Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
December 19, 1957

Church Problems -- (II.)

Charles A. Holt, Florence, Alabama

Let us continue our study of "Church Problems" (which was begun in the last issue) by making a brief study of one of the problems facing the church today. These by no means exhaust the number. Some of these are the cause of other problems. Admittedly this catalog is more or less put together without regard for their relative importance or relation to each other.


Perhaps an ignorance of God's word is the top root of all our problems. In spite of the fact that members of the church (generally speaking) know more about the Bible than any other religious group, it is a shame how little they know. A simple Bible quiz reveals that many in the church, even though they may have been members for a long time, do not know or comprehend even the simplest Bible truths. This can easily be demonstrated to be the case in almost every congregation. That such a condition exists is recognized by everyone who has taken stock of the situation. This is the way the matter stands in spite of all the so-called advancements (?) made in classes, class rooms, teaching methods, literature and lesson helps — from flannel graphs to outline books! With all of these (and I am in favor of any "help" that really helps people learn the Book!) people are actually not learning God's word. Only a smattering and somewhat superficial knowledge is being obtained. It is not my aim now to place the blame for this, but simply to try to make us recognize it and all of us do something to improve the condition. No doubt the responsibility for the prevailing ignorance can be traced to many sources.

God's people today do not know His word as they should and the sad part is that many do not seem to care. Hardly more than half of the members attend the Bible classes in most churches. Many of those who do attend learn but little. There are no doubt several reasons for this; such as, indifference; their own failure to study and think; incapable teachers; the use of too much "junk" in the form of lesson helps, etc. In many places some members are so lacking in interest or else they are so lazy that they will not even bring their own Bibles to class! The church must furnish Bibles for them! While it may seem insignificant to most people, this is a bad sign to me. One who really studies the Bible wants and uses his own copy.

Ignorance of God's truth has always been a curse. God's ancient people were destroyed for the "lack of knowledge." (Hosea 4:6) Who can tell how many similar tragedies have occurred since. It has been repeated time and time again. Will it happen to our generation? What of the next generation? Will it be true again that "there arose another generation . . . which knew not the Lord?" It all depends upon us today. Let us make sure and certain that we learn and walk in "the old paths" as revealed in the New Testament, and that the forthcoming generation shall be fully taught by our word and example to adhere to the ancient order of things. We must do all in our power to insure this.

An informed-taught-church is a strong church. One which is lacking in real knowledge of God's word is weak regardless of all the assets it may have otherwise. Large numbers, great zeal, outstanding missionary endeavors, big, fine beautiful buildings, and other such things cannot make up for the "lack of knowledge." There are those in the church today, like the Jews of Paul's day who have a "zeal for God but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant . . . ." have gone "about to establish their own righteousness" and have not been pleased to do Bible things in Bible ways. We must be certain that we abide in "the doctrine of Christ." To go beyond His teaching which means to go beyond his authority or outside the restrictions of His law is to leave God. (2 John 9). We dare not go beyond the things which are written. But if we do not know what is written how can we be sure?

Quite often people come from denominationalism only "half-taught" and all the error is never "taught out" of them. As a result they see nothing wrong with many sectarian practices and they want to adopt the ways of the world. The desire to be like the "nations" around is still with us.

Ignorance or the lack of knowledge was a problem of the early church. (Heb. 5:11-14: 1 Cor. 3:1-3). We must know the truth to be made free and follow the truth in order to remain free. (John 8:32)