But they also have erred through wine, and through strong drink are out of the way; the priest and the prophet have erred through strong drink, they are swallowed up of wine, they are out of the way through strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble in judgment. For all tables are full of vomit and filthiness, so that there is no place clean. Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little: for with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people. To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing; yet they would not hear. But the word of the Lord was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line: here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.
We worship the God revealed in Scriptures and not the Scriptures. We venerate the Scriptures; but worship of the Scriptures is bibliolatry, something Israel was evidently guilty of, especially the Pharisees. How is a blind faith in "expository teaching" any different?
Expository teaching justifies the sermon, and the sermon justifies the clergy system.
It is not that explaining the Scriptures is bad. Expounding is explaining, and explaining is teaching. But "expository teaching" is an institution in the churches whereby the Word of God becomes "line upon line," and "precept upon precept." The Word of God has been reduced to a series of verses to be taught Sunday after Sunday.
According to Ephesians 4, the apostles, prophets, evangelists, and pastors and teachers are given the churches "for the perfecting of the saints." These perfected saints are thus equipped "for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ." But I am interested in the first clause now. The apostles' and prophets' work was once and for all accomplished in the New Testament canon. The evangelists' work is accomplished in every believer. This leaves the pastors and teachers to realize the perfecting of the saints. (Perfection here means spiritual maturity.)
It is assumed in Ephesians 4 that the saints will be perfected in order to accomplish the work of the ministry. This is Christ's design for His church. In which case the people would no longer need the Word of God explained to them every Sunday morning. Rather, they would minister to one another as indicated in Romans 12:3-8.
However under the unspoken tenets of clericalism the idea that the people should minister to one another–and are ever at any point in their spiritual growth even capable of ministering to one another–is spiritual presumption. "It is not for us, Lord, to presume to have understanding such that we can minister to one another on Sunday morning. Far be it from us, Lord!" Thus the priesthood is denied and in place of this is substituted the precepts of the world–"Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!" For "far be it from us, Lord, to presume to handle your Word. Far be it from us, Lord, to presume to crack open your Book and teach from it!" The "laity" cannot even touch the Book! Except, of course, for the rest of the week, and in private. For this reason I say the "clergy/laity" division of the church was not so much an act of usurpation by the clergy as it was a demand by the laity. The "laity" clamored for a "clergy class."
And Israel clamored for a king.
I am sure many expository teachers teach some fine things on Sunday mornings. I am also quite sure that the people are content to always learn, and never come to a sufficient understanding of the Word of truth to do some of the heavy lifting themselves. "Always learning, never perfected" because, "Lord, far be it from me to presume to be perfected. Far be it from me to presume to be a grown-up in Christ equipped for grown-up work in the church." Though "for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat." Heb. 5:12.
No doubt Hebrews 5:12-14 has been expounded upon many times in the churches on Sunday mornings. And nothing changes, for it is "line upon line," and "precept upon precept." Next Sunday it will be Hebrews 6 (pick the number of verses) that is expounded.
If expository teaching actually accomplished what it is supposed to accomplish, the expository teacher would soon find himself out of work, and the saints would assemble on Sunday mornings in order to encourage one another, and all the more as they see the Day approaching.