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 Re:

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 Viola’s PAGAN CHRISTIANITY very useful. Viola’s 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 ago—or even two hundred years ago—PAGAN 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 Viola’s 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 “Paul’s 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 “God’s 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]



Krispy

 2005/3/15 16:32
RobertW
Member



Joined: 2004/2/12
Posts: 4636
Independence, Missouri

 Re:

Hi Krispy,

I understand what your talking about and appreciate your zeal to purify the Church. I am very familiar with the subject having been bathed in years (and semesters) of it to almost mind numbing proportions. I have written extensively about it as you may look at a few of the articles (if you wish) that are available here and in a few other places. One being [url=http://www.sermonindex.net/modules/articles/index.php?view=article&aid=1955]Identity and Expression of Faith[/url] and another; [url=http://www.sermonindex.net/modules/articles/index.php?view=article&aid=1976]The Church Heads West (An introduction To the Issues)[/url] Part 1 & 2.

My concern is now- as it has always been. The Messianics have a list a mile long of Hellenistic influences in the Church, but wish to replace them with what they consider 1st century Judaism/Messianism and its various expressions. I have books at home that glean all kinds of Jewish customs from the New Testament. They believe that the 'Church' will not be the 'Church' until it looks like it did in Jerusalem before Yavneh and the split with the synagogues. They can build compelling parallels to all the offices of the Church and synagogue with its various expressions. That is why they refuse to call their meeting houses Churches- they call them synagogues. That is why they call their places of study BatLanim and not library. That is why they have no crosses. I could go on for days.

So are we prepared to really go back to the New Testament? When there were stone and dirt floors and Pasach was celebrated instead of the Lord's Supper- fit with all the fixens such as Horse Radish, Lamb and such? I have been in a bonified Passover Supper laying on my side on the floor next to the brother beside me with a table a few inches from the floor. Shall we do the real authentic services?

I have heard the slurs against folk like myself that just serve God with gladness. I am no stranger to feeling out of place because I did not do all they thought I should. I have heard the accusations of paganism for having a Christmas tree and such. I just grew to ignore it all. I have a Tallit with Tzitzit in a drawer. Don't mean nothin in itself. Oh, I get it out and loan it out when folk want to preach on taking up the mantle.

I feel priveledged to have been in services that were likely the closest thing to the New Testament period we are going to get. Pentecostal Messianic Jews! Wow! I could almost smell the Jerusalem air. Yet I found, that God was no more in all that than He was when I went to Church and sang there is Power in the Blood. It was no more powerful than the House meetings I have been in where God was moving in a mighty way. Or even in my car when I'm driving down the road worshipping God and His presence is so strong. Oh, it's neat to go back and try to be what they were in 50 AD. But I can't live there. Its not me. Its not what God called me to do.

God Bless,

-Robert


_________________
Robert Wurtz II

 2005/3/15 17:10Profile
Compton
Member



Joined: 2005/2/24
Posts: 2732


 Re: Agree

Krispy,

If we agree on a subject then how can we argue----I mean fellowship with one another? Obviously we need another subject!

Just kidding... I appreciate the dialogue! LOL

MC


_________________
Mike Compton

 2005/3/15 20:51Profile
Compton
Member



Joined: 2005/2/24
Posts: 2732


 Re: Hellinizaton

Robert,

I'm glad to learn about your studies regarding the messianic/hellinistic tension in our churches. While admitting that the church has been characterized as an "age of gentiles", with many layers of Greek and Roman influence I think that there can be unscriptural bondage in going too far to bring a "Jewish" sensibility back to our churches.

In fact it can be downright silly. I remember, in our church a few years ago, the polite smile a visiting Israeli missionary threw over to us musicians as we"honored" his visit with some "Jewish" music of our own. ("Looky what we can do!") To his ears it probably was the equivalent of listening to a karoake singer at the Holiday Inn.

You seem to know something about this topic. I have been troubled by some of the writings from a few messianic teachers who infer that westernized Christianity is a subtle expression of cultural anti-semitism. I have also been confused by a few teachers on both sides of the cutural divide suggesting that in order for the two to keep their identities that we consider them as two....not one church.

For instance some messianic brothers, such as David Stern have begun to define "Gods' people" in terms of an "Olive Tree Theology"; Messianic Jews are natural branches that are separate from the grafted-on branches of "Gentiles", which are in turn different from the "Non-Messianic Jews" who are separated branches waiting to be rejoined. This thesis as the basis for an extended systematic theology seems to hilight our differences in a spirit contrary to Galatians 3:28...at least to this westerners' ears. Indeed, I can't tell if this restoration of Hebraic Christianity is rooted in love of Jewish religous culture, or in a critique of western religous culture. (And therefore a critique of my religous culture...)

This is a growing question to me...how can we keep our treasured distinctions and valid denominations while laying down our superiority over one another? I suppose we will forever be saying, " I am of Paul; and I of Apollos: and I of Cephas; and I of Christ."

You wrote in one of your articles;

Quote:
The Jews will be won to Christ – not when they see Jesus through the eyes of systematic theology; but when they see the glory of God in our lives that provokes them to jealousy and makes the question the very things they believe. When the glory returns the elect will see it and recognize it.



Amen. Let it be so in my life brother.


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Mike Compton

 2005/3/15 21:49Profile
RobertW
Member



Joined: 2004/2/12
Posts: 4636
Independence, Missouri

 Re:

Quote:
I have also been confused by a few teachers on both sides of the cutural divide suggesting that in order for the two to keep their identities that we consider them as two....not one church.



Hi Compton,

Yes they do desire to maintain a distinction between the Jews and non-Jews within the Church. Actually, they almost shun the word 'Church' and consider themselves almost a continuation of first century Judaism as it comes to fruition in Messiah. The best models I have seen to describe what they believe is that of a circle within a circle. Imagine a circle and then a small circle inside it darkened in. That is how many Messianics see their roles in the Church. Part of the body, but distinct within it with a special call and purpose in the Earth. They believe they should maintain their identity as Jews and worship Messiah within that framework.

Yet, again, there is a desire to return to 1st Century things. That is why I went to the Jewish Roots Institute in the first place. I wanted to see 'authentic' Christianity. But what I have found is that Rabbinism is the leaven in their camp just like Hellenism is the leaven in ours. They may quote from Mishna and such and I just can't go for that. I believe the whole Oral Law is a farce. That would get me thrown out of the place I'm sure, but I feel that strongly.

When I hear folks talking about 'getting back to the Book of Acts' I am quite sure that they whist not what they are really saying. And that, because they are reading the book of Acts through a Western modern lens and we have no clue what their life was really like. We can hardly reconstruct the lives of the settlers in America with any real sense of justice. For example; there have been documentaries made about "Homesteading" and it has been found that many people could not survive the winter if they were thrust back into a mid 18th century context in unsettled lands with the tools and means that they had. So to, what was life really like for them?

I have seen the Amish and know of the Hutterites and have found that they also wanted to "come out from among them" so to speak. They are locked in an era in which there were horses and wagons and such. Yet, I also know that in some cases the family may go to church several times a day and have home made wine in the cellar. People had to strait flee the compound to find Jesus. Guess where they found Him?

As far as the whole anti-semetic thing. There has been a long history of anti-semitism. Today folk in the Church say things that they have no idea are really slurs. "I'm a Jew in a Gentile chassis." or "I can save money in a way that would make a Jew proud." These things are not helpful at all. They see our crosses as a "sword dipped in 2000 years of Jewish blood." I could go on. I have seen people get irate at the notion that the Church does not love the Jews. I saw a girl get up and walk out over it never to return. I saw the instructor look them off as they left. He would say, "You do not love the Jews, you love the idea of the Jews."

Sorry so long...

God Bless,

-Robert



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Robert Wurtz II

 2005/3/16 7:44Profile
RobertW
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Joined: 2004/2/12
Posts: 4636
Independence, Missouri

 Re:

Quote:
Indeed, I can't tell if this restoration of Hebraic Christianity is rooted in love of Jewish religous culture, or in a critique of western religous culture. (And therefore a critique of my religous culture...)



This is a good point to look at as we ask the question; "what is a church?" The saddest thing about what I have observed from back when I studied Jewish Roots and again now with the whole "out-of-church" movement is that there is a strange mixture of secular marketing strategy that is leavened in with it all. That strategy, I'm sure, is as old as 'buying and selling' itself. And that, there is the notorious discounting of the former to make way for the latter. Simply point out all the weaknesses of the Old so we can 'sell' the New. Yet we are not talking about selling cars here. This is the Kingdom of God.

I have mentioned this before but suffice me to mention it again. There are people all over the spectrum in terms of their way of identifying themselves and their expression of faith. some like modern music and others like the old Wesley hymns. Some pray loud and other pray soft. Some get excited others are solumn. Yet, what we tend to do is identify ourselves by what we are not as opposed to what we are.

The most disturbing thing is that inanimate objects are being blamed for much of the problems. "Tear down the church buildings!" OK, so then where will we worship if there are more than 150 that want to assemble? Well, what we will do is we will build a big metal building or rent a school gymnasium and just not call it a church. Yes, that's it. Do you see the folly of these things?

I was in a small town in SD a while back and was 'priveledged' to preach behind a pulpit that was once preached behind by Billy Sunday. I'm sure ministering in England there are opportunities to minister where many dear saints have ministered. Yet, is it anything? In no wise. Is it the more or the less? In no wise. What is it? It is a neat thought to know it- but it is of no other value. The pulpit is nothing- it is the Word of the Lord that goes forth from it. Whether it be a music stand or a wooden box- there usually needs to be some kind of stand to hold the Bible or notes. I have heard that the history of the pulpit began when folk refused to be 'seen' as they ministered so pulpits were designed to 'cover' the man as he delivered God's word.

As for altars and such- would to God that we could get back to good old fashioned altars where folk pray through. I am concerned that altars are being taken out of the Churches- not added. There is a whole generation of young people right now that don't know the new birth experience and it is my feeling that some good old fashioned praying through at the altar may get them there. This could happen anywhere I know. yet, there are many that need help getting to a setting where God can deal with them. I have many teens that cannot drive and need to ride the van to service. They come and pray at our altars and God moves in a mighty way.

What shall we do?

Get a wreckong ball? or shall we seek God until we have a move of God and keep it. Shall we pray until a fire is lit and keep stoking it? When we have no fire in our homes will we tear down our houses also? I trow not. If we have no fire in our altars shall we tear them down? If we have no fire in our pulpits shall we blame the pulpit? I think it's high time to quit running from place to place and find a good old fashined altar of repentance and revival and take responsibility for what has happened ourselves instead of blaming everything else.

Just my thoughts...


God Bless,

-Robert


_________________
Robert Wurtz II

 2005/3/16 8:26Profile
Compton
Member



Joined: 2005/2/24
Posts: 2732


 Re:

Quote:
What shall we do? Get a wrecking ball? or shall we seek God until we have a move of God and keep it. Shall we pray until a fire is lit and keep stoking it? When we have no fire in our homes will we tear down our houses also? I trow not. If we have no fire in our altars shall we tear them down? If we have no fire in our pulpits shall we blame the pulpit? I think it's high time to quit running from place to place and find a good old fashined altar of repentance and revival and take responsibility for what has happened ourselves instead of blaming everything else.

Just my thoughts...



Good thoughts. How ironic...the dissapointed "prophet" who leaves a worldy church shares responsibility for that church remaining worldy.

Thanks for your response Robert.

MC


_________________
Mike Compton

 2005/3/16 18:22Profile





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