Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Atheist Prof teaches New Testament Class @ UNC

This is the second time I've heard of a professor teaching New Testament at a major university. (FSU is the other)

I heard this story from the college pastor at Providence Baptist Church in Raleigh. He was talking about the professor his wife had for NT at UNC. This is the gist of his story:

The first day of class this professor (Bart _____) asks his students how many have read all of the Harry Potter books. Many hands go up. 

He then asks, how many of you believe God wrote the Bible?

Then he asks how many have read the whole Bible. Few hands go up. 

He continues, so you're telling me that God wrote a book and you haven't read it? "Your faith is a joke."

He then proceeds to tell them that he's going to share why he's renounced the Bible that semester.

I was stunned by this for several reasons:

* We've set the bar so low for high school Christians that few are graduating having read the Bible through once. That's pathetic. My kids may not read the whole Bible before they graduate, but it won't be because I don't challenge them to. (Confession: I didn't read it through myself until I was in seminary and in my 30s. However, I'm currently reading it through my 4th time and my plan is to read it through at least once a year for the rest of my life)

* Probably few of us who've already graduated college or are already in the work place have read the Bible through. Yet most of us would say we believe it's written by God. What does our lack of interest say about our faith?

* Reading the Bible does not = Faith in Christ. Clearly there are genuine Believers who haven't systematically read through the Bible cover to cover. But a passion to follow Christ is fueled by God's word. It's the fuel to our faith! 

This isn't about a legalistic reading of the Bible so we can say we did (although it speaks volumes when a skeptic asks us if we've even read the whole Bible we claim to believe. It's a pretty tough thing to respond to when someone asks you if you've ever read the Bible as you try to defend it.)

I share this to challenge you now to read it all. 

Here is a link that includes several bible reading plans: http://gracetoday.net/templates/System/details.asp?id=34928&PG=resources&CID=20042

Pick a plan or make up your own and go for it! I suggest you challenge a friend or your small group to join you in doing this for the next 12 months.