I’ve been eating up a book I recently bought called Pagan Christianity, which has been making waves in the Christian community since its release at the beginning of this year. Basically, the book makes the outrageous claim that virtually everything that happens in a typical church service, whether Evangelical, Pentecostal, Mainline Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox, or what have you, is based on extra-biblical practices largely borrowed from pagan religions, cults, and Greco-Roman institutions. And it backs up the claim with reams of historical data.
I haven’t yet finished the book, so I’ll refrain from judgement until I do, but given my past experience with American “churchianity”, I’m not exactly ready to go burn the authors at the stake. Frankly, I once thought that it was time to take the church out back and shoot it. Stick a fork in it, it’s done. So I find it highly fascinating to discover that all the things I thought were bizarre about church practices actually have little-to-nothing to do with the original Church planted by Jesus Christ and the first-century Apostles.
That being said, I fully admit I love the church I am a part of, Grace Fellowship. I play recorders and whistles in the worship band on Sunday mornings, and I think we have been blessed with amazing, Spirit-led leadership and preaching that has brought forth real transformation in our community. So I’m not ready to give up on the whole kit and caboodle just yet. Although, truth be told, I personally have experienced more spiritual growth and prophetic blessing in our small group meetings and one-to-one interactions than I have in the Sunday services. But I see Sunday as the time when the people of the church can gather corporately to praise God and be challenged in their walk, and it’s a wonderful highlight to look forward to during the work week. Good stuff.
To answer my post title, I don’t think it’s time to kill the typical American church just yet. But it’s very much time to kneel face-down before Almighty God and humbly beg Him to show us where we’ve screwed up in our traditions and how we can move into a new era of Christ-centered, Spirit-led, transformation-focused, empowered, glory-filled, Kingdom-of-God Church!