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Hardcover Pagan Christianity?: Exploring the Roots of Our Church Practices Book

ISBN: 141431485X

ISBN13: 9781414314853

Pagan Christianity?: Exploring the Roots of Our Church Practices

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Book Overview

Have you ever wondered why we Christians do what we do for church every Sunday morning? Why do we "dress up" for church? Why does the pastor preach a sermon each week? Why do we have pews, steeples,... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

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Must Read

Feel like normal church isn't giving you enough? Read this book! I saw so much wrong with the church and this book really gave me words for all I was experiencing! The church will remain dead, unless we go back to the church seen in the book of acts. The real church! Where the people are the church not the building run by leaders!

Every church going person needs to read this book.....

This book explains perfectly where most of the things in Christianity originate from. This book will have you begin to really think about things. Most of the things we do in the church has pagan origins and these two fellas expose it all with references and documention. Would highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to know the truth and has an open mind, unbiased, accepting facts as they are, will benefit greatly from this book......

Spiritual Revolution Instead of Religious Reformation

"Pagan Christianity? Exploring the Roots of Our Church Practices," may very well be the most important book written on the Christian church in the last two millennia. Frank Viola and George Barna team up to give their readers a critical examination of the last 1700 years of church history. Does the institutional church have any biblical and historical right to exist? "Are the practices of the institutional church (the clergy/laity system, salaried pastors, sacred buildings, the order of worship, etc.) God-approved developments to the church that the New Testament envisions? Or are they an unhealthy departure from it?" The first edition of this book entitled, "Pagan Christianity: The Origins of Our Modern Church Practices" by Frank Viola... is the third book written in a set of five books on church restoration and organic church life. Viola and George Barna, Christian pollster and author of the book "Revolution," have co-authored the newly revised and updated "Pagan Christianity?: Exploring the Roots of Our Church Practices." Barna brings to the book a fresh look and a polished language that improves on the delivery of Viola's original work. Barna, who has caused no small stink upon his recent confessions regarding the church, makes his decision to leave the institutional church complete with the publication of this book. If it wasn't clear in his book "Revolution"... it is certainly clear now. I enjoyed the new format of this book. At the end of each chapter, the authors give the reader a "Delving Deeper" section which lists common questions with answers in return. I felt that this helped to clarify what the authors were truly saying in order that fact might be separated from fiction. I also enjoyed the updated references and the plethora of footnotes listed at the bottom of each page. These references may be in a smaller font, but they are the entire foundation of historicity which resulted in the penning of this book. Therefore, the serious reader will not want to overlook the footnotes. The reader will also find the "Summary of Origins" and "Key Figures in Church History" in the back of the book a great help as well. The book may look like a long read... yet, you will find that your interest is peaked beyond that of any other historical book you have ever read. You will read until you are done... or until you have thrown it out the window. The serious questions raised in this book will give the Christian reader more than enough to wrestle over. Viola traces the pagan origins of almost every church practice that institutional Christianity holds dear and holds it to the light of the New Testament. I remember first reading the original "Pagan Christianity" over a year ago. I had spent 6 years of my life in "vocational ministry" within the institutional church and I had a degree in Religion/Biblical Studies. I had just resigned from my position as Minister to Students/Education because the church's leaders were opposed to

For those willing to 'take the red pill'

Is today's Church into a revolution that will someday be understood as greater than the 16th Century Protestant Reformation? Pagan Christianity by Frank Viola and George Barna will certainly add fuel to the fire of those affirming so. Most evangelicals would consider such a suggestion as absurd, or at best, exaggerated. Yet, undeniably, there is a grass roots revolution taking place on a global scale in Christendom about what it means to be the Church of Jesus Christ. Basically the authors are making three points: 1) A great deal of what we do in church today does not come from the New Testament. 2) Much of what is practiced originated out of Greco-Roman customs and traditions (paganism, not Judaism), and/or human-made inventions. 3) Many of these practices actually hinder the church from being what God designed her to be. The over-arching question the authors seem to be asking is: Do the practices of modern institutional churches reflect a God-ordained/inspired development, or are they a departure from it? Of course, one must read the book to understand why Viola and Barna indeed question "church" as most of us know it. Beware, though. This book comes with a WARNING: If you are unwilling to have your Christianity seriously examined, do not read beyond this page...Spare yourself the trouble of having your Christian life turned upside down. (pg.7) A glance at the content chapters will suffice as to the reason for the warning! 1-Have We Really Been Doing It By The Book? 2-The Church Building: Inheriting the Edifice Complex. 3-The Order of Worship: Sunday Mornings Set In Concrete 4-The Sermon: Protestantism's Most Sacred Cow 5-The Pastor: Obstacle To Every-Member Functioning 6-Sunday Morning Costumes: Covering Up The Problem 7-Ministers of Music: Second-String Clergy 8-Tithing and Clergy Salaries: Sore Spots On The Wallet 9-Baptism and the Lord's Supper: Diluting The Sacraments 10-Christian Education: Swelling The Cranium 11-Reapproaching the New Testament: The Bible Is Not A Jigsaw Puzzle 12-A Second Glance at the Savior: Jesus The Revolutionary -The Next Step -Final Thoughts: Q & A with Viola and Barna If not already offended at some of the chapter titles, I can almost guarantee you will be after reading what is actually said concerning these staples of institutional Christianity! As difficult as it is to read material that questions church as we know it, this is a well documented book, with over 1200 enlightening footnotes from church historians, theologians down through the ages, the reformers and church fathers themselves, and an extensive eleven page bibliography. Each of the above issues is traced back to its roots of origin and how it evolved over the years into what we have today. The traditions are then examined in the light of what the New Testament actually teaches. Each is shown--in its current form--to NOT be a New Testament practice, but rather, traditions rooted in paganism absorbed by the church down through the ages. T

Don't read this book if you are happy in a church pew!

Tyndale is known for publishing Christian books and has shown a daring initiative in publishing this book that questions traditional church practices. In the publisher's preface we read `Tyndale does not necessarily agree with all of the author's positions and realises that some readers may not either. At the same time, we stand united with Frank and George in our desire to see the church operate according to biblical principles and be a full expression of God's grace and truth. Furthermore, the authors raise important questions based on their careful research, study, and experiences, and we believe these questions should not be ignored. Our aim is for you to consider their conclusions and then pray seriously about your response'. This book is a revised and expanded hard cover version of the book Frank Viola published some years ago, and he has teamed up with George Barna, well known for his research and statistics of church, and who has been hailed as "the most quoted person in the Christian church today". Barna's book `Revolution' is being widely read in home churches across the world. Many traditional church practices are often unquestioned and regarded at least as a `given', or are thought to have had their roots in the Bible. When many of these are examined and researched as Frank has done, they are shown to be man-made traditions that the earliest church knew nothing of and in fact many hinder the church. Some practices within the following aspects of traditional church life are addressed in this book - `The Church Building', "The Order of Worship', `The Sermon', `The Pastor', `Sunday Morning Costumes', `Ministers of Music', `Tithing and Clergy Salaries', `Baptism and the Lord's Supper', and `Christian Education'. If you are happy in a traditional church pew, then don't read this book! The actual content of the chapters is little different to the older edition, but the big advantage of this book lies in the additions Frank has made in corroboration with George Barna. There is a `Delving deeper' section at the end of each chapter, couched as a dialogue between Frank and George, tackling questions raised from the chapter just read. They have done this very well, and these could be the basis for small group discussion and sharing. Another helpful aspect of the book is that it can be read on two levels. The copious footnotes that point to sources, further points that could be considered, extra reading or explanations, provide an opportunity for deeper study. However, a straight read through the book without a serious look at the footnotes, provides lots of information and challenges. A downside of the book is that the footnotes are in very small print unlike the earlier edition where the footnotes were much easier to read. A very helpful part of this later edition is the Afterward. The first section is entitled `The Next Step' and calls for a response and for community. The challenges are listed as i. A new approach to wor

Time for a courageous reexamination

As George Barna has well documented, the church landscape of America is changing rapidly. A key element of this change is a spreading reexamination of the very nature and practice of church. The extent of this reexamination is demonstrated by the fact that a major publisher like Tyndale would today publish a book like "Pagan Christianity". Even five years ago this would have been unheard of! Consider these words in the Publisher's Preface: "...the authors raise important questions based on their careful research, study, and experiences, and we believe these questions should not be ignored. Our aim is for you to consider their conclusions and then pray seriously about your response." Amazing! This fits with my personal journey. As a pastor in evangelical churches for 25 years, I held strongly to the idea that "the Bible is our authoritative guide for faith and practice". I preached that, as followers of Jesus, we should courageously examine our lives in light of Scripture and, with God's help, be ready to make changes. I believe most evangelical pastors seek to live and minister from this same core foundational concept. However, in recent years, a growing number of us have been recognizing a major blind spot in the living out of our commitment to a Biblical lifestyle. That blind spot is ecclesiology (the doctrine of the church). I believe "Pagan Christianity" will play a vital role in shaping the growing conversation on this subject over the next year. Well researched and well written, the book is accessible to both church leaders and those formerly known as "the laity". Seems to me it's time for every church, whether traditional or non-traditional, to promote an open minded and respectful discussion and courageous reexamination about what our "authoritative guide" has to say about this critical topic. "Pagan Christianity" will provide a stimulating starting point for that conversation.

Why Do We Put On Our Best Duds For Church?

The answer to this question and many others of more significance will be found in Pagan Christianity. The authors have painstakingly dug into the archives of history and shown the origins of the most striking features of the institutional Christianity that emerged in post-apostolic times -- things like the church building, the order of worship, the sermon, the pastor, dressing up for church, seminaries, the altar call and tithing. This book is a fascinating read just from a historical vantage point. For example, you learn that Christians were in the catacombs not because of persecution, but because they wanted to be near the dead. The church service in France is called "aller a sermon" (go to a sermon). There are a myriad of details drawn from church history that help one understand how certain traditions became entrenched in the way church was done. While there are certainly allusions to organic New Testament perspecives in the course of the book, it is not ultimately about solutions. Pagan Christianity is about documenting the Greco-Roman origins of many church practices that stand in open opposition to the New Testament revelation. "The sermon" is one tradition that arose from pagan, not biblical soil. In a book to come out later in 2008, "Reimagining Church," Frank will unfold more specific pathways to practicing community that would contribute to untangling the churchy mess we find ourselves in. Because this book challenges ecclesiastical motherhood and apple pie, it will no doubt be a hard pill for many to swallow. But it must be stressed that the major points in PC are confirmed by the historical research of scholars from all across the theological spectrum. Emil Brunner concluded in 1952: "...what was known as ecclesia in primitive Christianity -- [is] so very different from what is to-day called the Church both in Roman and Protestant camps . . . . many theologians and Church leaders are . . . so much the more painfully aware of the disparity between the Christian fellowship of the apostolic age and our own 'churches,' and cannot escape the impression that there may perhaps be something wrong with what we now call the Church . . . . It is in fact the opinion of the author that the Church itself, in so far as it identifies itself with the Ecclesia of the New Testament, rests upon a misunderstanding" (The Misunderstanding of the Church, London: Lutterworth Press, 1952, pp.5-6). Likewise, one of the foremost New Testament theologians of our times affirmed with clarity some of the central theses of of PC: "Increasing institutionalism is the clearest mark of early Catholicism -- when church becomes increasingly identified with institution, when authority becomes increasingly coterminous with office, when a basic distinction between clergy and laity becomes increasingly self-evident, when grace becomes increasingly narrowed to well-defined ritual acts. We saw above that such features were absent from first generation Christianity,
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