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 57 of the UnSunday Show. I received a note from David, one of the listeners to this podcast, who asked for my take on Timothy as a pastor and how the function of modern church pastors differs from the function of their New Testament counterparts. I flipped the order of this to talk about the differences first and then next week, I’ll be taking a look at Timothy while continuing to build on the differences.
Comparing the differences between how modern institutional church pastors function and the function of pastors in the New Testament is like comparing apples to oranges. One of these is not like the other. So let’s talk about it.
Welcome to episode 56 of The UnSunday Show. Let’s talk about institutional church and the ekklesia because one of these is not like the other. Did you know Jesus never used the word church? And yet the word church is all over our New Testaments. How did it get there and what does it imply? This episode is a bit of a rant as I talk about a couple of differences between church and the body of Christ, the ekklesia.
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 31 of The UnSunday Show. Mike received an invitation in the mail to spend a weekend listening to someone do expository preaching. Needless to say, this set off a few triggers in light of Mike’s background. Add to that the fact that the picture on the invitation reminded both Mike & Mac of someone power posturing over others in the church. Mike & Mac talk about it in this episode. of The UnSunday Show. Grab your favorite beverage and listen in.
Welcome to episode 28 of The UnSunday Show. At its core, The UnSunday Show is a podcast about the system we call church. To a very large extent, this system has come to us via church history, religious tradition, and theological distinction, not from the New Testament. Mike talks about that system we’ve inherited in this episode. He also makes an exciting announcement about the future of The UnSunday Show. Push Play and join the conversation.
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…