Increasingly, I am using APEST as my hermeneutic of understanding pretty much everything, grounded, as it seems to me to be, in the very nature of God. As Alan Hirsch suggests, this pattern applies to cosmology (the way in which God has created, has set up the universe), anthropology (how we understand humans and human society), Christology (our understanding of Jesus), ecclesiology (our understanding of the Church), and eschatology (our understanding of where everything is heading).
Here is an outline APEST cosmology:
The universe is expanding, and inspires us to send out probes in search of other life. That’s apostolic sent-ness.
The goal is that all creation be reconciled to God in Christ Jesus. That’s prophetic covenant-faithfulness.
The heavens declare the glory of God. That’s evangelistic good-news-telling.
We live in a Goldilocks Zone that enables life. That’s the shepherding impulse to enable life to flourish at work.
There are whole university departments built on discovering the mysteries of the universe. That’s the impact of the teaching function.
Here is my take on APEST as hermeneutic for reading scripture and/or Bible story-telling:
A: How does this passage move the story on?
P: Who speaks/ What do they say?
E: Is there any good news to share?
S: How is the community built up?
T: How does this passage connect with what we already know?
And here is my take on APEST as hermeneutic for reading the Body of Christ, our lives in our neighbourhood:
A: Where have you been (say, this week)? What did you see? Who did you meet?
P: What have you heard—from God? from others?
E: Do you have any good news stories to share?
S: Who is in especial need of care? (And how might we respond?)
T: What are we learning to do as we follow Jesus together?
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