In a book that is painting bold colors on the canvas of my gleanings and hunches about the practices of the early church, Frank Viola has made these statements about certain developments in the early years. If you only have time to consider one of these quotations today, may I recommend the blue one. . . .
Strikingly, contemporary church thought and practice have been influenced far more by post-Biblical historical events than by New Testament imperatives and examples. p. 5
Not only was the social environment of the Christian movement largely Gentile well before the end of the first century, but it had severed almost any other bonds of social contact within the Jewish Christians of Palestine. . . . By the year 100, Christianity was mainly a Gentile religious movement. . . . p. 6
Ancient Judaism was centered on three elements: the temple, the priesthood, and the sacrifice. When Jesus came, He ended all three, fulfilling them in Himself. . . . Christ is the fulfillment and the reality of it all. pp. 10-11
When Christianity was born, it was the only religion on the planet that had no sacred objects, no sacred persons, and no sacred spaces. Although surrounded by Jewish synagogues and pagan temples, the early Christians were the only religious people on earth who did not erect sacred buildings for their worship. The Christian faith was born in homes, out in courtyards, and along the roadsides. p. 14
(Interestingly, the cross as an artistic reference for Christ’s death cannot be found prior to the time of Constantine. . . . The custom of making the sign of the cross with one’s hands dates back to the second century.) p. 16
– Frank Viola, Pagan Christianity¹
¹ Viola uses the adjective “pagan” primarily to mean “those practices and principles that are not Christian or biblical in origin . . . . not . . . as a synonym for bad or evil.”