A few years ago, I was chatting with a friend at work I knew was a Christian. Or at least I suspected she was. Okay, she had mentioned going to church at least once or twice in her life.
As we talked, the topic rolled around to religion in a generic kind of way. God was mentioned. The state of the world was commented on. And the Bible was brought up. As we talked a little about the Bible, she suddenly blurted out, “I wish someone would edit that thing. So much in there is out-dated!”
People such as my friend visit churches every Sunday. Maybe even your church. Sometimes their visits turn into regular attendance. When this happens, how will they be engaged with God’s Word in a way that will redeem their errant ideas about the Bible, faith, and Christianity in general?
Dunking gets you wet but doesn’t quench thirst
I grew up going to church. It was what we -- my cousins and my friends -- did. Every Sunday morning and evening, and every Wednesday night. It made no difference what was on TV, we were in church. So was just about everyone else in our little Midwestern town.
Every couple of years, the Sunday school lessons cycled through the Bible’s biggest hits such as Creation, Cain and Abel, the Tower of Babel, Daniel in the lion’s den, and the like. As we all advanced through the grades, the stories grew in complexity. At least a little.
Then there was Vacation Bible School, youth group, summer church camps, youth rallies, and more, all expanding my knowledge of Scripture. Add in the regular Sunday and Wednesday sermons plus the weeks of revivals and special services, my exposure to God’s Word was massive. Or you would think.
Still, it wasn’t until I was in college and subjected to a truly structured course of solid Bible study that I realized how wrong a lot of my understanding of the Bible was. And how shallow.
So much of what I had been exposed to was nothing short of pabulum, milk and not meat, and a lot of evangelistic sloganism. Not all, but a lot.
At least I knew that if there were to be changes made, it needed to be in me and not in the Bible!
Immersion needs structure & purpose
So, again, when people like my friend start attending your church regularly, how will they be engaged with God’s Word in a way that will redeem their errant ideas about the Bible, faith, and Christianity in general?
Does your adult Sunday school class offer more than a Reader’s Digest version of the better known Bible stories? Does your preaching model good biblical exposition? Do visitors get more than merely an inspiring devotional and a Bible verse on the topic of the moment?
Is there a Christianity 101 course being offered at least once a year? A course that assumes those attending know nothing about the Bible, the creeds, or orthodox Christian faith and exposes them to the great truths of the Gospel? A course that’s more than merely a primer on your church’s distinctives, simply a form of denominational indoctrination?
Toss the snacks & feed the hungry a planned plated meal
Every Sunday, people visit churches seeking substance and tools for discerning truth. They come in with worldviews developed from watching sitcoms, reading entertainment magazines, and seeing cute but empty memes on Facebook.
In other words, they are lost, confused, and floundering and may not even know it.
They don’t need uplifting inspirational messages. They probably already feel too good about themselves or not good at all.
They don’t need cute entertaining Sunday school classes. They get enough entertainment outside of church.
They don’t need to be pandered to. They get that from their local politicians and Presidential candidates.
They don’t need to be indoctrinated. They get too much of that from every marketer trying to sell them something.
They need to be treated as adults and shown how to study the Bible. They need to be introduced to the dramatic sweep of Christian history. They need to be exposed to the solid meaty truths of the plain Gospel. They need to be taken seriously and cared for thoughtfully. They need to be biblically educated, spiritually mentored, and lovingly discipled into a firm, intelligent faith that can make sense of and withstand the world around them. They need to be grounded in God’s Word.
They need to come away understanding the Bible doesn’t need to be edited, but to be lived.
How’s your church doing?
Does your church experience synch with mine? How was/is yours different? Do you believe the Bible needs to be edited or updated? Why or why not? How is your church doing when it comes to helping people develop a sound Christian worldview? Sound off in the comments!