A Book Review (Part 2): Pagan Christianity?

(Continued from Part 1)

Pagan Christianity?: Exploring the Roots of Our Church Practices

Authored by: Frank Viola and George Barna

Hardcover: 336 pages

Publisher: Barnabooks (Tyndale House)

List Price: $17.99 (Purchase for as low as $9.00 here.)


As startling as it may seem, almost everything that is done in our contemporary churches has no basis in the Bible. As pastors preach from their pulpits about being “biblical” and following the “pure Word of God,” their words betray them. The truth is that precious little that is observed today in contemporary Christianity maps to anything found in the New Testament Church. (Pagan Christianity?, pp. 4)

Smack! The above words slapped my face with their in-your-face gist.

What? I thought. How can this be? Certainly, Viola and Barna must be talking about the snakehandling assembly on the other side of town, and not my church. Especially, not my church.

But soon, I felt a sharp ache in my toes as I continued reading. The pain was excruciating. Viola and Barna were stepping all over my comfort zones. I wanted to put the book down, but a quote floated across my mind:

Every man has a right to be wrong in his opinions. But no man has a right to be wrong in his facts. (Bernard M. Baruch)

I trudged onward. I read the authors’ study on the history of church buildings, pulpits, steeples, architecture, pews and balconies. At the end of the second chapter, the authors wrote:

Somehow, we have been taught to feel holier when we are in “the house of God” and have inherited a pathological dependency upon an edifice to carry out our worship to God. At bottom, the church building has taught us badly about what church is and what it does. The building is a denial of the priesthood of all believers. It is a contradiction of the very nature of the ekklesia – which is a countercultural community. (Pagan Christianity?, pp. 42)

Sweat formed under my armpits. My mouth was dry, but I kept at it. I was looking for a chink in their logic, but hundreds of footnotes and pages of bibliography support their findings.

The two authors also chip away at the icons of Protestant order of worship, the sermon, the pastor, Sunday morning dress, the Worship team, tithing, clergy salaries, baptism, the Lord’s Supper, and Christian education. Very few sacred cows are left untouched by this book.

What is the authors’ hope for Pagan Christianity?:

First, we hope that you will begin asking questions about church as you presently know it. How much of it is truly biblical? How much of it expresses the absolute headship of Jesus Christ? How much of it allows the members of His body the freedom to function? Second, we hope that you will share this book with every Christian you know so that they too will be challenged by its message. And third, we hope you will pray seriously about what your response should be for this message. (Pagan Christianity?, pp. 250)

And what’s my opinion of the book? I truly believe that it is an apostolic work which helps to lay a strong foundation for reformation of the American Church. A reformation which will put Jesus back where He belongs as Head of His church.

But hey, don’t just take my word, check it out here. And then buy it.

(To be continued in Part 3.)


Filed under African-American, black people, Christianity, Emergent Church, Gifts of the Spirit, Home Church, Kingdom of God, Prophecy, Race, reformation, Religion, Uncategorized

3 responses to “A Book Review (Part 2): Pagan Christianity?

  1. I missed the commentary on Easter eggs but then, I’m multi-tasking with Rick Warren out of one eye and Pagan Christians out of the other. Is it bedtime yet?

  2. Larry Who


    Maybe you and your hubby should take a vacation, say to Southern California. We have an extra room waiting. And as Motel 6 says, “We’ll leave the light on.”

  3. Pingback: A Book Review (Part 3): Pagan Christianity? « Larry Who

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