Has Anyone Here Read "Pagan Chrsitianity?" by Frank Viola and George Barna?

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by CubeX, Aug 21, 2008.

  1. CubeX

    CubeX
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    I was wondering if anyone else here has read the book "Pagan Christianity?" by Frank Viola and George Barna. http://www.paganchristianity.org/ or http://www.ptmin.org/ (I believe).)

    I'm almost done reading it for the second time now and I've just finished reading "Reimaging Church" by Viola as well. In these two books are some serious challenges to the modern institutional church. I was just wondering what other people's opinions on the book were. I personally loved it and it gave voice to thoughts that I've had at the back of my head for a while.

    It's not promoting a denomination, but it is promoting a RADICAL change in Christianity. (And no, it's not really promoting the house church movement in and of itself either.) Here are some of the issues:
    1) The church building is unbiblical and causes some suprisingly serious damage to the church. I've posted a thread about this a while back ago, maybe in June.
    2) The clergy/laity divide is unbiblical and has probably done more to harm the church (while trying to help her!) than many heresies. Note that I did add "while trying to help her!" in there...
    3) Tithing is not New Testament. Simply put, I agree and it is very verifiable by the NT. However, the NT stresses a radical view on giving to the poor, the orphans and widows as well as providing resources for the traveling Christian workers. These workers were not local resident elders, etc. They were close to our modern concept of missionaries.
    4) Numbers 2 and 3 naturally leads to this: Clergy (and staff) pay is not NT Christianity. When Paul was saying goodbye to the elders from Ephesus (see Acts ?:??), he reminded them of how he didn't become a burden to anyone but worked to provide for his own needs. He then encouraged them to imitate him.
    5) The liturgy is unbiblical. I've also read about this from other books including the textbook "A Survey of Christian Hymnody" although it is short. It orginated as the clergy class evolved in the second and third centuries.

    There's a lot more but that's good enough to start any discussion for a while! lol. However, I really just want to see if there is anyone else out there from a Baptist (or other Protestant) background who would care to discuss their thoughts about it.

    Thanks!
    - Dave
     
  2. Jilliefl1

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    I've read "Pagan" and thought it was insightful and right on target. It is controversial, but sometimes it's necessary to shake things up a bit when the Body of Christ has veered off course. (Think Martin Luther).

    Viola just released a sequel of sorts to "Pagan", 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/ . Also, have you seen the spoof video for "Pagan"? Very funny. Check it out at http://youtube.com/watch?v=hslswIal9u4 .
     
  3. Alive in Christ

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    I agree 100%



    I agree 100%



    I agree 100%



    Some of the others sound interesting. I might pick up the book and give it a read.


    :godisgood:
     
  4. donnA

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    This internet discussion, as well as anyother internet discussion is unbiblical. This website is unbiblical, your computer is unbiblical, owning a bible is unbiblical.
     
  5. Marcia

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    I have not read this book but I see a paganization of Christianity in the syncretization of Christianity with the New Age. I know this is not what Barna is talking about and therefore, I think the real danger is being ignored.

    Having a church building, clergy, and the liturgy is not endangering Christianity; other things are (not that they can eradicate Christianity, but can draw people away from Christ).
     
  6. TaliOrlando

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    I agree, although it will bring many valid points, I see no harm, none, in the body of Christ congregating in a building, house or street corner. I believe its important for the body of Christ to be with each other... read the word, help each other and all that good stuff. I am sure the author of the book has great intentions behind it, I will buy it and read it for sure :thumbs: . However we can also say that books are pagan because most books are pagan and book writting is not in the new testament therefore we shouldnt buy his book because its a pagan tradition.
     
  7. Marcia

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    I think there are other books more worthwhile. Read this first:
    http://benwitherington.blogspot.com/2008/06/pagan-christianty-by-george-barna-and.html
     
  8. Alive in Christ

    Alive in Christ
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    Another superb book that I would recommend...its in the same vein as the book in question...is "The Open Church" by James Rutz.


    http://www.amazon.com/Open-Church-Bring-Exciting-Century/dp/0940232502

    Here is a review...


    :godisgood:
     
  9. Reformer

    Reformer
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    I have heard of the book and thought about picking it up but decided I already had to many going at once. I have since heard so pretty bad things about it (which could be good) One of the most common things I hear is that he is more or less saying that Christians have no need to come together, physically and that the "electronic church" will soon take over anyway. I don't know if that is true or not (I hope not) but it is a frequent acuasation I have heard. Guess I'll have to read the book now :laugh:

    Reformer
     
  10. Gerhard Ebersoehn

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    1) The church building is unbiblical
    It is not unbiblical; it totally biblical.


    2) The clergy/laity divide is unbiblical
    But beware, unless it becomes another 'peasants' uprising' to the destruction of order and instruction. This is a difficult one.


    3) Tithing is not New Testament.
    Simply put, I agree and it is very verifiable by the NT as well as the Old Testament.


    4) Clergy (and staff) pay is not NT Christianity.
    He who serves at the altar lives by the altar. But how many clergy are there for their pay-cheque and really sweet all else.


    5) The liturgy is unbiblical.
    If you have experienced both sides you would know, liturgy - Reformed liturgy - is as effective a tool in the hand of God as far as it is done to the mind of God. Do not underestimate the power and influence of order. Paul praised the order of the Colossian Church and its renown worldwide.
     
    #10 Gerhard Ebersoehn, Aug 28, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 28, 2008
  11. Gerhard Ebersoehn

    Gerhard Ebersoehn
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    I didn't read the book; but with this quote i know i won't miss anything not to read it,

    "you're not a layperson (laymen) and never were meant to be, we are all called to something much more than bench warmers "

    One can immediately sense the difference between a non con poop and a real scholar. I say this because Karl Barth has said something very similar yet infinitely different. Barth said something like no Christian has the right to the excuse he is not a theologian, because every Christian's duty is to be a theologian --- or words to the effect more or less. Just the way this quote says it, says enough for me, thanks.
     
  12. Gerhard Ebersoehn

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    Definition, 'Judgmental': "You're not a layperson (laymen) and never were meant to be, we are all called to something much more than bench warmers". So all church-attending laypersons are bench warmers ... hypocrites. What would the damned 'clergy' be?
     
  13. Marcia

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    Barna is getting in on the house church movement. I see this as an attack on the church.

    Please tell me how these people will fund missionaries?

    Where is the accountability?

    These house churches could be loose canons.
     
  14. Reformer

    Reformer
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    Good Point

    Where is it now? How hard is it to get mad at someone in your church and simply move 5 miles down the road to another one just so we can tell everybody how bad they are up the road. It is unfortunate but it happens every week somewhere.
     
  15. Alive in Christ

    Alive in Christ
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    Marcia,

    Huh??? Why would it be any kind of attack on the church?

    The church is christian people. How could gathering in a house be an attack on christian people?

    And how could meeting in a building that does not have a church "name" associated with it be an attack on christians, while gathering in a building that does have a church "name" associated with it not be an attack on christians?

    The same way that people in a larger church would. If the funds arent available than some other way will no doubt be found.

    No different than in a building with a church "name" on it.

    No more so than people gathering in a building called a "church" might be.


    :godisgood:
     
  16. Marcia

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    My pastor cannot say or do anything he wants, nor can the deacons (who function as elders) without consequences. This is what I meant - there is more accountability in the leadership than there would be in a house church.
     
  17. Marcia

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    I think it' s a deconstruction of the church. My church spends 25% of its budget to support missionaries - such support will not be found in a house church, I bet you anything.

    By attack on the church, I meant just that - I realize that the church is the body of believers, but the local church is the way that accountability, missions, teaching, etc. is done. If we were forced to use house churches, like they do in China, that is one thing, but we have the freedom to have churches the way we do now.

    Personally, I would not choose a house church. You will still need parameters, statement of faith, missions (I would hope), leaders, a way to baptize, someone to watch babies/young children, etc. Who will decide all that? How is that better than a regular church? You will end up with a hierarchical system or worse - authoritarian leaders telling everyone what to do. You can't just get together and do whatever comes to mind. I know the problems care groups face just in meeting on a regular basis and getting child care - imagine that being the church all the time.
     
  18. Gerhard Ebersoehn

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    Donna A:
    "Joe Biden: "Barack Obama is NOT ready to be president of the United States." - Not even Obama's running mate thinks he's fit for the White House."

    GE:
    Where did almost every gold medal in running go? I hope we are surprised once.
     
  19. Gerhard Ebersoehn

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    Reformer:

    "
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Marcia

    Please tell me how these people will fund missionaries? .



    Good Point

    Quote:
    Where is the accountability?


    Where is it now? How hard is it to get mad at someone in your church and simply move 5 miles down the road to another one just so we can tell everybody how bad they are up the road. It is unfortunate but it happens every week somewhere."

    GE:

    See how your first point is the poison in the second. If everybody di not think himself a missionary, we would not have had these weekly recurrences.
     
  20. Reformer

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    Thanks for pointing that out :thumbs: I do see your point

    Reformer
     

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