And a book review:
I just finished studying Frank Viola’s and George Barna’s recent book, Pagan Christianity: Exploring the Roots of Our Church Practices. I want to start to say what I appreciate about the book and finish with what I think are some concerns.
Reading this book reminded me of the hours of ambitious dreaming and passionate debates that occurred during my bible college and seminary days with other visionary young radicals. It evoked the intensity with which I first went into the pastoral ministry, like a bull in a china shop, like Jesus with a woven whip into the den of thieves. In other words, I agree with almost everything they say. I have a problem with churches owning so much money, property and buildings; I question liturgy and orders of worship; I struggle with the one-man monologue sermon model; I have always wrestled with “full-time paid ministry” pastor positions; I disregard Sunday dress; I don’t like the control of worship music by a select and talented few; I don’t believe in tithing; I question the sacraments, formal Christian education, and our whole approach to the New Testament. In short, I too kick against the system. So, if you want to get an idea of what the authors insist are the pagan roots of most of our religious practices and compare them to the New Testament and early Church, get this book. With the plentiful footnotes and bibliography, it’ll give you enough to study.
But I have some concerns. Even before I got to the substance of the book, I read a line in the forward that concerned me. The following, they say, is their “proposal“...
I plan to get this book. It sounds interesting.