Dr. Thomas Schirrmacher, the newly elected secretary-general of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA), believes that biblical illiteracy is a growing, troubling trend in the global evangelical church today.
Schirrmacher explained to The Christian Post that “beyond all theological differences, financial problems, and political questions", “our biggest problem is that Bible knowledge is fading away.”
In the Western world, “more and more kids that come from evangelical families are not really rooted in the Bible,” and many end up departing from the faith, he asserted.
Conversely, more young people around the world are becoming Christians. Schirrmacher, however, noted that they “only know about the Bible what they learned from their conversion” instead of growing deeper in biblical knowledge.
Meanwhile, young Christians in rural areas are usually placed in pastoral roles even though they lack biblical and theological knowledge.
“So many people are becoming believers that the one who has been a believer the longest becomes the leader of the church,” Schirrmacher explained. “That might be three years. Short for us, but long for them. We have such a high conversion rate worldwide, that it's extremely difficult to follow up with discipling, with teaching, with Bible knowledge.
“The result is that people know much less and are more ... much more open to secularism and strange things like the ‘health and wealth’ gospel,” he added.
Along with the WEA, Schirrmacher intends to face the “crisis” of poorly trained church leadership by supplying a known, global standard for the outcome- and impact-based assessment.
“This is just one thing we do, but it’s extremely important,” he argued. “Because if evangelicals don't know the Bible any longer, it doesn't make any sense that we are a Bible movement. We have nothing else. We have no pope, we have no structure that keeps us together, no matter what we believe. We need to sit down and study the Bible, know the Scriptures, and be properly equipped for ministry.”
Founded in 1846, the WEA represents over 600 million evangelical Christians worldwide, making it the second-largest Christian and religious body of the world.
In October, WEA International Council appointed Dr. Schirrmacher as the next general/CEO. He will replace the current WEA head, Bp Efraim Tendero, on March 1, 2021.
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Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer. Visit his blog Blessed Are The Forgiven.