, plus time, plus chance. All of humanity and all of the world finds its origin in this convergence of energy, and chance, and mass, and space that just mysterious came together and there was this big bang.” How someone answers the question of origin has a much more profound influence on their lives than they, or you, realize. Often when people think about questions of origin or creation, it’s just kind of a speculative, kind of a philosophical concept. When you begin to see the relationship of the answer to the ultimate question of origins to how people live every day, and how they view life, the ramifications are very significant. I’m going to be asking you to list what is their answer. Where did we come from? Why are we here? Sometimes it would be, what is the purpose of life?
2) The second question: questions regarding the problem of evil, the problem of suffering, the quandary of death. You can’t go to any culture, on any continent, and not find these kinds of questions. Why this pain? Why death? Why suffering?
3) The third question: is there any hope for the problem I’m facing? Sometimes it’s phrased, “Can I be forgiven? Can I be accepted? Can I be free?” hope for forgiveness, acceptance, freedom. Their answer; Gospel answer.
4) The fourth question: questions regarding the future, an afterlife, an eternity. This is often linked to whether or not reality is just what is seen or unseen. “How will what’s wrong be made right? How are things supposed to be? What lies ahead after death?” What is their answer? What is the Gospel answer?
I put the Gospel in the context of four categories, and I’ve linked the four major aspects of the Gospel with each of the ultimate questions. The first thing I want you to do is only give their answer under each one of these four, not the Gospel answer. I’ve given you an example of the first one, question of origin: “I believe I came from a big bang billions of years ago.”
Question regarding problem of evil, “Where is there hope in light of evil and suffering and pain?”, what would their answer be? Questions regarding the afterlife or the future, what would their answer be?
After that, I’ll give you an overview and an orientation of the Gospel as a whole, and then I want you to go back to each one of those answers that they gave and see the Gospel in light of similarity and dissimilarity.
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