Pastor and author Michael Youssef says the problem of biblical illiteracy is to blame for America’s growing secularism, and he hopes a new book on the topic can help turn the tide.
The founder of Leading The Way Ministries and the pastor of Church of the Apostles in Atlanta, Youssef, this month released a new book, How to Read the Bible (As If Your Life Depends on It), that he says is the culmination of 50-plus years of ministry. He calls it a “crash course” on the Bible and says he hopes it helps Christians “fall in love” again with God’s Word.
“Biblical illiteracy translates into ignorance of the issues that we’re facing — the moral issues,” Youssef told Christian Headlines, referencing as examples societal debates over gender and sexuality.
“How can I measure [those issues] against the Word of God if I don’t know the Word of God if I did not spend time understanding the character of God?” he asked.
“There can be no doubt,” he said, that there is a correlation between the nation’s secularism and the church’s biblical illiteracy.
“I’m a trained anthropologist, and, therefore, as a theologian, I’m looking at the culture. And I’m looking at both, and I see an absolute correlation between the two,” he said.
“There’s a huge amount of ignorance on the part of church people,” he added.
Youssef compared the situation to medieval times when people did not read God’s Word. Back then, he said, the Bible was “actually chained to the lectern in the church and was in Latin, and there was ignorance of the Word of God.”
“Superstition reigned supreme until God raised Martin Luther … and then the Reformation revolution took place,” he said. “And so I am praying that somehow, in God’s grace and mercy, this would happen again — that people start reading the Word of God, falling in love with the Word of God, understanding the Word of God as a measuring stick to all areas of life.”
Youssef’s book, he said, shows that there is a common thread from Genesis to Revelation.
“When you go and start reading the Word of God on a regular basis,” he said. “you’ll be encouraged, you’ll be uplifted, and literally [it] will save your life.”
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Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.
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