My Valentine’s Day present from Jeff was the book, Pagan Christianity? by Frank Viola and George Barna. The title was intriguing to me and he offered to pay for it. So we walked out of Hastings with a copy. Talk about a heavy case of buyer’s remorse!
There are plenty of other bloggers giving much more thorough reviews of the book, that I won’t go into detailed thesis-shredding mode. Reformation 21 does an excellent job. The two faulty assumptions that the book is founded upon are:
- Everything that has happened after 300 A.D. in the church has a pagan foundation. We must be like the snowy-white Early Church who congregated around a pure notion of “how to do church.”
- The author gets to decide what is pagan and what is not.
Some major pagan practices he deems not necessary to discard are Easter, Christmas, other holidays, and the Gregorian calendar names. You can read some “answers to questions” from the author at this site.
His notion of church does not include any hierarchical structures like pastors, but does include “church planters” and “elders”. No worship music leaders either. Everyone can lead songs at any time during a worship gathering (!) His theory of church is close in some ways to Conservative Quakers in many respects but he dismisses their waiting in worship as waiting for “enlightenment”. I was disgusted at his lack of research into their practices. He might learn something enlightening. 😉
Even if you are highly tempted by the red dust jacket of Pagan Christianity?, don’t buy it!