Jaclyn Vander Wall — Staff Writer
Blue and red scribbles outline the semester ahead for Dordt University’s chapels on the wall of Aaron Baart’s office. A majority of the whiteboard is filled with questions — ones that Jesus asked throughout the gospels.
“Who is it you want?”
“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?”
“Do you still have no faith?”
As dean of chapel at Dordt, Baart sees his job as ensuring that each student has the opportunity to receive a well-rounded education of the Bible. During their four years at Dordt, students will experience a rotation between different styles and sections of the Bible. He refers to this idea as “a chapel curriculum.”
This year, “The Jesus Questions,” by Sam Juiterres, focuses on what Baart considers the “most important” topics in the gospels. Instead of homing in on one of the four gospels, it bounces around in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Each week, students wrestle with one of Jesus’ questions alongside Baart or another speaker — Erik Hoekstra, Sam Ashmore, Jon De Groot, Justin Bailey and Preston Sprinkle — to develop “good disciple practices.”
This practice of contemplating the questions of Jesus will drive students in their faith and move their decision making.
“Jesus’ biggest questions get after the deepest desires of our hearts,” Baart said.
Baart began the semester by proposing the question, “Do you understand what I have done for you?”
Throughout the Wednesday chapels this semester, he will use a more traditional expository preaching method to put each question into context of what is happening in the gospel at that time. He hopes the study will challenge students to begin to think for themselves about the gospel.
“I want to show people how to pick a text apart and study the Bible,” he said.
Baart’s goal is that Dordt students will grow in confidence so they do not have to depend on a preacher to guide their discoveries of the Bible.
He understands that young people will leave the church if they do not have their questions answered because they often are taught not to doubt. Baart hopes that working through this list of questions will show Dordt’s students that even Jesus asks questions. Therefore, his believers should feel free to as well.
“I hope they learn Jesus isn’t afraid of questions,” he said. “Christianity may not be about having all the right answers, but asking all the right questions.”