When primitive Christianity began to take root, it wasn’t known as “Christianity.” That was more or less a term coined by onlookers.

The first Christians referred to their movement as “The Way.” The earliest disciples saw themselves not as part of new religion but as travelers on and in the Way of Jesus.

This “Way,” consequently, was something active and dynamic, bound to the living Christ. It was not some dead religion seized with rigor mortis. The passing of the centuries, however, has seriously muted this fact. The years have suppressed the wild and dangerous roots of the Christian faith, and in some cases, have beaten the living daylights out of it. This has not been lost on a large and growing number of believers.

According to researcher William Hendricks, more than a million Christian adults leave the church each year. Many do so “not because the church is too spiritual,” he says, “but because the church is not spiritual enough.” Large swathes of official Christianity have traded the untamed vitality of its founder for something far more domesticated.

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