Ours is a religion of a book. No other religion, although Islam comes close, is so dependent on written words as Protestant Christianity. “It is written,” was our Lord’s defense against the image of the kingdoms of the world that Satan offered Him in exchange for homage. But how does a religion of a book survive in the age of the videocassette? How can churches hold the attention on Sunday morning of people who have been fed with thousands of spliced images throughout the week? Sermons must compare to sit-coms. They must be witty and light and contain a moral. How different is this from the image-centered medieval church? See if Calvin’s characterization hits home:
Nay, what one sermon was there from which old wives might not carry off more whimsies than they could devise at their own fireside in a month? For as sermons were then usually divided, the first half was devoted to those misty questions of the schools which might astonish the rude populace, while the second contained sweet stories, or not unamusing speculations, by which the hearers might be kept on the alert. Only a few expressions were thrown in from the Word of God, that by their majesty they might procure credit for these frivolities. . . And here a very wide field for exposing your ignorance opens upon me, since, in matters of religious controversy, all that you leave to the faithful is to shut their won eyes, and to submit implicitly to their teachers. . . Hence, I observer, [Cardinal] Sadoleto, that you have too indolent a theology, as is almost always the case with those who have never had experience in serious struggles of consistence.
LEB: I have found this to be an excellent book and though only part way through it, would give it a strong recommendation. Its been an “A” to this point (page 86).