Biblical Illiteracy: “nebulous common faith”

Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth (John 17:17)

JP: A challenge to be in the Word!

For the Bible tells me so


Last year, sacred music composer Christopher Teichler noted a disturbing paradox.

The widely observed decline in biblical literacy among American Christians has paralleled a growing interest in developing new and enriched ways of worshipping.

“How can these two events — biblical illiteracy and a great passion for worship — be happening at the same time?” asked Teichler, who teaches at an evangelical university in the Chicago area and blogs on music issues.

“If biblical literacy is so low at this point in Western history, then the God of the Bible is not the god being worshipped but rather a shallow and incomplete version of him.”

The trend isn’t new. In his 2007 book, Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know — And Doesn’t, Stephen Prothero traces the decline in biblical knowledge not to the cultural upheavals of the late 1960s or the Supreme Court’s prayer rulings of the early 1960s but to the postwar Christian revivals of the 1940s and 1950s.

For the spiritually fervent, the unprecedented leap in church — and synagogue — membership represented a distinctive kind of American identity, especially in the face of godless Communism. Seeking common ground to face the threat, church members jettisoned content, and the result was a sort of nebulous common faith that President Dwight Eisenhower called “the Judeo-Christian concept.” Eisenhower encapsulated the spirit exactly when he famously said, after meeting with a Soviet official in 1952, “Our form of government has no sense unless it is founded in a deeply felt religious faith, and I don’t care what it is.”

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