Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Yawning at the Bible in Worship

There is a startling trend taking place in today’s churches where the Bible is not being used much at all during worship services. Mark Galli, the senior managing editor of Christianity Today in an essay entitled "Yawning at the Word,” wrote, "It is well and good for the preacher to base his sermon on the Bible, but he better get to something relevant pretty quickly, or we start mentally to check out." That stunningly clear sentence reflects one of the most amazing and lamentable characteristics of this trend in our churches - an impatience with the Word of God.

Galli was told to cut down on the biblical references in his sermon. "You'll lose people," the staff member warned. In a Bible study session on creation, the teacher was requested to come back the next Sunday prepared to take questions at the expense of reading the relevant Bible verses on the doctrine. Cutting down on the number of Bible verses "would save time and, it was strongly implied, would better hold people's interest."

As Galli reflected, "Anyone who's been in the preaching and teaching business knows these are not isolated examples but represent the larger reality."

Indeed, in many churches there is very little reading of the Bible in worship, and sermons are marked by attention to the congregation's concerns - not by an adequate attention to the biblical text. The preaching of the Bible has given way to the concerns, real or perceived, of the listeners. The authority and importance of the Bible is being swallowed up by the authority of congregational concerns.

Galli has this situation clearly in his sights when he asserts that many congregations expect the preacher to start from some text in the Bible, but then quickly move on "to things that really interest us." Like . . . ourselves?”

How can so many of today's churches demonstrate what can only be described as impatience with the Word of God? The biblical formula is clear -- the neglect of the Word can only lead to disaster, disobedience, and death. God rescues his church from error, preserves his church in truth, and propels his church in witness only by his Word.

In the end, an impatience with the Word of God can be explained only by an impatience with God himself. We -- both individually and congregationally -- neglect God's Word to our own ruin.

May we grow in our desire to hear God’s word in our worship – read, explained, and applied!

- Bro. Dave

You can read the Christianity Today Article by clicking here. 

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