Read the book... you'll understand what i mean.
Obviously alters were used in the temple, and in the wilderness, and all thru the OT. However, the alter is now in our hearts. There is no further sacrifice that needs to be made, save the sacrifice of ourselves... and that is done in the heart.
Pulpits... actually they came from the Greek pagans, not the Romans.
Get the book! http://www.ptmin.org/pagan.htm
Here are reviews of the book:
[i]"Most contemporary Christians are massively ignorant as to how the church got to where it is today and of how much current church practice is due simply to accumulated tradition, with little or no roots in Scripture. This book provides a useful service in peeling back the layers of tradition, showing the origins of much that we today call "church." Christians who want to be biblically faithful, regardless of their particular tradition or church form, can learn and benefit from the book."
-Howard Snyder, Professor of History and Theology of Mission, Asbury Theological Seminary, author of "The Problem of Wineskins" and "The Community of the King."
Anyone interested in the worship of the New Testament church and how that was altered through the centuries will find Frank Violas PAGAN CHRISTIANITY very useful. Violas position is clear and quite well documented.
-Graydon F. Snyder, Professor of New Testament, Chicago Theological Seminary, author of "Ante Pacem: Church Life Before Constantine."
"PAGAN CHRISTIANITY documents specific areas where contemporary church life violates Biblical principles. It is painful to read because it requires taking a journey beyond the comfort zone of our present paradigms. Whether you agree with all the conclusions the author draws or not, you will have no argument with his documentation. It is a scholarly work with an explosive conclusion. Particularly for those of us in the modern cell church movement, this is a valuable tool to force rethinking the meaning of the word "ecclesia." The Holy Spirit is not pleased with churchianity as we practice it, nor is the watching unchurched world."
-Ralph W. Neighbour, Jr., author of Where Do We Go From Here? and founder of the Cell Church Movement.
"Viola has done us a great service by tracing the origin of all we Protestants practice. My one regret is that this book will be only one out of 100,000 Christian books issued in the year it was printed. Three hundred years agoor even two hundred years agoPAGAN CHRISTIANITY would have been one of only a few hundred books . . . and therefore, read by a large portion of Christians. You can help remedy this by telling all your friends about this book."
-Gene Edwards, author of Tale of Three Kings, Divine Romance, Prisoner in the Third Cell, and How to Meet in Homes.
"Driving out demons is easy - compared with changing habits and traditions of man that develop into idols, to give us what only God should give us: identity, security, destiny. As in a child, the original God-given conscience is clean and clear. Many new born Christians feel the same and have an automatic feel for what is right. But in the case of organized Evangelicalism in the West, they are swiftly taken into a religious system that basically believes everything that Mom and Pap says -- and happily embrace "church practices" that are not in the Bible. Many just "know" at some point something is terribly wrong with Church-as-they-know-it. PAGAN CHRISTIANITY not only substantiates these ill feelings in millions of Christians with hard facts, but it provides us with a road map for the journey ahead. Once we know where we went wrong, repentance and finding the right way forward comes much easier. Excellent job, Frank!"
-Wolfgang Simpson, author of Houses That Change the World
Frank Violas PAGAN CHRISTIANITY is a landmark, a true milestone in the overall task of bringing in a new style of responsible, interactive Christianity to replace the old, severely paganized ecclesiastical forms. Frank has done us a great favor, drawing together revealing tidbits from hundreds of sources to create a continuous picture of the formation of today's institutional church. There's nothing like it in print. It is now THE book on church history from the point of view of the underground, open church.
-James Rutz, author of The Open Church.
"Pagan Christianity contains a wide variety of interesting and helpful historical information of which most Christians - or non-Christians - will be completely unaware. The book identifies - in part or in whole - the pagan roots of many of our current church practices, as well as indicates some borrowed from earlier Jewish or, occasionally, more recent Customs."
-Robert Banks, NT scholar, author of Pauls Idea of Community and The Church Comes Home.
"In PAGAN CHRISTIANITY, Frank Viola deals with where many of our 'traditions' came from - the order of worship, the sermon, the church building, the pastor, tithing, etc. - much of it came from Greek and Roman pagan culture, not from the New Testament. This is a very radical book. I highly recommend it for the careful reading of any serious Christian who has a hint that today's church seems to have strayed from what we see in the New Testament. I pray that every searching Christian will read Frank's books - they are among the best."
-Nate Krupp, author of Gods Simple Plan for the Church
"Frank has done a masterful job both researching and then weaving together the threads that have made modern church practices what they are - pagan substitutes for authentic church life. One nice thing about PAGAN CHRISTIANITY is that it provides the history behind a perception that many of us Christians share: The way the modern Western church does things has little to do with the organic life we see in the New Testament. The difference is so great sometimes that one wonders how one could possibly have transmuted into the other."
-Hal Miller, author of "Christian Community: Biblical or Optional?"
"This book may very well become known as the single most liberating piece of Christian work penned in the last 1700 years. It will hopefully become known as the single most influential piece of Christian literature in this new century. Without doubt it will be loved by many as it will liberate multitudes and for that same reason it is sure to be hated and feared by others. Frank Viola has pulled back the covers to reveal the pagan origins of many if not all of the practices of this thing we call Christendom. In a very scholarly fashion he has traced the origins of the traditions practices and institutions of all that which makeup what we call Christianity today. In contrast he boldly illustrates the simplicity and almost tribal nature of the 1st century church the bride of Christ as she met with her groom in irresistible freedom, life and love."
-Michael Warriner, Amazon.com reviewer.
"Taking up topics like these with a title like PAGAN CHRISTIANITY would lead one to expect a lot of fire-breathing and biased finger-pointing, but not so.
Even if lots of cherished tradition and conventional wisdom get shredded by Viola's unrelenting assault with historical facts, the arguments unfold with an encouraging lack of arrogance. This book contains so much history (both anecdotal and analytical), that it is impossible to find a soft spot to attack. An objective person must address the issues raised, even if they hurt. Protestantism, Evangelicalism and Neo-Pentecostalism all get their fair share of blows, not Roman Catholicism only.
The author does not hide his personal leanings toward informal, idealistic models of Christian community, but he isn't "preachy" about it. No Denomination's faithful get demonized, even though the practices of every Denomination imaginable get blasted by Viola's copiously footnoted accounts of how they came to be (As detective Friday would say, "just the facts, Ma'am").
Bottom lines: Highly valuable perspective. I have no reason to doubt any of the ample sources cited in this adequately-researched volume. Well-written; not boring. Viola's conclusions are logical and transparent enough. Provides plenty of raw material as well as food for thought to anyone wondering how Sunday morning in Christendom ever became as predictable and lifeless as it is."
-Charles Wilhelm, Amazon reviewer from Germany
"This is an important book which demonstrates that many of the practical aspects of contemporary church life, ministry and structure have little or no biblical basis and are, in fact, inspired by a wide variety of non Christian patterns and ideas most of which are inimical to Christian life and growth. Many readers will find this book challenging in the extreme but all who are concerned with the future of the church should read it."
-Dave Norrington, author of To Preach or Not to Preach.
"Frank Viola's PAGAN CHRISTIANITY is a book that doubtlessly will shake the modern church to its very core. In it, Viola examines each of the pillars of the modern church-order of worship, sermon, pastor, communion, building, music ministry, clothing, tithes, baptism and Christian education-and discusses where they came from. The research for this book is impressive. Each of the things in our churches can be clearly traced back to pagan services. This is astonishing. So many of the things that we think are espoused in the Bible are really not there at all. This book is more challenging because it criticizes and exposes the very foundation of the modern church. However, the only solution it gives is to totally leave everything behind and do something different."
-Emily Heeringa, book reviewer.[/i]