If you are mindlessly scrolling through Instagram, Facebook, or YouTube right now, you are likely navigating (precariously) through a minefield of posts entitled, “The Truth About . . .” With how volcanic our society is right now, there is always a “truth” on each side of every issue, with each “side” declaring and affirming (and fighting) for everyone to believe that their “truth” is the truth. There’s “the truth” about #BlackLivesMatter and “the truth” about white privilege and “the truth” about COVID-19 and “the truth” about Russia, and on and on and on the rabbit hole goes. Go too far and you will find yourself ensnared a labyrinth of unsolvable and unnerving problems that would distress anyone.
I must confess my own susceptibility to some of these rabbit holes. The algorithms that decide which videos to suggest have decided that conspiracy theories are what I need to see right now, and before long I’m learning “the truth” about ANTIFA from a YouTube account with less than 1,000 subscribers. The point being, that for everyone’s quest for and affirmation of “the truth,” the Truth has largely been ignored. Relegated to the sidelines. Shoved to the corner. Disregarded. And, I might even say, discarded. In favor of something (anything) else.
To me, this is the biggest revelation to which I am coming right now — that is, no one is reading their Bible anymore. The study of Scripture has become an antiquated pastime, a chore of yesteryear subsumed by some more efficient method of acquiring truth and information, peace and stillness. To most, the benefits of God’s Word are too laborious to come by. We’d rather have truth distilled to us in snippets and soundbites, through a medium that’s more easily digestible. Oftentimes, God’s truth is not so nimbly discerned — which is precisely the point, by the way. The Spirit of Christ through the ministry of the Word isn’t looking to augment one’s insight into the immediate moment — instead, the Spirit’s objective remains a long-sustained project by which one is chiseled into the image and likeness of Christ Jesus. (2 Cor 3:18; Col 3:10) There is no sprinting into spiritual discernment. The Christian life is a marathon. And, apparently, ain’t nobody got time for that.
In Ligonier’s 2018 State of Theology survey, 28% of respondents indicated that they “somewhat agreed” with the statement, “The Bible, like all sacred writings, contains helpful accounts of ancient myths but is not literally true.” Another 20% said that they “agreed” with that statement as it was written. In a 2019 survey from LifeWay Research, only 32% of American Protestant churchgoers said that they read their Bibles every day — with another 27% indicating even worse Bible reading habits, only cracking open the Scriptures a few times in a week. It is little wonder, then, that the church is having the problems it’s having nowadays when the principal volume that defines and delineates the church’s meaning, message, and mission is consigned to a mythological book that has little to no bearing on modern life.
To be sure, I am not saying to live life uninformed or in ignorance. By all means, do what you can to inform yourself to make educated, knowledgeable assertions regarding current events. But what I am saying — and hoping and pleading and praying for — that you will let your prevailing source of information be something much better than any man-made news outlet or media conglomerate. As Disrn’s Peter Heck wrote recently, “Biblical illiteracy is as staggeringly prevalent, particularly among young Christians, as the ubiquitous desire to be considered woke.”
This is a reminder I myself need. I, too, need to let my mind be fed the Spirit of Christ himself, the One through whom all things were made and by whom all things consist, even now. Even today, when the world feels like it’s going to hell in a hand-basket, Jesus’s authority over all things hasn’t abated. He hasn’t relinquished his sovereign grip over this realm. And he never will. You and I might be surprised and distraught by current events, but the Word assures all of us that God is not. He remains unstartled by the plight of humanity, unflummoxed by the ruin man makes for himself in his utter disregard for the Way, the Truth, and the Life. (Jn 14:6) So writes G. Campbell Morgan:
None of the things happening in the world which surprise and startle me, surprise or startle God. None of these things — which I confess I am less able to explain today than yesterday, for the puzzle and the wonder grow — were unknown to my Lord so long ago.1
It might take some mental toughness and spiritual fortitude — that is, faith — to believe that. To believe that despite all evidences to the contrary, God’s kingdom is still moving forward. If only there was a place where I could read about that . . .
G. Campbell Morgan, The Gospel According to Mark (Old Tappan, NJ: Revell, 1927), 282.