Bible enticement?

This is a response to Mark Vitalis Hoffman’s guest post. The post was presented here in lots of bits because I suffered a “WordPress moment” yesterday and the “system” kept refusing to accept the post giving mysterious error messages :( so here are the parts in order:

One phrase in Mark’s guest post(s) has been ringing in my ears overnight. He wrote:

Can people be enticed to read the Bible if it is delivered in digital forms?

To someone brought up as heir to the radical wing of the reformation (in a self-consciously Non-conformist English family) there is something deeply disturbing about the thought that people must be “enticed” to read Scripture. The Bible is the book that set my spiritual ancestors free of human lords and priests. It is also in large measure the book that freed the slaves (despite its use by slaveowners and traders to justify their commerce in humanity). It is the book which has opened the door to God’s amazing grace for so many across the years. How could people need to be “enticed” to open such a treasure?

Yet we do.

Rich,1 fat,2 comfortable inhabitants of the “Christian” West can hardly be persuaded to read Scripture. In part this very affluenza is the problem, as a Peter Kirk reminded us in a comment on Facebook, the Bible is avidly read in other parts of the world. A Galilean teacher once pointed out that it was easier for a camel to pass through a needle’s eye than for a rich person to accept God’s grace…

And then there’s our church culture, by and large (at least in the Evangelical sectors I inhabit) church culture has rushed to follow the TV evangelists and accepted the lie that the Bible is merely a storehouse of “verses”, small fragments to be used like a lucky charm to ensure continued blessing, or like a club to beat an opponent in conversation into submission. Generations (like all those alive in the West today) who have been loosing old superstitions (even if eagerly adopting worse ones) will hardly continue the first with quite the same enthusiasm. And no one not but a bully could find the second attractive … no wonder Bible reading is loosing its hold on the Western mind.

  1. By global standards not merely rich but very rich. []
  2. Suffering in fact an obesity epidemic. []