What is the Problem?
The problem in the most basic form is that people in the church have taken the word Theology out of context, (The Church seems to be good at that recently) and it has created a misconception within the Christian culture especially within contemporary communities. This misconception, in short, is the idea that theology is something only pastors study, it is something that Jesus was really good at and since I am not Jesus there is no need for me to know any theological concepts, or even being scared off by the idea of studying God. All of these things and more, are common reasons why theology is not discussed enough within the Churches. This presents a major issue.
What I have Noticed
This issue has greatly hurt the Christian community in many ways, and the most important and unfortunate ways it has hurt the church is that people do not get to know God. People attend church to get a spoon-fed message about how God is always with us and will protect us, the people are presented a watered down gospel which in fact is not the gospel, and then people leave the church with this false sense of spirituality only to return next week to repeat the cycle. The church goers never know (Yada, the Old Testament word that means “To Know” in a knowledge and heart sense) God, and what does the Bible say about people who do not truly know God?
Luke 13:27 “But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!’
In John 3 we see another example of what would happen to people who do not believe in the true Son of God;
John 3:36 And anyone who believes in God’s Son has eternal life. Anyone who doesn’t obey the Son will never experience eternal life but remains under God’s angry judgment.”
If the Church goers never know God truly then how in the world are they going to believe in Him? This thought is so very scary to me and should motivate us to make some changes, in the way that we preach.
The result of this has produced a generation of people who do not know God in the way that Christians should know God. It has produced a group of people whose Bible fluency is below par.
It’s clear that many Americans — including Christians don’t know their Bible. Just look at the numbers from a recent study:
- More than 60 percent of Americans can’t name either half of the Ten Commandments or the four Gospels of the New Testament.
- Some 80 percent including “born again” Christians believe that “God helps those who help themselves” is a direct quote from the Bible.
- And 31 percent believe a good person can earn his/her way into heaven.
According to a recent George Barna study, most self-proclaimed Christians don’t believe that Satan or the Holy Spirit actually exist. And even though the Bible is very clear about the sinless nature of Christ, 22 percent believe that Jesus sinned while he was on the earth.
“I don’t think he was sinless altogether, no,” one young man said about Jesus.
“What do you base your belief on,” we asked.
“My opinion,” he said.
Now in absolutely no way am I blaming the entire situation on the Church or the pastors of the Church, trust me I understand that it is not the pastor’s job to run the spiritual day to day life of every person in their congregation. The pastor cannot control whether or not the people that they teach do their studies every day or do devotions each morning. However, I am a firm believer that it starts with the teachers of the Gospel, it is the job of the pastor to be the spiritual leader of the congregation, in fact, look at what James 3:1 says;
Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.
This is an epidemic within the Christian church and when we stop talking about the problem and take steps to fix it, is when we will begin to see a much-needed shift within the church.
A Message to Non-Pastors
Although this may not seem directed to you, it has some major truths that can be pulled out of this post. Firstly in some way or another you are a teacher, whether it is for your kids or for youth or children at the church, you always have people looking up to you and regardless of if you like it or not you are a teacher in one way or another. We must set examples for those who look up to us and be leaders to those who follow us, which is why it is inevitable for you to not solely rely on your pastor, but to also dive into the word yourself and educate yourself on biblical doctrine and principles.
Victor Gancedo is a freshman at Trinity College of Florida majoring in Advanced Theological Studies. Read more from Victor at grace-nation.com