Reviews of Books & Movies

Book Review: Pagan Christianity?

Exploring the Roots of Our Church Practices

By Frank Viola and George Barna (reviewed by Peter DeHaan)

Pagan Christianity? is an eye-opening delineation of how numerous traditions, customs, and practices have been erroneously introduced to the church that Jesus’ followers started. This lengthy list lacks substantive biblical support.

Among the things we got wrong are the church building, sermon, paid staff, dressing up for church, tithing, how we baptize and celebrate communion, and Christian education.

The book’s concluding chapters suggest how to best study, understand, and use the Bible. Reminding us that Jesus was a revolutionary, the authors show that opposing the religious status quo is not without precedent.

In determining how to respond to this enumeration of deviations from biblical command and practice, we are encouraged to pursue new approaches to worship, spiritual growth, managing resources, and understanding our identity.

However, these are not found in something new, as much as something old—about 2,000 years old—the organic church, as modeled by the early church.

Meticulously researched and amply footnoted, with discussion questions for each chapter, Pagan Christianity? can serve equally well as a primer on Biblical Christianity, a discussion guide, or a research tool.

[Pagan Christianity?: Exploring the Roots of Our Church Practices, by Frank Viola and George Barna. Published by Tyndale Momentum, 2012, ISBN: 978-1414364551, 336 pages.]

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Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

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