Will the Real Christianity please stand up?
So now we know the following has nothing to do with Christianity: Lent, Eastre, the cross, madonna & child, Christmas, mitres and Gregorian chants. This is just the beginning…
The sermon is a Greek invention from the philosophical speakers/orators who used to get paid to put on a good show. When the Greeks became Christians the orators among them started to take over the services, they loved the “pre-eminence.” In fact they had already started to take over the church even before the New Testament was finished. The apostle John writes in 3 John 1:9 “I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to have the pre-eminence among them, does not receive us.”
Paul’s New Testament writings also deal with those who were introducing false doctrines into the church.
The early church “fathers”- Control, Anti-Semitism and Replacement Theology
The early church “fathers” in the period immediately after the apostles included Greeks who brought Greek thinking into Christianity. They demanded control structures in the church (as opposed to the then practiced priesthood of all believers) and used the title “bishop” to set this up. What is little known is that many were also rabid anti-Semitics. This does not sound like true followers of Christ.
Ignatius of Antioch elevated one of the elders in each church above all the others. In AD 107 he wrote a series of seven letters when on his way to be martyred in Rome. Six of these letters exalt the authority and importance of the bishop’s office. However his model of one-bishop rule did not prevail in the churches until the third century (in modern churches today the equivalent bishop’s role is often called pastor).
Clement of Rome who died about AD 100 was the first to use the word laity to distinguish status between Christian leaders and non-leaders. He argued that the Old Testament order of priests should find fulfilment in the Christian church (hint - not in the bible).
Tertullian (AD 160-225) was the first writer to use the word clergy to refer to a separate class of Christians. But in the early church, they didn’t exercise authority or lord it over others, they practised the priesthood of all believers.
Clement of Alexandria (AD 150-215) united Greek philosophy with Christian doctrine. He was the first to use the phrase “going to church.” But the early believers met in homes and shared fellowship around Agape meals, there was no church to go to – they didn’t need one.
Eusebius claimed that Christianity predated Judaism, and that the prophets and other saints were in fact Christians.
In AD 138 Marcian claimed that the God of the Old Testament was a different God to the Christian God and therefore the Old Testament should be discarded as scripture. His goal was to rid Christianity of every trace of Judaism – which implies elements of Judaism were part of early Christianity eg celebrating Passover.
Origen (AD 185-254) defined and propagated that which is today known as Replacement Theology, a false doctrine claiming that the church has replaced Israel in the purposes of God - in contravention of Romans 9-11. This doctrine has fed the fires of religious anti-Semitism for centuries.
At the Council of Nicea in AD 325 when Rome replaced the Lord’s Passover with Eastre, the reasons were clearly anti-Semitic: “It is unbecoming beyond measure that on this holiest of Festivals, we should follow the customs of the Jews. Let us henceforth have nothing in common with these odious people.” Again, it is clear the early church persisted in observing Passover in spite of all the attempts to eradicate it.
St Augustine preached “O church of God, thy enemy is the heathen the Jew…”
John Chrysostom, Patriarch of Constantinople (AD 344-407), stated “Jews are the most worthless of men… they worship the devil. It is incumbent on all Christians to hate Jews.” Chrysostom & Augustine popularised the Greco-Roman homily (sermon) and made it a central part of the Christian faith.
In AD1099 crusaders in Jerusalem burnt a synagogue to the ground with the Jews of the city inside. While it burned, the crusaders marched around the synagogue chanting ‘Christ we adore thee.’
Martin Luther (AD 1483-1546), father of the Protestant Reformation printed a tract “Know this, Christian, you have no greater enemy than the Jew.” Hitler loved Luther’s teachings and used them as an endorsement for the holocaust.
None of the above has anything to do with Christ’s or the New Testament’s teachings, I feel repulsed just reading it. For a mind boggling exposé, I recommend the book “Pagan Christianity” by Frank Viola and George Barna. It shows that most of what we practice as Christianity today has no basis in scripture and much of it is Babylonian paganism. For someone like myself who has been attending church for over 46 years, that was a big pill to swallow.
Here’s a further (non-complete) list of church practices you won’t find sanctioned in the bible:
The church building, the sacred space, pastor’s chair, stained glass windows, gothic cathedrals, the steeple, pulpit, pew, the Sunday morning order of worship, centrality of the pulpit in worship, coming into church with a sombre or reverent attitude, guilt over missing a Sunday service, the goal of all preaching being to win individual souls, the altar call, the church bulletin, the salvation hymn, door-to-door witnessing, evangelistic advertising/campaigning, the decision card, playing music during the offering, single bishop or pastor, the “covering” doctrine, hierarchical leadership, ordination, seminary, bible college, Sunday school, youth pastor, chapters and verse numbers (these have been added to the bible), wearing “Sunday best,” clergy attire, pastors suit, the choir, boys choir, funeral processions and orations, worship team, clergy salaries, tax exempt status for churches and clergy, collection plate, ushers, infant baptism, sprinkling replacing immersion, baptism separated from conversion, the “Sinner’s Prayer,” use of the term “Personal Saviour,” the Lord’s supper reduced from a full Agape meal to only the cup and the bread…
It is clear that the ink hadn’t even dried on the New Testament before man was changing what God had put in place. Gradually over the centuries we have added more and more Greek thinking (including our Greek based western cultural norms), Babylonian paganism and the like to Christianity so it is now pretty much unrecognisable from what was started by Yeshua and His followers.
Any serious reading of the history of Christianity after the age of the apostles shows that Christianity was pretty much anything but Christian. The few pockets of attempts at biblical Christianity were quickly snuffed out or persecuted by “Christendom.”
So how did we get in such a mess? How could we drop the ball so quickly?
More next article…