Al Mohler reports: "Multiple surveys reveal the problem [of biblical illiteracy] in stark terms. According to 82 percent of Americans, 'God helps those who help themselves,' is a Bible verse. Those identified as born-again Christians did better—by one percent. A majority of adults think the Bible teaches that the most important purpose in life is taking care of one's family."
BILLY GRAHAM PREACHED WHAT?
He continues: "Some of the statistics are enough to perplex even those aware of the problem. A Barna poll indicated that at least 12 percent of adults believe that Joan of Arc was Noah's wife. Another survey of graduating high school seniors revealed that over 50 percent thought that Sodom and Gomorrah were husband and wife. A considerable number of respondents to one poll indicated that the Sermon on the Mount was preached by Billy Graham."
Yes, we've all seen the abysmal surveys, those reports which indicate our homes and churches aren't doing what Luke said that Jesus did--Luke records that Jesus was all over Israel "teaching the people."
Nor or they doing what Jesus commanded: "Go into all the word . . . teaching . . ." Paul commanded Timothy to "teach the Word." A qualification of an elder in a local church is that he be "skillful in teaching." Where are these people?
WHY THE DEARTH?
We're familiar with all of that, but why the dearth of teaching? That's a good question. One reason for the famine in the land is that's not where the money is. Ecclesiastical fat coffers await those preachers and churches that can create a feel-good experience. That's what people with itching emotions are looking for, an experience to make them feel good once a week.
But there are other reasons. In many churches, preachers have groomed their congregations to expect a weekly beat-down, plus the every Sunday admonition, "Now, this week, try harder; you can be good if you really want to."(contra: Rom. 7)
Another factor is that more and more, people are seeing the Bible as irrelevant, errant, and therefore, possessing no authority.
OLD NEWS, NOW FOR THE NEW
Yes, there's ignorance of things biblical; we know about that, but now, there's more than that abroad in the land.What's happening is a rising tide of hostility toward the Book and Christianity. There's a deliberate King Jehoiakim attitude toward the Scriptures:
"So they went to the king in the court, but they had deposited the scroll [of Jeremiah] in the chamber of Elishama the scribe, and they reported all the words to the king. Then the king sent Jehudi to get the scroll, and he took it out of the chamber of Elishama the scribe. And Jehudi read it to the king as well as to all the officials who stood beside the king. Now the king was sitting in the winter house in the ninth month, with a fire burning in the brazier before him. When Jehudi had read three or four columns, the king cut it with a scribe’s knife and threw it into the fire that was in the brazier, until all the scroll was consumed in the fire that was in the brazier. Yet the king and all his servants who heard all these words were not afraid, nor did they rend their garments."
When the King, enraged at what Jeremiah had written, took the scroll, he didn't heave it into the fire in toto. No. He took a knife and slowly, deliberately cut it into pieces and threw those pieces into the fire, one by one. This was both a dramatic and emphatic demonstration of his hostility to the Word of God.
Here was a man, the king, of all people, who was to be, by law, a man of the Book (Deut. 17:18-20). Instead of being in it and under its authority, he burned it. This wasn't merely a cavalier attitude toward the Bible, it was calculated malevolence.
Dennis Prager, surveying the current milieu, writes, "What we have today is worse than ignorance of the Bible. It is contempt for it. Just about anyone who quotes the Bible, let alone says it is the source of his or her values, is essentially regarded as a simpleton . . . " or worse, we might add.
He continues, "And yet, from the time long before the United States became a country until well into the 1950s, the Bible was not only the most widely read book in America; it was also the primary vehicle by which each generation passed on morality and wisdom to the next generation."
Prager writes this perceptive paragraph and asks a penetrating question at its conclusion: "I have believed all my life that the primary crisis in America and the West is . . . the dismissal of the Bible. Virtually everyone on the left thinks America would be better off as a secular nation. And virtually all conservative intellectuals don’t think it matters. How many intellectuals study the Bible and teach it to their children?"
We might ask at least the first part of Prager's question to the leading conservatives in our nation: Rush Limbaugh, Rich Lowery, Victor Davis Hanson, Mark Levine, and Ben Shapiro. (At least David Limbaugh does.) Write them and ask in a courteous letter. See how they respond.
We see the hostility in the media and the arts as they stereotype the idea that we'd be a better society without the Bible by embedding the idea into our movies, books, and TV shows which portray someone with a Bible or quoting the Bible as a lone nut who will eventually kill people if the police don't get him first.
We're so conditioned by the media's portrayal, that when a member of the clergy or a member of a church enters the plot, we automatically know that he/she is going be an evil hypocrite. (It didn't used to be that way, the church-goer and the churchman were the good guys who came to the aid of one and all.)
Examples of the hostility abound: A car with just one bumper sticker on it in Portland, Oregon, said, "So many Christians, So few lions." The Washington Times reported that a ten-year-old New Hampshire girl had been ordered to attend public school. The reason? The state disapproved of her mother's firm Christianity and says she must be exposed to other religious faiths, which being interpreted means, her faith must be destroyed.
Hostility to the Bible and Christianity aren't confined to America; Europe is taking a hostile stance as the following account demonstrates:
"Aideen Strandsson, a Christian woman from Iran, is facing deportation from Sweden after her asylum application was denied by authorities.
"The woman converted from Islam to Christianity . . . and has already received threats from Muslims because of her conversion.
"Aideen came to Sweden in 2014 and received a public baptism. When she pleaded that she could face the death penalty in Iran as an apostate, she got told by Swedish officials, “"It’s not our problem if you decided to become a Christian, it’s your problem”.
That's an example from Europe, now over to England: British author, Philip Pullman wrote a children's book entitled, "The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ." A children's book! We recall Christ mentioned something about a millstone.
ANYBODY PACKING A SUITCASE?
Our elites and glitterati at whose feet millions of sycophants worship, think that we'd be better off as a society without the Bible. Really? Do we see any of those people packing up to move to Albania? How about North Korea? Cuba? Red China? Anybody moving to Iran? Those are some of the countries that ban the Bible.
When Berliners lived in the days of the Berlin Wall, which way were they jumping and tunneling--from Christian West to the atheistic East or from the East to the West?
When the armies of Soviet Russia and the Americans were coming into Germany, one from the east and the other from the west during the final days of WWII, to which of the two armies were the Germans desperately wanting to surrender? The Americans.
You know the answers to all of the above. It's not hard to figure out why: The Bible's impact on the West.