Pressing On: Why Biblical Illiteracy Equates to Apathy

The following is a guest post by Tyler Recker.

Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind,

Paul tells us that the means of being transformed (and not conformed) is changing the way that we think…

I have lead the Circle (student BASE Group) of the same guys for at least 3 years–from their time in middle school to now–when they are freshmen in high school.  My whole ministry to them has centered around getting them to read the Bible for themselves so that they “renew” their minds.  So, every week we have this time where we ask; “What have you been reading?” Currently, this usually is met with discussion of what they actually have read, but it hasn’t always been that way.

For a long while, we went through this stubborn conversation every week, where I asked what they read, and they said “nothing,” and I asked “Why?” and they gave a long list of excuses:

  • “I’ve been busy.”
  • “You don’t understand how much homework they give 6th graders.”
  • “I had football practice EVERY night.”

I then asked other questions to help diagnose the problem:

  • “Did you watch TV this week?”
  • “Did you play video games this week?”
  • “Did you play around on the internet this week?”

Usually, at least one of these was done in abundance.

Every single one of these conversations has ended in the same point.   Now the guys in my group start there.

“Why didn’t you read your Bible this week?”  I ask.

“It wasn’t a priority for me.”  They answer.

My name is Tyler, and I am your friend…

If you lack a growing biblical and theological framework, it is NOT because you are busy.  It is NOT because you lack the resources.  It is NOT because of any of the excuses we come up with.

It is simply because you lack the desire and the priority to make it happen. When we want something bad enough, we figure out a way to make it happen.

We are surrounded by an abundance of good resources, many of them free.  There is no excuse for biblical ignorance.   It’s laziness and lack of priority.

Practices for Cultivating a Biblical/Theological Mindset

1.  Podcast.

There are more free biblical and theological resources out there than you will ever be able to consume.   Load up your iPod, Zune, Walkman, or burn a CD.

In addition to the NewBranch podcast, I would like to recommend a few other free resources:

The Village Church– The expository preaching ministry of Matt Chandler and others is a favorite of mine.

Mars Hill Church– The expository preaching ministry of Mark Driscoll. – The expository preaching ministry of John Piper. Kevin and I quote Piper enough that students know this site.

The Gospel Coalition– This site is a gateway to all kinds of topics discussed by very able, trustworthy sources. – This site is yet another gateway to all kinds of theological resources.

Reformed Theological Seminary– Through their iTunes U program, you can download whole semesters worth of lectures here.

*Parents of students, podcast doxa student ministry. Listen to what your kids are hearing.   It will help fuel deeper conversation with your kids. Besides, I could be a heretic.  Wouldn’t you want to know?

Some always shun the idea of learning (to this level) about the God they worship, and that’s sad.   If we are worshiping our own contrived God, and not the God who was, is, and will be, we are worshiping an idol.  Know Him.

2.  Read good books (in addition to your Bible, not in place of).

To loosely quote Tommy Boy; “It’s called reading.  Top to bottom, left to right.   Take Tylenol for any headaches…”

I have my entire library available for students and adults alike to borrow from.  It’s in the student room at our church building.  Heck.  I’m a little jealous….  because I’ve got some good books that I can’t read because of college reading and you can walk in there and pick out any book to read.

If you need recommendations, there’s a poster on the wall.  You can get recommendations from Ken, from Charles, from Kevin, from me, from Leah, from Lauren, and from various students (you can keep up with them, right?).

3.  Engage in theological conversation.

Instead of always choosing the easy, affirming way in a conversation, don’t shy away from challenging a point that your brother or sister is making.  Good, thoughtful, gracious conversation is a good thing and occurs far too infrequently.   Don’t tap out of theological discussion because it makes you think a little.  Engage it.  Dwell on it.  Think about it when you ride to and from the office.   Talking with your kids about it.  This is a good thing…

Renew your minds.  Holy-spirit transformed minds result in changed hearts which result in changed way of living.  Where biblical theology is weak, transformed living is weak.  Where transformed living is weak, it begins by renewing your mind.

What about you?  Are there any resources you would propose to help us cultivate a biblical mindset?


4 thoughts on “Pressing On: Why Biblical Illiteracy Equates to Apathy

  1. Powerful stuff Tyler, thanks. I have also found that once you begin to engage God’s Word, the desire for it grows. Soon the discipline of being in His Word daily becomes a delight that you never want to miss and will even want more of!

  2. We (myself included) fill our mind and our time with useless stuff that is at the very least “unhelpful” in our walk with Christ. We do this all in the name of entertainment and/or recreation and/or “fun”. We’ve got no excuse (just like the boys in your Circle group), for not engaging with Scripture more, or developing a deeper theological mindset.

    I want to see us as a church continue to stretch ourselves in this respect. I want to see us stop settling for a Christianity that is a mile wide and an inch deep. We live in a time and place where that kind of superficial theology cannot and will not stand up against the tide of a post-Christian culture.

  3. I wanted to add something, but I don’t think it fit the tone of the entry.

    We need to be equipped for life’s storms long before we get there. It is easier to wrestle with God’s sovereignty over the events in my life on a sunny day, so that it provides comfort on the rainy days…Which is not to say that we can really grasp God’s sovereignty experientially until life brings rain, but if we have dealt with such things as these prior to the storm, then it is easier to get past sentimental (but empty) “Everything is going to be alright” and deal with difficult but comforting “God is in control, even in the midst of this unimaginable suffering”.

    At many times throughout my ministry, I’ve pondered the question… “Is the way I am teaching God’s Word helping to prepare kids to battle cancer, to lose loved ones, to meet with the inevitable crises of life?”.

  4. “Besides, I could be a heretic. Wouldn’t you want to know?”

    I love this! I realized that I have never stopped to wonder that. Shame on me. Where our kids are involved we should always know for sure if we are able.

    Also, your comment:
    “Is the way I am teaching God’s Word helping to prepare kids to battle cancer, to lose loved ones, to meet with the inevitable crises of life?”

    This is very profound. The tendency is to teach kids/students the love of God as exampled by blessings. But the true goodness of God is that He is the fourth man in the fire.

    Good post, brother!

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