The Anglican Cathedral of Second Life

Christians are giving up on the Bible

4 Comments

bible.jpgThe sad reality with the church today is that so many are turning away from the Bible. Long viewed as a key book in the life of the Christian, now it has become almost irrelevant to many. And this has nothing to do with a particular theological position; both Liberals and Conservatives alike, value the Bible, and both camps are leaving it in droves. Our new way of thinking is suspicious of anything that purports to be authoritative, and so the Bible is devalued and just becomes another tool to assist us in our attempts at living a good life. And once located here it is very easy to ignore it.

What might surprise some is that the Foundations of the Anglican Church include a profound respect for the Holy Scriptures. In 1533, Thomas Cranmer became Archbishop of Canterbury and took on the major role of shaping the Anglican Church out of the Reformation. A central part of this was his love of the Bible which he believed was the living word of God to every person, and that it comes with huge power when not clouded by human comment. Cranmer worked hard to make the Bible available to all within the Anglican Church.

The sad state of Bible reading in the Western World is a crisis facing the church. We need to recapture Cranmer’s vision and work towards every Christian recognizing the authority and power of the Bible and falling in love with it again. The Bible needs to return to the center of the Christian’s life.

Arkin Ariantho/Mark Brown

Leader of the Anglican Community in SL/CEO of The Bible Society in New Zealand.

Author: Mark Brown

CEO of The Bible Society in New Zealand.

4 thoughts on “Christians are giving up on the Bible

  1. As a leader (PCC and Warden) in a fresh expressions CofE church here in the UK I can say for sure that there are churches that are keeping close to the bible and also engaging people in the post-modern context.

    I wholeheartedly recommend the book “Emerging and fresh expressions of church – How are they authentically church and Anglican?” By Ian J Mobsby of the Moot community. ISBN 973-0-9555140-0-5 it can be bought from http://www.moot.uk.net/mootique/soon.htm

    Its based on a study of 4 churches, namely ‘B1’ Birmingham (my church), ‘Sanctus 1′, Manchester,’COTA’ Seattle, and ‘Moot’ in London

  2. I am intrigued by Hileoduine’s response (point 1); basically, ‘let’s all sit around and wait for God.’

    Perhaps God is waiting for us.

    It seems to me that the NZ church (generally speaking) is lost in this transition between modern and post-modernism. This new way of thinking has caught it off guard, and as a result, it has no idea how to engage with post-moderns. It has no idea how to make the Bible relevant, and so it tries to open the Bible by using creative modern techniques to touch post-modern people.

    The fact is that post-moderns don’t like authority or being told what to think. At the end of the day, culture is changing, and with it Christians. The question is how and where does the Bible sit within that.

    Maybe it’s an answer that only post-modern church leaders can find. Maybe we need a call to prayer for more church leaders who understand this shift.

    I certainly advocate for doing something, anything, rather than just waiting for God to fix it.

  3. Greetings Hleoduine,

    Your comment about the need for the Holy Spirit is something I have been considering ever since I returned from visiting the church in China. I witnessed people hungry for the Bible and yet supply was low; quite the reverse to what I am used to, where most Christian households have numerous copies of the Bible but limited interest. This difference led me to the conclusion that perhaps God is moving in China more than he is in New Zealand.

    And then I started to think about the numerous programmes and fads that the church engages in, the emphasis on making worship appealing; and still the church struggles. I wonder if this is our attempt to fill the void that can only be filled by God?

    Rather than create another appealing offering perhaps we need to be praying for God to move in our nations.

  4. The Bible will return to the Church when two things happen.

    (1) The Holy Spirit renews the Church and God’s people. When that happens, the Bible comes alive as “a living and active word” leading us to recognize and respond to Jesus as Lord, bringing us into relationship. Without the Holy Spirit, without a Relationship with God, the words of the Bible are merely literature, good poetry, stories.

    The Holy Spirit’s actions relate to the Sovereignty of our God

    (2) Devout believers cease trying to apply the Bible to every situation and/or using it as club to beat people with justifications for their dogmas.

    Our actions relate to our own choosing. We we decide to “be right?” Or do we decide to love.

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