biblical knowledge and understanding, biblical literacy, biblically illiterate, counsel of God, doctrinal literacy, doctrinally illiterate, fundamental truth, para-biblical literature, principals, purpose, redemptive plan, tenets
When The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life released its September 28, 2010 “U.S. Religious Knowledge Survey,” many American Christians readily argued the survey’s findings: Atheists, agnostics, Jews, and Mormons outscored evangelical Protestants, mainline Protestants, and mainline Catholics “on questions about the core teachings, history and leading figures of major world religions” (U.S. Religious Knowledge Survey, Executive Summary). Now, in spite of the fact that critics have found valid problems with some of the questions asked in the “U.S. Religious Knowledge Survey,” for example, questions dealing with world religions, especially since world religions’ fundamental tenets, practices, history, and famous religious figures have nothing to do with what actually is written in Christians’ Holy Bible, the sad truth is that this survey is spot on about many American Christians, in this 21st century. Truly, too many of these Christians are living in both a biblically and a doctrinally illiterate culture.
For this last reason, it is important to note here that biblically and doctrinally illiterate believers are ignorant about what is in the Holy Bible because today’s Christians either HAVE NOT read the Holy Bible from cover-to-cover, at least once; or, they HAVE read the Word of God from cover-to-cover, HAVE learned about a great many biblical characters, and HAVE memorized plenty of verses, BUT they neither understand what the Scriptures teach nor know how to apply that instruction to their daily living and circumstances. In other words, both of these kinds of Christians are biblically and doctrinally illiterate, primarily because they don’t have enough biblical knowledge and biblical understanding about what God teaches in His Word concerning His complete redemptive plan, and this lack is why they have a hard time connecting the dots—this lack is why they struggle with putting together everything that God teaches about salvation from Genesis to Revelation. Consequently, because they don’t FULLY know or FULLY understand how God’s entire redemptive plan (ALL Scriptures, the whole purpose, plan, counsel of God; cf. Acts 20:27) affects each of them, as one Body of Christ member, they don’t FULLY know or FULLY understand how to apply God’s whole purpose, plan, counsel to their daily living and circumstances. The bottom line is that these biblically and doctrinally illiterate believers are incompetent; that is, they cannot effectively present an accurate demonstration of Jesus the Christ’s Gospel!
Now, there are those believers who think that no one HAS TO read the Word of God to know and understand what the Word of God says, because this knowledge and understanding (this biblical and doctrinal literacy) can be obtained from merely listening to Christian sermons, Christian music, or even from talking with believers who demonstrate the kind of lifestyle Jesus the Christ displayed. While some Christian sermons, music, and individuals can impart many biblical truths and doctrinal tenets (principals and/or beliefs), the questions still remain: How do these believers who get their biblical knowledge and understanding from just listening to Christian sermons, music, and/or individuals rightly divide (correctly analyze and accurately handle) the Word of God (cf. 2 Timothy 2:15; see also 2 Timothy 3:16), especially if they have not read, or are not reading the Word of God? How will these believers know for sure that what they have heard in Christian sermons and music, or from Christian individuals, is ABSOLUTELY what God’s Word declares, if they never have read or are not reading the Word of God?
Of these three mentioned ways of possibly obtaining biblical and doctrinal knowledge and understanding, as one might expect, many of today’s believers largely tend to rely heavily on (put their full trust or confidence in) their pastors’ preachings and teachings. The biggest problem with this learning method is that too many of today’s pastors only are preaching and teaching secular wisdom . . . secular truths, rather than preaching and teaching God’s wisdom and God’s absolute Truths.
Any true believer who is paying the least bit of attention to the behaviors of Christians from so many different modern-day local churches can discern that this century’s institutional church’s myriad pastors have dumbed-down biblical doctrines and/or have taken salvation’s message out of “their” churches’ Sunday and mid-week services. It also cannot be refuted that many of these pastors often have marginalized and/or flatly avoided important biblical doctrines, simply because they are afraid that they might offend someone in their own church, ministry, or organization; moreover, these pastors who also preach and teach in colossal brand-name churches, ministries, and/or organizations have marginalized and/or flatly avoided important biblical doctrines, above all, because they are afraid that they might lose sponsorships and endorsements!
Then too, there are those current “churchgoers” who would sooner learn about what is in the Scriptures by reading someone else’s book—by reading para-biblical literature, secondary writings; external commentaries on and paraphrases of the God-breathed, God-inspired Holy Bible! Certainly, buying books written by some religious scholars, theologians, and/or Christian gurus and then forming a cell group (study group) to investigate what is in this para-biblical literature have become the custom most of today’s believers follow. To add insult to injury, these kinds of Christian groups merely slap on the “Bible study” oxymoron to their get-together’s description, when, ironically, the contrary is true. Indeed, many of these kinds of Christian groups actually are not coming together to check what the author of their para-biblical literature says in his or her book against what the Scriptures say, mostly because many of these Christian cell groups’ participants already have put more trust in their religious scholars, theologians, and/or Christian gurus’ ability to teach them God’s Truths than they have put trust in the Word of God.
The gist is this: If a Christian has a very clear grasp of the basic Divine Truths that are in the Word of God, and if this same Christian is able to apply this knowledge and understanding to his or her daily living and circumstances, then he or she is biblically and doctrinally literate. On the other hand, if a Christian does not have a clear grasp of the basic Divine Truths that are in the Word of God, then this Christian no doubt not only will fall into every kind of sin, and every kind of problem but also will be a Christian who is biblically and doctrinally illiterate.
*** Can you find the 12 Parables of Jesus that are in the picture at the beginning of this blog entry? Answers are below.
sʇɐoƃ ǝɥʇ & dǝǝɥs ǝɥʇ˙21 sʇuǝlɐʇ ǝɥʇ˙11 suıƃɹıʌ uǝʇ ǝɥʇ˙01 looɟ ɥɔıɹ ǝɥʇ˙9 pɹǝɥdǝɥs pooƃ ǝɥʇ ˙8 uɐʇıɹɐɯɐs pooƃ ǝɥʇ˙7 uos lɐƃıpoɹd ǝɥʇ˙6 uıoɔ ʇsol ǝɥʇ ˙5 puǝıɹɟ ǝʇɐunʇɹodɯı ǝɥʇ˙4 uɐɔılqnd ǝɥʇ puɐ ǝǝsıɹɐɥd ǝɥʇ˙3 ʞɔoɹ ǝɥʇ uodn ǝsnoɥ ǝɥʇ˙2 ɹǝʍos ǝɥʇ˙1