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Pagan Christianity

Narrated by: Lloyd James
Length: 7 hrs and 44 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (6 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Have you ever wondered why we Christians do what we do for church every Sunday morning? Why do we "dress up" for church? Why does the pastor preach a sermon each week? Why do we have pews, steeples, choirs, and seminaries? This volume reveals the startling truth: most of what Christians do in present-day churches is not rooted in the New Testament, but in pagan culture and rituals developed long after the death of the apostles.

Coauthors Frank Viola and George Barna support their thesis with compelling historical evidence in the first-ever book to document the full story of modern Christian church practices. Many Christians take for granted that their churchs practices are rooted in Scripture. Yet those practices look very different from those of the first-century church. The New Testament is not silent on how the early church freely expressed the reality of Christs indwelling in ways that rocked the first-century world.Times have changed.

Pagan Christianity leads us on a fascinating tour through church history, revealing this startling and unsettling truth: Many cherished church traditions embraced today originated not out of the New Testament, but out of pagan practices. One of the most troubling outcomes has been the effect on average believers: turning them from living expressions of Christs glory and power to passive observers. If you want to see that trend reversed, turn to Pagan Christianity...a book that examines and challenges every aspect of our contemporary church experience.

©2008 Frank Viola and George Barna (P)2008 christianaudio.com

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Excellent dissection of tradition

Excellent dissection of the tradition that stifles our worship and filters our connection with God to a trickle.
So much to say, but you really just need to read this.

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  • Pecos
  • 11-06-2009

This will make Church Lady verrrry mad...

I will try to not set off some entrenched church member out there with my review. Some people pan this book as foolishness. I have read the book and I will say that it gives a pretty clear understanding of why American church culture is ineffective today. This book (I have read the hard copy version of it) has footnotes that are exhaustive, pointing to the exact documents or historical manuscripts that prove the "why" of formal, organized church. All I can say is this: Give it an honest go, refraining from listening to attackers of the author and/or the topic matter. You can form your own conclusion, but it can't be a genuine conclusion (for your own sake) unless you finish the book and reflect upon what you see in church today and contrast it with what the first Christian worshippers experienced. This topic is very touchy, but I felt the author did a great job of trying to refrain from "church bashing," even though many detractors will claim otherwise. Someone once said that a mature person has the ability to listen to an idea without the fear that the idea will pollute his current thinking. I would also say that we don't have to throw a wrecking ball at everything we disagree with. Let us submit ourselves to the process of listening far more than we talk, for when we DO talk...our words will be meaningful when they are spoken.

39 of 39 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Dean C
  • 25-01-2011

it will wreck you

I can't count the number of times I have re-read this (or listened if you prefer) and Viola's other related works: Reimagining Church, From Eternity to Here, Finding Organic Church, The Untold Story of the New Testament Church, and Jesus Manifesto. Each one will challenge you to test what you have been doing in institutional religion in a way that will wreck you. I had to set it aside several times before I gained the strength and guidance of other believers around me to start making my move toward organic. We have a long way to go, and still have a lot of unanswered questions, but we are starting to see the fruit of our prayers.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • D. Stuhr
  • 30-11-2010

This book will connect many dots for you

I picked this book up at a book store a few years back and immediately put it back on the shelf. As I scanned its contents, it concerned me, but to be honest I was already wondering the same things Frank writes about in the book. If you want to be challenged like never before in you faith, then buy this audio book. But if you are comfortable going to “church” every week and calling it good, then keep on moving. There are literally thousands of books for you. This is the only Christian book I have read (listened to) 3 times. It is not annoying audio like another review said. The reader does a fine job at a good pace. Frank does not bash the church, only the institutions of man. I sincerely sensed a genuine concern and love for the Bride of Christ in this book and it connected many dots as to why the church as we know it is an enterprise and weak. Be Ye Careful for this book is not for the faint of heart. I LOVED it.

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 06-01-2012

Detail

I was very pleased with the content of this book.
From start to finish it is full of interesting information. Some books tend to have a certain amount of filler or wordiness to make them book size. This one has none of that. It is interesting and well read all the way through.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • lukas
  • 17-01-2013

Not for the secular community

Any additional comments?

This book seems very informative, and as an atheist, I'm happy there is a discussion about the true historic roots of many modern Christian rituals among those who wish to remain Christian/religious/etc.

My purpose for writing this review is to warn other secularist readers who are interested in the historical value of this book— it is fascinating to be sure! Be aware, however, that an equal portion of the book is essentially a sermon and philosophical argument from the author's very Christian point of view. I bought this book for the history behind Christian practices and wound up with a lot more preaching than I bargained for. If it doesn't bother you that this is a book by Christians for Christians, there's a lot of good stuff here.

16 of 18 people found this review helpful

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  • T.P.B.
  • 07-11-2018

Church History was great. His conclusions???

I am a 3rd generation pastor. My grandfather and father both were pastors of traditional churches, each dedicating over 60 years in their role as pastors, myself for over 30 years. I have a deep knowledge of behind the scenes of Christian churches, and I can say I've seen God do great things in traditional churches. While he makes many good points of the pagan origins of what churches do on Sunday, he failed to acknowledge that God uses broken people, broken organizations to do His will all throughout Biblical history. God has never waited for the perfect setup, or even the best method or setup to accomplish His will, but instead has always chosen to do His will in the chaos humanity creates for itself. While God has given clear direction for His people, and humanity has always failed to live up to that standard, it has never hindered God. While I am not disputing the accuracy of many of his criticisms, I personally believe more could be said of the good God has done with the traditional church. I have seen first hand what a pastor can do to help bring Christians closer to Christ. I've seen this over and over, repeated many times. To argue from the negative, that pastors as we know it in the traditional church don't exist in the Bible is a weak argument, arguing from the lack of something is always a poor method to prove a point. And I whole hardly disagree with him that pastors existence has done more harm then good, he clearly has never witnessed what I have, the great work God did through my father and grandfather, the lives changed and improved from their efforts. Are churches today in America messed up, yup, something needs to change. But to lay all the blame on the traditional church is very unscriptural, it misses the core of the Bibles teachings, that the heart of man is deceitful and above all things desperately wicked. It is the hearts of humanity that is the core of the problems with the Christian church today. While he tries to make it sound that the church as we know it is mostly to blame, he fails to bring everyone back to the real problem, hearts that wont hear God. Whether it's a house church filled with people who wont hear God or a traditional church, the problem is the same. Until people's hearts are turned towards God the house church movement will simply end up in the same place as the traditional church. In the end I felt this book simply repeats the same pattern I have heard from the traditional church. We have a better method, it's more scriptural, we understand what God wants better than you because we are closer to the original church of the apostolic times. He clearly should have ended his book stating that everyone who hears God's direction to serve Him should follow that leading, if it's a traditional church, praise God, serve God with all your heart there, if it's a house church praise God, serve God there, but in the end it is God who will do His good pleasure, regardless of the method. God's hands will never be tied regardless of the method. Quoting the Apostle Paul in Philippians 1:15 Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife, and some also from good will: 16 The former preach Christ from selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my chains; 17 but the latter out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel. 18 What then? Only [that] in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Aaron
  • 12-06-2015

Interesting...will make you think.

I am a Christian and I found this book inspiring, even though it revealed some uncomfortable truths about corporate worship today, and how it found its present form.



4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Big Bowl
  • 27-08-2012

Dare to Listen to the Truth!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, to help many people understand what should be going on in the Christian life.

What does Lloyd James bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Yes, he was perfect with a great calm but expressive voice.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes

Any additional comments?

Very glad it was available through Audible!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Ron
  • 16-12-2011

Absolutely excellent

Would you listen to Pagan Christianity again? Why?

I have listened to it several times in the past week or so. I get more from it every time I listen to it

What did you like best about this story?

eye opening

What about Lloyd James’s performance did you like?

very well read

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

The book confirmed many of the things that I have been thinking about over the past several years.

Any additional comments?

This is one of the best books I have read or listened to in years.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • ys3tsellers
  • 15-05-2018

An overdue acclaim

It is no wonder that most of us have never heard about this courageous and commendable work! This is the voice crying in the wilderness! But it is a threat evangelical Christian world would be threatened by it so no doubt it’s not in the church bookstores. Everything your intuition has hinted as one who loves Christ will be affirmed by this book.
It contains profound truth, profoundly stated. No sentence is wasted. Give it your full attention.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • OA
  • 24-07-2019

A Must Read!!!

A gripping read. Want to know what vision Jesus died for? Read this to find out more. Be prepared though, because you'll never see Church the same way again. For the better!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • T. B. Bailie
  • 17-05-2019

Thought provoking

The lord of this world will never be powerful enough to attack God directly; however, he can cause harm by incrementally adulterating our interpretation of God's word and our well-intentioned practices of worship. Often difficult to accept that we are getting it wrong, this book is well-researched and eye/mind-opening. Consider David transporting the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem in a new cart with every good intention, however he had neglected God's instructions to Moses, and this effort resulted in the death of Uzziah - 1Chronicles 15:13. This book may be a positive insight that helps us get it right and return to a worship and relationship with God that was originally intended, and release a more powerful and more effective Kingdom on earth.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 25-02-2019

A better understanding of the bible

This books present a simple and yet clear understanding of were Christianity has gone wrong and why so many of us have felt we were not spiritually fulfilled in these churches