As I watched, I thought of a different trend I and others have witnessed in evangelical churches during the past decade: I have seen the Bible given a less important place than it deserves in public worship. For example, my wife attended a service in the Midwest in which no Bible reading of any kind was a part of worship, and the preacher himself made casual mention of Scripture only a couple of minutes before the end of his sermon. My wife wondered if anyone else had noticed this glaring omission.
An isolated case? A minister friend on vacation attended a congregation that advertised itself on the front lawn as a "Bible church." He was surprised that at no time was the Bible read except for a few verses before the pastor preached. While speaking to a denominationally diverse class at Northeastern Seminary in Rochester, New York, I asked, "How many of you lead or attend a church where there is no separate Scripture reading as an act of worship?" Nine of the 19 raised their hands.
The first time I heard this trend explained several years ago, I was told that our worship services should ...1