March 9, 2009

Pagan Christianity

Posted in Christianity, History, Nonfiction, Religion at 2:27 pm by caelesti

Pagan Christianity by Frank Viola and George Barna

Where do church traditions like preaching sermons, the practice of Communion or even having a church building and a paid minister come from?
If you’ve ever wondered about the origins of these things, read this book to find out! Most of these practices are of pagan origin, absorbed from the broader culture or added in intentionally to increase the status of the church. Viola believes these practices should be rejected not only because of the non-Christian origin, but also because they are harmful to building Christian communities. He supports his claims with Biblical citations.

Before you pick up “Pagan Christianity” there are some things to keep in mind- it is focused on Protestant traditions, and aimed at an evangelical Christian audience. Despite this, I think it would be of interest to anyone curious about where various aspects of institutional Christianity come from.
Frank Viola is a prominent organizer in the house church movement, and he is upfront about that. George Barna, founder of the Barna Group,

The book was quite well researched, with plenty of footnotes. It may not go into as much depth on each as an academic work would, but I think it’s great that the authors brought this information to a mass audience.

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2 Comments »

  1. Jill said,

    The sequel to “Pagan Christianity?” is out now. It’s called “Reimagining Church”. It picks up where “Pagan Christianity” left off and continues the conversation. (“Pagan Christianity” was never meant to be a stand alone book; it’s part one of the conversation.) “Reimagining Church” is endorsed by Leonard Sweet, Shane Claiborne, Alan Hirsch, and many others. You can read a sample chapter at http://www.ReimaginingChurch.org . It’s also available on Amazon.com. Frank is also blogging now at http://frankviola.wordpress.com/ .

  2. caelesti said,

    Thanks- I did see that mentioned at the end of the book, but I didn’t know Frank had a blog. It makes sense that he continues with another book- while Pagan Christianity questions tradition, it only vaguely implies what might be an alternative, so it will be interesting to see his idea of a New Testament based church in action.

    Funny thing, is I’m not even Christian, but I enjoy learning about other religions and he had some thought provoking ideas about spiritual community building.


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