The Scandal of Biblical Illiteracy: It’s Our Problem

Christianity is in crisis.  Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, reveals that fewer than half of all adults can name the four gospels…12 percent of adults believe that Joan of Arc was Noah’s wife…professing Christians cannot identify more than two or three of the disciples…60 percent of Americans can’t name even five of the Ten Commandments. We are in big trouble, says Mohler.

He writes:

No thinkingWhile America’s evangelical Christians are rightly concerned about the secular worldview’s rejection of biblical Christianity, we ought to give some urgent attention to a problem much closer to home–biblical illiteracy in the church. This scandalous problem is our own, and it’s up to us to fix it.

Researchers George Gallup and Jim Castelli put the problem squarely: “Americans revere the Bible–but, by and large, they don’t read it. And because they don’t read it, they have become a nation of biblical illiterates.” How bad is it? Researchers tell us that it’s worse than most could imagine.

Fewer than half of all adults can name the four gospels. Many Christians cannot identify more than two or three of the disciples. According to data from the Barna Research Group, 60 percent of Americans can’t name even five of the Ten Commandments. “No wonder people break the Ten Commandments all the time. They don’t know what they are,” said George Barna, president of the firm. The bottom line? “Increasingly, America is biblically illiterate.” [see Barna Group’s web site]

Multiple surveys reveal the problem in stark terms. According to 82 percent of Americans, “God helps those who help themselves,” is a Bible verse. Those identified as born-again Christians did better–by one percent. A majority of adults think the Bible teaches that the most important purpose in life is taking care of one’s family.

Some of the statistics are enough to perplex even those aware of the problem. A Barna poll indicated that at least 12 percent of adults believe that Joan of Arc was Noah’s wife. Another survey of graduating high school seniors revealed that over 50 percent thought that Sodom and Gomorrah were husband and wife. A considerable number of respondents to one poll indicated that the Sermon on the Mount was preached by Billy Graham. We are in big trouble.

Secularized Americans should not be expected to be knowledgeable about the Bible. As the nation’s civic conversation is stripped of all biblical references and content, Americans increasingly live in a Scripture-free public space. Confusion and ignorance of the Bible’s content should be assumed in post-Christian America.

The larger scandal is biblical ignorance among Christians. Choose whichever statistic or survey you like, the general pattern is the same. America’s Christians know less and less about the Bible. It shows.  Continue reading


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7 years ago

Said Al Mohler as he sits high on the throne of his own pedestal, far above the fray, impervious to scrutiny, constantly adjusting his certificates of infallibility that hang on his wall. How pious of you, Al, to blame everyone but yourself, for it is you and your co-hearts that have given us “preachers” who are two fold more a child of hell than those who taught them (Matt.23:15) including yourself. It is people like you Al Mohler that sign ecumenical documents like the Manhattan Declaration and then tell people how wonderful Christianity is when we are in unison, never mind the unison you teach is with the devil. It is people like you, Al, that take the stage with every Tom, Dick, and Harry of every flavor of “Christianity” known to man and thereby give credence to their false doctrines of demons as if the Lord had spoken from on high and endorsed these heretics you so glibly entertain. According to you, Al, it’s the church’s fault and now you want them to return to the old ways of ‘preaching the Word”, but the “preachers” you have churned out don’t know what that is, muchless how to do it. All they have learned is the latest marketing technique for their “church”, pragmatism rules the day along with the weekly “take” ($), the head count, and of course “baptisms”. Yet the “church” across the world is falling apart at the seams and you have the gall to call out the “pastors” when you have produced nothing but hirelings at your seminary, and the parents to teach their kids when the parents don’t have a clue where to start and have nothing to fall back on from what they ‘learned’ at their “church”.

“For time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God….” You, Al Mohler, with all your learning and degrees of “higher education” remain Biblically ignorant, and willfully so. You do just like all your false prophet buds: you shift the blame away from yourself and on to whomever is readily available, the gullible, the ignorant of God’s Word and ways (they are ignorant because of the likes of you, Al Mohler) of whom you have made merchandise out of the ones who trusted the likes of you to lead them correctly—-which you have not and do not now do.

You want to be real leader Al Mohler, then read Daniel chapter nine, humble yourself as Daniel did and pray in your closet like Daniel did. Please do not insult us and disgust us any more with your public pontifications and displays of false humility, all you are doing is showing your own over the top arrogance. End the excuses! Just stop it. Repent of this wickedness you continue to perpetrate on the Body of Christ.

7 years ago

Amen Darrel….well said. Mohler talks out of both sides of his mouth, he is part of the problem!

Dave Marrandette
7 years ago

Perhaps we should look on the flip-side on the coin and ask the question: What does biblical literacy look like?

7 years ago

It seems as though Mohler can’t take a hint. Instead of considering his own words, he ups the ante with this: Perhaps we should call him “Jihad Al” or maybe “Dominionist Mohler”. They both fit.

Titus 1:10 & 11.