“We revere the Bible, but we don’t read it.”
This quote comes from George Gallup, who should know.
Tyndale House Publisher’s survey showed that 64% of Americans said they did not read the Bible because they’re too busy. 80% feel that the Scriptures are just too confusing and when they read the Bible, they don’t understand it. (The Baptist Standard, December 4, 2000)
There are many reasons why Christians today feel they’re too busy and that the Bible is too confusing to understand, but there are two that I feel the church is responsible for:
1) We’ve developed a consumer mentality in our churches.
I’m all for relevant Bible teaching. I think it’s a crime to bore people with the Word of God. And I’m all for seeker-sensitive cultures. I came to Christ during the Jesus Movement that was the ultimate seeker-sensitive revival.
But my concern is that in trying to make the church relevant and seeker-sensitive we’re listening to the wrong seekers. One of my first reactions when I attend a so-called “seeker” church is, “Show me the seeker!” Often we’re trying to please immature Christians with Sunday show-times that are more exciting than the “seeker” church down the road so that we can swell our numbers and our giving.
The last time I checked, discipleship was costly. And I’m a grace guy. I believe that eternal life is a gift freely given, but once we belong to Christ, He makes costly demands. And one of those demands is that we study His Word.
2) An overreaction to the postmodern generation.
What an arrogant lot we pastors and theologians are. We’ve decided for an entire generation that they’re too shallow, too ADD, and too Sesame-Street to sit still and actually study the Word of God.
Again, I’m all for doing whatever we need to reach the next generation. I’m a Jesus Movement rocker who was part of the generation that refused to dress up for Jesus and listen to religious elevator music.
But I’m in touch with many young and hip pastors who are filling up their churches with 20-Something’s hungry for the Word of God. Some of the most relevant churches I’m aware of are led by young, hip, cool pastors who teach through the Bible, verse by verse, for 50 minutes every Sunday.
It’s about time we quit blaming the next generation for our failure to teach the Bible with clarity, boldness, and relevance.⇦Tweet that!
Could it be that some of the reason Americans feel they’re too busy to read the Word of God and that the Word of God is so confusing is because the pastors of America have ignored Paul’s command to Timothy to “Preach the Word”? (2 Timothy 4:2)
Questions: Do you think I’m overreacting? Would you rather have a shallow and fun church or a deep and challenging worship experience?