Kevan, with all due respect, I don’t agree with you that the average Christian today could pick up a piece of writing and know that it is a heretical forgery.
I’ll be 50 next week, and I was born and raised evangelical Protestant. I converted to Catholicism in 2004.
I agree, there was a time when Christians, especially evangelicals, knew their Bibles and had a good working knowledge of Christian doctrine and systematic theology. I remember taking classes at my Conference Baptist church in systematic theology when I was just a TEENAGER. Before I was 18, I had read through the entire Bible several times, and throughout college, I participated in many inductive Bible studies in churches and in on-campus Christian groups.
But this isn’t the case nowadays. Christians, even Protestants, simply don’t study their Bibles and even less study theology and doctrine.
It’s not “fun.” It doesn’t "entertain.
They attend Bible studies, which are often topical (marriage, worldview, parenting, divorce, etc.) Or they listen to preachers and teachers who go through the Bible verse by verse, but few Christians stick around a church long enough for the preacher/teacher to make it through the entire Bible.
And they listen to music. Oh, do they listen to music.
When my family was still Protestant, we attended an Evangelical Free Church. My daughter was a leader in the youth group. The youth group did a lot of socials, and their “classes” consisted of discussions (not teaching) about sex, movies, and music. They also did small groups, which were topical studies mainly about sex, movies, and music.
During a planning meeting, my daughter asked the youth pastor if they could have a “Bible study,” perhaps on one of the Old Testament prophets.
The youth pastor told her that no one would come. He said they had to keep the youth interested in coming by discussing current topics; e.g., sex, music, and movies.
If she had not dug into the Bible for herself and done a three-year survey course through the mail, she wouldn’t have learned a THING about the Bible or Christianity in that youth group.
On one of the Protestant forums that I participate in, the question was asked, “Have you ever read the Bible through?” Only a few people answered yes. Most admitted that they hadn’t ever read the entire New Testament through!
I was shocked. After all, if you are going to base your life on the sole authority of the Bible, shouldn’t you at least READ it?
Anyway, I’ve seen surveys and reports about the lack of Bible knowledge among evangelical Christians that are very discouraging. Some evangelicals can’t even identify books, characters, and stories from the Old Testament, even familiar things like David and Daniel, let alone Jael and Sisera!
SO–IMO, if I were to present a Christian with passages from various Old Testament books, including the Deutero-canonicals (called “Apocrypha” by most Protestants), and also passages from various “religious” non-Christian books (Book of Mormon, Koran, sayings of Confucius, etc.) I will bet you cash that most of them couldn’t tell me which verses were from “canonical” Protestant Scriptures, and which are not.
I think that’s one reason why so many Christians, both Protestant and Catholic, fall away from faith. They don’t really know their faith, especially the Bible, and they’re easy pickin’s for heretics and smooth-sounding con artists or even Satan himself.
It’s sad that Christians are so ignorant of the Scriptures and of orthodox Christian doctrine.
By the way, when my daughter was a Senior in high school (in 2000), she stood up during one of the planning meetings of that Evangelical Free Church youth group, and told the pastor and other teenagers, “I’m leaving. All you’re interested in is having a good time. If you ever decide to get serious about Jesus, call me.”
They never called her. And she is planning to enter RCIA this year.