Reflection. Changing the bottle of "Devotional" with "solid food". By Fabian Massa.

Translated from Spanish to English with Google translator.

In the introduction to his book "The biblical doctrines explained and organized for easy use pastors and Christian workers [1]" RC Sproul [2], the author narrates that in the '80s called Gallup organization conducted a massive and comprehensive study of religion in the United States. The study found a number of data and trends, of which only the most outstanding were published in a journal.

The rest of the information was entrusted to a small number of theologians to study and analysis, including Sproul was.

Sproul relata.-Among the most significant elements were the following:
1. Over sixty million Americans said they had a personal conversion experience.
2. An extraordinarily high percentage of Americans said they believed the Bible was the Word of God.
3. "As a game against these claims, however, was the clear revelation that Americans, even if evangelical, woefully ignorant of the content of Scripture and even more ignorant of the history of Christianity and Christian theology classic. Perhaps most alarming was the realization that the mass of people who say they have a biblical faith little or no impact on the structures and values ​​of American culture.
4. For example, recent studies on sexual ethics and the issue of abortion suggest that the difference between the behavior of evangelical Christians and those who are not insignificant. In other words, the clear message of these studies is that the Christian "faith" produces a small difference or no difference in the lives of people and in American culture.
The phrase over sixty million Americans said they had a personal conversion experience makes the "Revival in the USA" is the largest in the history of Christianity. Given that the US population in the 80 was 227.72 million people [3], sixty million represents almost 27%.
However, analyzing the state of American society of that time, Sproul and other theologians come to the following conclusion: "If this revival has taken place, we must ask ourselves why there is so little evidence of their impact on culture . It seems that a huge revival had virtually no transformation of our customs and our lives. "
Sproul gives several reasons why the American believers were thus being "spiritual babies" without getting to mature and bear fruit (a change that impacts society).

One of those reasons is the replacement of pietistic devotion to the study:

Pietism was a Lutheran movement founded by Philipp Jakob Spener in the seventeenth century and developed until the eighteenth century. It proved to be very influential through Protestantism and Anabaptism [4]. The word comes from Latin Pietas pietistic, -ātis, piety. The move came as opposed to Lutheranism, arguing that "were lost in useless discussions on theology and doctrine." Pietists are then focused on social action and its companies -the first in the history of the Reformation for the conversion of souls in mission. But also left the theological research, sacrificing it to a sentimental piety that, basically, was a sign of intellectual laziness and exaggerated fideísmo (fideism asserts that God can only be reached by faith, therefore knowledge is useless ). The replacement pietistic devotion is then to study:

Replace the investigation by a first reading of the text.
Left alone with the subjective (what God tells me) discarding everything else, such as historical, social, cultural contexts, etc ...

Sproul says: "There are many aids available for daily devotional readings. Those who read the Bible every day for fifteen or twenty minutes are a minority. While certainly fifteen minutes of daily Bible reading is better than no reading. The problem arises when we think that we can plumb the depths of the Scriptures with a simple regimen of fifteen or twenty minutes a day. Very few disciplines that can be mastered with such a short attention span. To grow in the mature understanding of the Word of God for a more concerted effort than can be achieved by brief periods of devotional reading is required. Devotional reading is a great complement to the study seriously but is not a substitute for such a study. A study of the Bible at the end of each chapter of this book references, and commentary that is made of the same within the chapters, can be an excellent start for this study seriously. "

Devotional reading is a great complement to the study seriously but is not a substitute for such a study reading this means that 60 million Christians (over 25% of the US population) could not impact your society because their no lives had been transformed by lack of systematic study of the Word.

This is exactly what is happening today in the vast majority of Pentecostal Churches of Argentina, only devotional cults are not more than five verses and two matches, totaling 20 minutes of preaching and teaching given in the " Bible Schools "has the same base, which obviously is not enough, why not make it out congregations of Hebrews 5 Hebrews 6 to enter.

To break this vicious circle, we must understand that the "Devotional" should be a logical consequence of the systematic study of the Scriptures, one "Moral" the study and not a replacement of it. A pastor friend when I introduced the subject asked me how to change this reality, my answer was very simple: We have to start giving people pottage, enough milk.

[1] Editorial Unilit
[2] Robert Charles Sproul (born February 13, 1939) is an American theologian, author and pastor. He is the founder and president of Ligonier Ministries (named for the Ligonier Valley outside Pittsburgh, where the ministry began as a study center college and seminary students) and can be heard every day in the "Renewal his mind "radio broadcast widely known in the United States and internationally.

Pentecostal pietism, R.C. Sproul, Devotional - bottle, systematic study of the Scriptures.


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