Provocative, Yet Quite Compelling

I must say that “Pagan Christianity?” was one of the most compelling books I have read in years. I didn’t realize until recently just how controversial this book really is. The following video is a “spoof” based on numerous critics and bloggers around the world who are attacking this book. The most interesting point to observe is the fact that the most outspoken of the critics have actually never read the book!

I will add that this is not a book I would recommend to just anyone. If you’ve got “it” all figured out, then this book will only serve to “mess” you up. This is not a book of mild convenience. It is dangerous and provocative. It uncovers layers of assumptions that grip too many Christians in lethargy and complacency.

Again, be warned…Read at your own risk!! 🙂

I would also like to share some interesting and disturbing quotes of interest:

I am not here attacking Christianity, but only the institutional mantle that cloaks it.

Pierre Berton

A truth’s initial commotion is directly proportional to how deeply the lie was believed. It wasn’t the world being round that agitated people, but that the world wasn’t flat. When a well-packaged web of lies has been sold gradually to the masses over generations, the truth will seem utterly preposterous and its speaker a raving lunatic.

Dresden James

Experience supplies painful proof that traditions once called into being are first called useful, then they become necessary. At last they are too often made idols, and all must bow down to them or be punished. 

J. C. Ryle

I think we ought to read only books that bite and sting us. If the book we are reading doesn’t shake us awake like a blow on the skull, why bother reading it in the first place? . . . A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us.

Franz Kafka

If Christianity is to receive a rejuvenation it must be by other means than any now being used. If the church in the second half of [the twentieth] century is to recover from the injuries she suffered in the first half, there must appear a new type of preacher. The proper, ruler-of-the-synagogue type will never do. Neither will the priestly type of man who carries out his duties, takes his pay and asks no questions, nor the smooth-talking pastoral type who knows how to make the Christian religion acceptable to everyone. All these have been tried and found wanting. Another kind of religious leader must arise among us. He must be of the old prophet type, a man who has seen visions of God and has heard a voice from the Throne. When he comes (and I pray God there will not be one but many) he will stand in flat contradiction to everything our smirking, smooth civilization holds dear. He will contradict, denounce and protest in the name of God and will earn the hatred and opposition of a large segment of Christendom.

A.W. Tozer

Here it is, plain and unvarnished. Unless I am convinced of error by the testimony of Scripture or (since I put no trust in the unsupported authority of Pope or councils, since it is plain that they have often erred and often contradicted themselves) by manifest reasoning, I stand convinced by the Scriptures to which I have appealed, and my conscience is taken captive by God’s word. I cannot and will not recant anything, for to act against our conscience is neither safe for us, nor open to us. On this I take my stand. I can do no other. God help me. Amen.

Martin Luther

Finally, here is an interview with the authors of the book, Frank Viola and George Barna. (Click Here To Download)

I’ll look forward to your comments. 🙂

Thanx!

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11 Responses

  1. Can you provide a short list of topics and ideas he deals with in this book. My interest is piqued, but I need some more info 🙂

  2. I just got through with it. I would recomed it to anyone as long as you read it with an open mind. Just like any most other books, some stuff is rant but other stuff will really challange someone who really wants to know the truth about the “instatutionalized” church. Some of the things he talked about nailed some questions that I have had, first book that I have read that spoke on these topics.
    Jeff
    Check this out, the church we have been attending wants me and my wife to seriously pray about starting a house church in our apartment complex. I guess it would be an apartment church.

  3. Bill,
    Jeff and I are still trying to get our inflatible steeple patented and in production should we put you in for 1 or 2. ;-P

  4. Hey that was my idea in the beginning!!! I want my royalties.

  5. And Remember it’s all about having the biggest erect steeple in town 😉

  6. you can read all about the book at http://www.paganchristianity.org .. it’s a mind blower.

  7. I’ll take 2, that will give the apartment church that splits from ours a steeple. If I take 3 will you name one of the models the gw3000 super steeple?

  8. Bill is right, an open mind is a must for reading this book. I have been reading, listening, and speaking with house church practitioners for nearly two and half years now. I have read and listened to people in the emerging and missional streams of thinking. I have even been reading from guys in the “new” monastic movement. There is one thing that is crying out as a common theme: institutionalism is stifling the advancement of the Kingdom. I don’t have the space to elaborate on that thought here, but suffice it to say that if you want to get an overview of this perspective and why many people are beginning to lean this way, “Pagan Christianity?” is a great place to start.

    Here are the Chapter titles:

    1. Have We Really Been Doing It by the Book?
    2. The Church Building
    3. The Order of Worship
    4. The Sermon
    5. The Pastor
    6. Sunday Morning Costumes
    7. Ministers of Music
    8. Tithing and Clergy Salaries
    9. Baptism and the Lord’s Supper
    10. Christian Education
    11. Reapproaching the New Testament
    12. A Second Glance at the Savior

    Then the authors include an Afterward, Q&A Session, Summary of Origins, Key Figures in Church History, and an enormous Bibliography.

    I will say that I took church history in seminary and found it wanting. Yet, this book offers one of the most concise and comprehensive looks at church history I have read. I, like Bill, had questions of my own that were answered in this book. Many of the ideas I have held for years were compellingly challenged over and over.

    But, I would again echo, Bill, by saying we should be careful. I have seen many of the “house church” folks try to go way to far with these thoughts. I have heard traditional/institutional forms of church being accused of being in league with Satan and leading people to Hell. These types of blanket statements are ridiculous. I don’t think this book does this, but you can tell they are quite passionate about their position which can come off as somewhat narrow-minded.

    Anyway, READ THE BOOK. It will do you good!!

  9. BTW, Bill, that sounds exciting bro. I’d love to talk with you more about that if you’d like. Call me 662.393.8733. Sounds like it may be a great opportunity!! 🙂

    Oh, and I better get my cut of the blowup steeples, which btw, steeples are addressed in detail in the book! 🙂

    Thanx for the thoughts!

  10. I’m reading the book, but will save my comments until the end.

  11. The sequel to “Pagan Christianity?” is out now. It’s 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/

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