The following summary is neither complete nor detailed. Note that all of the
practices covered are post-biblical, post-apostolic, and mostly influenced by pagan culture.
THE CHURCH BUILDING
The Church Building — First
constructed under Constantine around AD 327. The earliest church
buildings were patterned after the Roman basilicas, which were modeled after Greek temples.
The Sacred Space —
Christians borrowed this idea from the pagans in the second and third centuries. The burial places of the martyrs were regarded
as "sacred." In the fourth century, church buildings were erected on these burial places, thus creating "sacred" buildings.
The Pastor's Chair
— Derived from the cathedra, which was the bishop's chair or throne. This chair replaced the seat of the judge in the
Tax-Exempt Status for Churches and Christian Clergy — Emperor Constantine gave churches tax-exempt status in AD 323. He
made clergy exempt from paying taxes in AD 313, a privilege that pagan priests enjoyed.
Stained-Glass Windows — First introduced by Gregory of Tours and brought to perfection by Suger (1081-1151), abbot
of St. Denis.
Gothic Cathedrals — Twelfth
century. These edifices were built according to the pagan
philosophy of Plato.
The Steeple —
Rooted in ancient Babylonian and Egyptian architecture and philosophy, the steeple was a medieval invention that was popularized
and modernized by Sir Christopher Wren in London around 1666.
The Pulpit — Used in the Christian church as early as AD 250. It came from the Greek ambo, which was a pulpit
used by both Greeks for delivering monologues.
— Evolved from the thirteenth through the eighteenth centuries in England.
THE ORDER OF WORSHIP
The Sunday Morning Order of Worship — Evolved from Gregory's Mass in the sixth century and the revisions made by Luther, Calvin, the Puritans,
the Free Church tradition, the Methodists, the Frontier-Revivalists, and the Pentecostals.
The Centrality of the Pulpit in the Order of Worship — Martin
Luther in 1523.
Two Candles Placed on Top of the "Communion Table" and Incense Burning-Candles
- were used in the ceremonial court of Roman emperors in the fourth
century. The Communion table was introduced by Ulrich Zwingli in the sixteenth century.
Taking the Lord's Supper Quarterly—Ulrich Zwingli in the sixteenth century.
The Congregation Standing and Singing When the Clergy Enters — Borrowed from the ceremonial court of Roman emperors in the
fourth century. Brought into the Protestant liturgy by John Calvin.
Coming to Church with a Somber/Reverent Attitude — Based
on the medieval view of piety.Brought into the Protestant service
by John Calvin and Martin Bucer.
Condemnation and Guilt over Missing a Sunday Service—Seventeenth-century New England Puritans.
The Long "Pastoral Prayer" Preceding the Sermon—Seventeenth-century Puritans.The Pastoral Prayer Uttered in Elizabethan English
— Eighteenth-century Methodists.
The Goal of All Preaching to Win Individual Souls*
— Eighteenth century Frontier-Revivalists.
The Altar Call
— Instituted by seventeenth-century Methodists and popularized by Charles Finney.
The Church Bulletin (written liturgy)—Originated in 1884 with Albert Blake Dick's stencil duplicating machine.
The "Solo" Salvation Hymn, Door-to-Door Witnessing, and Evangelistic Advertising/Campaigning
— D. L. Moody.
The Decision Card—Invented
by Absalom B. Earle (1812-1895) and popularized by D. L. Moody.
Bowing Heads with Eyes Closed and Raising the Hand in Response to
a Salvation Message — Billy Graham
in the twentieth century.
The Contemporary Sermon — Borrowed from the Greek sophists, who were masters at oratory
and rhetoric. John Chrysostom and Augustine popularized the Greco-Roman homily (sermon) and made it a central part of the
The One-Hour Sermon, Sermon Crib Notes, and the Four-Part Sermon Outline — Seventeenth-century
The Single Bishop (predecessor of the contemporary pastor) —Ignatius of Antioch in early second century. Ignatius's model of one-bishop rule did not prevail
in the churches until the third century.
The "Covering" Doctrine — Cyprian of Carthage, a former pagan orator. Revived under
Juan Carlos Ortiz from Argentina and the "Fort Lauderdale Five" from the United States, creating the so-called "Shepherding-Discipleship
Movement" in the 1970s.
Hierarchical Leadership — Brought into the church by Constantine in the fourth century. This
was the leadership style of the Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, and Romans.
Clergy and Laity — The word laity first appears in the writings of Clement of
Rome (d.100). Clergy
first appears in Tertullian. By the third century, Christian leaders were universally called clergy.
Contemporary Ordination — Evolved from the second century to the fourth. It was taken from the
Roman custom of appointing men to civil office. The idea of the ordained minister as the "holy man of God" can be traced to
Augustine, Gregory of Nazianzus, and Chrysostom.
The Title "Pastor"—
who became Protestant ministers were not universally called pastors until the eighteenth century under the influence of Lutheran
SUNDAY MORNING COSTUMES
Christians Wearing Their "Sunday Best" for Church — Began in the late-eighteenth century
with the Industrial Revolution and became widespread in the mid-nineteenth century. The practice is rooted in the emerging
middle-class effort to become like their wealthy aristocrat contemporaries.
Clergy Attire — Began in AD 330 when Christian clergy started wearing the garb of Roman officials.
By the twelfth century, the clergy began wearing everyday street clothes that distinguished them from the people.
The Evangelical Pastor's Suit — A descendant
of the black scholar's gown worn by Reformation ministers, the black lounge suit of the twentieth century became the typical
costume of the contemporary pastor.
The Clerical (Backwards) Collar—Invented
by Rev. Dr. Donald McLeod of Glasgow in 1865.
MINISTERS OF MUSIC
— Provoked by Constantine's desire to mimic the professional music used in Roman imperial ceremonies. In the fourth
century, the Christians borrowed the choir idea from the choirs used in Greek dramas and Greek temples.
The Boys Choir — Began in
the fourth century, borrowed from the boys choirs used by the pagans.
Funeral Processions and Orations — Borrowed from Greco-Roman paganism in the third century.
The Worship Team
— Calvary Chapel in 1965, patterned after the secular rock concert.
TITHING AND CLERGY SALARIES
Tithing — Did
not become a widespread Christian practice until the eighth century. The tithe was taken from the 10 percent rent charge used
in the Roman Empire and later justified using the Christian Old Testament.
— Instituted by Constantine in the fourth century.
The Collection Plate — The alms
dish appeared in the fourteenth century. Passing a collection plate began in 1662.
The Usher — Began
with Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603). The predecessor of the usher is the church porter, a position that can be traced back
to the third century.
BAPTISM AND THE LORD'S SUPPER
Infant Baptism — Rooted
in the superstitious beliefs that pervaded the Greco-Roman culture, it was brought into the Christian faith in the late second
century. By the fifth century, it replaced adult baptism.
Sprinkling Replacing Immersion — Began
in the late Middle Ages in the Western churches.
Baptism Separated from Conversion — Began
in the early second century as a result of the legalistic view that baptism was the only medium for the forgiveness of sins.
The "Sinner's Prayer"—Originated with D. L. Moody and made popular in the 1950s through Billy Graham's Peace with
God tract and later with Campus Crusade for Christ's Four Spiritual Laws.
Use of the Term "Personal Saviour" — Spawned in the mid-1800s by the Frontier-Revivalist influence and popularized by Charles Fuller (1887-1968).
The Catholic Seminary — The first seminary began
as a result of the Council of Trent (1545-1563). The curriculum was based on the teachings of Thomas Aquinas, which was a
blending of Aristotle's philosophy, Neoplatonic philosophy, and Christian doctrine.
The Protestant Seminary — Began in Andover, Massachusetts,
in 1808. Its curriculum, too, was built on the teachings of Thomas Aquinas.
The Bible College — Influenced by the revivalism
of D. L. Moody, the first two Bible colleges were the Missionary Training Institute (Nyack College, New York) in 1882 and
Moody Bible Institute (Chicago) in 1886.
The Sunday School — Created by Robert Raikes from
Britain in 1780. Raikes did not found the Sunday school for the purpose of religious instruction. He founded it to teach poor
children the basics of education.
The Youth Pastor — Developed in urban churches
in the late 1930s and 1940s as a result of seeking to meet the needs of a new sociological class called "teenagers."
REAPPROACHING THE NEW TESTAMENT
Paul's Letters Combined into a Canon and Arranged according to Descending Length — Early second century.
Chapter Numbers Placed in the Old and New Testaments — University
of Paris professor StephenLangton in 1227.
Verses Added to New Testament Chapters — Printer
Robert Stephanus (sometimes called Robert Estienne) in 1551. Done while riding on horseback from Paris to Lyons.