In summarizing the results of a recent Gallup poll George Gallup Jr. and Jim Castelli concluded that “Americans revere the Bible but, by and large, they don’t read it.” Perspectives in Canada about the Bible are probably little different. But the problem goes much deeper. Not only are people not reading the Bible, but when the do read it, they do not understand it very well. Another Gallup poll indicates that 4 out of 5 churchgoers fail to get the help they need to understand the Bible. Discouraging trends to say the least!
At their June 2011 meeting the Northwest Baptist Seminary board endorsed a proposal to establish the Northwest Centre for Biblical and Theological Literacy, as a direct action to address these trends, particularly in Canada. Its mission is to enable individuals and communities, both Christian and non-Christian, to discern the wisdom of the Christian Scriptures and be motivated to apply its wisdom for salvation and shalom.
Today Scripture’s voice is muted and marginalized in so many ways and in so many contexts. CBTL will seek to reverse this isolation and equip people to interpret the Christian Scriptures and motivate them to re-engage the Bible so that they recognize its wisdom and discern its redemptive potential to create peace-filled communities. When people discover the Bible’s truth, they engage God’s word directly. Understanding and embracing God’s view of our world is the first step to transformed lives and communities.
CBTL’s vision involves both the church and Canadian society in general. One of its goals is to discern effective ways to enable each church to be a vital centre of biblical and theological literacy, so that believers live the Gospel as fully as possible. A second goal is to help congregations learn how to communicate biblical wisdom effectively within their local regions. If churches are to make a God-honouring impact in their communities then sharing biblical wisdom with civic, cultural, educational and corporate leaders and encouraging them to consider its beneficial applications will be strategic. By championing the voice of Scripture CBTL seeks to motivate people to embrace biblical wisdom and discern its relevance for nurturing healthy ways of being human together in Canada and other regions of the world.
Your participation is encouraged. Perhaps you would be willing to promote the Centre and its activities within your church family. We seek your prayer support as well. The activities of the Centre will also require financial supporter and we would be pleased to meet with you and share more completely the vision, goals and projects that the Centre is engaging.
The director of the CBTL is Larry Perkins, Ph.D., professor of biblical studies and past president of Northwest Baptist Seminary. He brings to this position over thirty years of experience in teaching Bible, leading Christian agencies, and advocating that Scripture’s voice be heard. You can contact Dr. Perkins at 604-888-7592 or by email ([email protected]).
We are grateful to the Baptist Foundation for providing funding to support the initial development of CBTL. We are celebrating its inauguration on November 3-4, 2011 by having Dr. Douglas Moo, Blanchard Professor of New Testament, Wheaton Graduate School, and Chair of the Committee on Bible Translation which oversees revisions to the New International Version. We will be posting several videoed presentations by Dr. Moo after November 15, which you will be able to view by clicking “Resources > > Videos” on this website.