Do NOT Read This Book!

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:

  1. 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.”
  2. 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!

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8 Responses to “Do NOT Read This Book!”


  1. 1 Christine March 6, 2008 at 5:32 pm

    Thanks for the book review. I never heard about that book but it sounds interesting. I’ve always loved learning about different things within religions.

    God Bless,

    Christine

  2. 2 Ginny March 7, 2008 at 8:57 am

    Thank you for your review. I had seen something about this book elsewhere, but had no interest in it.

  3. 3 Alicia March 7, 2008 at 4:34 pm

    I agree. don’t read this book! whatever you do, do not read it. I haven’t read it, but I’ve heard that it’s really really really bad. I’ve read all about it all over the internet and on amazon. Don’t read it. I love my church and everything is fine. Don’t read it. thanks for your review.

    Alicia Simpson

  4. 4 Alicia March 8, 2008 at 6:38 am

    I just read a site that confirms how dangerous this book is.
    http://thin-edge.org/2008/02/27/the-thin-edge-hosts-joint-interview-with-barna-viola/
    I really want to read this book, but I know I really really shouldn’t.

  5. 5 cbrunette March 8, 2008 at 8:34 am

    Alicia,

    Thank you for the link!
    If you are curious enough, and don’t think you could derive any spiritual harm from it, you could request it through your public library in Inter-Library Loan. Sometimes it is free or only costs a dollar.

    I did feel personally “harmed” through reading it, only highly frustrated and shocked at the gross over-simplifications.
    ~Anna

  6. 6 Alicia March 8, 2008 at 11:19 am

    I don’t know. I just read this review series this morning
    http://www.birkeyblog.com/ it’s really interesting and now I dont know what to do. Some people love it, some people hate it, no one seems in between. some blogs say don’t read it, it’s not worth it, it’s bad or something negative then others make me want to read because they say it’s great, it exalts Jesus, its freeing, its well researched. I have a friend who I recently found out read it and she say’s its one of the best books she and her husband have ever read in their lives. but then others are saying it’s evil and bad. I’m just confused.

  7. 7 alana June 19, 2008 at 6:39 pm

    Book like that make Orthodox Christians laugh, and laugh and laugh because they are SO RIDICULOUS! I guess I’m an apostate idol worshiping pagan, now, eh?

  8. 8 cara michele July 14, 2008 at 11:29 am

    I’m reading Pagan Christianity now. And I love this book! It’s driving me to the Lord, to prayer, to the Word, to my knees. To look deeply at “commands” vs. “traditions,” and how traditions have and are preventing the Church from being the Church.

    I’m thankful for what God is teaching me through His Word, and for the questions that are prompted by Viola’s book. I would urge people not to dismiss it so quickly. I talked to someone yesterday who said they wouldn’t read it because they didn’t agree with it. (But they didn’t read it. So…) But one of my friends is also reading it now and is being profoundly affected, as am I.

    Just sharing my thoughts with my sisters in Christ. I love you all.

    Peace, CM


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