The art of a crafting good question is under-appreciated. The art of crafting a great question is pure gold….
Here’s one of my all time favorite theological questions from one of my spiritual heroes, John Piper. The critical question for our generation—and for every generation—is this:
“If you could have heaven, with no sickness, and with all the friends you ever had on earth, and all the food you ever liked, and all the leisure activities you ever enjoyed, and all the natural beauties you ever saw, all the physical pleasures you ever tasted, and no human conflict or any natural disasters, could you be satisfied with heaven, if Christ were not there?”
And the follow-up question goes to our church leaders: Do we preach and teach and lead in such a way that people are prepared to hear that question and answer with a resounding No?
J. C. Ryle wrote ” But alas, how little fit for heaven are many who talk of going to heaven, when they die, while they manifestly have no saving faith and no real acquaintance with Christ. You give Christ no honor here. You have no communion with Him. You do not love Him. Alas, what could you do in heaven? It would be no place for you. Its joys would be no joys for you. Its happiness would be a happiness into which you could not enter. Its employments would be a weariness and a burden to your heart. Oh, repent and change before it be too late!
“The worst this life can shove down our throats, but with the nearness of Jesus, is heaven on earth. The best this life can give, but without Jesus, is a living hell.” – Ray Ortlund
Ouch Ouch OUCH! For us Christians, at least those of us willing to be gut level honest….are you choosing heaven just cause you hate the heat?
World Religion 101 – Professor Cohen. Turlington Hall. University of Florida. September 1988.
The class met in an auditorium that held 1200 people. I’d say we were all there for that first class.
Religion. It was an easy Humanities course selection for me to make. I love religion…MY religion. Or at least the religion of my parents…you know the one that we were raised with? Yea, that one….
Professor Cohen lead with a question. Now I am a huge fan of the skillfully created question. Hanging in my office is a simple painting of a question mark. I believe a good question is a work of art. It opens normally closed doors…closed usually out of fear and ignorance more than anything.
His question that fall morning in Gainesville: “Why do you believe what you believe?”
- Is it because that’s what your parents believed?
- Is it because that’s what your denomination tells you to believe?
- Is it because that’s what Synagogue or Mosque you were a part of believed?
Most of us know what we believe, but we have no idea why we believe it. We’re ignorant of our faith etymology.
Justin Taylor recently wrote “Because of this, most people are not comfortable questioning their own faith. They can’t be honest with their own doubts (“did Jesus really live?”), fears (“what if there’s no heaven?”) and insecurities (“am I doing enough in my faith?”). They remain locked in a rigid prison of untested belief.”
“Further, those who live in the land of untested belief cannot, under any circumstances, tolerate those who ask questions, struggle openly with their faith, or probe to find answers that don’t come easily on Sunday mornings. It’s intolerable for them to see others doing what they fear the most: thinking for themselves…” wrote Justin.
I believe that the Creator of our Universe cares not only that you believe, but He cares for the “Why” too. Thank you Professor Cohen for making me ask Him….