Sunday, January 23, 2011

"Pagan Christianity" by Viola & Barna: For, Neutral, and Against

Over the last year or so I have been bombarded on FB and other media by some of my Christian friends who are "hell-bent" against church buildings, paid pastors, tithing, and so much more that I, to date, have been a believer in.  In fact, some of them are what many in our Christian faith call "the emergent church".  And to be honest with you it bothered me and still does.  Not so much about what they think but how negative they are against the traditional church -- the place where most of them actually came into a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Last night, my wife and I were out with some very good friends with whom we attended a relatively large evangelical church for thirteen years before we moved on.  My friend had just read "Pagan Christianity" by Frank Viola and George Barna.  And he started sharing with me some of the contents.  While he was most positive about his comments and careful not to be negative about "church as we both knew it", I quickly recently all the positions I had heard from my FB friends were covered or introduced in this book.  He offered to lend it to me and I offered to read it in the very near future.

However, after church today I wanted to do some research on my own on the book and I did.  Let me share with you two reviews.  One is posted by Willow Creek Association in an effort to open dialogue .on the ideas presented by Viola and Barna.  It is however written by Viola and Barna.

Take a look by clicking here.

Willow Creek remained neutral on the topic although they did imply they were not in agreement with some of the ideas in the book.  Obviously, Viola and Barna, the actual authors, were and this first review supports that clearly -- as expected.  So read that one first.

The second review is the first of a series taking issue with some of the positions taken by Viola and Barna, with some scripture to back it up.  This review is from the "Got Questions?Org" blog.  After you read this blog make sure you pursue some of the other topics in response to Viola and Barna in suggested links at the bottom of the blog.

Take a look at this review by clicking here.

There is no doubt in my mind that the "church" as we know it needs to evolve into being "filled with the fullness of God" (Ephesians 3:19) as Paul prayed for the Church at Ephesus.  However, I am not convinced that we must throw out "every baby" with "each tub of dirty water".   I'd like to hear your thoughts through your comments below.

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