It is sometimes said that ignorance is bliss. But ignorance due to the neglect of means is not excusing but condemning. It is inexcusable to be in darkness in the midst of light.—The Biblical Illustrator
"A recent survey in Glendale, California, revealed that only 57.7 per cent of the people knew where Jesus was born. Although millions of people sing 'O, Little Town of Bethlehem,' the majority of people in that area did not know where Christ was born, as the survey revealed. Other questions asked in the door-to-door survey revealed that only 53.3 per cent gave right answers to simple Bible Questions. The survey recorded 1,200 persons as answering these interrogations, like the identification of Goliath, where are the Ten Commandments found in the Bible, and who led the Israelites out of Egypt. In nearly every case the majority of the answers were wrong.
"These simple questions and the wrong answers emphasize the need of a more thorough teaching of the Word of God. If these external facts of the Scriptures are alarmingly unknown, then we could easily construe that the deeper truths of the Bible are even more unknown. If questions were asked about great truths in the Bible—like sanctification, predestination, the Holiness and Righteousness of God, the atoning work of Christ on the cross, regeneration, the judgments of God, and other deeper truths of the Bible, we certainly would be shocked at the answers. We want to insist to all that our greatest lack today is the teaching and preaching of scriptural truths."
Printed answers to simple Bible questions would, if published, make an amazing contribution to American knowledge. We insist to all that our greatest lack today is the teaching and preaching of scriptural truths.
Four paragraphs of the leading editorial in a well-known daily newspaper reveals this—as written by a secular editor:
"By giving a simple test in the knowledge of Biblical lore to 34 advanced students in Winthrop College, a history teacher in that institution learns that the 34 do not know anything at all about Holy Writ. And by examining carefully the Sunday school literature of his own church the teacher learns exactly why his senior and junior students are unable to distinguish Lot from Abraham.
"Most of the tested students have heard of Pontius Pilate. But there their knowledge ends. They are not certain who built the ark or who fashioned the golden calf or who prepared the tables of stone. Maybe it was Hiram of Tyre who built the temple, or maybe it was Jezebel. And maybe it was Goliath of Gath who was fed by the ravens.
"Such ignorance of Bible teachings fairly shocked the Winthrop teacher. He undertook to find out why it is that advanced students are unfamiliar with the Word of God. So he collected all the current Sunday school literature that is supplied by his denomination, which, incidentally, is one of the leading Protestant denominations of the world. And in that literature he found the explanation he sought.
"Those Sunday school quarterlies and bulletins and magazines do not teach the Bible. They do not teach the fact of the Bible. To some extent they teach what certain church leaders think of the Bible. And they teach to a great extent certain theories in sociology and politics that conform to Bible teachings. But none of them teach the Bible itself."