A recent survey suggested that an alarming percentage of evangelicals do not believe in the sinlessness of Christ. That is a brazen attack of the enemy on the gospel itself. Is that doctrine being undermined because it’s not being taught or because people are not taking hold of it for one reason or another? Does something need to be rebooted?
On your walls, O Jerusalem, I have appointed watchmen; all day and all night they will never keep silent. You who remind the LORD, take no rest for yourselves; and give Him no rest until He establishes and makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth. (Isaiah 62:6–7, NASB95)
It’s no surprise that our society is becoming less and less familiar with the Bible. It’s often regarded as archaic, superstitious, and contentious, something relegated to a less enlightened time. When the Bible is cited, it’s akin to quoting Shakespeare’s pithy sayings. As a vestige of yesteryear, the Bible can be brought to bear to lend some sort of fading gravitas but often those quotes are butchered and misapplied in service to one’s own aims, such as “money is the root of all evil” or “do not judge.” More often than not, these quotes are introduced into conversation by those who know virtually nothing about the Bible or its message, let alone give glory to its Author.
The greater problem is that the church is becoming less and less familiar with the Bible. There are actual surveys that document a growing biblical illiteracy among churchgoers, but I speak here more anecdotally. As I have led Bible studies in the community, those who belong to a wide variety of local churches and who appear to have a lively faith are unaware of basic Biblical knowledge. Even those in positions of leadership in local congregations show themselves to be unfamiliar with accounts such as Rahab’s role in the siege of Jericho and Nathan’s rebuke of David. Nor do they know their way around the Bible.
What has most recently alarmed me and piqued my curiosity has to with a recent conversation that was related to me. A woman who regularly attends a large seeker-sensitive church expressed ignorance of basic doctrine. In fact, the word doctrine was unfamiliar to her. She didn’t make a connection between what a church does and what the Bible teaches. But what was really strange was her comment that she read through the Bible every year.