I'm almost finished with Brian McLaren's book, The Church on the Other Side. I don't like everything inside, and I would only recommend it thoughtfully. But I have tried to pull out quotes here and there that I thought properly challenged current church practice and thought. Here's another one of those.
What did our churches become in modernity but places of Bible exposition (aka objective textual analysis)? What was the ticket to spiritual leadership if not Bible scholarship (that is, credentials certifying our competence at applying modern analytical tools to Bible study)? If our churches leaned to the liberal side, we tended to reduce the Bible to nothing but myths, and if they leaned to the conservative, we tended to reduce it to nothing but propositions, principles, abstractions, doctrines.
Can you see how for maybe four hundred years this could remain interesting and engaging, but after five hundred, our culture would be ready for a new approach...something less reductionistic, something more holistic and maybe even mysterious?
I would love to hear some reaction to this, especially from people who are like me who think that expositional preaching is the heart of all good preaching (whether narrative, doctrinal, etc).