In his groundbreaking book, No place for Truth or Whatever Happened to Evangelical Theology?, Dr. David Wells lamented in his introduction:
I watched with growing disbelief as the evangelical Church has cheerfully plunged into astounding theological illiteracy. Many taking the plunge seem to imagine that they are simply following a path to success, but the effects of this great change in the evangelical soul are evident in every incoming class in the seminaries, in most publications, in the great majority of churches, and in most of their pastors. It is a change so large and so encompassing that those who dissent from what is happening are easily dismissed as individuals who cannot get along, who want to scruple over what is inconsequential, who are not loyal, and who are, in any case, quite irrelevant [David F. Wells, No Place for Truth or Whatever Happened to Evangelical Theology? (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Publishing, 1993), p. 4].
When Dr. Wells first wrote those words it was 1993. Twenty-six years later not much has changed in the evangelical Church. “Theological illiteracy” is a problem which is still as pervasive as it was in the early 1990s. Despite the resurgence of Reformed Theology among American Evangelicals, with the mushrooming and popularity of national conferences like TG4 and The Gospel Coalition – yet, by and large, evangelical Churches have seemed to settle for ministries that are big on activity while small on theology.
As it was in the early 1990s, the focus of many churches is still fixed on numerical growth at the expense of having the most minimal understanding regarding the theology of God’s Word. In fact, what appears to be advocated in our day, is that the church will be more relevant if we are socially engaged in the culture wars – while being less engaged in an actual ministry of biblical discipleship and evangelism. Moreover, if we want people to stay in our churches, then the “experts” tell us to spend more time in offering “practical talks” – which call attention to one’s daily temporal needs in the world, as opposed to their walk with God.
The sad result in all of this are professing Christians who wear their “theological illiteracy” as if it is a badge of honor and a virtue to be admired. “The less you know what the Bible teaches the better off you are!” This is the unwitting attitude and spirit of so many who populate churches across this country. Yet, what these poor and pitiful believers do not realize (if, indeed, they are true believers), is that their intentional ignorance of biblical truth is only robbing them of a greater spiritual growth and health which is theirs to receive and enjoy in Jesus Christ.