The latest issue of Christianity Today has a great article on cutting-edge discipleship material that seeks to address the lack of theological and biblical knowledge in the church. Entitled “Why Johnny Can’t Preach” and written by CT’s Collin Hansen, the piece sheds light on BibleMesh, an online discipleship tool that I have mentioned before (and for which I write).
Hansen sums up the contemporary problem:
Americans love their Bibles. So much so that they keep them in pristine, unopened condition. Or, as George Gallup Jr. and Jim Castelli said in a widely quoted survey finding, “Americans revere the Bible but, by and large, they don’t read it.”
He offers some words on computer-based Christian training:
Computer technology has long been a boon to high-level biblical studies. Scholars can instantly search archives of ancient manuscripts, essentially turning their offices into world-class libraries. Pastors likewise benefit from popular software that aids original language studies and sermon preparation. But the gap is widening.
“At this rate,” Emmanuel Kampouris says, “the Bible will be just a historical artifact for seminarians.”
BibleMesh hopes to remedy the problem of fragmented biblical understanding with a personalized learning tool that tracks what users have studied and where they are weak. The site will help users memorize Scripture and remember facts, names, and places from the passages they have read. Another component allows pastors and small-group leaders to shape their own courses. Later channels will teach church history and biblical Greek and Hebrew.
“Every church intuitively knows it needs a discipleship program that goes beyond the preaching event,” Thornbury says. “I hope BibleMesh will be Sunday school curriculum 2.0. It’s an update on what used to be done in Sunday school: taking Christians through the Bible.”
The article then goes on to consider other special initiatives on the discipleship front, including David Platt’s efforts in Alabama to spur his congregation on in learning and living out the Bible.
This piece is encouraging; one hopes it will foster a greater understanding of various groups and movements (including BibleMesh, which debuts June 2010 with an original, Christ-centered narrative of Scripture by Tim Keller) that are seeking to build in God’s people a love for the Word that will result in transformed living and greater glory to God.