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A few slave masters taught slaves to read, but most believed reading skills were useless, if not dangerous. They thought literacy would make slaves more difficult to control, and more likely to run away. Keeping people from knowing and growing academically or in knowing the Bible contradicts the clear mandate of the Gospel. God wants every person to know Him. Fostering literacy not only expands human capacity to survive and thrive in the world; more importantly, it enables people to know God’s will that they can read in the Bible. The Bible clearly teaches that God extends salvation to everyone. Peter stressed that when—in Acts Chapter 2—he quoted from the writing of the prophet Joel. He wrote that God would pour out His Spirit upon all flesh—giving everyone access to the benefits of Christ’s atoning sacrifice. He also included Joel’s statement that God would save everyone who calls on the name of the Lord. Later, on the rooftop of Simon the Tanner, God reaffirmed to Peter that both Jews and Gentiles both have equal access to God. God accepts all people, so we must not let cultural bias, racial and class differences prevent us from welcoming all into the church fellowship. The church is not a social club for the few; it is a public square for all who profess faith in Jesus Christ.

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