This book reveals how we as Christians have accepted traditions within the church because they are traditions and not Biblical. I learned so much from this book and in particular about the freedom we have in a true Ecclesia. Also, discovered how some traditions can "block" our relationship and personal growth in Christ. If you want to understand why you think you go to church and then perhaps your reasons for going being shaken, read it.
Pagan Christianity?: Exploring the Roots of Our Church Practices
March 31, 2015
Wow! This is an excellent, well-written, well-researched and well-argued book about the roots and history of many of the practices of the institutionalised church. Topics covered include church buildings, the order of worship, the sermon, the pastor, music, tithing, clergy salaries, the condensed version of the Lord's Supper and Christian education. All these things were introduced into the church long after the early church of the first century. I recommend all Christians read this book to learn about the roots of most church practices of today.
The title is misleading but after you read the book you'll understand.
March 27, 2015
This book was fascinating, to say the least. The authors backed up everything by historical facts, which proves everything. If you have questions about anything they say they are more than happy to answer in their comment section. Frank Viola is open and transparent. As Frank says this is NOT a stand alone book; be sure and get Reimagining Church or Jesus Manifesto to read after Pagan Christianity.
I agree with Sapphire, "I do not agree with all the authors' conclusions and assertions, but I still strongly recommend this book" and add my name to those recommending this book.
Many in the Christian Church decry Christians taking part in Halloween celebrations (Easter sunrise services etc...) for its Pagan roots and yet put up a Christmas tree (taken from Paganism) as well as many other Pagan rituals - those people need to read this book.
So then what? Do we throw out those practices which are Pagan in origin? I would say - no, but we ought to know the origin of our Church traditions and rituals so as not to elevate tradition above God and His Word.
This book will put a light on the trivial things that cause division and upset in our churches, and that will upset a lot of people who have made tradition a first place thing and not secondary to Christ. People who will tell you not to read this book, but I contend this:
If you are not reading to challenge yourself but read and study only thos whose voice will affirm your current position - you are wasting your time, I will say it again you are WASTING your time and are singing to the choir - such behaviour does not produce spiritual maturity. Must we read everything contrary to our own beliefs? no, but we must not also swing too far in the opposite direction and read only those who affirm us. We must all challenge ourselves as our faith can and will stand up to it amd this book is an excellent place to start.
I will close my reivew with the same quote I started it with by Sapphire, "I do not agree with all the authors' conclusions and assertions, but I still strongly recommend this book." I am a pastor in a mid-sized church, we have a nice building, we have worship leaders, we follow many to most of the practices outlined in this book as Pagan in origin, but we do it for the glory of Christ, and so in my personal opinion we redeem those rituals for Christ - but I am keenly aware that the traditions of our church are secondary things which must be seen through the lense of Christ and are not to be elevated to first things - that would be idolatary.
Aside from the Bible, I only consider three books I have read to be deserving of my saying, "It changed my life." This is one of those three. I do not agree with all the authors' conclusions and assertions, but I still strongly recommend this book.
For years, I have grown increasingly dissatisfied with the large, institutional churches I've attended, yet noticed that I felt so enlivened at small-group gatherings where we could all edify each other and experience the Lord together. Yet, I experienced extreme guilt for feeling this way. "Pagan Christianity" liberated me by using the Word of God and history to *justify* what I've come to feel. It made me realize that I'm not crazy or wrong - I'm simply hungry for the type of church that God intended us to experience.
If you feel bitter toward church or are in a rebellious stage, do not read this book just to fan the flames. *But*, if you sense something missing from your church experience and are yearning for a more genuine church community, definitely read it. It will rock your world.