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Pagan Christianity Audiobook

Pagan Christianity

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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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  • Pecos
    Amarillo, TX, USA
    11/06/09
    Overall
    "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.

    29 of 29 people found this review helpful
  • Douglas
    Parker, CO, United States
    30/11/10
    Overall
    "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.

    10 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • Arthur
    Attica, MI, United States
    25/01/11
    Overall
    "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.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • lukas
    Portland, OR, United States
    17/01/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    11 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    6/01/12
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Aaron
    United States
    12/06/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.



    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Big Bowl
    florida
    27/08/12
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Ron
    Temiskaming Shores, ON, Canada
    16/12/11
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Dan Sr
    CA, USA
    21/10/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Many great truths, but deeply flawed & unbiblical"
    Any additional comments?

    I believe most of what this book is trying to say, because it is found in the New Testament.. However, I cannot recommend this book to anyone since it is deeply flawed in authority, and therefore ~40% flawed in conclusion. By using the tradition of men, the Frank Viola sets aside church practices calling them “tradition of men”, only briefly mentioning the Bible in passing. This is hypocrisy. Just because the ancient Greeks preached does not mean that preaching is fundamentally pagan. It must be examined scripturally.

    This is the approach in the book:
    1. Identify a church practice that the authors think is unbiblical
    2. Find a place in history that someone else practiced it.
    3. Declare it to be pagan, and throw out both the baby and the bathwater.
    4. WHERE IS THE BIBLICAL EXAMINATION OF THE PRACTICE? It is missing.

    The thesis of the book is that the institutionalized church is not Biblical. Viola is correct on about 60% of his claims such as the unbiblical nature of the clergy-laity division, the pew-pulpit syndrome, ordination, etc. These are not found in the New Testament. However preaching, offices of elder and deacon, teaching doctrine are all in the New Testament in many large passages as major themes. 60% was a D- in class. This book, despite some great content, gets a D- in my assessment.

    Additionally, the book is written with an overtone of complaining. The author has a model church in his own mind that he is pushing. In the last chapters, Viola essentially says that Bible readers cannot really understand the Bible as published because the order of the books and the chapter and verse references disrupt the message. This is close to saying that he alone is able to accurately interpret the Bible because he has the private expertise. He goes on to say that he is a revolutionary. We do need Biblical reform, but it must be Biblical.

    I appeal to Frank Viola to rewrite this book, and get great truth out to the readers. But use the Bible as the authority. There are many great truths you are proclaiming. However, scrap your own mental model, examine each tradition thoroughly with the Word of God and then draw conclusions. Then point out the historical roots on those things that fail the test of the Bible. The results will be different, and it will have true authority.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Jeremy
    United States
    5/09/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "neo hippie Christianity"

    beware the message in this book. the authors make countless sloppy overgeneralizations and pass it off as sound history. what this book presents as its message is radical but it is not wrong simply for being radical the message is wrong and dangerous because it simply presents false and misleading information regarding the history of Christianity and its doctrines and practices. for those of you interested in real church history read Jaroslav Pelikan history of Christian doctrine and Philip Schaff multiple volume history of the church.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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