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I was reading  David Lyle Jeffrey (Books & Culture - A Critique of All Religions). In the course of his discussion he writes that in the church in China  “one may expect to find much higher levels of biblical literacy and theological clarity by three to five years post-conversion than amongst American counterparts after two or three decades in the church.”  This got me thinking.   What are we doing as elders to promote Biblical literacy and theological clarity in our congregations?  Let’s face the truth – there is a general decline in biblical literacy on our congregations. 

Clearly we need to promote a vision and strategy for Biblical literacy.  So here is the question:  what are you doing that works?  Or how can we help congregations catch a vision for this kind of learning?

PS. I am always concerned about Elders Learning.  Let me encourage you to visit the Elder’s Institute of the Presbyterian Church in Canada.  Browse around and maybe even take a course.  


For about six years, I taught an adult bible study class.  We started off with going through Romans, then all the parables, then the Heidelberg.  Then I took a break for a year.  

I agree that we could improve our biblical literacy.   The best way to do that is to take on the tough projects, study a book of the Bible, stay away from a preprogrammed study material book.   Ask your own questions and find your own answers.   You don't have to be an expert.   The teacher should learn as you go along.    Learn best by doing, by exploring, by searching.   Don't expect someone to spoon-feed you.  Cook your own food.  (spiritual food).

I fear that the development of Biblically competent church members is another casualty of consumeristic culture. We tend to make such a priority of attracting and retaining attention in our core programming in the church that this aspect of basic discipleship suffers. After a year of attending the adult education offering and/or the public worship service will the needle be moved on the "bible knowledge" gauge? I think about this often. 

Thanks for your excellent work on the Network. pvk

Paul, our casualty is a victory for the consumeristic culture.    Blaming culture for our own shortcomings is something that reminds me of a conversation of a 70 year old roman cath priest who tried to blame society for the fact that the church had waning influence in the lives of its people.   It was a very unthinking, wimpy, and unchristian response.   Nor is it a good excuse for us, who trust in the Lord to have His way, and who claim to understand what it means to use our talents to the glory of God.   There are ways of increasing biblical literacy, and motivating people to participate in it.  But only if we are motivated ourselves.   In any case, how can you really separate core programming from biblical literacy?  


John Z

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