Battling The Epidemic Of Ignorance
© 08.22.17 By D. Eric Williams
This article appeared in the August 24 edition of the Cottonwood Chronicle
In last week's article I lamented the apparent epidemic of ignorance affecting our society. As mentioned, ignorance seems touch on all aspects of life. Of special concern is the level of ignorance among those identifying as Evangelical Christians. Now, I admit I would like to give the 48 percent who believe "God accepts the worship of all religions including Christianity, Judaism and Islam" the benefit of the doubt. In other words, I'd like to assume they are ignorant and not willfully rejecting truth. I'd like to assume they have not heard the truth and so have arrived at their conclusions by way of assimilating American Folk Religion, picked up by reading the latest "Christian" best seller about someone's round trip to heaven (this is probably why 64 percent of "Evangelical Christians" believe "Heaven is a place where all people will ultimately be reunited with their loved ones").
Yet is there any such thing as blameless ignorance? Not really. As Paul wrote to the church in Rome nearly 2000 years ago, for the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse (Romans 1:18-20). Therefore, even if the Christians represented by this poll are victims of faulty teaching, they end up without excuse. They are equipped as image bearers of God to know the truth. And, in this nation at least, there are plenty of resources to help them better understand the truth. No one will be able to stand before God on judgement day and get a pass because of ignorance.
What can be done to fix this problem? How can concerned, born again - informed - Evangelical Christians help educate those who identify as Believers but believe the wrong things?
The first thing a Christian should do is attend their local Church and pay attention to the teaching of the pastor (Acts 17:11). If the pulpit ministry is sound apply yourself to the teaching and openly, vocally support the pastor in his ministry. Submit yourself to the teaching of the pastor and encourage others to do so as well (Titus 2:15, Hebrews 13:17).
On the other hand, if the teaching is unsound find another church. I don't mean you should move on if you disagree with the pastor's view on the end times, or the mode of baptism or other points of disagreement common among Bible believing Christians. Theological differences of that sort should not separate followers of Jesus Christ. On the other hand, if the pastor embraces heretical views like those noted in last week's article, it's time to find another church.
Second, educate yourself. Prayerfully read large portions of the Bible daily and develop a sound ancillary reading regimen. Ask your pastor for a reading list and really work at learning the faith you claim.
Third, salt your conversation with biblical and theological topics as a means of drawing others out (Proverbs 27:17). Find out what your church friends and others really believe. Never let bad theology slide if you can help it. Lovingly confront the heretical views of your friends and offer to help them find the answers in the Bible.
Next, participate in Bible study groups offered by your pastor - and invite others to attend. Work at growing in wisdom and understanding so you can fill in when the pastor is unable to attend - or be in a position to lead a second group.
Fifth, pray. Pray that God will pour out his Spirit upon his people in revival. Pray that he will convict the hearts of those who claim the name of Christ but ignore sound doctrine. Pray that true Bible based faith in Jesus Christ will rise up as a banner of hope to this nation.
There is more to be said; I'll try to revisit this topic in a couple weeks.