Ed Stetzer’s most recent research found a significant change in the kinds of spiritual questions people are asking.
Very few are asking questions about heaven:
- Just 8% say they wonder about heaven every day (down from 20% just five years ago)
- While 46% say they never do
More are asking about meaning and purpose:
- 18% say they wonder about meaning and purpose every day
- Only 28% say they never do
1. Christianity has the answer to the questions people are asking. Through Jesus Christ, people can have both meaning on earth and eternal life in heaven
2. As People are now more concerned about how to get happiness in this life than in the afterlife, the church should start at this point in evangelism.
As Ed says, “Knowing people’s questions and the gospel answer is a key part of clear evangelistic communication.”
While I appreciate Ed’s research, and I think the church should heed it and learn from it, I do wonder if unbelievers are really the best judges of the questions they should be asking? (I certainly wasn’t) Is it not a bit like asking an Inuit (an “Eskimo” for the non-politically correct) if they have any questions about gardening in the Sahara?
I’m not saying we should ignore the questions of unbelievers. As Ed says, they can be a starting point. But having answered them, perhaps we should go on to say, “Now these are important questions you’ve asked, and I’ve tried to give you serious answers. But there are even more important question you should be asking, like, “How can I get my sins forgiven? How can I get right with God? How can I be changed from within? How can I be born-again?” If an unbeliever isn’t interested in these questions, he/she has not begun to understand the seriousness of their state.
When the rich young ruler came with questions about the lack in his life and about how to gain eternal life, Jesus did not answer him directly. Instead, He started asking him about the commandments. It’s almost as if he was saying, “Wrong questions! Here, let me supply the ones you should be concerned about.”
Again with Nicodemus, Jesus interrupted Nicodemus’s introduction with a question that Nicodemus had clearly never even thought of before.
Sometimes we have to destroy the unbelievers’ bridges to nowhere, and start boring tunnels into their deepest problems.