It seems that we, the American church, have lost ourselves.
Where once we stood strong in the Reformation cry of “Sola Scriptura! — Scripture alone!” we now bend to the world’s whisper of “Scripture and…” By this I mean that we have abandoned our high view of the Bible as God’s self-revelation for any of a number of far inferior positions. The Bible has become a book of morals, or examples, or a road-map — “Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth.” But, as a whole, we do not value the Scriptures as the very breath of God that they are.
Examples of this are everywhere; it would be a simple matter to explore the extremes. I contest, however, that the most rank and vile example of the low view of Scripture is in the way the modern American church handles the Word of God in their service.
“Pastors” exposit movies, popular authors teach from their own books rather than the Bible, and when the Bible is referenced is as a “proof text” for a preconceived concept the pastor wants to convince his congregation of. Why are we so ashamed of the Bible? Why do we mix so readily with the world, adopting whatever pragmatic approach will “reach” the most people? If you have to entertain people to get them into church, you’re going to have to entertain people to keep them there. Instead of striving to entertain, why don’t we strive to exhort and build up disciples by rebuking sin with the word of God? Do you want to see true spiritual growth? Read the unvarnished Scriptures to your church. Nothing more.
Paul said that the Gospel was the power of God to the salvation of them that believed, and because of this, he was not ashamed of it. All of our efforts will surely fail; can we not simply have the faith that God’s word will accomplish what He says it will? We must find our strength and our hope in the Scriptures. We must live as people of the book.