Pagan Christianity; Intro (Warning: Controversial)

The book I have been reading over the last few weeks is called "Pagan Christianity". It is bold and controversial. The authors are Frank Viola and George Barna. I am sure many of you know George Barna through the research he conducts. This book makes crazy enough claims that the publisher puts a warning in the front-- a "please do not hold us responsible for what you are about to read" type of warning.

Part of me does not want to share what I am reading because I know that it will cause confusion for some people. A bigger part of me DOES!! Because I want us to think about what we are doing as the church and assess whether it is effective or even Biblical. So, I decided that I will do a series of posts. Put on your seat belt. Engage this. Just, please remember that I did not write this book! I am just sharing some of what I discovered.
Here are a few thoughts to start:
  • MOST of the practices of the contemporary church were borrowed from pagan culture.
  • The church, in its contemporary and institutional form has neither a biblical or historical right to function as it does.
  • Most of our religious habits are man-made choices. In fact, you're likely to discern a pattern about the way we "do church" these days: If we do it, it's probably not in the bible as one of the practices of the early church.
  • A great deal of what we Christians do for Sunday morning church does not come from Jesus Christ, the apostles or the Scriptures.
In coming posts, we will look at the pagan roots and/or unbiblical understandings of:
  • The church building
  • The order of worship
  • The Pastor
  • Sunday morning costumes
  • Minister of music
  • Tithing and clergy salaries
  • Baptism and the Lord's supper
  • Christian Education
Stay Tuned. The claims you will read are crazy-- but they hold way too much truth be totally dismissed.
Note: If you are bothered by, disagree with or interested in what you read-- BUY THE BOOK! In all fairness to the author, he does a fantastic job of providing extensive footnotes with Biblical and historical support for what he says. Before you conclude that he is crazy (or me, for that matter)-- read the book. I guarantee that you do not know more than the author on this topic!