Pagan Christianity; The Order of Service

Yesterday, I read some insightful criticisms of this book here. While I do not agree with everything in this book, or everything that the critics say, I think that they are both wise to examine for balance in perspective.

For today, here are a few more thoughts-- this time on the order of service.
  • The first century church was a fluid gathering, not a static ritual.
  • Making preaching the center of a church gathering has no Biblical precedent. One historian said that the pulpit is the throne of the Protestant pastor.
  • Today, the pastor is the MC and CEO of the Sunday morning church service--just as the priest is the MC and CEO of the Catholic Mass.
  • Even today, in the twenty-first century, the Elizabethan pastoral prayer lives and breathes. Many contemporary pastors still pray in this outdated language--even though it has been dead dialect for over four hundred years! Why? Because of the power of tradition.
  • It is clear that the Protestant order of worship did not originate with the Lord Jesus, the apostles or the New Testament Scriptures. This in itself does not make the order of service misguided. It just mean it has no biblical basis.
  • Even though open sharing in church meetings is completely scriptural, you would be breaking the liturgy if you dared to try something so outrageous! You may be considered out or order and be asked to behave yourself or leave.
And now for some especially strong statements:
  • Protestant liturgy cripples the body of Christ. It turns it into one huge tongue (the Pastor) and many little ears (the congregation). This does violence to Paul's vision of the body of Christ, where every member functions in the church meeting for the common good (see I Cor. 12).
  • The liturgy that you sit through every Sunday, year after year, actually hinders spiritual transformation. It does so because (1) it encourages passivity, (2) it limits functioning, and (3) it implies that putting in one hour per week is the key to the victorious Christian life.
  • There is a significant difference between making Jesus the invisible guest of honor and allowing him to be the practical leader of the gathering.

Note: This is a lot of stuff to just "single out". If you are bothered by, disagree with or interested in what you read-- BUY THE BOOK! In all fairness to the author, he does a fantastic job of providing extensive footnotes with Biblical and historical support for what he says. Before you conclude that he is crazy (or me, for that matter)-- read the book. I guarantee that you do not know more than the author on this topic!