Monday, July 30, 2018

Crossway: Bible Reading Habits and Ken Ham's Reaction

Crossway conducted a survey to find out which parts of the Bible Christians read and how often.  The results are not surprising.  Most people, it turns out, read the New Testament and the epistles and Revelation.  Now, having said that, the survey is oddly constructed, with a dichotomy between "hardest to understand" and "read most often."  I know people who don't understand a bit of Revelation, and yet read it in order to try to understand it.  From the story:
Many Bible readers struggle to understand certain books of the Bible (especially the prophets) and turn their attention to easier-to-grasp sections (like the Gospels and the epistles). Though tackling some of the more difficult parts of Scripture can be challenging, we should attempt to spend time in each section, trusting that each part is divinely inspired and plays an important role in the biblical narrative.
Of course, as soon as I read the part about the Gospels being easy to understand, the first passage that came to mind was John 6:57-6:63, which completely vexed the disciples.  Nonetheless, It makes sense that most people gravitate toward the epistles as the expense of, say Deuteronomy and Leviticus, simply because they reflect the teachings of Christ through Paul and comprise the nuts and bolts of Christianity. Contrast this with the narrative of the early Hebrews, who God blessed, in spite of themselves.

Consequently, it is a bit baffling (and telling) that Ken Ham responded to the survey thus:
Crossway survey re Bible reading habits. One result shows people spend much more time reading towards the end of the Bible than at the beginning. illustrates a major problem in the church--many no longer understand the foundations in Genesis
How is it a major problem in the church for people to focus on the Gospels and the epistles?  As Christ points out, He was “The Way, the Truth and the Life.”  He is the focal point of Scripture.  What is the most commonly-cited scripture?  “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  All of the Old Testament points toward the New Testament and Christ.  Yes, the Old Testament is important for instruction (often what not to do) and we have it for many reasons, since it is the record of God's relationship to his people.  But Christ is the pinnacle.  For those of us who profess a faith in Christianity, He is why we believe.

Is the Primeval History important?  Of course.  It shows us that God created the heavens and the earth and He, alone, is God.  That is its purpose.   But, despite what Ken Ham says, it is also controversial.  Scholars over the centuries have been perplexed about how to interpret these passages.  It is hard to reconcile the simple words of Genesis with the fact that everywhere you turn, you are confronted with evidence of an incredibly old earth and not a shred of evidence for a world-wide flood.  How can they not be controversial.

Also, the Old Testament is clearly written for a select people.  When Christ came, he preached first to the Jews and then to the Gentiles.  We have been included in His people.  That is the gift of the New Testament.  That is why it is so important. 

There are quite a few other aspects covered in the survey, including daily time reading habits and other demographic data.  Read the whole thing. 

No comments:

Post a Comment