The society in which we live, in the United States, can trace its roots to Greco-Roman culture–our government, religion, education, hierarchical ideals, architecture, economy, philosophy, sports, etc. Today: This is the source of much of the Church’s ideals, Church doctrine, structure, participation in government, and various practices.
- It can explain why congregations have typically met in buildings of a particular architectural structure and leadership organization.
- It can explain the leadership structure and power dynamic between minister and church-goer.
- It can explain the relationship between churches and the government.
- It is seen in the growth of mega-churches.
The evidence of Greco-Roman influence is still readily seen in the Christian Church today. But, where did it come from?
In the 4th century, Constantine, Rome’s first Christian emperor, legitimized and legalized the practices of early disciples of Messiah, which came to be known as Christianity and condemned to death those that wouldn’t follow it. He and other Roman emperors of that time harnessed control of the people through religion. He influenced the way in which believers walked out their faith. Interestingly enough, the religion he legitimized (as we knew it then and today) is not the way of life believers were walking during Jesus’ time or a couple hundred years after.
Essentially, Constantine made it legal to be Christian. Many theologians and Christians praise him for this. However, this praise may be given too swiftly. Emperor Constantine and other leaders helped propel the Church in a direction she is still reeling toward. He and others before and after him are responsible for:
- Sunday being the preferred day of worship. There is significant evidence that for the first couple hundred years following the death, burial, and resurrection of Messiah followers of Yeshua still kept the Sabbath and met on the Sabbath.
- Christianity became a Roman-rooted religion and divorced itself from anything remotely Jewish or Hebrew (Even the Messiah took a hit with that one).
- The legitimization of the Trinity doctrine.
- Celebration of holidays that were originally in no way connected to the faith of the followers of Yeshua (Christmas, Easter, Lent, etc.) The first-century apostles were still keeping feasts and festivals of YAH (Leviticus 23). Check out Zachery Bauer’s video about this subject.
- Belief that the Torah (first five books of the Bible) and law were done away with in Jesus.
- Jewish observances (such as the Feast Days) and religious practices were banned and replaced.
Christians and Christian churches have long been protected and “legitimized” in this country–similar to Rome. It is only a matter of time before the government attempts and succeeds at dictating what the Church and Christians can and cannot do to a far greater extent. From whom you are given freedom, with them lies the power to determine the extent to which you experience that freedom.
This is why the current model of the Church is ineffective. They operate tethered to society but desire to effect change in society. The Christian Church has been neutralized.
Interestingly, the power and authority of their walk lies in the protection from their government. This means, Christians are legally allowed to exercise their faith in the United States and find a security in this.
The Church system has created a “law” of “going to church” for Christians. Christians find Scripture they believe support this practice in the way it’s been taught. This “law” is fostering a dependence upon a system. This dependence is very subtle and marketed as commitment and duty.
Take a look at the Catholic Church. The Pope told parishioners not to worry about coming to confessional amid pandemic — go directly to God. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, if there is no priest available (during moments of grave), a Catholic is to confess their sins to God directly and ask for a pardon from Him.
This emphasis on church has crippled the actual Body of Messiah.
What happens when you can’t assemble in a building as a government-protected assembly?
What happens to your faith when you don’t have a pastor elevated in a pulpit bringing the Word?
What happens if the government removes the 501c-3 status of churches and requires they pay a tax? Are you going to call it persecution?
What happens when the government dictates how you will apply your faith?
What happens when the government enacts legislation that is in conflict with your doctrinal belief? What happens when they enforce it?
The COVID-19 pandemic challenged Christians to consider their connection to church, government, and society. Many, in beautiful vulnerability, described a feeling of being displaced, confused, strange, and the like without having the regular practice of church-going.
Many have spoken up and expressed how the pandemic gave us the opportunity to reconnect with God and family in a fresh way. This is key!
Prior to the church becoming the center of discipline and life, it was the family. This is still God’s elected system. The Church will not see true change until it untethers itself from its erroneous ideas of “the church house” and return to the actual house — the family.
Some resources to review after reading this post:
How the Church Divorced Itself From Its Hebrew Roots: http://hoshanarabbah.org/blog/2014/05/21/how-the-church-divorced-itself/