Eroding Foundations

Do you believe that the Bible should be taught in schools? You might be surprised to hear that quite a few English teachers agree with you. In a survey commissioned by the Bible Literacy Project, Dr. Marie Wachlin interviewed forty-one top English teachers from American private and public schools. The Washington Times reports, "Nine out of 10 teachers who participated argued that knowledge of the Bible is crucial for a good education; 40 of the 41 teachers said [Biblical] literacy is an educational advantage." You see, these teachers realize just how great the Bible's impact on our world has been -- and how dangerous it is that a generation of students is growing up without knowing this. As David Gelernter puts it in a remarkable Weekly Standard article, "Scripture begins with God creating the world, but there is something these verses don't tell you: The Bible has itself created worlds. Wherever you stand on the spectrum from devout to atheist, you must acknowledge that the Bible has been a creative force without parallel in history." Gelernter is a senior fellow in Jewish Thought at the Shalom Center in Jerusalem, and he knows his Bible. He cites numerous examples from art, architecture, literature, and history to show that the Bible is the very foundation of Western culture. Our language is saturated with its imagery and expressions. So anybody who doesn't know the Bible is vastly poorer for it. The less we know of the Bible, the less we can understand our own cultural heritage. That's why it's so important that we get behind the Bible Literacy Project. The same report I mentioned earlier shows that at the same schools where the teachers were calling for more teaching on the Bible, more than a thousand students took part in a Gallup survey showing just how badly they need that teaching. According to the report, "Only a minority of American teens appear to be 'Bible literate.' . . . For example: Fewer than half of teens (49 percent) knew what happened at the wedding at Cana (Jesus turned water into wine). Nearly one out of four refused even to guess. Given a choice of four quotations from the Bible, almost two-thirds of teens could not correctly identify a quotation from the Sermon on the Mount. Similarly, fewer than a third of teens could correctly identify which statement about David was not true (David tried to kill King Saul). One-quarter of teens believed that the statement 'David was king of the Jews' was false." Clearly, we've got a situation that needs to be remedied, and soon, which is what the Bible Literacy Project is setting out to do. This excellent organization provides resources to teachers who believe we need more education about the Bible but aren't certain how to go about it or how much they're legally allowed to teach. Gelernter makes a strong case that we desperately need the Bible Literacy Project and the work they're doing. I urge you to call us or go to our website and find out more about them and also to get Gelernter's article. It is one of the most important articles I've read in years. And then read "BreakPoint" tomorrow to find out why Gelernter thinks that Christians are the ones to start a resurgence of Biblical literacy and how you and I can do it.


Chuck Colson


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