Chuck Colson, in today’s column (Broken link, active February 1, 2006), talks about the biblical literacy (or lack thereof) of serious Christians in today’s society:
Some years ago, Sproul offered a rigorous course in Romans.
Two hundred serious disciples signed up. Half-way through the course, Sproul took a week off to enroll in Evangelism Explosion (EE) courses. When he came back, he told his students about EE, including conversation openers like, “Why should God let you into heaven?” On a whim, he asked class members how they would answer.
Anyone who knows Sproul knows he teaches the great evangelical doctrine in Romans, justification by faith alone, in unmistakable terms. Every student should have known the answer. Not so. There were awkward pauses; some people mumbled about living a good life.
Only thirty out of two hundred answered correctly. How could this be?
He goes on to articulate several reasons why this could be. But the fact of the matter is, the modern American Christian does not read his Bible, or understand what he is reading when he does. Bibles might as well be illegal, as they were in the Middle Ages or as they are in a Muslim theocracy. What is the difference for our society — in practical terms — if we do not read our Bibles because we can not, or we do not read our Bibles because we will not? Colson goes on to highlight some alarming statistics:
Department of Education surveys tell the shocking story. In 1992, only forty percent of college graduates were deemed literate; that is, able to read and understand complex arguments and to give comprehensive answers. That is shockingly low. But even worse was the 2003 study, when literacy had declined to an astonishing 31 percent. This is why a group of today’s college graduates could sit through a course on Romans and complex doctrine and not get it.
Perhaps it is time again for Christians to prepare missionaries——to teach people to think.
The next time we are tempted with homeschool burnout, remember why we homeschool: we are educating our children in biblical literacy, and teaching them the lost art of thinking!