Book Review: Viola And Barna, Pagan Christianity? Exploring The Roots Of Our Church Practices -- By: Noel B. Woodbridge

Journal: Conspectus
Volume: CONSPECTUS 07:1 (Mar 2009)
Article: Book Review: Viola And Barna, Pagan Christianity? Exploring The Roots Of Our Church Practices
Author: Noel B. Woodbridge


Book Review: Viola And Barna, Pagan Christianity? Exploring The Roots Of Our Church Practices

Noel B. Woodbridge1

Viola F and Barna G 2008. Pagan Christianity? Exploring the Roots of Our Church Practices. Barna Books.

1. Introduction To The Book And The Authors

Frank Viola and George Barna, a Christian pollster and author of the book Revolution, have co-authored Pagan Christianity? Exploring the Roots of Our Church Practices. George Barna brings to the book a fresh look and a polished language that improves on the delivery of Viola’s original work, Pagan Christianity: The Origins of Our Modern Church Practices, his third book written in a set of five books on church restoration and organic church life. Barna caused no small stir with his critique of the church in his book Revolution. However, with the publication of this book, Barna makes his decision to leave the institutional church quite clear.

Pagan Christianity? Exploring the Roots of Our Church Practices may very well be one of the most important books written on the Christian church in the last two millennia. Viola and Barna team up to give their readers a critical examination of the last 1,700 years of church history. They answer questions such as the following: Does the institutional church have any biblical and historical right to exist? Are the practices of the institutional church God-approved developments to the church that the New Testament envisions? Or are they an unhealthy departure from it?

In this book, Viola and Barna are taking on the institutional church, very much like Martin Luther did in the 1,500’s. In England a few centuries ago, these two would have been facing execution for their claims. Like many Christians today, Viola and Barna are tired of going to church, and sitting passively in the pews, watching ‘a show’. They realise that disciples of Jesus are the church, and they want to be the church in the way it was meant to be. They are not just ‘crazy rebels’ spreading rumours in order to do the church, as the body of Christ, any harm. They are ‘revolutionaries’ trying to change the future by trying to get Jesus’ idea of church and our idea of church on the same page.

2. A Summary Of The Book

Books that critique the current worship practices of the church come and go. But rarely does one come across a book that so vehemently opposes everything about the institutional church. Viola and Barna are convinced that the house church/organic church movement is the way of the future, because it is the only authentic repr...

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