IVP - Behind the Books - Paganizing the Faith

April 26, 2007

Paganizing the Faith

In reading Jerry Sittser's revision of his upcoming book of spiritual history, Water from a Deep Well, I was arrested by his comments on the paganization of the church. It seems that the Church of England is selling off church buildings they cannot afford to keep up to developers, who are converting them into apartments, pubs, recreation centers, businesses and more. He continues:

In short, these buildings are being paganized. No longer used for worship and the administration of the sacraments, they have become the tools of modern capitalism. Perhaps the church in America is following the same course. Today many churches preach self-help principles, peddle a variety of clever religious products, offer various programs to religious consumers, and cater to the “felt needs” of people. Ironically, while England is paganizing church buildings, Americans could be “paganizing” the faith itself. When the church is functioning at its best, it communicates the grace and love and power of God so completely that the faithful are enabled to live for God wherever they are, and thus to claim the “secular” world—theaters, bowling allies, schools, businesses, neighborhoods—for God’s kingdom purposes. At its worst, it does the opposite; the secular world encroaches on the church until it finally takes over.

Americans paganzing the faith? I think he has hit the nail--or, perhaps, the bobblehead Jesus--right on the head.

Posted by Cindy Bunch at April 26, 2007 11:55 AM Bookmark and Share


So is it wrong to think about how cool it would be to live in one of those converted church apartments?

I agree that England's paganization (is that a word -oh the pressure of posting comments on an editor's blog) is far less damaging than the US version. We all know "the church is not a building" so at least England is not messing around with people's souls.

I can't wait to read more of this book!

Comment by: Stacey at May 1, 2007 8:19 PM

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