WASHINGTON — Christian apologist Jason Jimenez argued Saturday that the church in America is "biblically illiterate" and Christians only have themselves to blame for being silenced in the political arena.
Jimenez, a pastor, author and apologist for Stand Strong Ministries and who tours the country teaching Christians how to stand up for their biblical views on marriage, abortion and other political issues, told attendees of a panel discussion at the Faith & Freedom Coalition's 2016 "Road to Majority" conference that there is a troubling trend of Christians who don't read the Bible and don't stand up for Christian principles in the public square.
"The church in America, we are biblically illiterate. We revere the Bible. The average home in America owns four bibles, if you are not including the devices that we have. Yet, we don't read the Bible," Jimenez explained. "We can talk about all these issues and I am sure we will talk about some of them but the biggest issue is that we have a whole nation of Christians that are biblically illiterate."
It is not just millennials and lay Christians that Jimenez says are biblically illiterate. He asserted that many pastors and church leaders also lack a true Christian worldview.
When President Barack Obama took office in 2009 and began pushing policies that concerned conservative Christians, Jimenez explained that he brought up his concerns to a number of pastors and church leaders throughout the country. However, he says he received very little enthusiasm from pastors about churches pushing back to politically defend the Christian worldview.
"Like many of you, when Obama came into office, I began to put a lot of my thoughts and questions and challenges through the years [to pastors] and was getting very little support back from even megachurches," he revealed. "A lot of the ministers that I was meeting with on a regular basis, they were themselves biblically illiterate. They lacked a worldview. That is not a putdown, that is a fact. A lot of them were actually scared and intimidated to jump into some of these issues because they didn't have an adequate response."
One way in which liberals, secularists and atheists attempt to censor people of faith in the public square is by pushing the idea that the separation of church and state is required under the First Amendment. Although the idea of separation of church and state is not written in the United States Constitution, Jimenez explained that he has noticed that some ministers have a certain level of apathy when it comes to defending religious freedom and the rights of Christians to have input on public policies.
As liberal activists and lawyers have increasingly attempted to infringe upon religious freedom rights of students, schools, organizations and other institutions through the judicial system, Jimenez recalled one time in which he met with a group of pastors in 2010 and brought up separation of church and state.
"Our senior pastor, who went to Dallas Theological Seminary, he looks at me and he says, 'We don't have time to discuss these types of issues. We got people in the hospital, people to bury and I have a sermon to write for Sunday,'" Jimenez recalled. "This is a massive, multi-million dollar church and we were doing nothing to fight for people's rights and protect unborn babies. Afterwards, I planned meetings with every single pastor and they all agreed with me but no one was doing anything about it."
While recalling a debate that he once had with David Silverman, the head of American Atheists, Jimenez added that neither atheists nor the Obama administration are to blame for the silencing of Christians in America. It is the Christians who are ignorant of their own religious freedoms who are too blame for being silenced.
"But with David Silverman, with as much as we oppose this guy and disagree with what he says, he has a right to say what he says but he says it with full force. [Atheists] are out there trying to convince people that there is no God and that Christians are to go home and go back into your churches," Jimenez argued. "And then Obama says 'You guys have a right to practice your religion in your houses of worship.' That is not the First Amendment. The First Amendment maintains your conscience, it maintains that you have a right to publicly display your religion and it needs to be accommodated, not interfered by the government. Not a place of worship on Sundays or Wednesday nights."
"I am sick and tired of Christians being ignorant," Jimenez emphasized. "Your First Amendment right permeates everything. But you know what Christians? It is not the David Silvermans that have silenced us, we have silenced ourselves because we have become quiet."