In a recent article Why So Many Churches Hear So Little of the Bible Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr. laments the decline of biblical authority in our churches. He writes, “Indeed, in many churches there is very little reading of the Bible in worship.”
For a country that was founded on biblical principles and the consensus of a Christian worldview, we have witnessed a rapid retreat from the acceptance of biblical authority as our rule for life, and a corresponding decline in biblical literacy. Is it fair to say this is because the reading of Scripture is no longer an integral part of most church worship services?
There was a time when Bible reading was an integral and important part of a Christian worship service. During the first fourteen hundred years of the Church Bibles were transcribed by hand making few available and for the common man unaffordable. The only access a poor man had to the Word of God was when it was read in church. That changed around 1439.
When Johann Gutenberg invented his printing press with movable type the ability to mass produce all sorts of written material exploded. Books that had been scarce and expensive became available and affordable. Chief among these was the Bible. The Gutenberg Bible rolled off the press around 1454 and was the first major book printed.
Technology has not slowed down. There is a Bible app available for smart phones with 39 English versions of the Scriptures, and it’s a free download. Talk about availability and affordability. I call it a “Bible on my belt.” There has never been a time in human history that the Word of God has been more available and affordable. So, if the Scriptures have slipped from their place of influence it is not because they are not being read in church, or their inaccessibility; they simply are not being read.
The lack of biblical literacy is apparent in the comments you hear or read. “My god would not do this” or “my god would do that,” and the list goes on. This god many speak of is the one they have fabricated in their own mind, a god they have imagined, because their god is nothing like the God who reveals Himself in the Bible. Instead of believing they are created in the image of God, they create a god in their image.
Moses declared, “Know therefore today, and take it to your heart, that the Lord, He is God in heaven above and on the earth below; there is no other,” Deuteronomy 4:39. The reason people worship the god of their imagination is because they have rejected the God of revelation, the God of the Bible. I agree with Dr. Mohler there has been a decline in biblical authority and literacy, but I think those who do not read God’s Word out of church, will not listen to it being read in church.