Customer Review

19 of 27 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Interesting information poor conclusions, 6 Aug. 2008
This review is from: PAGAN CHRISTIANITY HB (Hardcover)
The fact that George Barna is the co-author should be an indicator that this book is going to have problems. He was the one who wrote the book (as I remember it) "Marketing the Church". He seems to flip-flop his views quite often. He's a statistician, so his views are often more shaped by polls and statistics than Scripture.

Viola's view is that virtually the entire way that church is done is both secular and pagan and fights against church fellowship. He does bring about a few points worth looking at, but mixed in with that are proof-texts out of context to prove his points (interesting that he devotes a section of the book to the danger of prooftexting).

All in all, although a few points worth meditation were brought out, I was very turned off by the way Scriptures were poorly quoted, for example, Viola quotes 1Co 14:26 as proof that a church meeting should be everyone teaching each other, everyone getting to lead in song (this person leads this song, that person that one), everyone speaking in a tongue. But the obvious context of the passage is Paul is rebuking the church for functioning in this way and so it actually works against his point rather than prove it, but taken out of context, it becomes a proof-text. That says to me that there is greater concern in making a point than keeping the full integrity of Scripture.

Would I recommend this book? No. Although it did make me think about some things and ask myself why I do certain things, for the most part my conclusions about body life are pretty much the same as before. I appreciate the fact that Viola wants to see the church engage more as a body than an event, and I don't mind him doing church the way he does, but he suggests Scripture is on his side (which again I cannot see any real support for this) and that if we don't see the church functioning the way he does church, we are caught up in Greek/Roman thought and paganism.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 12 Nov 2008 18:24:23 GMT
DJRodger says:
Im shocked that you can read what is contained in that book and think and behave exactly the same. Still I think its great you read it and hope you recommend it to others still. Not sure how that one example form 1Cor 14:26 gets us off the hook with the other 90% of the book though even if what you said is true?

Posted on 5 Feb 2009 09:40:38 GMT
M. Maddock says:
The key problem is this: if I have a relgious spirit or am happy to function in an environment controlled by religious spirits when in 'church' (which is the main successful tactic used by Satan since the 4th century) then I won't see what these authors are saying and any truth behind it....
Have a look in China - up to 130 million born again believers and still growing fast - all growing in a fluid tradition free environment due to official persecution... resulting in mainly 'pagan free' christianity.

Posted on 22 Aug 2009 20:17:12 BDT
Last edited by the author on 22 Aug 2009 20:18:40 BDT
S. Hayes says:
I would have to agree with this reviewer. I am completely for changing the church and am passionate about the Word of God. Since becoming a Christian, my heart has been radical, creative, cutting edge. I dislike religion as it's in complete opposition to the Godly liberty of being a true disciple of Jesus! However, my comment on this book is that while well researched, the conclusions are not well thought out. In addition to 1 Corinthians 14 being misinterpreted in various ways (Paul doesn't tell people that everyone should have a word or prophecy etc, he merely states that is what people were doing at the church in Corinth at that time and then goes on to counsel them away from being disorderly), there are several other areas of concern. One is a mis-interpretation of 1 Corinthians 12 where the authors identify this as being to do with a church meeting, yet 1 Corinthians 12 is clearly a picture of the body of Christ working in its fullness and beyond a Sunday service. There are a number of other poorly cogitated arguments throughout the book that undermine its conclusions at times. Subjects around removing leaders in favour of teams on the basis of the New Testament church have a strength (New testament only have elders, plural). Yet the Bible as a complete whole speaks of leadership - for example even within the Godhead where God the Father is clearly the head. The conclusions of this book would sit more clearly among mega-US churches than in the very different and smaller British church. Overall, I'd suggest that the book, while written with the best of intentions, seems to want to bring the conclusions that the authors' wish to bring - namely around things like a brethren style of Acts 2 worship service (is this really the only model in the 21st century church in the UK? Yes, something similar is working in China, but God does work differently in different times and environments) The purpose of rigorous Scriptural interpretation must be to reveal God's truth, rather than to simply support a pre-existing thesis. Beyond this, the author's have almost dogmatic opinions about what church should be at times - while at the same time criticising religious attitudes. We must be careful not to create new 'rules' to replace old ones in Christian living. So while I'd commend the authors for the book to challenge us and bring us forward, I could not recommend it overall. I think we need to be careful not to follow the latest theories and trends, but stick close to the Word and ask the Holy Spirit, 'what are you doing now, for us, where we are?'
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