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Jen Wilkin addresses “biblical literacy crisis”

March 10th, 2020 / By: Gayla Sullivan / comments

The church is in trouble, enmeshed in what author Jen Wilkin called "a full-blown discipleship crisis" that is "predicated on a Bible literacy crisis." Wilkin's remarks came as she addressed some 230 women during the Monday afternoon session of the Empower conference, Feb. 24 at the Irving Convention Center in Las Colinas.

Wilkin, executive director of Next Gen Ministries at the Village Church in Flower Mound, urged her audience to disciple others by using personal and collaborative Bible study with the Great Commission mandate to “Go ye therefore and make disciples ...“

To portray this, she led the group through hand motions of the Ten Commandments for easy recall and gave a pop quiz of 20 Bible facts to help underscore the need for a discipleship environment within local churches to teach Bible truths.

Wilkin added an urgent plea to discern accurate biblical teaching as she asked, “How many women go to a Christian bookstore and pick up whatever’s on the shelf, trusting what’s in there because it has been baptized by Christian publishing, believing they are going to teach them the Bible? Something is wrong.”   

She quoted Al Mohler, president of Southern Seminary, from an article, “The Scandal of Biblical Literacy” where researchers said, “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. 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. Increasingly, America is biblically illiterate.”       

“That was written in 2004, 16 years ago. It’s gotten worse,” Wilkin said.

She encouraged the crowd to “regain a pure definition for Bible study and to show honesty in moving forward to teach others to obey what he has commanded.” 

“We’re all spending time in the Word, but not all of the ways that we’re approaching the Scriptures are yielding us a people who are quick on our feet when it comes to knowing what this sacred text says. Let’s see what we can do about it so that 16 years from now Al Mohler’s article might seem like a comical memory to us instead of an accurate indicator of the church today.”  

“People don’t value things you lower the bar on,” Wilkin said, “They value the things you raise the bar on. Women are going to Whole 30; they can come to a 10-week Bible study.”

She went on to say, “We become what we behold. If we want to become like the Lord, we will behold him as often and as faithfully as possible and we will devote ourselves with discipline to the task of being conformed by the power of the Spirit.” 

The session ended with Wilkin proclaiming that, “The Word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword. It will carve you up. It will render you whole. It will render you in the image of the one you were created to image in the first place.