The Bible and Culture

The Bible and Culture


Ignorance is Bliss? Biblical Illiteracy in the West

posted by Ben Witherington

I was in London some time ago at a one man performance of the Gospel of Mark. Alec McGowan’s presentation was wonderful, done entirely from memory, and with only the aid a few props. The dramatic presentation was done in two parts– Mk.1-8 followed by an intermission, and then Mk. 9-16 (in the Authorized Version of course, lest the ghost of good King James be offended). What was interesting was being a fly on the wall during intermission and listening the comments of the general public in the lobby whilst they quaffed their wine and munched their croissants. One person exclaimed: “It all began rather abruptly. Where were the birth narratives then?” Another chimed– “Where’s the Sermon on the Mount? I missed that bit. Will it be in the part after the intermission?” I could only groan, but then at least the former person knew there were Gospels with birth narratives (just not Mark’s), and at least the latter person knew about the Sermon on the Mount (also not in Mark). It was all rather depressing, but I perked up when the bell rang and we got to hear more from Mssr. McGowan.

But it isn’t the rather more literate and literary British public that it ignorant of the Bible, the west’s greatest cultural icon. In a recent survey of Americans, apparently more than 10% of Americans actually believe Joan of Arc was Noah’s wife! Yikes! Only half of those polled could even name one of the four canonical Gospels, and only one in three knew who preached the Sermon on the Mount. Even more amazingly, less than half could name the first book of the Bible. On the other hand, the same survey indicated that 75% of those polled believed that the saying “God helps those who help themselves” was in the Bible (nope, that would be from the pen of Ben, Franklin that is).

Even more revealing was the fact that the survey had the participants self-identify their own faith tradition. As it turns out Evangelicals only did marginally better in this survey than others and most of them would not have gotten a passing grade had it been a test. Ouch. If you want the gory details you will find them in Stephen Prothero’s recent book ‘Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know–and Doesn’t’. Need I add that those polled did even more abysmally badly when polled about their knowledge about Hinduism, Buddhism, Confusianism, and also Islam? Read it and weep.

Now why has there been such a huge drop off in religious literacy in the West? Some would correlate this with the decline in church and synagogue attendance, others with the decline of the use of the Bible in public education, and still others to the failure of parents to train their own children in their own faith tradition. All of these explanations are probably partially correct, but there is something not being mentioned here– namely evangelism and apologetics. Where exactly are the advocates of the Bible and its values in the public sphere? Why has evangelism become a very minor agenda for so many churches? Why is it that there are so few efforts in those churches to teach people how to articulate and persuasively present the Christian faith?

Let me share with you a moment from my own experiences of doing shows with the major networks both cable (e.g. Discovery Channel, History Channel, National Geographic Channel) and traditional (ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox). I have almost always been treated with respect, and most of the interviewers had great interest in a subject they professed to care about, but knew too little about. Often these are literate and bright people, and some are even people of faith. But unfortunately they don’t know the Bible either– so when something happens involving the Bible they call up the scholars and yell for help! They have to ask you to tell them first what the real questions are, before they ask you for the answers! I have had long chats with the lead religion writers for more than one major news magazine, and they desperately would like to know more about the Bible, or this or that relating to faith, but those chats turn into crash courses to getting these folks up to speed in their own subject matter in which they are supposed to be familiar. It has been a very revealing last 15 years working with the media. And the good news is that religious programming has begun to do a bit better with major audiences, so maybe, just maybe we can squeeze some more Bible into the public discourse in this way. Now if believing Christians and Jews would just support such programs instead of turning on the sleaze and tease shows.

Well of course part of the problem is the very nature of the modern and western church. It is all too often narcissistic and self-serving to the core. It spends the vast majority of its budget on itself– its own buildings, its own clergy, its own self-help and nurture programs. The church has ceased almost altogether to be what it was at its inception– an evangelistic movement, that also did some nurture and training of converts. Instead we are nurture institutions that might have a missions committee. Talk about placing the emphasis on the wrong syllable as the culture becomes increasing less Biblical.

Reading the book of Acts together with reading the budget reports of most churches today is an exercise bound to cause depression. The “me” culture of the West, bent on radical individualism has been endorsed, even co-opted and taken over and baptized by the church. Rather than countering the narcissism of the culture, we cater to it, with all sorts of ‘needs’ based preaching and teaching that is long on ‘how to’s’ and very thin on Biblical substance. But frankly ‘how to’ doesn’t help if you don’t first know ‘what for’ or even ‘why bother’.

What’s wrong with needs based preaching? First of all in a culture immersed in constant advertisements and sales pitches, most people in the West have no idea what their real needs are. They can identify their wants, and they mistake them for actual needs. All the while that most profound of all needs, the need for God and for actual knowledge of God leading to relationship with God goes begging.

In other words, I am laying a large share of the blame for religious illiteracy in the West on the Church which has failed in the prime mandate of making disciples of all nations, failed in the mandate to train up sufficient Spirit-filled, Biblically adept proclaimers of God’s Word who will win some by being winsome, leading outsiders into a life long pilgrimage of learning in the school of Christ. We need look no further than in the mirror to find one of the sources of our religious malaise.

And furthermore, it is important that our culture be challenged not just with emotive preaching promising feel-good salvation, because that frankly does not change the culture, it simply baptizes the culture of feelings and calls it good. We need to challenge the culture at its highest and deepest levels of profundity, challenge it on the basis of its most fundamental assumption which has led us down the road to narcissism. Thank goodness we have people like my friend Lee Strobel who are beginning to figure out how best to talk with and persuade our distracted and depressed and desperate culture, hellbent, but wanting to be heaven bound.

I used to love to read the cartoon strip Pogo. It was a wonderful mirror on our culture. In one strip Pogo and his friends decide they must take on the dragons of their world that are encroaching on their privileges. But when Pogo leads his troops out into the field he discovers they are ill suited to the task, unwilling to pay the price, and don’t really know what they are fighting for or about. Pogo returns to his superior and reports “we have met the enemy, and he is us!”

It’s time for the church to take that good hard look in the mirror. We, the self-serving church, are one of the main contributors to our culture going to Hell in handbag. We are contributors to the culture’s Biblical illiteracy. We have gh
ettoized our faith, and have even assumed we had a cultural justification for doing so– “the separation of church and state”!!!

The Founding Fathers, who were various in their own faith, or lack thereof, nonetheless understood, a culture without a religious foundation does not long stand. The separation of church and state was not intended to mean the separation of religion and state, or the separation of the Bible and its influence from the public sphere. Those Founders simply were not going to practice the establishing of an official state religion, a mistake made by almost all other Western nations.

It’s time friends to take it to the streets, take it to the world, get out of your comfort zone and share the Good News that God has not abandoned us.

To that end, I was ask for your prayers as I leave on Aug. 29th to go to Hong Kong and teach and preach to Chinese folks of some faith and no faith about the mysteries of the book of Revelation. I believe China will play a major role in the 21rst century, and the Good News is that some doors are opening to the Bible and its witness there. I was asked to be the founding dean of a brand new Christian studies Masters and Doctoral program at Bejing University, but had to decline. Instead I sent a friend and colleague who is a fine Bible scholar in his own right– K.K. Yeo, with a promise that I would come and help. The exciting news is there are far more bright Chinese students who want to become experts in the Bible than we have spaces in the program. Of the some 43 that graduated from the Masters program last year, more than half want to do their doctoral work as well. Pray for the church in China, and for God to raise up a mighty witness. God is good all the time— and he has not finished with the human race just yet, and what he is most looking for is availability rather than ability.

Who will go for Him? Do not say “Here I am Lord, take my sister” or “Here I am Lord, take my brother.” Say “Your servant is here— send ME!!!



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chris e

posted August 25, 2007 at 4:35 pm


Hi Ben –I just wondered if you had heard Mark Noll on the topic of the Church in the “Global South” – specifically China. His lecture is available for free download:http://web.roanoke.edu/x6381.xmlHe has some fascinating parallels to draw – and his quotes from Andrew Walls are amazing – there’s a glimpse in there of God’s providence to the church down the ages in terms of the ways in which the centre of Christianity has migrated around the world.



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Ben Witherington

posted August 25, 2007 at 4:40 pm


Nope, but I’ll check it out.Thanks,Ben



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Darryl Schafer

posted August 25, 2007 at 5:33 pm


“Rather than countering the narcissism of the culture, we cater to it, with all sorts of ‘needs’ based preaching and teaching that is long on ‘how to’s’ and very thin on Biblical substance. But frankly ‘how to’ doesn’t help if you don’t first know ‘what for’ or even ‘why bother’.”Thank you. Makes me feel like I’ve been going in the right direction with my church.It’s hard, though. You’ve mentioned (on your blog and in your books) this trend of anti-intellectualism. I try to give substance, but people want a script (“needs” based). I have a “Peanuts” strip hanging in my office. Linus looks at Charlie Brown and says, “When I grow up, I think I will be a prophet. I will speak great truths, and no one will listen to me.” “If you know ahead of time that no one is going to listen,” asks Charlie, “then why speak?”Linus: “We prophets are a very stubborn people.”Among other things, it keeps me going.Thanks for the post.



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Ben Witherington

posted August 25, 2007 at 5:48 pm


Hi Darryl:Don’t be discouraged. Remember in the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe it took a lot to wean the youngest child off of Turkish delight. If you have given them the what for, then a certain amount of how to is also useful thereafter.Blessings,Ben W.



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Leslie

posted August 25, 2007 at 9:25 pm


I really do feel as though Christianity is spreading west. Coming out of the Bible lands, it was large in Europe, then in America, and as these two have become more and more skeptical, it seems to be heading to the far east, as they have opened up more to the world. My wife and I are making plans to minister in Japan a few years down the road. Concerning your main topic, I think of the big issues of Biblical illiteracy is that people are unsure that the Bible is even worth knowing anyway. Much of Europe is atheistic if I’m correct, and this seems to be rapidly spreading in the U.S. We have skeptics who preach that, for instance, the Genesis creation and flood accounts are just copies of other ANE lit, no better, and perhaps worse. We have scientists and pseudo philosophers like Dawkins who evangelize for atheism on the basis that the Bible is just another outdated text, among other things. With this almost militant movement, I wonder how much longer the U.S. will remain connected to the Bible in any meaningful way at all. It is this that I think we will have a hard time overcoming. It is this also that I believe is perpetuating such illiteracy, even in the minds of the faithful. It has often been my contention that the reason many Christians don’t take their faith so seriously is because they are involved more on a cultural level than a personal level. If the culture is shifting then, that is not good news. More and more people see the Bible as not an intellectual and spiritual pursuit, but an emotional, and almost irrational one. Thus, I believe, why they want more fluff and less theology.I’d like to see more scholars boldly standing up for the Bible, in way contrasting the modern atheistic movement. I love Lee Strobel and respect his work, but I’d enjoy seeing some more respected scholars getting deeply involved with apologetics. Perhaps I have simply been missing them though. If so, please direct me!



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Ben Witherington

posted August 25, 2007 at 9:58 pm


Hi Leslie:Well you may be pleased to know that every single year there are a bunch of us (William Lane Craig, J.P. Moreland, myself, and a host of others) who do apologetics conferences together in churches around the country. We even did one in the far western part of the state of Washington, a real bastion of paganism. We are not discouraged for the very good reason that God is bigger than culture, and the Gospel transforms culture when it is really indigenized and embedded. The problem is too many Americans have either experiences bad church, or have been innoculated with a slight case of Christianity which is preventing them from getting the real thing. Japan, which you mentioned, is perhaps the least Christian, most westernized materialistic culture in all the far east. Blessings on your pursuit of ministry,Ben



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Leslie

posted August 25, 2007 at 10:16 pm


I am very pleased to hear that, and had no clue of it! Sorry if I seemed a bit militant myself. I realized I might have come off that way after I wrote it, but I meant it peaceably. We just hear a lot more about Dawkins, Harris, etc. than you guys, which is unfortunate. I have of course heard several debates and talks by Dr. Craig, but I was oblivious to many of the others, including you. I’d love to hear/see some of those.And you’re right about Japan. I actually lived there for three years when I was younger. Perhaps I am wrong or too optimistic, but I still feel like they are opening up some, and that the future of Christianity may reside in Asia. Some great things are happening in China, as you mentioned, and I pray this continues, and am thankful for the efforts of you and many others, and the power of the gospel of Christ.



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Nick Crew

posted August 25, 2007 at 10:21 pm


Hi Dr WitheringtonI’ve been keeping up with your blog for a while now, but finally got myself signed up a little while ago. Excellent post for today. Im actually working on apologetics and philosophy at Liberty. I was able to have lunch with Dr. Habermas and decided make a long term goal of a Doctorate. Paul Maier and a few others told me that there was a huge demand for professors specializing in Ancient/church history. Im wondering what you thought about that, and if I might be able to ask you a bit more about that at another time…thanks. And God bless your trip to our brothers and sisters in China



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Neil

posted August 25, 2007 at 10:23 pm


Excellent points, Ben. I attend a UMC with Bible-believing pastors (that should be a redundancy, I know) who are trying to increase the Biblical literacy of the members. It is a very long road. I joined a study last year with a bunch of people I thought were mature in the faith. But they were spouting all kinds of bad theology – the Bible is full of errors, Jesus isn’t the only way, etc. I expect that in the world but not in church.We’re sending more mission teams out, which is good, but they are primarily service missions. I actually had to work hard to convince people to let me do an evangelism lesson as part of the training for an upcoming mission trip to Kenya. I had to negotiate to get a total of 20 min. We spend many hours preparing but I don’t think that most people are equipped to do a simple Gospel presentation.Apologetics and evangelism – we need them badly! Looking forward to reading about your Hong Kong trip.



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James Pate

posted August 25, 2007 at 11:59 pm


Hi Dr. Witherington,I don’t know too many biblically illiterate people myself, but maybe I can speak somewhat about the people you overheard. Maybe they did not know to distinguish what was in what Gospel because parts of conservative Christianity do not find such distinctions important. I realize that there are exceptions, for there are conservative who try to attach a unique message to each one of the Gospels. But when I grew up in church, people never really made a big deal about what was in Matthew’s Gospel as opposed to what was in Mark’s. They jumbled the accounts together. You see this especially at Christmas, when many Christians tell the story by including some details from Matthew and some from Luke.Anyway, have a fruitful and edifying time in China. :)James



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Marc Axelrod

posted August 26, 2007 at 12:03 am


Great post. I sometimes get frustrated with how biblically illiterate Christian people are. I think the current climate leaves us open to the apostasia Paul writes about in 2 Thessalonians 2.Marc



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Rev. Spike

posted August 26, 2007 at 1:30 am


“This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come. Matt 24:14 (NASB)Is the common interpretation of this text as, “when we preach the gospel everywhere Jesus will return” and example of this lack of Biblical knowledge/hermetical ability? When I asked you about this at SBU, you seemed vexed that people drew that conclusion. Yet, I must admit, that seems to be the point of that text. I won’t get you started on the “eye of the needle” gate :)



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Rev. Spike

posted August 26, 2007 at 1:41 am


Oh, and not to outstay my welcome: in his book A Genuine Faith, Dr. Rodney Reeves (Dean of the Courts Redford School of Theology and Ministry at SBU) quoted E. Peterson as saying “There are entrepreneurs among us who see the wide-spread hunger for spirituality as a marketplace and are out there selling junk food.”Many of us, myself included at times., would rather have someone else do the work for us. The consequences; I am afraid, are much the same in physical food and spiritual food. We get “out of shape” in a hurry when we let others do the work for us. Sure, there are times when we have to have help. Times, i.e. early in our walk when we do not even know what to eat and need to be fed. But eventually, like a kid, you have to learn to eat on your own. I don’t pretend to add anything new here, like Wesley, I have never had an original thought. I suppose I am just venting.For the record, I appreciate your advice to Darryl, I need to be reminded myself that discipleship is a dirty business and takes work and patience. The results often do not even come to the one who sows. They did not seem to for Paul, or Jesus for that matter.



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Wayne Bowerman

posted August 26, 2007 at 4:30 am


Ben,I cannot tell you how much I needed to read this tonight. Thank you.Blessings,Wayne Bowerman



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Ben Witherington

posted August 26, 2007 at 7:10 am


We certainly need more folks in ancient church history– without question. Patristics is an area that Protestants have seldom done doctoral work in, historically. But it’s desperately needed, not least because the NT was not canonized during the NT era of course. It was collected and assembled later. Blessings,Ben



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Ben Witherington

posted August 26, 2007 at 7:14 am


One other thing, in regard to the ‘Gospel must first be preached…’ what Jesus is telling his disciples is that there are pre-conditions for his return, but they are not causes of that return. In other words, even if we were to do our job of missions properly we could not force God’s hand on the return of Christ, for the very good reason that there is always more evangelism to be done– babies are born every day etc. In many churches the problems in getting them motivated for evangelism and missions include: 1) they don’t really believe those folks are lost or 2) they believe there are many ways to salvation or 3) they figure God has already predestined the outcome anyhow or 4) they’ve had too much diversity training and think we ought to respect their paganism and lost culture.



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Ray

posted August 26, 2007 at 10:54 am


wow, great words. they are very convicting, and you wrote exactly what I have been wrestling with lately. Thank you so much, and I am looking forward to you coming to Truett.



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chris e

posted August 26, 2007 at 2:23 pm


The article by Andrew Walls is here:http://www.religion-online.org/showarticle.asp?title=2052Just extend some of his thoughts regarding the migration of the ‘Centre of Christianity’ to the take off of the Chinese church.



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K.W. Leslie

posted August 26, 2007 at 6:56 pm


Good post.One of my pastors pointed out that whenever you get someone who says, “I don’t believe the bible,” the proper response should be, “Have you ever read the bible?” Next to none of them have. They just assume it’s not true because it’s in their self-interest for it not to be.In the case of Christians who doubt how true it is, I ask the same question: “Do you read it?” and “How often do you apply it to your life?” Again, they don’t read it, and they don’t apply it… yet they wonder how come their lives don’t make any sense, and how come the fruit of the Spirit is largely absent in their lives.



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toto

posted August 27, 2007 at 10:12 am


In the play “My Fair Lady”, Prof. Higgins laments about the disappearance of the English language to his new-found friend Colonel Pickering. At one point, as a wikapedia-type resource, he states “[t]here even are places where English completely disappears; in America they haven’t used it for years.”In Prof. Higgins’ early America, proper “English” suffers from the more important role of growing a young country, not to mention the various and sundry persons from the different backgrounds that made up that early immigration.The brits canonized the English language, which gave them “ownership”. Many people, in Europe, call what we (Americans, that is) speak, American, not English. Is it any wonder that we, who could not even maintain a simple language, would suffer from the disintegration of Christianity.I have to assume (yeah, yeah, I know…) that from your tone that you do not believe in separation of church and state. At least your words imply that the founding fathers did not believe that. “…Founders simply were not going to practice the establishing of an official state religion”I’m not sure that I agree with you on this one. I see the total chaos in Iran and the way that Iraq is leaning and question the wisdom of ANY religion based government. Of course, when it is the one true religion, which is …In any event, good luck on your trip to China and my prayers go with…



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Michael Haney

posted August 27, 2007 at 2:06 pm


Ben, I am essentially teaching youth at a Baptist church on wednedsays.Despite being busy in school (I am taking hebrew and greek together this sem.), I also have to work a little bit (apart from the church) and need a lot of down-time to study to prepare messages.Anyway, I’m not sure the best way to preach/dialogue with these kids. I’m not particularly drawn to the traditional way of putting together a message.What is the best way to teach these kids some substance? I don’t think the parents would be up for just simply walking the kids through Total Truth by Nancy Pearcey (excellent book on worldview) or a book on theology (yours: problem with evangelical theology)What is the best way to communcate these ideas to students, while still teaching the Bible contextually?



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Ben Witherington

posted August 27, 2007 at 2:23 pm


Hi Michael:Try the new DVD series edited by Matt Williams entitled Deeper Connections (Zondervan). I believe they will dig it. There is one on the Prayers of Jesus, one on the Parables of Jesus, one on the Miracles of Jesus. You are teaching kids who are now almost entirely visual learners. This series will definitely give them some substance, and you can use as much or as little of any of the 4 segments per teaching you like.Blessings,Ben W.



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Stuart

posted August 27, 2007 at 8:04 pm


I think onebig problem is that we really do not have much of a book reading culture anymore. And the Bible is pretty big. People will be put off by that.One edition which I like very much, and still has the potential of enticing people who like books to get familar with the Bible is the Bible Designed To Be Read As Living Literature, edited by Ernest Sutherland Bates. It is not the entire Bible, but a lot of it. No chapter and verse numbers, no double columns. Just KJV test presentedin a very nice eye catching print. You will need to look in the used bookstores to find this gem. Maybeyou can find the 199s re-issue updated by Lodwick Allison. Stuart



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Terry Hamblin

posted August 28, 2007 at 4:34 am


As an example of how Biblically illiterate is the UK comes a story from the Barnabas Trust. An asylum seeker from Iran claims to be a Christian convert. She is questioned to test her faith. Among the questions asked were: ‘How to you prepare a turkey for Christmas?’ ‘What are the names of the thieves who were crucified with Jesus?’ ‘What is the season before Christmas called?’



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Brianmpei

posted August 28, 2007 at 9:27 am


Are you really old enough that you used to read Pogo?



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ChrisO

posted August 28, 2007 at 2:02 pm


Where in Hong Kong will you be speaking?Chris



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dlormand

posted August 28, 2007 at 9:17 pm


Like Michael up there, I am also a lay volunteer youth leader at a Baptist church.Every year, I get another boatload of Junior High kids from the Children’s Division. They don’t know any of the stories. They can’t find books in the Bible. They have only the sketchiest notion of basic Christian doctrines.If the Church cannot impart basic Biblical literacy to OUR OWN CHILDREN, what hope do we have with the rest of the world?In many churches the problems in getting them motivated for evangelism and missions include: 1) they don’t really believe those folks are lost or 2) they believe there are many ways to salvation or 3) they figure God has already predestined the outcome anyhow or 4) they’ve had too much diversity training and think we ought to respect their paganism and lost culture.How about: 5) It’s never been real to them.Sorry, but this is a pet peeve of mine, having grown up in Baptist churches that have classes in “witnessing” and giving your “testimony”, or jump from one “soul-winning” program to the latest, and generally beat up the members with guilt and fear trips to “motivate” them to evangelize. You can “preach” the “Good News” out of duty (goodness knows I’ve seen plenty of mall preachers at the University here, and seen their lack of effectiveness), but unless it is REAL to you, (a) you won’t be motivated and (b) you won’t be effective. Jesus told His disciples to “Go and make disciples of all nations”, and could expect it, because (especially after PERSONALLY WITNESSING the Resurrection) it was REAL to them.When our churches become places where Jesus is, rather than a traditional cultural experience or comfortable habit for older Boomers, then maybe we will see some motivated and effective evangelism.



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Greg Johnson

posted September 3, 2007 at 10:44 am


Dr. BenGreat Post! Amen and Amen!In January 2006, my wife and I founded Loving God Fellowship (LGF) ( http://www.LovingGodFellowship.org ) to address the problems identified so articulately in your post. We have planted it in the capital of the most unchurched state in the nation, Salem, Oregon. What better place in America to plant a missional church focused on loving God and people while making disciples and impacting cities? We don’t ask people to come and join a church, volunteering all of their time to it’s activities. Instead, we ask people to submit to the lordship of Christ and minister at the point of need in their community as Jesus led by example (http://www.lovinggodfellowship.org/about_lgf ). We believe that the model used here will be used in starting LGFs in other cities across America. We could use prayer though. It’s been a battle getting this one up and going.Since starting LGF, we are finding out that people around the world are very hungry for the truth of God’s world. Our Internet church community (www.LGFinternetChurch.org ) has grown to reach people in 128 nations. The last several months, china has been in the top ten countries of those on our website. People there are hungry for God’s Word. I’m so glad that you are going there.I love your blog brother and glean so much from it. It feeds me. You are a gift from God for today’s church. Please keep up the great ministry.I have prayed for you and your trip to China today.Know that you are loved,gaj



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Mark Overt Skilbred

posted August 5, 2008 at 6:09 pm


Ignorance vs. InnocenceThere are actually large numbers of “Christians” who have not even read or studied the Bible. How does a person recognize the truth, when they haven’t even read the Book of Truth? You could tell such a person anything you wanted, and eventually they would accept your fiction as fact, because they have no truth to compare it with. I have heard such people criticize those who have read their Bibles many times with statements like“they are so legalistic.” This same sort of individual probably memorizes their driver’s manual so they can pass their driving test, but then criticizes a Christian for knowing what their Bible says. This individual, who is so very practical when it comes to atemporary event like a driving test, is then very impractical when it comes to understanding God’s Will for our lives. Are they truly that naïve, or is it somethingmuch worse—deliberately NOT WANTING TO KNOW God’s Will for our lives?Maybe they think that if they are ignorant, that God will overlook their sins? Maybe because they don’t have a basic understanding of the Bible, that God will judge themless-severely than someone who knows their Bible? Does this work for them in school? Will their teacher give them a good grade for not knowing anything about their subject? Instead of trying to get as far as possible on ignorance and ignoring God’s Rulebook and Book of Facts, why not become familiar with what the Good Teacher has to say about us and our relationship to Him?Mark Overt Skilbred



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Mark Overt Skilbred-Christensen

posted October 13, 2008 at 5:17 pm


McCain/Palin: THE HEART OF THE MATTERDid anyone else hear the interview with Hillary Clinton today? She was asked by the reporter about the progress being made by the Democrats in this election in light of the economic downturn. Her response was to lump gun control and abortion into the same phrase, as being of lesser importance than the broader issue of the economy. This is the heart of the matter for Christians. Liberals want us all to place less emphasis on morality and to focus more on the economy and other mistakes in judgment by the previous administration. When will people wake up and realize that God’s Laws are THE issue in this election and any other election that we face. There may be other important issues, such as the economy, which demand our attention, but ultimately, what will decide our fate as a nation are issues of morality, such as our responses to abortion and homosexuality. Let’s not allow our politicians to sideline the most important moral issues of our time. Let’s not let them sweep these issues under the carpet of the latest fiscal crisis. God cares very much about the moral issues of our day, and about the concern that we have to uphold the morality of our nation. Vote McCain/Palin!Mark Overt Skilbred-Christensen



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Mark Overt Skilbred-Christensen

posted October 13, 2008 at 5:19 pm


ELECTION 2008: LET’S TALK ABOUT MORALITY!The economy and political missteps are the most common topics of the day, partly because of their perceived urgency, and also for their generally non-moral nature. By avoiding morality issues, John McCain and Sarah Palin are missing an opportunity to appeal to the broad base of support which is generated by morality issues among Republicans and other Christian voters. Voters need to hear from McCain/Palin that this Republican platform rests on a solid bedrock of Christian morality. Let’s take off the gloves and drive a wedge right down the middle of the fence that uncommitted voters and unconvinced Christians are sitting on. We can catch the liberals napping while we provide convincing evidence that a vote for McCain/Palin is a vote for morality. I know that John and Sarah are on the right side of this issue and will provide the moral leadership that our country needs. The problem is that the voters need to HEAR them declare their moral positions LOUDLY and CLEARLY! What we will discover by doing this properly, is that the Democrats are UNWILLING and UNABLE to respond effectively to a frontal attack on these moral issues, because their foundation is built on the sandy soil of compromise which reveals a humanistic and self-centered approach to life, rather than a God-centered reality. Let’s hit them hard and fast on the issues of abortion and homosexuality and watch them fall off that perch they have been sitting on. Let’s watch them as they struggle to defend their moral positions based on their own situational ethics, rather than on God’s Unchanging Word! Time is running out for those who want to sidestep and compromise on morality. Let’s show the Democrats and the rest of the world that the Republican Party of the United States of America is willing to take a stand for morality in this election!Mark Overt Skilbred-Christensen



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Mark Overt Skilbred-Christensen

posted October 13, 2008 at 5:20 pm


COME ON MCCAIN/PALIN!Let’s take it to the Democrats over the issues of abortion and homosexuality! We have nothing to lose and a great deal to gain! Let’s stand up and be counted! Let’s be remembered as the party who defended the rights of the unborn, who have no other way of defending themselves! Let’s be remembered as the party who confronted homosexuals with the truth about their immorality! God is on our side! Be strong and courageous!Mark Overt Skilbred-Christensen



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