What is Christian Literacy?

refers to the ability to use a language - to know what words means, to be able to use grammar, sentence structure, to be able to converse in that language is to be literate.

Religious literacy
means having the ability to understand and speak about our faith intelligently. It’s the ability to communicate the basic tenets of our religion.

I'm very grateful to B.U. Professor Stephen Prothero for his excellent book, "Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know and Doesn't." This book, along with my desire to teach the faith, served as the inspiration for this effort.

Thursday, November 1, 2012


We were having a discussion one night at youth group about heaven and hell. I love talking about big issues with others, especially teens, because sometimes they say the most insightful things. That night a young man named Jordan said it best: "I believe in hell. I just don't think it's a very big place."

Some folks seem to think of it as just the opposite, which is quite a sad outlook if you really think about it. Brian McLaren once challenged this view with an analogy that goes something like this: If folks are being tortured in your basement, how much of a party can you really have upstairs in your living room?

I believe the point of heaven and hell is that this world matters. How we live matters. What we do with what God has given us matters.

Here's a thought: The point about heaven and hell is not the afterlife but this life. It's to motivate us for this life here and now!

Prayer: Loving and Gracious God, help me to live this day as a Citizen of Heaven. In Your Name. Amen.

Extra credit 

Somewhere in his writings C.S. Lewis wonders aloud if hell is eternal. Maybe it's a temporary place until something essential is learned?

Maybe in the end, it's as author Rob Bell suggests, "Love Wins." This view is called "Christian Universalism." It's the belief that Jesus Christ is indeed the Savior of the world and that everyone is saved because of him, regardless if they believe in him or not. His love and grace will have the last word. "As all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ" (I Cor. 15:21-22)

Let me give the last word at the moment however to Brian McLaren:

"It's none of your business who does and does not go to hell. It is your business to be warned by it and to run, not walk, in the opposite direction! It is your business to love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, to love your neighbor as yourself, to have confidence in Jesus Christ and live as Jesus lived. Let the imagery of hell remind you that life is serious business, that there are real consequences to how we live and believe, that justice and injustice ultimately matter more than most of what people worry about. Now stop speculating about hell and start living for heaven!"

From A New Kind of Christian, p. 126

No comments:

Post a Comment