During my days in New England, I heard of a teacher who quizzed a group of college-bound high school juniors and seniors on the Bible. The quiz preceded a Bible-as-literature course he planned to teach at the Newton (Massachusetts) High School, generally considered one of the best public schools in the nation. Among the most astounding findings he got from the students were:
Sodom and Gomorrah were lovers.
Jezebel was Ahab’s donkey.
The four horsemen appeared on the Acropolis.
The New Testament Gospels were written by Matthew, Mark, Luther, and John.
Eve was created from an apple.
Jesus was baptized by Moses.
Seriously! The answer that took the cake was given by a fellow who was in the top 5 percent of the graduating class, academically.
The question: What was Golgotha?
The answer: Golgotha was the name of the giant who slew the apostle David.
If it were not so pathetic, it would be hilarious. Isn’t it amazing how pitifully illiterate John Q. Public is of the written Word of God? In a land filled with churches and chapels, temples and tabernacles, there is only an insignificant handful of fairly well-informed students of the Book of books. We have Scriptures in hardback, paperback, cloth, and leather . . . versions and paraphrases too numerous to count, red-letter editions along with various sizes of print on the page . . . Bibles as big as a library dictionary and as small as one frame of microfilm . . . yet the years roll by as one generation after another passes on its biblical illiteracy.
Our nation’s technical knowledge and scientific expertise overshadow our grasp of Bible basics to an appalling degree. We are moving toward an era similar to the Dark Ages . . . when copies of the Scriptures were chained to the pulpit in the secret language of the clergy . . . when the public was kept stone ignorant of the life-changing teachings of the truth. But I see one great difference. In those days biblical ignorance was forced . . . in our day it is voluntary. Therein lies the saddest fact of all.
Upon whom do we rest the blame? Some would say the seminaries of America. Indeed, part of the problem does rest there. Others blame the pulpits of our land. That’s possible, for a mist in the pulpit will invariably cause a fog in the pew. Far too many preachers are specializing in “longhorn” sermons—a point here and a point there with a lot of bull in between.
Still others would blame this satanic, pressurized system we call the world—society—with its persuasive pleadings and so-called academic arguments against what is termed “a fanatical, foolish belief in the Bible.” To embrace its truths, we have been told, is tantamount to committing intellectual suicide. The morticians promoting this lie have nothing to offer in its place beyond the grave, I might add, except a cold hole in the ground.
But in the final analysis, ignorance is a personal choice—your choice. If something is going to plug the dike, it will take your finger to stop the leak . . . and I mean fast.
Excerpt taken from Come before Winter and Share My Hope by Charles R. Swindoll. Copyright © 1985, 1988, 1994 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.