Pagan Worship: Then and Now


goldencalf_filippino“And he received the gold from their hand and fashioned it with a graving tool and made a golden calf. And they said, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!’ When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it. And Aaron made proclamation and said, ‘Tomorrow shall be a feast to the LORD.’ And they rose up early the next day and offered burnt offerings and brought peace offerings. And the people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play” (Exod 32:4-6).

Characteristics of this pagan worship offered by God’s people:

• Instantly gratifying: The people were impatient with Moses’ delay.

 Idolatrous: The people worshiped another god alongside the true God.

 Sincere: The people sincerely believed that they were worshiping Jehovah (LORD).

 Pagan and sensual: “Rose up to play” (KJV, NASB, ESV) has sexual overtones. The Hebrew verb “play” is tsachaq, which variously means “to sport, play, make sport, toy with, make a toy of.” It is also used in Genesis 26:8-9: “When he had been there a long time, Abimelech king of the Philistines looked out of a window and saw Isaac laughing with Rebekah his wife” (ESV). Various translations say Isaac was “caressing” (Holman, NASB, NIV), and even “fondling” (NLT, NRSV) Rebekah. This is why other translations use “indulge in revelry” (NIV), “pagan revelry” (NLT), “revel” (NRSV, Holman), and “orgy” (God’s WORD) for Israel’s pagan worship. Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary interprets tsachaq as “with lascivious dancing, singing, and drumming round the calf.”

Paul makes clear that the Israelites’ golden calf worship involved pagan sexual revelry, “Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did. Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, ‘The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.’ We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did” (1 Cor 10:6-8).

 Worldly: Where did they get the idea of worshiping a golden calf and indulging in sexual revelry? From the Egyptians and Canaanites, no doubt. From the world’s godless practices.

 Creative: New idol, new leader, new “celebration.”


Just as it was then, so it is now.



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4 thoughts on “Pagan Worship: Then and Now”

  1. How to Conduct Pagan Worship
     First, gather a majority of like-minded people together. These people should regard their conscience and feelings much greater than God’s Word. Should a minorty show up and insist God’s Word be followed and honored, be sure to belittle them and defame them as intolerable. There’s a good chance you’ll get rid of them since they take that passage in 2 Cor 14-16 very seriously.

     Second, take great care to use lots of Christian lingo in your advertising of the gathering. That way newbies will be none the wiser about your agenda. Be sure to throw the words Jesus Christ around a lot. Newbies seem to be drawn to those words.
     Third, seek out images of birds and animals to dance throughout the worship service. Hiring puppeteers to handle this important feature is best. Your like-minded attendees will love this! They will see it as art and creativeness, and these dancing puppets will keep them grossly entertained. Don’t forget to throw in a baptism and some reading from God’s Word to throw off the newbies. You don’t want them to actually know your gathering is pagan. Usually, as long as you entertain them, you’ll fool them into thinking they are worshipping Yahweh.
     Well, there you go, some great advice on how to conduct a pagan worship service. Remember, actually believing in or taking seriously God’s Word is completely unacceptable. As per PCUSA vice-moderator “reverend” Landon Whitsitt, “God’s Word is only a reference point.” It’s not actually a word from God afterall.
    For those of minority in the PCUSA, let us not forget God’s actual, breathed-out Word: For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. Romans 1:22 – 25

  2. Albert Medina

    With minor differences, this is exactly how “worship”  is done in the “youth services” of evangelical churches I have visited in the past (including my former church). This seems to be the standard way of doing thing things these days.

  3. Now:

    I once attended a church on the hillside in Walnut Creek, CA where they had 5 different flat stones @15″ x 15″ square mounted at the front of “their” sanctuary.  They passed out to each person in the “audience” 5 small polished stones corresponding to the ones up front.  They had a written explanation and a “sermon” explaining the meaning of their “precious” stones.  The stones remained up front for years, possibly to this day.  After a while, people no longer remembered the “meaning” of their “precious” stones.

    Many churches in CA have men & women clinging to & singing into “asherah polls”.  Of course, you have the drum set on center stage of many a “sanctuary”.  There’s a church in Lafayette, CA that periodically has Hawaiian “Sunday service” where people wear their floral outfits and shell necklaces.  I was told by the member of one local “church” that they once served angel food cake (to show how sweet the Lord is) instead of the bread for the Lord’s Supper; and one Sunday they used tortilla chips.  Certainly this was a “community of disgrace”.  There are CA “pastors” who preach in shorts & sandals.  Do they know they’re standing before a Holy God?

    It’s tragic.  We must pray the Holy Spirit will convict, counsel, and guide them into all Truth.

    1. How did evangelical churches fall so deep from Biblical worship? It’s this idea that we can be as innovative and creative in worship as long as we’re sincere. No wonder John Calvin said, “The human mind is a factory of idols.” This is why God did not leave us free to do as we please in worship because He knows our totally depraved minds.

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