Tackling Bible Ignorance in New Zealand

New Research shows New Zealand's children are uninformed of the central stories in the Bible.

When asked to name one story or passage from the Bible, only fifty-four percent of Kiwi kids were able to do so, compared with ninety-one percent of United Kingdom children. Only sixty-nine percent of New Zealand children were able to name five Bible characters, compared with eighty-eight percent of UK respondents.

Chief executive of the Bible Society in New Zealand Colin Reed warned, “A biblically illiterate young generation today is an inevitable forerunner of an increasingly secular society tomorrow.”

Jill Kayser of the “kids friendly initiative” of the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand (PCANZ) made a plea for church members to improve their children's knowledge. A 2004 Church Life Survey found that only twenty-one percent of members of any denomination, excluding Bretherens, read the Bible daily.

Kayser believes the reduction in religious education in schools is a significant contributor to Kiwi kids' lack of Bible knowledge. “School boards and principals have become hyper-sensitive to offering anything religious or Christian in their school programme for fear of rocking the boat,” she added.

The CWM-member PCANZ supported the survey, along with the Bible Society in New Zealand, the Churches Education Commission, Scripture Union and Children's Bible Ministries.

To learn more: www.presbyterian.org.nz/3669.0.html and www.cwmission.org.uk/news/view_news.cfm?FeatureID=2726