There is a problem in our homes and churches today and it’s called Biblical illiteracy!
According to a recent ABC poll, up to 94% of high school students stop attending church after graduating because of Biblical challenges and stagnation of their faith. In a survey conducted last year by LifeWay Research (https://thestateoftheology.com) over 3,000 participants were asked a set of 47 questions about foundational Christian beliefs. Most of the answers revealed a mishmash of heresy and confusion about Christianity’s most basic doctrines. It’s not the departures from these historic doctrines that should concern us, but the contradictory answers. It shows that Americans in general and Christians, in particular, are clueless on basic doctrines of their faith.
Especially concerning is the dramatic rise of the so-called “nones” among all generations, especially the young. While they say they believe in God, many refuse to identify with a particular religious group for fear of being politically incorrect.
Culturally, Sunday has become less a day for worship and Christian education and more a day to “appease” a society that demands less doctrine and more activities. Sports, art, ceramics, on-line gaming, and other leisure pastimes have eclipsed the need for basic Biblical instruction. Instead of teaching what is needed (Biblical truth), Pastors are catering more and more to what is wanted (activities) by their congregation.
The Church is becoming less God-centered and more self-centered!
We now have in this culture several generations of Christians who have limited knowledge of biblical content because they were not taught the basic fundamentals of their faith at home. Yes, at home! It’s the parents and not the Pastors who are primarily responsible for the Christian education of their children. Parents have shunned their responsibility to educate their children in sound Christian doctrine.
This wasn’t always the case. After God gave Moses the Law (10 Commandments) for His people to obey, he gave the Israelites a directive for each family to hear and pass to their children. It’s called the SHEMA (Hebrew word for “hear”). This is the basic confession of faith in Israel and is recited daily to this day. It goes like this:
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall, be a frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-9)
It’s clear that God wanted all children to hear from their parents the basic testimony of their faith. Parents were to teach them diligently and talk to them throughout the day and night. They were to bind these beliefs on their body and write them on the doorposts. It was the parent’s responsibility to teach and train their children. If parents are faithful in teaching their children the basic fundamentals of their faith, the children will not forget them when they are older.
“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)
So what happened in today’s society? Why are there generations of children not Biblically literate? How do we get so many “nones” when we should, in reality, have none at all?
The answer is that Parents can’t teach their children what they, themselves, don’t know!
We have several generations of so-called Christians who are Biblically illiterate. If we take a look at how society tried to take God, the family, and absolute Biblical authority out of the equation, it becomes clear as to the reason behind this illiteracy. Prior to the 1960’s, America held steadfast to sound moral principles as espoused by the Scriptures. Then things began to unravel. Starting in the early 1960’s, major societal movements began to eat away at the moral fiber of America. Here are some of them:
1961: Civil Rights Movement begins
1962: Prayer taken out of Public Schools
1963: Bible Reading in Schools becomes “unconstitutional”
1970: No Fault Divorce was introduced
1972: Equal Rights Bills passes in Congress
1973: Legalization of Abortion
1980: The 10 Commandments were taken out of Public Schools
1982: Trans-sexuality began its foothold in America
1987: Evolution, not Creationism is mandated in Public Schools
2002: The Pledge of Allegiance became “unconstitutional” in many States
2015: Gender Identity becomes a National Issue
2017: Athletes kneel in protest of the National Anthem
As soon as the Bible and prayer were taken out of the Public Schools, Religion, and the basic Christian foundational principles, was no longer taught. This means that those students in grade school at the time (Baby Boomers) had limited Biblical knowledge. Their children; Generation X (1965-1979), Millennials (1980-1995), Generation Z (1996-2010), through Alpha Generation (2011-Present) ALL were educated in Public Schools without a Biblical worldview.
The only alternative was to educate your child in a private Christian School and/or rely on the local Church to provide the foundational Christian education necessary for Spiritual growth. The stagnant growth of the Christian Church within the past few decades seem to indicate that Church leaders were unsuccessful in this endeavor.
The Biblical Worldview was replaced with a Humanistic Worldview! Is there any wonder why parents today can’t teach their children basic Christian principles? They can’t teach what they don’t know. It seems that being “anti-Christian” is more the norm than the exception today.
Influential members of the Christian Industry are in agreement about the need for getting back to the basics of our faith:
“In view of the current hunger for an ecumenical compromise, nothing is more desperately needed in the church right now than a new movement to re-emphasize the fundamental articles of the faith.” John MacArthur “What Doctrines are Fundamental” 2016
“Religious knowledge in general, including knowledge of one’s own religion is abysmal. This includes ignorance of some very basic teachings…the church simply isn’t teaching its members basic knowledge about the Bible and Christian doctrine.” Gary Bates, Pew Research, 2010
“Our churches do not educate people in the basics of their faith.” Dr. Daniel Wallace, 2008
“Millennials, even those who identify as Christians, are shockingly illiterate, both in terms of what the Bible says and more generally regarding what Christianity teaches.” Eric Metaxas, 2016
Let’s get back to the basic foundational principles of the Christian faith and educate ourselves so that we can train up our children in the way they should go!