Originally written as a polemic designed to encourage Protestants to return to the original Jewish origins and rules of the Bible, this work provides a thorough and complete overview of how paganism was absorbed into the Christian religion.
Starting with an overview of how the scriptural texts were interpreted by pagan Gnostics to reflect their value systems and culture, the author then shows that anti-Semitism caused the first non-Jewish converts to the new religion to reject many of the original rules of Christianity.
Next, he shows how most of the outer forms of what became familiar church rites were taken over almost without change from earlier pre-Christian religions and institutions.
Included in these pagan-origin rites incorporated into Christianity are the more famous rituals of Easter and Christmas—but a host of others which will astonish the reader—including the sign of the Cross itself, perhaps one of the most used symbols of Christianity; most baptism rituals—including child-naming ceremonies; Sunday observance; the “mother and child” symbolism of Mary and Jesus; the universally-used “Chi-ro” symbol; the use of candles in churches; the structure and prayer rituals of church services of all denominations, and much more.
The author points out that although all of these pagan influences entered Christianity through the Roman Catholic Church, most were taken over into Protestantism as well.
About the author: Abram Herbert Lewis (1832–1908) was born in Scott, Cortland, New York, and served as Professor of Church History at the Theological Department at Alfred University in his home state. An avowed Seventh Day Baptist, he produced 11 books, 25 pamphlets and tracts, and was editor of 5 periodicals, all dealing with the history of Christianity.