The Gospel Coalition has announced the launch of The Carson Center for Theological Renewal, a new initiative aimed at combating biblical illiteracy and countering “unhelpful” and “heretical” modern teachings.
Collin Hansen, editor-in-chief of The Gospel Coalition, said the initiative, which launched this week, will foster spiritual renewal around the world “by providing excellent theological resources for the whole church—for anyone called to teach and anyone who wants to study the Bible.” The center is named after TGC co-founder Don Carson.
“Around the world today, biblical illiteracy inhibits spiritual depth—not just in the shrinking church of the West but even in the growing churches of the South and East. But there’s no spiritual renewal without returning to Scripture. And while the internet offers unprecedented access to the Bible, many of the most widely used resources for studying God’s Word are unhelpful at best or heretical at worst,” Hansen said.
According to Hansen, the initiative equips Bible study leaders and group facilitators to answer challenging questions using a quick smartphone search. It also offers free theological journals, academic books and complimentary resources covering hundreds of theological topics and books for instructors without formal training.
In the coming years, the Carson Center will produce and distribute a multi-resource, digital-first collection designed to serve church leaders around the world, collect and distribute a wide range of biblical and theological material, and cultivate a select group of fellows that will produce resources to serve the next generation of church teachers.
“The Carson Center prepares the soil of theological renewal by planting resources that help Bible teachers and students grow into maturity,” Hansen said.
According to the American Bible Society’s “State of the Bible 2023,” over the last three years, there has been a steady decline among young people engaging with Scripture.
In a 2019 interview with The Christian Post, Carson weighed in on the importance of family devotions and prayer time to instill in children the fundamentals of the faith at an early age amid growing biblical illiteracy.
“I think that it's important to give them good things to read, to submit them while they're young to good literature, to learn the Bible and family devotions when they're young,” he said. “I find it shocking how many Christian families have no family devotions.”
“Consistency is really helpful,” he added. “Parents must live lives consistent with what they teach. There's nothing that turns kids off faster than a fraud, a phony, a counterfeit.”
“Somewhere along the line, show kids your interest in the poor and the broken. Take kids on short-term missions, not just send them, take them with you so that they can see your interest in commitment in more than white, upper-middle-class suburbia.”
In February, TGC launched the Keller Center for Cultural Apologetics, an initiative designed to help pastors, young people and other Christian leaders adapt to a "post-Christendom culture."
Inspired by the legacy of the late TGC co-founder, Tim Keller, The Keller Center has the stated aim of raising and supporting "a new generation of bold evangelists and effective apologists who will communicate the unchanging Gospel for a changing world."
Many younger people are leaving Evangelical churches partly because the Church doesn't know how to "protect our own young people from the narrative and arguments and messages of our secular culture," Keller said at the time.
Training in apologetics will also help strengthen the faith of younger Christians, he said.
"The Keller Center will not just do evangelism; it'll do formation," he said. "I think it also, 20 years from now, hopefully, it'll close that back door so that more young people are coming into the Church than are leaving. And that's our hope for what change and difference the Keller Center could make to the Church."
Leah M. Klett is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org