My name is Tom; this is Simple Church Minute.
George Barna and Frank Viola, in their book Pagan Christianity, point out 61 customs found in all or part of the traditional churches in the world which have no basis in anything described in the New Testament. A number of these I have discussed in other blips, but some I haven’t felt are sufficiently important to discuss, but today, I at least wish to take the time to mention them.
Such traditions include: candles on a communion table, the communion table, making the communion table the center of the meeting, using incense as part of a service, taking communion four times per year, acting solemn during worship, searching oneself for sin before taking communion, feeling guilty for missing a service, the pulpit, pews, the stage, the building as a holy place, a pastor or priest having a special chair, church bulletins, sermon outline notes, four part sermon outline, playing music while taking a collection, taking a regular collection, the clerical collar, congregation standing and singing when the clergy enter, modern ordination, wearing “Sunday best” clothing, special clothing for the pastor, priest, or minister, ushers, the collection plate, steeples, the choir, the boys choir, the worship team, stained glass windows, high ceilings, long public prayers said in archaic language, funeral processions and orations, Sunday school, Paul’s letters being arranged in the Bible according to length, baptism separate from conversion, infant baptism, sprinkling form of baptism, hierarchical administration.
The book Pagan Christianity, printed by the Barna Books imprint of Tyndale House, is written to be read by the average person, but, for theological types, has many and long footnotes to explain the historical basis behind their statements and conclusions. Both Barna and Viola have further comments on their respective websites and blogs.
On the recording, at this time, it says, “house churches.” While that phrasing is OK, to say “organic church” is better. I comment on that in blip 94.