How did we get to where we are today in an institutional church culture so firmly planted in the centrality of the pastor? This episode is a look at a few key moments in the history of institutional Christianity that have brought us to where we are today – into a church culture of top-down authority where the pastor has been handed all authority and cannot be questioned.
Welcome to episode 48 of the UnSunday Show. Let’s take a few minutes to talk about institutional religion’s shady past. This is in response to a comment someone left back in episode 46 (Who Has Bewitched You?) that deserves some attention. The comment was actually in two parts. The first part was more of an observation when this person said, “Communities used to be built around the church, literally.” I agree with that. Entire communities existed around the centrality of the institutional church, but not always by choice.
This individual went to to ask, “Wasn’t that a good thing that bonded communities?” I think this is a really good question that can’t be answered with a simple yes or no. So let’s take a closer look at it in light of a couple of snippets in church history and let’s see if the way institutional Christianity bonded communities was a good thing that created genuine community.
Welcome to episode 43 of The UnSunday Show. In this episode, I explore the question, Is the system of institutional church a help or a hindrance to the body of Christ and the exercising of spiritual gifts? This episode is also available on the UnSunday Show YouTube Channel.
Welcome to another edition of Morning Coffee on The UnSunday Show. Today, let’s talk about some important distinctions between the system we call church and the body of Christ, or ekklesia. Jesus never said the system we call church would never be overcome or ultimately defeated. But he did say that about the ekklesia. That difference is monumental. Let’s talk about the implications of that difference in this episode.
This episode of The UnSunday Show is also available in video format and is posted on my YouTube channel.
Welcome to episode 26 of The UnSunday Show. Today’s episode is a look at William Tyndale and his authoring of the New Testament in the English language. He wanted the people of his day to have a New Testament in their own language so they could read and interpret it for themselves instead of having to rely solely on the church hierarchy of the day to tell them what it meant. In his desire to remain true to the Greek text, he translated a handful of words according to their true meaning as opposed to the church’s long standing definitions. Particularly, he translated ekklesia as congregation, not church. He translated presbuteros as elder, not priest, agape as love, not acts of charity, and metanao as repent, not penance.
But this didn’t go over well with the church of his day because it exposed the true meaning of these words the church had been keeping from the people for hundreds of years. As a result, Tyndale was strangled and then burned at the stake for refusing to compromise with the top-down authority figures in the church and water down his translation of the New Testament.
Welcome to episode 25 of the UnSunday Show. Let’s talk about your options when living in a Christian sacral society where conformity to the church’s rules is required on the threat of punishment and death for non-compliance. Such was the environment the Anabaptists found themselves in as the Reformation progressed. Like their Roman Catholic counterparts, the church the Reformers created had the power of the State behind it, along with the full weight of the military to enforce the church’s top-down rule.
“Jesus was not killed by atheism and anarchy. He was brought down by law and order allied with religion – which is always a deadly mix. Beware those who claim to know the will of God and are prepared to use force, if necessary, to make others conform.” – Barbara Brown Taylor
Welcome to episode 24 of The UnSunday Show. Since I’ve been absent for a while, I thought it would be a good idea to have a short refresher on some of the topics I’ve talked about in the past before moving on. In this episode I ask the question, “Who put pastors in charge?” How did we get so pastor-centric and pastor-dependent? Let’s talk about it…
Welcome to episode 23 of The UnSunday Show. In this episode, I turn our conversation to how church became church by introducing Constantinianism and how through the Roman Emperor Constantine and his edict decreeing Christianity as the official religion of Rome essentially moved the church from being one segment of society, where personal faith determined membership, to being all of society where personal faith fell by the wayside and membership included everyone in a geographical region as evidenced by infant baptism. Under Constantine, the church became a “Christian Sacralist” State where the church and State were one and the church now wielded the sword of the State to coerce conformity to the new State religion.