I hate to post too much from Michael Spencer, but lately he’s had a lot of good things to say. He recently has begun a series looking at various forms of liturgy in use in churches we normally think of as non-liturgical. From #8 in the series:
In many evangelical churches, particularly those of a more contemporary flavor, public reading of the Bible is avoided. Scripture will be scattered across a few song lyrics and inserted as point prompts or proof texts in the sermon. There will be no scripture lessons, no reading of scripture outside of the use of scripture in some function of the service and no sense that extended scripture reading is a high and worthy use of time in worship.
Ironically, it will be the liturgical church and its scripture saturated service that will be called “liberal” by the Bible-waving, but not Bible reading evangelical church. Declarations of confidence in the Bible as the inerrant Word of God will dwell in puzzling juxtaposition with worship services where the most scripture encountered is in popcorned bits projected between film clips and other visuals.
It’s a point I have made here more than once. Those who claim they have the highest view of scripture (innerancy) certainly don’t act like it’s holy, and often the pastor plays fast and loose with his use of it.
Spencer’s goal, however, is to take a positive (or at least neutral) look at the various elements that can make up a standard evangelical worship service, which should prove interesting. You can see the into to the series here.
I have discussed with my wife and a few others the relative value of including more liturgical elements in evangelical worship. While there are benefits, I do question whether adding form – even Scripture reading – bridges the gap between traditionally non-liturgical and liturgical churches, if there is no theological foundation for it. It’s a question I haven’t answered yet.