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Pagan Christianity?: Exploring the Roots of Our Church Practices Kindle Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 43 customer reviews

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Length: 337 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1334 KB
  • Print Length: 337 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale Momentum (17 Jan. 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars 43 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #222,018 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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4.1 out of 5 stars
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The three stars are not because it's a dull book! It is required reading for anyone who needs to ask `how should we do church?' Reading the book for me was like being on a rollercoaster. One minute I am shouting a firm AMEN! The next I am shaking my head in disgust because there is some serious bad teaching. Then I am saying, 'Yes... and... so what?'

There are some extremely important facts in this church which need to be disseminated widely. And yet I frequently felt that the authors* spoiled their message by going too far with their conclusions, creating an unfair straw man representing many churches or interpreting the Bible incorrectly. To me, this book is written by a man* with an agenda rather than someone who I can trust to come up with the whole truth.

Do not give this book to an immature Christian. Most of the book is what I would regard as Romans 15 territory. I need to say:
- You are not guilty because you dress smartly to church
- You are free to go to an East-facing church with an altar if that is where you need to be
- Your haven't sinned because you tithe to a church that owns a building and employs a pastor
- Don't look down on your brother because he goes to Bible College and likes listening to sermons.

In the wrong hands, this book can make one person self-righteous, falsely guilty, or it can even cause someone to withdraw from church completely - one family I know did just this because of Frank Viola's teaching. They later regretted this and joined an elder-led church.

Let's start with what I like about it.

I `get it'! A revolution in our church life needs to take place. The old wineskins are strangling what remains of the Christian church.
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Format: Hardcover
An interesting and compact book packed with bags of references should you doubt what they are saying. (although so compact that I needed a magnifying glass to read some of the references.) You may be challenged by this book and its slightly provocative approach as it charts the pagan influences which have shaped many of the practices of the Church to this day. At the end of each chapter there is a Q & A section where possible objections to their views are countered. Although I have not researched all of their assertions many of them are common knowledge and accepted or debated by many Christians (e.g. The influence of Constantine-good or bad?). However there are one or two surprises, such as the pagan origins of the sermon.The main question as I see it however is whether it is still a pagan practice or merely a reflection of the culture in which the church is emersed. For example, when Paul was in Athens he debated philosophers on Mar's Hill and quoted their own poets to them, was this pagan or Just Paul giving a Christian message in a culturally sympathetic way.
The authors do have some valid insights, especially regarding the practice of the apostolic church of being a "sharing" community, which included open and sharing ministry one to another.Quite how valid are most of the points they make will undoubtedly vary from reader to reader and may depend on how much of one's faith is invested in the institutional church itself. An interesting and informative read, if only from the historical perspective.
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Format: Hardcover
A growing number of people have made it clear: they like Jesus, but they do not like "the church" or the whole "church/chapel culture." Barna and Viola pull back the curtain to reveal the unbiblical (in fact, "pagan") roots of today's institutional church practices. These guys have done their homework and I hope it makes the impact worldwide that they are hoping for.

Having a relationship with Jesus Christ does not require all the trappings of religion: in many ways, we've been sold a bill of goods that cannot be supported by the New Testament, whether you look at the teachings of Jesus or the apostles. This book clears the table, so to speak, and encourages us to go back to the Bible for our guidance rather than the accumulated traditions of the past 1,700 years.

So if you're sick of religion, get this book! As someone recently warned about its volatile content: don't drop it, because it might explode!"

Bill Lollar
The Thin Edge
"Pushing the limits of the status quo"
1 Comment 30 of 33 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover
The title of this book is somewhat misleading. The subject is not Christianity in general but two aspects of the church: its structure and the form of its services. The authors are against both: any hierarchical structure, and any order within services.

Although this book bears two names as authors (Frank Viola and George Barna), frequently the author writes in the first person singular, usually putting "I (Frank) ..." (e.g., p. 234, 263, 266, 268 - I only started noting these down when I got near the end of the book.)

The book gives some interesting historical information and makes some valid points about the customs and practices of Christianity. Unfortunately, the author vastly undermines the credibility of his arguments by two most regrettable techniques:
1. He exaggerates his point.
Thus, for example, he describes the practice in some churches of having special garments for choir members as "dehumanizing" (pp 148-149) - whereas in reality in many cultures such garments are worn with pride.
2. He does not present balanced Biblical teaching.
He frequently totally ignores Bible verses that contradict what he says, and on other occasions relegates such verses to footnotes which are printed in a truly minute font size, listing the reference but not quoting the content, or he refers to such verses only in the appendices to chapters, which are also in a smaller font size and will inevitably be skipped by many readers, especially given the section title, "delving deeper", which implies that this is additional material for those who have the time to investigate the concepts more fully.

Although with my reading glasses I have normal vision, I had a to keep a powerful magnifying glass by the book for the purpose of reading the footnotes.
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