ONE BUCK BOOK: Pagan Christianity
[I've worn out my copy of this book.]
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, choirs, and seminaries?
This volume reveals the startling truth: most of what Christians do in present-day churches is not rooted in the New Testament, but in pagan culture and rituals developed long after the death of the apostles. Coauthors Frank Viola and George Barna support their thesis with compelling historical evidence in the first-ever book to document the full story of modern Christian church practices.
Sorting out truth from tradition
Many Christians take for granted that their church's practices are rooted in Scripture. Yet those practices look very different from those of the first-century church. The New Testament is not silent on how the early church freely expressed the reality of Christ's indwelling in ways that rocked the first-century world.
Times have changed. Pagan Christianity leads us on a fascinating tour through church history, revealing this startling and unsettling truth: Many cherished church traditions embraced today originated not out of the New Testament, but out of pagan practices. One of the most troubling outcomes has been the effect on average believers: turning them from living expressions of Christ's glory and power to passive observers. If you want to see that trend reversed, turn to Pagan Christianity . . . a book that examines and challenges every aspect of our contemporary church experience.
"In recent years, an increasing number of us pastors have recognized 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). As a former Presbyterian pastor, I believe PAGAN CHRISTIANITY will play a vital role in shaping the growing conversation on this subject now and in the future. Well researched and well written, this book is accessible to both church leaders and those formerly known as the laity."
John White, former Evangelical Presbyterian pastor; Community Facilitator for LUKE TEN: A Community of Practice for Church Planters.
"PAGAN CHRISTIANITY documents specific areas where contemporary church life violates Biblical principles. It is painful to read because it requires taking a journey beyond the comfort zone of our present paradigms. Whether you agree with all the conclusions the author draws or not, you will have no argument with his documentation. It is a scholarly work with an explosive conclusion. Particularly for those of us in the modern cell church movement, this is a valuable tool to force rethinking the meaning of the word "ecclesia." The Holy Spirit is not pleased with churchianity as we practice it, nor is the watching unchurched world."
Ralph W. Neighbour, Jr., author of "Where Do We Go From Here?" and founder of the Cell Church Movement.
"Frank Viola and George Barna have teamed up to create an intelligent, readable, and yet challenging work about the historical roots of the many unbiblical modern church practices that hinder Christian growth in quality and church growth in quantity. Anyone who reads Pagan Christianity with an open mind and heart will never see the church the same way again. May those with newly-gained spiritual eyes not stop there, but go on to do something about it."
Rad Zdero, Ph.D., Author of "The Global
Movement" and Editor of "Nexus: The Movement
Reader." World House
"Frank has done a masterful job both researching and then weaving together the threads that have made modern church practices what they are - pagan substitutes for authentic church life. One nice thing about PAGAN CHRISTIANITY is that it provides the history behind a perception that many of us Christians share: The way the modern Western church does things has little to do with the organic life we see in the New Testament. The difference is so great sometimes that one wonders how one could possibly have transmuted into the other."
Hal Miller, author of "Christian Community: Biblical or Optional?"
"This is an important book which demonstrates that many of the practical aspects of contemporary church life, ministry and structure have little or no biblical basis and are, in fact, inspired by a wide variety of non Christian patterns and ideas most of which are inimical to Christian life and growth. Many readers will find this book challenging in the extreme but all who are concerned with the future of the church should read it."
Dave Norrington, Lecturer of religious studies at Blackpool and the
, author of "To Preach or
Not to Preach." Fylde College
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