As Christians, we like to believe that we are immune to trends. But the truth is that the church rises and falls upon the waves of what is popular and new just like the secular world does. Sometimes these shifts serve to advance us toward that which is new and fresh, but more than often they can distract and delay our spiritual walk.
One trend many have noted, as the church has rapidly modernized in the past 20 years, is a lack of Biblical literacy among congregants. No longer are church-goers expected to bring a Bible to church because all of the scriptures are projected for them. Scripture memorization has faded as an expected practice and expository preaching and Bible studies have become less and less prevalent. A 2015 article in Christianity Today by Ed Stetzer noted:
LifeWay Research found that while 67 percent of Americans believe heaven is a real place, 45 percent believe there are many ways to get there—including 1 in 5 evangelical Christians. More than half of evangelicals (59 percent) believe the Holy Spirit is a force and not a personal being—in contrast to the orthodox biblical teaching of the Trinity being three Persons in one God.
Thankfully God’s people are people of action and when the pendulum swings too far in one direction, there will always be those brave few who call us all back to the narrow way.
Jen Wilkin is one of these truth-tellers. As the Women’s Ministry Director at The Village Church in Texas for many years, Jen began teaching women in a way that felt new, but was really quite traditional. She taught the women to study the Word for themselves and to value good and true theology. Instead of offering “10 quick tips to being a better mom,” she encouraged moms to go back to the scriptures and mine it for the answers they so desperately needed.
She was recently quoted as saying:
When women grow increasingly lax in their pursuit of Bible literacy, everyone in their circle of influence is affected. Rather than acting as salt and light, we become bland contributions to the environment we inhabit and shape, indistinguishable from those who have never been changed by the gospel. Home, church, community, and country desperately need the influence of women who know why they believe what they believe, grounded in the Word of God. They desperately need the influence of women who love deeply and actively the God proclaimed in the Bible.
Ms. Wilkin is not alone in pushing for a shift back to Biblical literacy. The Gospel Coalition is a conglomerate of like-minded writers, pastors, and thinkers who are calling us back to the Word and their impact is growing by the day. One of their bestselling resources is the New City Catechism series, which helps churches and parents catechize children from a young age. This is definitely a far cry from Veggie Tales and the fluffy, low-content resources of the past. Another group seeing rapid growth is Risen Motherhood, a podcast and blog aimed at providing Gospel-based resources to moms looking for more than shallow answers to their deep questions.
Here at Certa Publishing, we are proud to offer our own collection of resources that point us back to Biblical literacy. In A Remedy for Itching Ears, Dr. Jesse Williams points the younger generations back to the foundational doctrine of the Word. Dr. Williams serves as the Senior Pastor of Convent Avenue Baptist Church in Harlem, New York.
“It is in the midst of a current Christian and cultural crisis that Jesse Wiliams’ book comes as a jolt to the Christian imagination. Williams seeks to birth a new theological future from a familiar doctrinal womb. This book is a must read for those who have deep love for the Christian faith and a passion for the possible.”
—Michael Walrond, Jr., Senior Pastor, First Corinthian Baptist Church, Harlem, New York
Reclaiming Prophecy by author Darin Slack implores the Church to return to a scriptural application of the gift of prophecy. Mr. Slack has served in prophetic ministry for many years with Metro Life Church in Casselberry, Florida.
No matter where you are in your walk with the Lord, no matter which denomination or background, we highly encourage you to devote yourself to Biblical literacy. No sermon, video or podcast will ever replace the living, breathing Word of God, which is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness. (2 Timothy 3:16)