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Ultimate Issues Review by Tina RiceR.C. Sproul
PO Box 547500
Orlando, Florida 32854
Ultimate Issues (UI) is a 120-minute video on Christian worldview by R.C. Sproul. It features four 30-minute video messages and comes with an eight-page discussion guide. The video is shot in a studio that is designed to look like a coffee shop, which gives it a very informal and homey feel. If you have never heard R.C. Sproul in person or on video, this is a fantastic way to get started with his teachings. UI is not a complete study on Christian worldview; it is more like an in-depth introduction to the subject. If you are looking for a complete worldview training led by R.C. Sproul, you would need to look at one of his other products.
The four messages in UI are "Only Two Worldviews," "The God Who Is There," "His Word Is Truth," and "Christ the Only Way." Active participation in a group setting will help students to really grasp the content of the messages. If you plan to buy and use UI alone, read over the study guide before watching the video.
Although the video and discussion guide do not mention age/grade suggestions, I believe the material was produced with the older teen in mind. I do not think a middle school student, however precocious he may be, would really benefit from UI. That is not to say that the material covered is over the younger student's head or contains any material that would be unsuitable; but I do not think a 13-year-old is ready for the depth of the teachings.
Whether you use UI alone or in a group, plan to set aside one to two hours a week for four weeks to study the video. Another option would be for a group of high school students to have a weekend worldview lock-in and use UI as the text of their study. I do not believe UI was produced with homeschoolers in mind.
I like listening to Dr. Sproul speak--his voice is soothing. He is interesting and easy to listen to. I prefer his audio/video teaching to reading his books. My tenth-grade daughter has been attending a Christian Worldview class at our homeschool co-op, and she enjoyed the program. Her eighth-grade sister watched the video with her, and she also found it to be interesting.
The discussion guide is very unpretentious. It reminds me of a lecture handout in pamphlet form. It covers each of the four sessions with a learning objective. For example, from Session 1, the learning objective is "To understand that there are only two ultimate consistent worldviews--atheism and theism--and that every person inconsistently lives by parts of both." An outline of the material in the session is included along with 10 discussion questions. The questions from Session 3 include "What secular philosophies have influenced the way we view Scripture?" "How have they infiltrated the church?" and "How have they infiltrated your own thinking?" I would rather have had a small workbook to go along with UI than the discussion guide. But a workbook would cost more money, and the video and discussion guide as they are now are a good buy.
My friend asked me if I would have bought Ultimate Issues if I had not received a review copy. I told her that before I had watched the first session I thought the package was somewhat cheesy. After I had watched just a few minutes of the first session, I realized that outward appearances are not a good indicator of inner qualities. UI is a good investment for any student, family, or group that wants to explore worldviews.