As I look around at the American church, I see a problem, and it’s a problem founded in that the church is in a famine of the word of God.
Wait a minute, you say, there’s a church on seemingly every corner, Bibles are, unlike some countries, readily available at Amazon, Walmart or Ingles. How can there be a famine of the word of God?
Let me be clear, it’s not enough just to own a Bible. What I see is a famine of understanding, believing and obeying the word of God. This famine has led to what I think is the number one problem facing the American church, illiteracy — specifically, illiteracy of God’s word.
It should cause us great shame to realize that we live in a country that has known such widespread religious freedom but that so few people that claim to be Christian know what the Bible says and teaches, let alone believe it and live it out.
Think I’m wrong? Take a quick visit to Facebook, where you will see all kinds of cute and quirky “Christian” posts that have no real meaning or, even worse, are full of blatant false teaching. Or consider that just last month, Ligonier ministries released their biennial religious survey of American evangelicals.
These questions are asked specifically to those who claim to be Christian, and the results aren’t just discouraging; they are shocking and appalling.
For example, when asked about the statement “Everyone sins a little, but most people are good by nature,” 46% of respondents agreed. The Bible disagrees. Romans 3:10 says, “As it is written, there is none righteous, no, not one.”
When asked if “God accepts the worship of all religions, including Christianity, Judaism, and Islam,”42% agreed. Again the Bible disagrees. Jesus himself said in John 14:6, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
What are we to do? First, we must read our Bible. Don’t just own one, open it up and read it, then do what it says. Don’t argue with it, don’t try to make it fit in with what you want to believe; just read what God has clearly spoken and obey him.
Second, find a biblical gospel preaching church. Not a social gospel, nor a prosperity gospel, or a legalistic gospel. Find a church where the pastor opens the Bible, reads the text and then spends the next 30-60 minutes explaining that text, how it applied to those who heard or read it originally, and how it applies to us today.
The only hope for America is found in Jesus Christ, and the only way that message is going to transform this beloved county of ours is if the church is filled with Christians who read, understand, believe and obey the word. When that happens, we can turn the world upside down for God’s glory.
Kris Estep is the pastor at Barberville Baptist Church in Waynesville.