If listening is the key to evangelism, then asking questions is turning the key.  Of course, our opening questions should be those that show our interest in the person:  “Where are you from?  What do you do?  What kind of family do you have?  What are your interests?” 

Unless we know the contact will be brief, as on a plane or at a social event, we should usually take the time to establish a rapport and build trust.  Listening creates relationship, and relationships require trust.  As our interest, demonstrated through using questions and listening to the answers, grows, so will our knowledge of the other person.  Then the time will come for asking the deeper questions related to God and faith.  Always the goal is to stimulate conversation, show sincere interest, and maintain respect, as we hopefully establish the beginnings of a meaningful interaction and open the door to introducing Jesus Christ to the person.

The best questions begin  “What?” and “Why?”  We are seeking to know and understand what people think about the most important issues of life.  We want to learn what things really matter to a person or cause the person to question, worry, or fear the course of their life or the future.  Ultimately, we will need to know if a person struggles with guilt or loneliness, fear of sickness, aging, or death, or interpersonal conflict, but those questions require a measure of rapport and intimacy, unless they are so pressing that the person brings them up voluntarily.

Here are questions organized around some major philosophical categories.  These may not be for everyone, and I’m still pondering the best way to ask meaningful questions that ordinary folks think about.  What do you think?

Metaphysics:  Questions about existence, the universe, and origins

What is the nature of the universe?  How did the universe come into being?  Given what we know of decay, how can a purely material universe not have run down already?

Ontology:  Questions about being and living things

What makes more sense: no god, two gods, a god inseparable from matter, a distant god, or the God of the Bible?  How can life have come into existence from nonlife? 

Epistemology:  Questions about knowing and knowledge

How do you know what you think you know?  In what ways to you perceive truth, reality, and things of absolute certainty, or on what basis do you reject absolute truth?  What makes you confident or doubtful?  How well do you know the Bible, what is its value, and how does it compare to other religious books?

Ethics:  Questions about what is right and wrong, sin, and evil

By what measure do you regulate your life, or if not, is there anything that you regard as evil or wrong?  How do you explain “man’s inhumanity to man?”  If God exists, in what way does He rule over your life?

Beauty:  Questions about order, aesthetics, and what people find pleasurable or attractive

By what standards or measure to you evaluate beauty or taste?  What makes the sights, sounds, and tastes you prefer superior to those you reject?  Is their anything beyond feeling or sensation that determines the value of pleasure, and if so, what is it?

WorldViews:  Questions about religion and its impact on thinking and acting

If you have a worldview, what is it?  Can you identify any major, influential worldviews?  Do you feel that the educational, media, and political establishments share or oppose your worldview?  How to you think the conflict of worldviews will be resolved, and can the resolution be peaceful?

Apologetics:  Questions about defending what one believes

How do you determine the value, truth, or viability of what you believe?  In what way may people interact about the beliefs they have and the values they hold?

Salvation:  Questions on what a person must do to assure life after death

Do you believe in life after death?  If you believe in a heaven or hell, how do you assure you arrive in the better place?  Does anything or anyone have a claim on your future, and if so, how do you deal with that?


2 thoughts on “Questions Christians Should Ask

  1. Pingback: Listening: The Key to Evangelism | Table Talk

  2. Pingback: Socratic Method–Getting People to Think | Table Talk

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