Biblical sermons

The conversation with the young woman was very nice as we shared adjacent tables at a local eatery. When I asked her what church community she was a part of, she shared that she was a part of the Catholic Church but is now a part of a "Bible Church".

Jokingly I said, "Really, I thought Catholics were a Bible Church?"

She did not get the joke at all and began to share with me that the priest never preached from the Bible on Sunday.

Not to discount her experience, I have a very difficult time buying into an idea that a Church that uses the Roman Mass and has at least four readings from the Bible is not preaching from the Bible.

Since this was Sunday, she pulled out her worship guide from earlier that morning and I saw the answer to the question I was pondering in my head.

There in the worship guide was a number of biblical citations in the pre-printed "sermon notes" section.

As I listened to her share her worship experience and faith journey, it became clear to me that a sermon or a Church is a "Biblical" if there are specific scripture citations. As long as the preacher teaches then can cite a specific biblical passage, then, from what I could gather, this young woman saw that as a "Biblical sermon."

Having a number of citations from the Bible is "Biblical" in the same way that a research paper is "fact checked" when it has encyclopedia (or in this age, Wikipedia) citations.

Here is the rub for me. This young woman was highly articulate and very clear and intelligent and yet she relied upon overt language to tell her that a sermon (or a church) is "Biblical".

Is this what is has come to? Do we only know if something is Gospel or Biblical if there is a verse citation next to it? Is this why there are posters in which we take a scene from nature and then put a bible verse next to it. Do Christians not know something is Biblical or Gospel or Good News or of God without a citation next to it?

Do we not know all churches are Bible Churches unless the sign out front says so?

All joking aside, I think there is an issue in our Churches if we are not able to hear a teaching and without the use of Biblical citations hear the Biblical witness.  Heck Jesus did not cite any of his scripture yet we call his message Gospel.

Can we hear a sermon/teaching or attend a worship and critically engage in it to the point that we can hear the Biblical witness even if not one citation is made?

Let those who have ears hear.