Monday, March 22, 2010

The Mother Of Devotion

"Ignorance is the mother of devotion."
- an old Catholic axiom

In the early days of the Reformation, as the Bible began to be published in the language of the common man, there were debates between Protestants and Catholics over that very issue. The Roman Catholic church wanted its adherents ignorant and in the dark. It felt that only ordained clergy could adequately interpret Scripture, and so the Bible was not made available and the liturgy was in Latin, a language that almost no one outside of the clergy understood. There was a real belief that true devotion to God was not based on knowledge, and that ignorance among the church's masses actually increased devotion to God.

Men and women died for the belief that ignorance is not the mother of devotion, but that knowledge of the Scriptures was necessary for devotion to God. William Tyndale, the first person to print the New Testament in English, was strangled and burned at the stake for his refusal to believe that ignorance is the mother of devotion.

Sadly, many modern evangelicals seem to continue to live by the creed of ignorance. Surveys reveal that few are dedicated to the study of the Scripture or theology. Some go so far as to say things like, "I don't need to know all of that. I like to keep my faith simple." Failing to study Scripture doesn't keep our faith simple. It keeps it shallow, and there is no place in Scripture that supports the belief that our devotion to God is deepened by a shallow knowledge of Him. They say it's not what you know, but who you know. Well, it is also what you know about who you know that matters.