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September 30, 2016, 8:42 AM

"Americans Love God and the Bible, Are Fuzzy on the Details"



That's the provocative title of the article detailing the mystifying mindset of the typical American. (Click here to read the article)

In the introduction to this survey, it reads, "most Americans still identify as Christians. But they seem to be confused about some of the details of their faith."

As you might imagine, I do have a few thoughts about the revelation.

First, it might tell me that we ministers are doing a lousy job of communicating the basics of the Faith, whether from the pulpit or the lectern, or in the living room of the local bible study group. Perhaps we're not good communicators, or perhaps we're afraid to tell the truth that might offend. Perhaps we're just in this to please people and tickle ears. Perhaps we're just trying to earn a living and keep that living. Perhaps we're just truly "progressive" and believe wholeheartedly the unorthodox stuff that honestly misleads so many. Did I miss anything there?

Second, it might tell me that our congregations are hearing very well what is being said from the pulpit, the lectern and the bible study living room; but due to stubborness, persist in believing what they will believe anyway. As the saying goes, "Don't confuse me with the facts, my mind is already made up." Fortunately, and unfortunately, we live in a day where information is microwavable: fast and ready. The only filters to the fire-hydrant flow of information is the solitary individual heart and mind drinking it in. What informs that heart and mind? What does that heart and mind cherish? How biblically "nourished" is that heart and mind? Those are critical, diagnostic questions.

Thirdly, and mostly, it might does tell me there will always be a need for good preachers and teachers in the church to faithfully, and patiently, and fearlessly, and persistently teach God's Word from Genesis through Revelation.

Paul told his protege, Timothy, the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. (2 Tim. 4:3-5 ESV). The time for Paul was not the distant future. Paul knew that was already a reality in his own day.

It is true in our day, as well. The advice given by the preacher in the book of Hebrews is painfully relevant to every generation: We must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it [the Gospel]. For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, (Heb. 2:1-3 ESV).

Tall order.

 

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