“Back in Britain, almost two generations ago, I heard it declared that the minister’s first priority is to teach, and the second priority is to teach, and the third priority is to teach. More than fifty years of not doing this have inevitably hastened the decline of interest in the Bible and in effect promoted the sense of its irrelevance to modern life. Facing this pervasive shrinkage of Bible knowledge and influence, many in the churches hoped that simplifying and streamlining public worship would bring people back to the life of devotion and that simplified and streamlined versions of Holy Scripture would bring people back to the habit of Bible reading. Neither hope has been fulfilled in todays post-Christian West, nor seems likely to be. But both programs have been zealously pursued, and as a result the English-speaking world has before it not only a kaleidoscope of “blended-worship” but also more translations of the Bible than this or any other language group has ever had.” (JI Packer, Translating Truth, [Crossway Books: Wheaton, Illinois, 2005] forward) Some things in life are as obvious as a big nose or long hair. This is not something that needs thorough investigation. Likewise, JI Packer’s assessment of today’s biblical illiteracy and poor holiness is not something that needs thorough investigation. The ripple effects of poor Bible exposition and the effects of a plethora of Bible translations are still spreading way after the stone splashed in the water. You would think that after all the hype to make the Bible relevant and to make the Bible readable to a larger audience we would have more people knowledgeable about marriage, raising children, devotions, work ethics, etc. but such is not the case! The divorce rate is higher, more kids are prodigals, more dishonesty is found in the work place, the attendance of churches seems higher but fewer people ministering, evangelism is at its lowest, churches still divide over musical styles, and the ailments continue. Again, the solution is not something found in novelty or ingenuity. The solution is not found in racing after the next ministry mega church fad, but it is found in the old fashion expository preaching and the centrality of God’s Word. This means that the Word is central from the pulpit and from the pews. In other words, the pastor is faithful to study and the congregation is faithful in keeping the Word central in their lives. The pastor is to labor on expounding it and the parishioners are to labor to understand and apply it. Are you willing to be the faithful? Are you willing to be the instrument of change? We sorely need it. Be the one to make a difference!
Pastor Jim Cater