Seeing the World through a Biblical Lens

Yesterday, my friend Amber asked a great question:

What has led you (or others) to believe that biblical illiteracy is such a widespread problem? What has led you to believe that it’s any worse now compared to other times?

I gave a lengthy answer in response (because I’m a bit long-winded, I suppose); but I as I was writing, I remembered a great point from a recent sermon by Matt Chandler, Lead Pastor of The Village Church in his October 10 message, Ultimate Authority 3: Government and Institutions. I pray you’ll find it helpful as we all continue to pursue a deeper knowledge of Christ.

Audio (excerpt starts around 38:20): : Matt Chandler: Ultimate Authority 3

Here’s the transcript if you’d rather not listen to a six minute rant:

You and I, as believers in Jesus Christ, should be looking at the world through a biblical/gospel lens.

Now this creates two huge frustrations in me. Because of what God has done here, I get invited to speak at pastors’ conferences all over the world. So I’ve been to those pastors’ conferences where the men sitting in the seats are pastors. They are preachers like I am. I will see a guy stand up in front of pastors and they’ll open up the Bible and they’ll teach something contrary to the Bible. And because they can do it in a way that’s entertaining and their church has grown, the pastors will applaud them. So that, like Paul in Athens, provokes me, and so I get up and say they’re not saved, they don’t know their Bibles, they should never preach again and that their churches aren’t actually churches. And then they applaud me.

It’s like they can’t tell the difference.

One guy actually got up and said that the gospel can’t be defined outside of your individual communities in front of twelve thousand pastors. He’s saying that the gospel is for you whatever you want it to be.

This is heresy. And nobody said anything. They took notes. God help us.

How in the world are we supposed to see through a gospel/biblical lens when our pastors can’t do it?

So if you’re a pastor reading this, know your Bible.  What are you shovelling to your people if you don’t know the Bible? What are you talking about? I don’t care if your church is growing. Might does not make right. God simply moving in a place always happens despite men.

Go read Jesus in Luke 17 where He says, “Will any one of you who has a servant plowing or keeping sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and recline at table’? Will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, and dress properly, and serve me while I eat and drink, and afterward you will eat and drink’? Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’” And that’s all men of God, all men who preach the Scriptures and try to serve Him are simply broken men who God uses mightily.

But the reason we’re in such a mess is because people don’t know the Bible.

There is no possible way for you to see the world through biblical lenses, there’s no possible way for me to go, “This is how I handle my finances, this is how I handle my wife, this is how I handle my children,” if you don’t know this.

So the Pew Research Center just rolled out some statistics. 29% of those claiming to know Jesus Christ say they’ve been in contact with the dead this year. Here’s the scary thing. I think they have. It’s just demonic, and they were so biblically stupid that they don’t know they’re messing around with the demonic and inviting the demonic into their house with their beautiful wife and their beautiful kids. They are inviting in the destroyer into their home. 29% of those who call themselves Christians…

14% consulted a psychic. Witchcraft. A lady with cards. Maybe dialing a 900 number. So we’re not in the Scriptures because, “I can’t be reading. . .not when I can pay $35 for a demon possessed lady to tell me what my future holds.” I can tell you what it holds – a lot of weird stuff in your house. I’m looking into your future now. Yes, scary dreams, that is what is in your future. I feel provoked at the next one.

22% of Evangelicals believe in reincarnation…

What are we teaching our people? What is going on on Sunday mornings? What in the world is going on in our churches?

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  • James Hammack

    I was just broken by those statistics! How much the Gospel is needed!

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  • Amber

    That first anecdote is disturbing.

  • Brad Young

    Biblical illiteracy is a major issue right now. There was a time when even those who rejected Christ knew more about the Bible then many of our current authors, pastors, speakers and teachers. This letter from Ben Franklin shows what I mean. This is a man who rejected Christ and in the third paragraph has 4 biblical references, and the whole thing is steeped in the truth of the bible and has an appropriate biblical conclusion. You can find sermons (easily) where big Pastors, Speakers and Authors can’t use 4 biblical references in an hour long sermon being delivered to thousands of people, and there conclusions are out to lunch.

    How are we to be discerning, when we don’t know the measure to check against. How are we to grow in godliness, when we don’t know what godliness looks like? How are we to share the gospel when we can’t articulate it easily and clearly (Rob Bell

    How are we to meditate on the scriptures, when we don’t know them, or how they are connected, when we don’t know enough to see the parallels? How are we to truly think and ponder the depth of God, when we haven’t even scratched the surface?

  • Aaron Armstrong

    @ James– I’m not a big stats guy, but yeah, those are terrifying.

    @ Amber – Incredibly disturbing, unfortunately not surprising (which I wish wasn’t the case).

    @Brad – Agreed.