Tuesday, August 27, 2013

An exageration?

In the dog days of July, just before heading out for a vacation,  I spotted this alarming blog article:
Biblical Illiteracy and the Death of the Church Library by Southern Baptist Today  blogger Jonathan Pritchett.  It's a provocative title and there is truth in the ranting:
In other news, I noticed something that has paralleled this decline of biblical literacy that is truly sad. This I will refer to as “The Death of the Church Library.” In too many churches, even large ones, the best library in the church is the pastor’s office bookshelf, or even more likely (and sadly), the youth pastor’s office bookshelf. The most recent scholarship in the actual church libraries, if there is actually any scholarly works to be found in them, is sometimes only as recent as the 1970s. Most of the time, the tiny libraries are filled with old and occasionally new devotional junk, and way too much Christian-fiction junk.

It is time for pastors and other leaders to encourage the folks to buy a biblical survey book and a commentary or two for using as study and conversation partners in their private daily Bible reading. What level of commentary or survey? Whatever suits the person, and that takes the pastor(s) or other leaders knowing each of the persons in their churches to figure out what level of commentary is right for each person, be it lay, semi-technical, technical, etc. Are they somewhat pricey? Well, that depends — certainly not any more pricey than many people’s Blu-ray collections.
I'm not sure most church librarians have the clout to single-handedly turn around a decline in biblical literacy and I don't think pastors can do it on their own either  but together  diligent church librarians and caring clergy could have a powerful impact on congregational literacy.

Whatever you may think of the writer's low opinion of church libraries, you've got to give him credit for his closing line which is a strong statement in support of the church library:
It is also time for SBC churches to reinvest in their church libraries. We build gyms for our churches, so why not also stock the libraries? One of those two things is related to knowledge, truth, faithful love, understanding and remembering God’s Word, and most importantly, avoiding destruction. One of them isn’t. It is not too hard to figure out which is which.
Read the full SBC Today article here

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