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lylewise
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Joined: 2009/2/20
Posts: 494
Celina, Texas

 Book: "Pagan Christianity" By Frank Viola and George Barna

Quote from the book, "WARNING: IF YOU ARE UNWILLING TO HAVE YOUR CHRISTIANITY SERIOUSLY EXAMINED, DO NOT READ BEYOND THIS PAGE


So I have heeded the warning and just started reading this book. If I didn't have to go to work or sleep I would have finished it by now. There is a great desire in many of our brothers and sisters in Christ to draw closer to God daily. If the body they attend is not complimentary to this inward longing of the Spirit then it will result in a mixture of frustration and grief to the Saint. While they mature on their own in their love for the Lord, their love for others, sanctification, prayer, praise, evangelism, worship etc... one of the fundamental supports and designs architected by Christ to aid them in their growth can end up being the very instrument that stunts it. There are so many traditions that the church has brought into the congregation that do not belong. This book will deal with many of them. It will examine with historical footnote the subjects it queries. Nothing is sacred in this Berean like audit except Christ. The authors will say that the church in its contemporary, institutional form has neither a biblical nor historical right to function as it does. Subjects catagoried below (not exhaustive) are but some of the items offered for closer inspection to the reader.

The Pastor
Sermons
Clergy Saleries
Christian Education
Baptism and Lords Supper
Order of Worship
Church Building
Choirs
Modern Funeral Services
Seminaries
Church Dress
Sinners Prayer
etc......

The authors will be pointing out that most of what is done in religious circles has no precedent in scripture. They do not criticise everything the church has taken in where scripture is silent, but they would seek to qualify that which is supposed to glorify Christ through the effort. They goal to be true to Christ's plan so that the Bride can be all that she is called to be. There seems to be a good heart and Spirit in this book given the subjects they broach and there is a Spirit of love in their writing. If you have read this book I would be very interested to hear how it has changed the way you worship?




Many of the subjects this book addresses have been struggles of mine over the last few years. I was reborn four years ago having attended church for 34 years prior. All of those years I had absolute confidence in my salvation and I was pretty much the model Christian. It is amazing how our merciful God can bring to life and open the eyes of those who have been dead and blind for so long, even within the church. Needless to say the sudden coming to life amidst the church body I had attended caused great difficulty. I now understand why and pray for that church hoping that God will do a mighty work within them.



 2010/12/30 19:08Profile
cryinthenite
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Joined: 2010/9/22
Posts: 71


 Re: Book: "Pagan Christianity" By Frank Viola and George Barna

I have not read the book but saw it a few years ago and paged through it.I had learned of these things over 25 years ago as a child and our church put much of that in play.So my warning is doing things one way or another means nothing to Jesus without love.I say this because this church put how they did church over people and Christ.Jesus wants to set us free from the "system" but if it does not cause us to love Him and others all the more what good is knowing more history.

 2010/12/30 19:51Profile
Miccah
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Joined: 2007/9/13
Posts: 1752
Wisconsin

 Re:

Good book.


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Christiaan

 2010/12/30 23:01Profile
Giggles
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Joined: 2009/12/12
Posts: 592


 Re:

I saw it in the thrift store for a buck a while back...I passed.


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Paul

 2010/12/30 23:05Profile
noone
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Joined: 2008/3/17
Posts: 75
United States

 Re:

Lots of information. Some of it was a little picky, but I think it is a book that all of us should read. To learn why we do/have done the things we have in "church."

It has made me look at "church" in a whole new light and really seek God in prayer about how He would have us worship and not just follow traditions. It has made us take notice and accountability for our actions and not just be followers of the system or man. I guess this subject weighs heavily more on my heart that others........ All I can do is wait for God's instructions.


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Tina

 2010/12/31 10:22Profile
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 Re:

Quote:
So I have heeded the warning and just started reading this book. If I didn't have to go to work or sleep I would have finished it by now. There is a great desire in many of our brothers and sisters in Christ to draw closer to God daily.



Sadly I cannot recommend this book at all. It is anti-authority which God has established in his church. Personally I would 100% recommend everyone who is reading this thread to purchase and read this book:

Touching Godliness through Submission by K.P. Yohannan
http://www.gfa.org/store/books/



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SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2010/12/31 14:51Profile
Oracio
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Joined: 2007/6/26
Posts: 2037
Whittier CA USA

 Re:


sermonindex wrote:

Quote:
Sadly I cannot recommend this book at all. It is anti-authority which God has established in his church.



Brother, with all due respect there seems to be a big misunderstanding and mischaracterization on the part of many Christians toward many in the house church movement and their view of leadership/authority.

Have you read the book(Pagan Christianity) by chance and the part on The Pastor? I personally heard the audio version of the book.

We do not not throw out the need for leadership, just a certain type of leadership which we strongly believe is unbiblical. Here are some examples of the misunderstanding I have noticed:

Question asked to Frank Viola: "Do you believe that the church should have no leadership? Doesn't the Bible teach leadership?"

Frank Viola's answer: "I don't ever recall saying anywhere that the church doesn't nor shouldn't have leaders. I don't believe that at all. As my friend Hal Miller has said, "Leadership is. It could be good or bad. But it always is." It's the type of leadership that's the issue. Official, top-down, hierarchical leadership is what we discuss in the book. When we trace the origin of the modern pastor, for instance, we're contrasting that office with the NT concept of shepherd/elders. . . a very different thing in our view."

"The next book(Reimagining Church) will explore the idea of leadership in the church in much more detail. And it will discuss the issues of "covering," "accountability," "authority", and "submission." It takes a very different view on these issues than what's commonly taught in Protestant circles."

Another question: "I am intrigued with your writings and am ordering your revised book (Pagan Christianity). I am wondering, however, how you are able to ignore the diverse, varied, and cross-supporting (interchangeable) descriptions of Elders (Presbuteros/Episcopos/Poimen) as active, accepted leaders of the first century church, as presented in the New Testament."

Frank Viola's Answer: "Hmmm . . . I'm wondering where you heard this or why you believe it? I argue for this very thing in the book. What gave you the idea that I reject plural elders? I certainly believe in them; not as an office, but as an organic function. Elders, leadership, "covering," authority, etc. will be discussed in the upcoming volume."

Another question: "Frank. Here’s a recent blog post. He first quotes from your book saying, "They will bring their own songs, they will write their own songs, they will minister out of what Christ has shown them--with no human leader present!" Then he gives his opinion, "Um... no they won't. They won't do much of anything without a leader. They won't even clear the 16 inches of snow (don't you miss northern Indiana Tony?) off the church steps and handicap ramp. They leave it for the "leader" to do it alone. They won't bring food for the food pantry. "Leader's" job. They won't even show up to worship let alone write their own songs. Barna and Viola overestimate the commitment that nominal Christians have to anything. Sheep won't do much else but die without a shepherd.” What’s your response?"

Viola's answer: "I’d say that this sort of thinking and assumption is one of the reasons why we’ve written the book. It runs deeper than we can imagine. It's job-security for modern clergy that's built on fear and helplessness. My experience over the last twenty years, as well as the experience of my co-workers who plant churches, is that God’s people can certainly function under the headship of Christ if they are equipped to. The statement about singing, therefore, is not arm-chair philosophy or wishful thinking. It’s been my experience over the last two decades. In my book, THE UNTOLD STORY OF THE NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH, I trace how Paul of Tarsus raised up churches and equipped God’s people to function in his absence and without a local pastor. Some say this can’t be done today; yet experience defies such an assertion.
On a related note: To my mind, the quotes in the book by top notch scholars and theologians are worth the price of the book. I love the one by Karl Barth where he says that "the term ‘laity’ is one of the worst in the vocabulary of religion and ought to be banished from the Christian conversation," as well as the one by James D.G. Dunn where he says that the clergy/laity dichotomy is the worst of all heresies."

Another question: "How do you address the Scriptures in 1 Timothy and Hebrews about submitting to leaders?"

Viola's Answer: "These questions are addressed in the book. They will also be explored in great detail in the next volume, "Reimagining Church," especially the concept of "covering" and "submission to authority." I believe very strongly in leadership in the church. I've never denied this. But I believe, along with people like Robert Banks, that it should be expressed drastically differently than what's commonly accepted today."



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Oracio

 2010/12/31 16:02Profile
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Posts: 37103
"Pilgrim and Sojourner." - 1 Peter 2:11

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 Re:

Quote:
Brother, with all due respect there seems to be a big misunderstanding and mischaracterization on the part of many Christians toward many in the house church movement and their view of leadership/authority.

Have you read the book(Pagan Christianity) by chance and the part on The Pastor? I personally heard the audio version of the book.

We do not not throw out the need for leadership, just a certain type of leadership which we strongly believe is unbiblical. Here are some examples of the misunderstanding I have noticed:

Question asked to Frank Viola: "Do you believe that the church should have no leadership? Doesn't the Bible teach leadership?"

Frank Viola's answer: "I don't ever recall saying anywhere that the church doesn't nor shouldn't have leaders. I don't believe that at all. As my friend Hal Miller has said, "Leadership is. It could be good or bad. But it always is." It's the type of leadership that's the issue. Official, top-down, hierarchical leadership is what we discuss in the book. When we trace the origin of the modern pastor, for instance, we're contrasting that office with the NT concept of shepherd/elders. . . a very different thing in our view."



Brother,

I am a full-supporter of many house fellowships but I feel when there is not authority or relationship with other fellowships problems easily occour. I have gone and still have good fellowship with some home groups that do not believe in leadership, that the Holy Spirit soley guides the meeting and those in leadership in the body are the OLDER BROTHERS.

I don't find that biblical but I can still fellowship and love and respect these fellowships. But I do not want to promote this as the biblical ideal.

This is quite a negative article but does bring out some very true points and is worth consideration:

Will The Real Pagan Please Stand Up? by Dean Taylor
http://www.charityministries.org/theremnant/2009/2Q/theremnant-2009-2Q-pagan.a5w


Again, I am not against but want to "promote" a more biblical balance.


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SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2010/12/31 16:13Profile
noone
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Joined: 2008/3/17
Posts: 75
United States

 Re:


Why is it that when someone brings up this book or anything about questioning the way "church" is done it is normally about people that say it does not promote true biblical leadership? This book contains so much more information about every aspect of traditions other than the leadership side of it. In my opinion the book is not promoting leaderless worship. Part of it is teaching that the pastor is a gift just like the other gifts mentioned in Ephesians 4 and why does that gift get paid or on salary when the others are not? Why is the pators name always on the sign out front?
Why is the GIFT of pastor the only one recognized in "Christian" traditions.

Lots of men think they are called to be a pastor when in reality they don't function in that gift, but maybe a teacher or a prophet or evangelist or apostle. To me this is why so many men get burned out, stressed to the limit because they are being required to carry the whole "church" when in reality they should only be apart of the body contributing their gift as God directs.

IMO Until we get back to building the body as God directed the body will not truly function in the power of Christ. We will be lopsided, one arm, one leg or no fingers and wondering why the power is missing.

Eph. 4:14-16
verse 16 is the clincher.

14 So then, we may no longer be children, tossed [like ships] to and fro between chance gusts of teaching and wavering with every changing wind of doctrine, [the prey of] the cunning and cleverness of [c]unscrupulous men, [gamblers engaged] in every shifting form of trickery in inventing errors to mislead.

15 Rather, let our lives lovingly [d]express truth [in all things, speaking truly, dealing truly, living truly]. Enfolded in love, let us grow up in every way and in all things into Him Who is the Head, [even] Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).

16For because of Him the whole body (the church, in all its various parts), closely joined and firmly knit together by the joints and ligaments with which it is supplied, when each part [with power adapted to its need] is working properly [in all its functions], grows to full maturity, building itself up in love.


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Tina

 2010/12/31 20:32Profile
Oracio
Member



Joined: 2007/6/26
Posts: 2037
Whittier CA USA

 Re:

noone, good post.

brother Greg Gordon, I appreciate your clarification.

In your 95 thesis, your 5th one states:
"In most “churches” the priesthood of all believers isn’t acknowledged and the role of pastor is abused. (1Pt 2:9; 1Cor 12:12; Eph 4:11-13)"

I am seriously wondering what exactly you mean in that statement. Can you elaborate a little? It seems from that statement that you do see abuses in the pastoral roles of today's churches. But I am confused as to what kind of abuses you see and what you would like to see corrected.

The book Pagan Christianity and many others like it argue for "acknowledging" and bringing back the priesthood of all believers as you mention. So my question would be, how would you like to see it "acknowledged"? I ask in all sincerity.


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Oracio

 2010/12/31 21:18Profile





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