Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Death by Desertion – The Marginalization of God’s Word

     In Paul’s first letter to the church in Corinth the apostle admonishes the Corinthians for their lack of spiritual growth.  He writes, “I was not able to speak to you as spiritual people but as people of the flesh, as babies in Christ.  I fed you milk, not solid food, because you were not yet able to receive it. In fact, you are still not able, because you are still fleshly” (1Cor. 3:1-3).  The writer of the Letter to the Hebrews noted that his readers had “become slow to understand.”  He also points out that although they should have been teachers they still needed someone to teach them the basic principles of God’s revelation – they needed “milk, not solid food.”  They were inexperienced with the message of righteousness because they were [spiritual] infants (Heb. 5:11-13).

     It seems that the more things change, the more they stay the same.  The modern church is marked by a serious lack of Biblical understanding and spiritual growth.  This lack of biblical knowledge should come as no surprise as surveys have shown that biblical knowledge is that area that most Christians consider themselves deficient.  However, what is surprising is that these same surveys show that few Christians aspire to increase their knowledge of God’s word as a means of improving their spiritual lives.  It would seem that even in the Christian life the Bible has become unnecessary.  

An article from the Barna Research Group reveals that,

“Bible reading has become the religious equivalent of sound-bite journalism. When people read from the Bible they typically open it, read a brief passage without much regard for the context, and consider the primary thought or feeling that the passage provided. If they are comfortable with it, they accept it; otherwise, they deem it interesting but irrelevant to their life, and move on. There is shockingly little growth evident in people’s understanding of the fundamental themes of the scriptures and amazingly little interest in deepening their knowledge and application of biblical principles.”

 “The problem facing the Christian Church is not that people lack a complete set of beliefs; the problem is that they have a full slate of beliefs in mind, which they think are consistent with biblical teachings, and they are neither open to being proven wrong nor to learning new insights. By the time most Americans reach the age of 13 or 14, they think they pretty much know everything of value the Bible has to teach and they are no longer interested in learning more scriptural content.”

     This dismissive attitude towards Scripture affects every aspect of the modern Christianity.  In increasing numbers American Christians are less likely to hold orthodox views even on critical issues such as the sovereignty of God or the exclusivity of the cross.  Without these central doctrines Christianity is reduced to little more than religious therapy designed to promote the esteem of its adherents. 

     It is not for lack of opportunity that modern Christians fail to grow beyond the most basic principles of God’s revelation, nor is it freedom.  We live in a time and place where God’s word is easily accessible and Christians are free to immerse themselves in Scripture without the fear of persecution.  The only thing that seems to be lacking is the desire to do so.  Once we have learned enough to involve ourselves in spiritual conversations and crated a Christian facade, we are satisfied.  We are content with milk and have no desire to move on to solid food.  There can be no wonder as to why the church has become more and more secularized.

     This world needs mature Christians.  It needs Christians who have been washed by the word and been transformed by it.  It needs workmen who aren’t ashamed, who are rightly able to handle the word of truth.   God revealed Himself to us through His word.  He intends for us to be changed by it and for us to communicate His message to the ends of the earth.  It won’t happen by accident, nor will it happen if our biblical exposure it limited to a predigested Sunday school quarterly. 

In His Service,