For many of us, the encounter with Scripture is limited to the excerpts that are read on Sunday morning. Many of us—and many of our neighbors—are biblically illiterate, unsure of how to engage Scripture. Many of us are unaware of the rich Lutheran insights that have been helpful in understanding the many ways that God engages us through the Bible. The challenge of Book of Faith is to address these realities directly and to experience more fully the power of the Word.
The 2005 North Carolina Synod Assembly endorsed a memorial from the Philadelphia Evangelical Lutheran Church in Dallas, NC asking that the ELCA encourage the development of an “ongoing effort to address issues surrounding the authority of Scripture.” Read the memorial. This memorial inspired the ELCA Church Council to present a resolution to the 2007 Churchwide Assembly that called upon:
“members, congregations, synods, church-wide ministries, and institutions and agencies of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America to engage in a five-year collaborative initiative with the goal of raising to a new level this church's individual and collective engagement with the Bible and its teaching, yielding greater biblical fluency and a more profound appreciation of Lutheran principles and approaches for the use of Scripture.”.
In response, the ELCA launched the Book of Faith Initiative, a five-year collaborative effort which began in 2008 and leads up to the ELCA's 25th anniversary in 2012. [Used by permission from the North Carolina Synod website].
ELCA Church Council Proposal
ELCA Assembly Affirms 'Book of Faith' Bible-Study Initiative (news release)
ELCA Council Commends Renewal Initiative Focused on the Bible (news release)
"The Living Power of Scripture in the Midst of Change" by Dr. Diane L. Jacobson
Scriptural Theology and the ELCA: Challenges and Resources by Dr. Erik M. Heen
The Book of Faith Initiative encourages and enables deeper and broader conversation about Scripture at the grassroots level. The Book of Faith Initiative is an invitation to do what we have always claimed we do: read, study, reflect, and meditate upon the Bible together. Book of Faith is designed to initiate a conversation in your setting about how to get people to do what the tag line says: Open Scripture and Join the Conversation.
…a top-down, curriculum-based approach
…a program, a course, a kit, a method or a technique
…only for adults
…asking all congregations to adopt a specific Bible study curriculum
There is no one way to implement the Book of Faith initiative.
Click here to download an introductory document about the Book of Faith Initiative.