In a world that had largely lost the Bible, the goal of Luther and others was that all of God’s people might be Theodidacti – “Taught by God.”
To that end, Luther wrote The Small Catechism as a short summary of the very basics that every Christian ought to know about God – His law in the Commandments, His gospel in the three articles of the Creed, how to pray with the petitions of the Lord’s Prayer, how to apply law and gospel to the human heart with The Ministry of the Keys & Confession, how to appreciate the gospel comfort given in Holy Baptism and Holy Communion.
The Church services were adorned with Bible-based sermons so that the average man could tell you about Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, about King David, about Christ’s birth, death and resurrection, about faith in Christ.
Christian schools were established so that the baton of the faith would be firmly placed into the hands of the next generation, so that they too, even more than their parents, would be Theodidacti – “Taught by God” from the pages of God’s own inspired and inerrant Word.
The last generation or two of Americans might know a lot of techie things that their grandparents never learned. But when it comes to being “taught by God,” it would appear there’s not a lot to crow about.
A study produced by the Barna Group a while back found that 58% of today’s adults could not name the first 5 books of the Bible. The same group wrote a study in 2012 entitled, “Megatheme: Biblical Illiteracy!” Some of the results:
- Fewer than half of all adults can name the four Gospels.
- Many professing Christians cannot identify more than two or three of the disciples.
- 60 percent of Americans can’t name even five of the Ten Commandments.
- 82 percent of Americans believe “God helps those who help themselves” is a Bible verse (it isn’t).
- 12 percent of adults believe that Joan of Arc was Noah’s wife.
- A survey of graduating seniors revealed that over 50 percent thought that Sodom and Gomorrah were husband and wife.
- A considerable number of respondents to one poll indicated that the Sermon on the Mount was preached by Billy Graham.
We cannot believe what we do not know, nor see our sin for what it is without God’s law. We cannot find pardon and comfort in the dark valley, nor find our way home to heaven without the gospel –the good news of the Son of God who loved us and gave Himself for us. Now is our hour to care enough – in Home, Church, Christian School, and Sunday School – to once more become Theodidacti – “Taught by God!”