are We So Biblically Illiterate?
By Paula Marolewski
Why, in a culture where nearly everyone can read, has access to
a Bible, and has a church on every corner, is there such biblical
illiteracy? I believe the answer to this question is to be found
springing from the society we are a part of:
First, there is a diminished stress on education. We see this
in lowered national standards. Lowered expectations. Lowered requirements.
We emphasize “feeling good” about yourself and therefore
we accept mediocrity. Defining educational excellence and striving
for it is old-fashioned and exclusionary.
Second, there is an emphasis on “rights” over “responsibility.” The
phrases are so common they are clichéd: “I deserve
it.” “It’s my right.” Whether or not we’ve “earned” it
is irrelevant – because I want it, it’s my “right.”
Third, there is a lack of balance in our use of time. The latest
handheld techno-gadgets have become our Bibles, traveling with
us wherever we go, providing structure and order to our days, advising
us of what we can and can’t do. The thing they don’t
provide is balance, rest, prioritization, and peace. We have become
multi-tasking people instead of single-focused persons.
Fourth, there is a “quick-fix” mentality. We live
in a culture of sound-bites, immediate access, convenience technology,
and instant gratification. We are unwilling to sweat and wait and
work for what we want.
Think for a minute of how this cultural worldview plays itself
out within the Church:
With our diminished stress on education, we are content with teaching
the bare basics of the faith in our churches. We are so concerned
that people will become “overwhelmed” or “frightened” by
the harder truths of Scripture, or by an in-depth study of doctrine,
that we don’t present it to them. We keep them on a milk
diet, and then wonder why they can’t digest meat.
The cultural emphasis on “rights” means that we look
at the benefits of Christianity … answered prayer, spiritual
gifts, leadership, etc. … as our “rights” as
children of God. The thought that the fullness of these things
comes only through a life of obedience and daily discipline is
Our schedules show our lack of balance in our lives. How often
do you have in your daily plan: “Quiet time.” “Prayer
time.” “Weekend spiritual retreat.” “Time
for a long, quiet, unhurried walk – may take all afternoon.” We
have planned God right out of our lives. Instead of providing us
more time to spend on our spiritual development, we have less,
because we schedule the time we have down to the wire.
Finally, our quick-fix mentality has lost to us our entire Christian
history of devotion, dedication, spiritual formation, solitude,
labor, and suffering. We have no time to wait for what is good,
and we don’t have patience with pain. We will not tarry for
wisdom, nor work for fulfillment. If maturity cannot be gained
in five-minute easy-to-understand devotional readings, then it
won’t be gained at all.
Why are we biblically illiterate as the Church? The above points
can be summarized neatly:
- We do not stress education.
- We do not stress responsibility.
- We do not stress balance.
- We do not stress perseverance.
Without these, biblical knowledge – and spiritual maturity – cannot
© 2008 Paula Marolewski
Article Source: http://www.sinkyourroots.com
About the Author:
Paula J. Marolewski provides challenging and interactive adult Bible
studies for individuals, Bible studies, small groups, and adult Sunday School
classes at Sink Your Roots. Studies
include such topics as Debunking
the Myths about Knowing God's Will. The above article is an excerpt from Called