How Did Christianity
Become SO Paganized?
Lorraine Day, M.D.
Every Sunday, “Christians” gather the family together, go to a church, sing, pray, often participate in responsive readings, give an offering, listen to a sermon by the pastor who may wear special vestments, and after an hour or so, go home, believing they have worshiped the Lord in the Biblical way.
“Christian” psychologists counsel their patients to “find a good church” or “find a mentor in your church to hold you accountable” or “talk to your pastor.” Very rarely do they tell them. “Turn to God. Diligently study your Bible every day. Get down on your knees and pray and the LORD will lead you into truth. The LORD will be your Counselor directly.
Oh yes, they give lip service to the Lord’s ability by saying “It’s good to pray to ask the Lord for guidance.” But the REAL guidance seems always to come from “man.” “See your doctor,” “Find a Christian counselor,” “Find a Christian psychologist.”
The implication is that God is unable to communicate with us directly, He always needs an intermediary. That’s exactly what the Israelites wanted at Mt. Sinai when God wanted to talk to them directly. They were afraid of God and did not want Him personally to talk to them. They pleaded for Moses to be their intermediary and God finally gave them their wish by setting up the whole sanctuary service with its priestly rituals. (Exodus, Chapters 25-30)
But when Jesus came to earth and died on the cross, the Temple curtain was ripped from top to bottom signifying that the ritual of human priestly mediation between God and man was OVER! From then on, we were to approach Jesus directly, one on one, without any human intermediary. In the Upper Room, God poured out His Spirit (literal translation “Breath of holiness”) on those present symbolizing Christ’s authority to put His disposition, His life, His “breath of holiness” into each person who develops a close relationship with Him.
By beholding Christ, we become changed. (2 Cor 3:18) By daily reading His Word, by daily earnest prayer, by speaking to God like we would to our own father, by looking constantly at Christ’s life, eventually we will become like Him. He will put His “breath of holiness” in us - - - and we will exhibit His character.
Jesus said, “Be ye holy, for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:16)
“Let this mind be in you which is in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 2:5)
“I will put my breath (mistranslated spirit) in you.” (Ezekiel 36:27)
But instead of all this, we “go to church.”
“As startling as it may sound most everything that is done in our modern churches has no basis in the Bible. As pastors roar from their pulpits about being ‘Biblical’ and following the ‘pure Word of God,’ their words betray them. Alarmingly, precious little that is observed today in modern Christianity maps to anything found in the first-century church. . .
“Shockingly, most of what we do for ‘church’ was lifted directly out of pagan culture in the post-apostolic period. . . If you are a Christian in the institutional church who takes the New Testament seriously, what you are about to read will force you to have a crisis of conscience. For you will be confronted by unmovable historical fact.
“On the other hand, if you happen to be one of those rare breeds who gathers with other Christians outside the pale of organized Christianity, you will discover afresh that not only is Scripture on your sidebut history stands with you as well.” Pagan Christianity, Frank Viola, p 27-29
Sunday as the Day of Worship
The day of worship designated by God is the Seventh-day Sabbath. Instituted at Creation by God Himself, given to Adam and Eve - the parents of the whole human race, and made HOLY by the blessing of God, our Creator.
The Seventh-day Sabbath is NOT Jewish because neither God nor Adam and Eve are/were Jewish.
The Seventh-day Sabbath was made HOLY by God. No man can change the HOLY designation from one day to another.
God Himself wrote the Ten Commandments with His own finger - - in STONE! The Fourth Commandment tells us,
“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour and do all thy work; but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God. . .For in six days the Lord made the heaven and earth and the sea and all that in them is, and rested on the seventh day: wherefore the Lord BLESSED the Sabbath day, and MADE IT HOLY.” Exodus 20:8-11
Jesus did NOT “do away with” the Ten Commandments at the Cross. Christians who believe He did, always hang on to NINE of the commandments. The only one they want to eliminate is the Fourth Commandment the Sabbath Commandment.
The words “first day of the week” and the word “Sunday” do NOT appear anywhere in the Scriptures, including the New Testament. The word is always Sabbaton in the Greek, meaning the Seventh-day SabbathSaturday in our modern calendar. The Bible translators translate the word “Sabbath” or “First day of the week” at their whim and to suit their preconceived theological beliefs.
Jesus was NOT resurrected on Sunday, as the Bible translators have made it to appear. He was resurrected on the Sabbath. (See “Was Jesus Really Resurrected on Sunday?”)
Sunday is NOT “The Lord’s Day.” The Seventh-day Sabbath is “The Lord’s Day.” Jesus said, “The Son of Man is also LORD of the Sabbath.”
Jesus was NOT a Jew. (See “Who is Israel? Who is the Church?”) Jesus was/is God - and God is NOT “Jewish!”
When Jesus was on earth, He worshiped on the Seventh-day Sabbath. After His resurrection and ascension to heaven, His apostles also continued to worship on the Seventh-day Sabbath. During Christ’s entire earthly ministry and after He was resurrected, never once did
Sunday worship is purely pagan as it venerates the Sun God. The Sun the creation is worshiped rather than the Creator! The Sun is worshiped by New Agers and witches, but should never be worshiped by Christians!
Emperor Constantine ceremonially established Sunday as the day of worship in 321 A.D. as he inculcated Paganism into Christianity to build unity in his empire.
It is true that before the era of Constantine many Christians were already worshiping on Sunday, particularly “Gentile” Christians. The Jews of that era were rebelling frequently against the empire, leading to crack-downs by the government. Non-Jew Christians often were being caught in the cross-fire, mistaken for Jews because they worshiped on the Seventh-day Sabbath.
In order to avoid persecution by the government, “Gentile” Christians decided to separate themselves from the Jews by worshiping on a different day. They chose Sunday, a day that would bring no persecution on them because it was endorsed by the pagan government.
History often records the Christian conversion of Emperor Constantine but many skeptics doubt the depth of his commitment. In fact, Constantine was not a Christian at all as he openly continued to worship the Pagan Sun God for the rest of his life. “Almost to his dying day, Constantine ‘still functioned as the high priest of paganism.’ In fact, he retained the pagan title Pontifex Maximus, which means Chief of the pagan priests! (In the 15th century, this same title became the honorific title for the Catholic Pope!) Pagan Christianity p 109
After the era of Constantine, the Catholic Church endorsed Sunday “Sacredness”, often boasting of their “right” to change the solemnity of the Seventh-day Sabbath to the first day of the week. Claiming to be “God on earth”, the Pope claims the authority to change the Word of God. This of course, is blasphemy!
The Catholic Church sneers at the Protestants who claim to have separated from the Catholics in the Reformation. “What are the Protestants protesting?” ask the Pope, cardinals and bishops, “The Protestants, by keeping Sunday as their holy day, have endorsed OUR right to change the Scriptures, to put tradition above the Bible, while they claim to accept the Bible and the Bible only for doctrine.”
The Order of Worship
Whether you are a Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Evangelical, Church of Christ, Pentecostal, Lutheran, Seventh-day Adventist, or a member of any other Protestant denomination, the Order of Worship, except for some minor superficial alterations, is pretty much the same:
Prayer or Scripture Reading
The Song Service
One or more of the following: altar call, more singing, the Lord’s Supper, or another prayer
With some minor rearrangements, almost 350 million Protestants around the world observe this liturgy week after week.
Where did the Protestant Order of Worship come from?
It has its basic roots in the Catholic Mass. (Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church: Volume 3, Michigan: Eerdmans, 1910, p. 505). The Catholic Mass did not originate with the New Testament, but instead, grew out of ancient Judaism and paganism. (Frank Senn, Christian Liturgy: Catholic and Evangelical, Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1997, p. 54)
Historian Will Durant points out that the Mass was deeply steeped in pagan magical thinking as well as Greek drama. (Will Durant, The Age of Faith, New York: Simon & Schuster, 1950, pp 521-524.)
“The Catholic Mass that developed out of the fourth through sixth centuries was essentially pagan. The Christians stole from the pagans the vestments of the pagan priests, the use of incense and holy water in purification rites, the burning of candles in worship, the architecture of the Roman basilica for their church buildings, the law of Rome as the basis of ‘canon law,’ the title Pontifex Maximus for the head bishop, and the pagan rituals for the Catholic Mass.” (Frank Viola, Pagan Christianity p. 40)
When Luther launched the Reformation in 1520, he railed against the Catholic Mass. “To the medieval Catholic mind, the offering of the Eucharist was the re-sacrificing of Jesus Christ. As far back as Gregory the Great (540-604) the Catholic church taught that Jesus Christ is sacrificed anew through the Mass. . . More recently, Catholic theologians (for the past 70 years) have said that the Mass is a re-presentation of the one sacrifice rather than a new sacrifice as did the medieval Catholic Church.” Ibid p 42
The altar for the Mass and the Eucharist was the central focus of the Catholic service. But Luther gets the credit for making the sermon the climax of the Protestant service. Read his words:
A Christian congregation should never gather together without the preaching of God’s Word and prayer, no matter how briefly”. . . “The preaching and teaching of God’s Word is the most important part of Divine service.” Concerning the Order of Public Worship, and “The German Mass” from Luther’s Works, LIII, pp. 11 and 68, respectively.
The Christian church today agrees with Luther’s belief in the centrality of preaching, “yet it has no Biblical precedent whatsoever.” Frank Viola, Rethinking the Wineskin, Chapter 1.
Luther’s liturgy varied little from the Catholic Mass, and in the end was nothing more than a truncated version of it. Under Luther’s influence, the Protestant pastor simply replaced the Catholic priest.
“One further practice that the Reformers retained from the Mass was the practice of the clergy walking to their allotted seats at the beginning of the service while the people stood singing. This practice started in the fourth century when the bishops walked into their magnificent basilica churches. It was a practice copied straight from the pagan imperial court ceremony. When the Roman magistrates entered into the court room, the people would stand singing. This practice is still observed today in many Protestant churches. Yet no one ever questions it.” Pagan Christianity p 50
Without a Sermon, most people feel like they didn’t go to church. The Sermon is the bedrock of the service. But the sermon actually detracts from the very purpose for which God designed the church gathering. Here is the explanation:
“The modern Christian sermon has the following features:
- It is a regular occurrence delivered faithfully from the pulpit at least once a week
- It is delivered by the same person typically the pastor
- It is delivered to a passive audience; it is essentially a monologue
- It is a cultivated form of speech, possessing a specific structure. It typically contains an introduction, three to five points, and a conclusion.
Whereas the kind of preaching mentioned in the Bible, particularly the Old Testament preaching and teaching, contained the following characteristics:
- Active participation and interruptions by the audience were common
- They spoke extemporaneously and out of a present burden, rather than from a set script.
- There is no indication that Old Testament prophets or priests gave regular speeches to God’s people. Instead, the nature of Old Testament preaching was sporadic, fluid, and open for audience participation.” Ibid p 77
From Where did the Christian Sermon Come?
The Christian sermon was borrowed straight from the pagan pool of Greek culture! In the fifth century B.C. a group of wandering teachers called sophists invented rhetoric (the art of persuasive speaking). “They recruited disciples and demanded payment for delivering their orations. The sophists were expert debaters. They were masters at using emotional appeals, physical appearance, and clever language to ‘sell’ their arguments” Ibid. p 79
Subsequently, many pagan orators became Christians and pagan philosophical ideas unwittingly infiltrated into the Christian community. “Thus the pagan notion of a trained professional speaker who delivers orations for a fee moved straight into the Christian bloodstream.” Ibid p 82 As organization of the church increased, there came a gradual restriction of the liberty of addressing the community, to the official class. Eventually, only those who were trained were allowed to address the assembly and the clergy-laity distinction began widening at breakneck speed.
One scholar has said, “The greatness of the orator took the place of the astounding event of Jesus Christ. And the dialogue between speaker and listener faded into a monologue.” Wayne E. Oates, Protestant Pastoral Counseling (Philadelphia: Westminster Press). 1962, p. 162.
In a word, the Greco-Roman sermon replaced prophesying, open sharing, and Spirit-inspired teaching. Ibid p. 107
As early as the third century, Christians called their sermons by the same name that Greek orators called their discourses. They called them homilies. Today, one can take a seminary course called homiletics to learn how to preach. The influence of Greek Ideas, p. 109 Yngve Brilioth, A Brief History of Preaching, (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1065).
Sermonizing harms the church because it is a one-way affair. The preacher is separated from the congregation by space and usually height. His pulpit is elevated above the passive people in the pews. No one can ask questions. It is inconvenient, out of place and considered a rude interruption. Instead of the congregation being actively involved, it sits passively and motionless, thus stalemating spiritual growth.
In addition, the sermon makes the preacher the religious specialist and confirms the unbiblical role of the clergy.
“How can a Christian passively sit in a pew and affirm the priesthood of all believers when he is passively sitting in a pew!?” How can a Protestant Christian claim sola Scriptura (‘by the Scripture only’) and still support the pulpit Sermon?” Pagan Christianity, p 93
The Church Building
Nowhere in the Bible does God make provision for His followers to come together in a building built solely for worship services, to hear a sermon preached. When the Israelites in the wilderness at Mt. Sinai, pleaded for a human intermediary rather than allowing God to talk to them directly, God set up the sanctuary service. But neither in the sanctuary in the wilderness, nor in the Temple in Jerusalem, did God provide for the people to come inside a designated building to hear a sermon preached.
Both in the sanctuary in the wilderness and the Temple in Jerusalem, God’s rule was that only the priests could enter, not the people. The “Jewish” synagogue, where people sat down and listened to a sermon, appeared in the New Testament, probably starting sometime during the 400-year intertestamental period, but was not endorsed by God. God’s presence was not in the synagogues.
God’s presence was in the Temple, the Shekinah glory, over the ark in the Most Holy Place. But no one, but the priests, was allowed to enter any compartment of the sanctuary. God has made it perfectly clear that he does not endorse the type of “church” service that is common today.
The temple, the priesthood and the sacrifice of Judaism all passed away with the coming of Jesus Christ.
The word church does not appear in the New Testament. The word mistranslated as church is ecclesia that literally means the called ones. “To the ears of a first-century Christian, calling a building an ecclesia (church) would be like calling a woman a skyscraper!” . . .Clement of Alexandria (150-215) is the first person to use the phrase ‘go to church’ ---which was a foreign thought to the first century believers. You cannot go to something you are!” Ibid. p 100
Since Christ has risen, we believers have become the temple of God. “When Christianity was born, it was the only religion on earth that had no sacred objects, no sacred persons, and no sacred spaces. Although surrounded by Jewish synagogues and pagan temples, the early Christians were the only religious people on earth that did not erect sacred buildings for their worship. The Christian faith was born in homes, out in courtyards, along roadsides, and in living rooms.” Ibid p 102
“In the first three centuries, the church had no buildings. . .” Ante Pacem, p. 166. John A. T. Robinson (The New Reformation, Philadelphia, The Westminster Press, 1965), p 89. As one scholar put it, “The Christianity that conquered the Roman Empire was essentially a home-centered movement. It was a conscious choice on their part.” Robert Banks, The Church Comes Home (Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers, 1998), pp 49-50, and Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church: Volume 2, Michigan: Eerdmans, 1910, p 62.
Church buildings began with Constantine. . .In A.D. 312, Constantine became Caesar of the Western Empire. By 324, he became Emperor of the entire Roman Empire. Shortly afterward, he began ordering the construction of church buildings. He did so to promote the popularity and acceptance of Christianity. If the Christians had their own sacred buildingsas did the Jews and the paganstheir faith would be regarded as legitimate.” Ibid 107,108
“The church building brought significant changes to Christian worship. Because the Emperor was the number one ‘lay-person’ in the church, a simple ceremony was not sufficient. In order to honor him, the pomp and ritual of the imperial court was adopted into the Christian liturgy.
“It was the custom of the Roman Emperors to have lights carried before them whenever they appeared in public. The lights were accompanied by a basin of fire filled with aromatic spices. Constantine introduced candles and the burning of incense as part of the church service. During his reign, the clergy, who had first worn everyday clothes, began dressing in special garments. What were those special clothes? They were the garments of Roman officials.
“The Roman custom of beginning a service with processional music was adopted as well. Worship became more professional, dramatic, and ceremonial. . . Fourth century Christianity was being profoundly shaped by Greek paganism and Roman Imperialism. The upshot of it all was that there was an immediate loss of intimacy and open participation. The professional clergy performed the acts of worship while the laity looked on as spectators.” Ibid p 116
The liturgy, the sermon, clerical vestments, the hierarchical leadership structure, and the church building were all pagan customs absorbed into the Christian faith. Rather than being from the Old Testament, as they are often attributed, these practices came by way of the mysteries (the pagan cults) and were justified by (incorrect) references to the Old Testament.
“The Pastor is the fundamental figure of the Protestant faith. . .Remove the Pastor and modern Christianity collapses. Remove the Pastor and virtually every Protestant church would be thrown into a panic. Remove the Pastor and Protestantism as we know it dies. The Pastor is the dominating focal point, mainstay, and centerpiece of the modern Church. He is the embodiment of Protestant Christianity.” Ibid p 141
The word “Pastors” does appear in the New Testament;
And he gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as PASTORS and teachers. (Ephesians 4:11 NASB)
“Pastor” is the Latin word for shepherd. It is a metaphor to describe a particular function in the church. It is not an office or a title. Shepherds are those who naturally provide nurture and care for God’s sheep. The term should not be confused with an office or title as is commonly conceived today.
Ever since sin entered the world, there has been an implicit desire in man to have a physical leader to bring him to God. In the wilderness, the Israelites wanted Moses to be the physical mediator between them and God.
At the time of Samuel, Israel clamored for a king, even though God wanted His people to live under His direct Headship.
“Alongside of man’s fallen quest for a human spiritual mediator is his obsession with the hierarchical form of leadership. All ancient cultures were hierarchical in their social structures to one degree or another. Regrettably, post-apostolic Christians adopted and adapted these structures into their church life.” Ibid. P 146
Up until the second century, the church had no official leadership. They were religious groups without priest, temple, or sacrifice. Christ was their Leader.
“Among the flock were the elders (shepherds or overseers). These men all stood on an equal footing. There was no hierarchy among them. Also present were extra-local workers who planted groups of believers. These were called “sent-ones” or apostles. But they did not take up residency in the “churches” for which they cared. Nor did they control them. The vocabulary of New Testament leadership allows no pyramidal structures. It is rather a language of horizontal relationships that includes exemplary action.” Ibid p 146
“Then Ignatius of Antioch (35-107) stepped on the stage. The origin of the modern Pastor and church hierarchy can be traced to him. Ignatius elevated one of the elders above all the others and called him “the bishop.” According to Ignatius, the bishop has ultimate power and should be obeyed absolutely. Consider the following excerpts from his letters:” Ibid p 147
“All of you follow the bishop as Jesus Christ follows the Father. . . No one is to do any church business without the bishop. . . Wherever the bishop appears, there let the people be. . . You yourselves must never act independently of your bishop and clergy. You should look on your bishop as a type of the Father. . . Whatever he approves, that is pleasing to God. . . Early Christian Writings: The Apostolic Fathers (NewYork: Dorset Press, 1968). pp 75-123)
By the mid-third century, the authority of the bishop had hardened into a fixed office. The Early Christian Church, p. 92. “Due to the influence of Cyprian, a former pagan orator who converted to Christianity, the door was open to resurrect the Old Testament economy of priests, temples, altars and sacrifices. Bishops began to be called ‘priests,’ a custom that became common by the third century. They were also called ‘Pastors’ on occasion. In the third century, every church had its own bishop. And bishops and presbyters together started to be called ‘the clergy.” Ibid pp 149-150 The clergy caste was cemented by the fourth century.
“At the head of the church stood the bishop. Under him was the college of presbyters. Under them stood the deacons. And under all of them crawled the poor, miserable ‘laymen.’ By the end of the fourth century, the bishops walked with the great. They were given tremendous privileges. They got involved I politics which separated them further from the presbyters (priests).” Ibid p 151.
Elders naturally emerged in a group of believers through the process of time. They were not appointed to an external office. Instead, they were recognized by virtue of their seniority and contribution to the group. But there are only three passages in the New Testament that tell us that elders were publicly recognized; in the “churches” in Galatia, the elders in Ephesus, and the “churches” in Crete.
“The word ‘ordain’ in these passages does not mean ‘to place into office.’ It, instead, carries the idea of endorsing, affirming and showing forth what has already been happening. It also carries the thought of blessing.
“In the case of workers being sent out to evangelize, the laying on of hands was done by apostolic workers. This merely meant the endorsement or affirmation of a function, not the installment into an office or the giving of special status, as it came to mean in the late second and early third centuries when “ordination” took on an entirely different meaning.
“By the fourth century, the ceremony of ordination was embellished by symbolic garments and solemn ritual. Ordination produced an ecclesiastical caste that usurped the believing priesthood. From where do you suppose the Christians got their pattern of ordination? They patterned their ordination ceremony after the Roman custom of appointing men to civil office. The entire process down to the very words came straight from the Roman civic world.” Ibid p 164
“The unscriptural clergy/laity distinction has done untold harm to the Body of Christ. It has ruptured the believing community into first and second-class Christians. The clergy/laity dichotomy perpetuates an awful falsehood. Namely, that some Christians are more privileged than others to serve the Lord.
“Our ignorance of church history has allowed us to be robbed blind. The pastoral office has stolen your right to function as a member of Christ’s Body! It has shut your mouth and strapped you to a pew. It has distorted the reality of the Body, making the Pastor a giant mouth and transforming you into a tiny ear. It has rendered you a mute spectator who is proficient at taking sermon notes and passing an offering plate!” Ibid. p 178
“The modern Pastor not only does damage to God’s people, he does damage to himself. The pastoral office has a way of chewing up all who come within its pale. Depression, burn-out, stress, and emotional breakdown are terribly high among Pastors. At the time of this writing, there are reportedly more than 500,000 Pastors serving churches in the U.S. Of this mass number, consider the following statistics that lay bare the lethal danger of the pastoral office:
- 94% feel pressured to have an ideal family
- 90 % work more than 46 hours a week
- 81% say they have insufficient time with their spouses
- 80% believe that pastoral ministry affects their family negatively
- 70% do not have someone they consider a close friend.
- 70% have lower self-esteem than when they entered the ministry
- 50% feel unable to meet the needs of the job.
- 80% are discouraged or deal with depression
- 40%+ report that they are suffering from burnout, frantic schedules, and unrealistic expectations.
- 33% consider pastoral ministry an outright hazard to the family
- 33% have seriously considered leaving their position in the past year.
- 40% of pastoral resignations are due to burnout.
“Most Pastors are expected to juggle 16 major tasks at once. (East Hillsborough Christian Voice, Feb 2002, p 3) And most crumble under the pressure. For this reason, 1,600 ministers in all denominations across the U.S. are fired or forced to resign each month. Over the past 20 years, the average length of a pastorate has declined from seven years to just over two years.” Ibid 179-181
The modern Pastor does not have a strand of Scripture to support his existence. During the Reformation, the Catholic priest was transformed into the “preacher,” the Minister,” and finally “the Pastor.”
The “Pastor” is a pagan tradition that has no basis in Scripture.
A former Mason mentions that the tau cross “is actually the symbol of the pagan slain and risen god, Tammuz (Ezekiel 8:13-14). It is a symbol for just another counterfeit Masonic “Christ.” William Schnoebelen, Masonry: Beyond the Light (Chino, California: Chick Publications 1991), p 119
The Phoenicians used the tau cross as a magic symbol. Frank Gaynor, Editor, Dictionary of Mysticism (New York: Philosophical Library, 1953), p 182
“The Tau, T, is the emblem of mercury, of Hermes. It is the crux ansata and the crux HermisD. . . the crux Tau was also the emblem of the generative power, of eternal transmigrating life, and thus was used indiscriminately with the Phallus. It was, in fact, the phallus. The Tau is the Thoth, the Teut, the Teutates of the Druids; and Teutates was Mercury. . .” Godfrey Higgins, Anacalypsis, An Attempt to Draw Aside the Veil of the Saitic Isis (London England: n.;, 1874).
The Bible calls this Cross an “abomination.”
The Lord said unto me, Turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations that they do.
Then He brought me to the door of the gate of the Lord’s house which was toward the north; and, behold, there sat women weeping for Tammuz.”
Jesus was crucified on a pole (literal translation), NOT a cross. The word “cross” in Strong’s Concordance is stauros, #4716. It means a stake, a post or a pole.
The “Cross” is a Pagan symbol.
The Lord’s Supper
Originally, the Lord’s Supper was a full meal, a Christian banquet. Jesus did not tell us to take a thimble full of grape juice and a tiny, tasteless cracker as a remembrance of Him. He was having a meal with His friends, a communal meal.
“Today, tradition has forced us to take the Supper in an atmosphere of gloom and doom. We are told to reflect on our sins. . . In addition, tradition has taught us that taking the Lord’s Supper can be a dangerous thing. Thus most modern Christians would not be caught dead taking it without an ordained clergyman present.” Pagan Christianity p 128
When did the Full Meal cease?
Around the time of Tertullian (160-225), the bread and the cup began to be separated from the meal and by the lat second century, the separation was complete. The Lord’s Supper then became a sacred ritual and required a sacred person to administer it. The ritual then became shrouded in fear. The mood became somber and glum. “The participants are told by the pastor that they must examine themselves with regard to sin before they partake of the elements. A practice that came from John Calvin.” Ibid. p 243
The Lord’s Supper, when separated from its proper context of a full meal, has become almost a pagan ritual, a morbid religious exercise, rather than a joyous festival. It moved from being a real meal to being a symbolic meal, from bare simplicity to elaborate splendor, from being a lay function to being a priestly function. Nowhere in the New Testament is there any evidence that it was the duty or special privilege of anyone to lead worshippers in the celebration of the Lord’s Supper.
Seminaries for Pastors
“In the minds of most Christians, formal Christian education qualifies a person to do the Lord’s work. Unless a Christian has graduated from Bible college or seminary, he is viewed as being a ‘para’-minister. A pseudo Christian worker. Someone less than the big boys. How dare such a person preach, teach, baptize, or administer the Lord’s Supper if he has never been formally trained to do such things . . . right?
“The idea that a Christian worker must attend Bible college or seminary to be legitimate is horrifyingly ingrained. It is so ingrained that when people feel a ‘call’ of God on their life, they are conditioned to begin hunting for a Bible college or seminary to attend.
“Such thinking fits poorly with the early Christian mindset. Bible colleges, seminaries, and even Sunday schools were utterly absent from the early church. All are human inventions that came hundreds of years after the apostles left the human stage. . . Unlike today’s ministerial training, first-century training was hands-on, rather than academic. It was a matter of apprenticeship, rather than of intellectual learning. It was aimed primarily at the spirit, rather than at the frontal lobe. Pagan Christianity p 247.
As the Reformation progressed, the uneducated pastors were encouraged to attend schools and universities. Protestantism promoted a well-educated clergy that became the backbone of the movement. Eventually, the Catholics wanted their priests to match the learning of the Protestant pastors.
Christian education in the United States followed after the Aristotle model and was highly systematized. Some of the earliest universities to train the clergy were Yale (1701) and Harvard (1636).
“The Bible college is essentially a 19th-century North American evangelical invention. “In response to the revivalism of D.L. Moody (1837-1899), the Bible college movement blossomed in the late 19th and early 20h century.” Ibid p 259
“Modern theological teaching is data-transfer education. It moves from notebook to notebook. In the process, our theology never gets below the neck. If a student accurately parrots the ideas of his professor, he is awarded a degree. . . Theological knowledge, however, does not prepare a person for ministry.” Ibid p 265
“Still worse is the elitism that the seminary system feeds. The approach taken by seminaries is self-referential. It sets its own criteria for who gets to play and on what terms. Then it looks down its nose at those who do not think that criteria is particularly useful or important.
“But perhaps the most damaging problem of the seminary and Bible college is that it perpetuates the crippling, unscriptural, humanly-devised clergy system. . . In the seminary and Bible college, professors and pastors alike illegitimately justify the existence of an unbiblical system in which they live, breath, and have their being.
“Instead of offering the cure to the ills of the church, our theological schools worsen them by assuming (and even defending) all of the unscriptural practices that produce them.” Ibid 267
Now that you understand that the organized church with all its accoutrements is of “man” and not God, are you willing to abandon these traditions? Or will you continue practicing what you know to be at odds with the ways of God?
Are you going to ignore what you now know, or will you be faithful to the light that you have learned? Or will you continue to elevate your religious inventions above the inspired revelation of God?
Will you step out of the institutional church that embraces practices that violate the New Testament or will you “invalidate the Word of God for the sake of your traditions.” Matthew 15:6
History shows that where conscience and tradition collide, most of God’s people go with tradition. But if they go with tradition rather than God’s Word, are they really “God’s people”?
The question before us is. . .
What will we do?
© Lorraine Day, M.D. 2006. All Rights Reserved.
This document cannot be reproduced in any form
except for downloading for personal use.
Return to The Organized Church