Open your Bible.
But first pray, confess and begin a process of repentance. Yes, we often read scripture first before we pray or confess, that is ok, but we read God’s Word.
For a long-time American Christians (In my opinion) have been riding the coat tails of Western Culture in believing we are smarter than the rest of the world. We are also consumers who can pick and choose what is better or best even when it comes to God/faith, after all he did bless us with all of this wealth and technology, and we are a Christian Nation right? Surly God will cut us some slack.
God will bless us even if we are shallow in our relationship with him. We don’t need all that complicated stuffy theology or in-depth study of God’s Word just give us a sound bite to get us through the week, to be a better person.
In the past what Christians considered basic we now in general consider overly complicated and unnecessary. The fact is we don’t have time even if we wanted to “study God”, which is what Theology is all about. God’s Holy Word began as oral tradition presented to simple people and I don’t mean stupid. Like many other things the wealth and information we have at our disposal about our Lord and the faith escapes most Christians. We take it for granted.
And there is no denying that we have allowed our culture to be “dumbed down” education has gotten so inadequate in America if you want your children to be educated, you will need to keep them away from our schools. Want to know what teenagers know or don’t know after High School? ask one to count back change, balance their checkbook or tell you where their geographical location is. People are leaving High School more or less illiterate.
As Thomas Sowell famously said, “The problem isn’t that Johnny can’t read. The problem isn’t even that Johnny can’t think. The problem is that Johnny doesn’t know what thinking is; he confuses it with feeling.” Or as he also said, “One of the painful signs of years of dumbed-down education is how many people are unable to make a coherent argument. They can vent their emotions, question other people’s motives, make bold assertions, repeat slogans – anything except reason.” From the article: "The Great Dumbing Down"
Christians are no different being part of this culture. So, you can imagine even in America’s Seminaries the intellectual deficits are coming home to our local churches who are already for the most part Biblically Illiterate.
We must never stop seeking the truth and we begin with what I just mentioned the dilute and illiterate local church. Now I certainly am not saying all churches in America fit this profile, but many do. Just as in the garden we once again find men who have become enlightened (by Satan?) and have risen above the Biblical faith. You know, entertainment, comedy routines from the pulpit, rock bands on stage all of those things we do, not evil in and of themselves but compromises the Body of Christ has made in an effort to keep people coming.
Obviously, it has not worked.
Karl Barth pointed out that the Word of God only “becomes” the Word of God when the reader “encounters” and has a relationship with God that begins in the pages of the Bible. We have become instead a nation of churches seeking emotional experiences and encounters. If we don’t feel it nothing is happening. We want results! Dry and sterile church services are not what I am talking about nor am I endorsing the over-the-top Charismatic demonstrations. The facts are emotion is almost always a bad indicator of faith, always has been.
This carries to the “God told me” crutch many Christians use and is currently openly bantered about by the many False Prophets we see on Tv and You tube. You see the basic fact of having God’s Word and teachings in your heart/mind and soul is what you need to confront and understand many of life’s circumstances and adversity. Whatever else you read, or study is edifying yourself and others about your Lord.
And opinions from the pulpit under the guise of Biblical Wisdom is also unacceptable. So, I have taken you down this rabbit hole. We come to the basics that Christ.
“But we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the Word,” the early church apostles said (Acts 6:4).
Jude made it clear when he wrote “…found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3). This was addressed to the everyday people of the time. Throughout church history it has been lay people who have disseminate doctrines to the people. We should never reserve the in-depth study of God for the so-called professional clergy.
Dorothy Sayers wisely said this many years ago in her book: Creed or Chaos?
“The cry today is: “Away with the tedious complexities of dogma—let us have the simple spirit of worship; just worship, no matter of what!” The only drawback to this demand for a generalized and undirected worship is the practical difficulty of arousing any sort of enthusiasm for the worship of nothing in particular.
Without a well-formed theology of the nature and attributes of God, we can only send our worship into outer space where it will boomerang off a god of our own creation, made in our own image, and, thus, reflect nothing but an insidious worship of self. Without biblical theology, there is nothing to worship but a reflection of ourselves, the inevitable fruit of cheap epistemology.
Yet every survey shows a stark biblical illiteracy ravishing the Church. Where do we find our truth? Everywhere but the Bible it seems.
I am afraid for the Church.
We – and I mean the Church at large – find ourselves back in idol-saturated Ephesus, worshipping The Unknown God.
Theologically, this country is at present in a state of utter chaos, established in the name of religious toleration, and rapidly degenerating into the flight from reason and the death of hope. We are not happy in this condition, and there are signs of a very great eagerness, especially among the younger people, to find a creed to which they can give wholehearted adherence. This is the Church’s opportunity if she chooses to take it.”
Many are falling away from church and perhaps this is a good thing. God’s will cannot be thwarted. Either we give ourselves over completely to our Lord or we become the world." What will you do?