Monday, July 11, 2011

Pagan Christianity by Frank Viola and George Barna


My parents in law put this book in my hands a few years ago. It was a sample copy from their book selling business. It never made it on to their distribution line. Perhaps it has too controversial a sounding title?
I started to read it back then, but never continued with it. From my previous posts it is obvious that I have thought about topics of organic and home church for a long time.
More recently I bought Frank Viola's "Reimagining Church" on Amazon Kindle for the iPad. I began to read it, and felt really discouraged. Why? Because I so badly want what is written about in his books, in fact I have even had glimpses and tastes of "organic" or "open particapatory" or house church in my life in the past. But it just feels so impossible for this to happen where I live in Russia right now. I can't imagine any of the Christians I know being interested in organic church. So I put the book down. But I did sign up for Frank Viola's twitter feed. I did this, because he requested to follow me first.

Then Frank tweeted that his book was available on Kindle for $2.99 (it is now $9.99 again), I decided to get it. (I didn't bring many hard copy books here to Russia.) I seem to be a lot more frustrated with my church experience here in Russia, that I was again ready to read it. I also read Neil Cole's "Organic Church" while here in Russia.

One of Frank Viola's recent tweets was a quote: "Once your mind has been stretched it is impossible for it to go back to the shape it once was."  Over the years my mind keeps getting stretched further and further....

I will not give a full review of this book here. What I will do is implore you to read it. Frank Viola and George Barna have done extensive research in backing up their claims in this book. They have hundreds of references in their bibliography and hundreds of footnotes to substantiate their premise.

What is their premise?  That much of the practices we have in the modern institutional church are pagan in their roots and not biblical at all. The book calls us all to authentic worship and expression of the Body of Christ. They are very gracious in their approach towards the institutional church. They have some very important things to say. Everything they say is carefully researched and carefully lines up with scripture.

I know that I need to make a change in my life. I am completely and utterly stuck about how to do this.

I am now on to reading Viola's next book "Reimagining Church", which while full of hope will probably only make me sad about all that I am missing out on in my own Christian walk.

Help me Lord!

5 comments:

SYBIL said...

I SO UNDERSTAND HOW YOU FEEL, EVEN HERE IN VERMONT,USA.
YOU MIGHT TRY "CTM FELLOWSHIP FINDER". I PUT MY NAME ON THE MAP - BUT THERE'S NO ONE CLOSE. WHO KNOWS SOMEONE MAY SEE MY NAME SOME DAY WHO DOES LIVE CLOSE BY!
I LIVE WITH MY SON AND HIS WIFE AND TWO KIDS WHO ARE CHRISTIANS. BUT THEY WERE HURT BY OTHERS AND NOW HAVE DECIDED TO "GO IT ALONE" WITHOUT GOD AND HIS PEOPLE.I THINK I AM FINALLY ADJUSTED TO THEIR CHOICE. I PRAY YOUR OWN FAMILY IS WITH YOU ON YOUR "WILDERNESS" JOURNEY.
FOR HIS GLORY, SYBIL

Pasha said...

Dear Sybil. Thanks for your prayers. Unfortunately I doubt that such a search engine will be of any use in Russia. We need to find Russians to fellowship with.

God Bless,

Paul.

(P.S Curiously, how did you find my blog?)

SYBIL said...

Our blessed friend, Frank Viola!! I read his Twitter page. I see that he suggested a site to check for others-even in Russia! Kool; as Frank would say.:D http://simplechurch.com.ua/en/resursy/knigi-materialy.html
You and I may never have the fellowship we want so badly. But my rela. with Father/Jesus/H.S. grows more real and honest every day. My younger sister said to me once, "If there is a Jesus and He wants a Bride, then He wouldn't want someone who's not His equal. I'm still pondering that thought. Funny who God uses to help/teach us when we leave the Institutional church.
Oh, Jon Zens has been kind to me as well when I'm going through a doctrinal paradigm shift. He has writings and teachings about everything I think!
Sybil

Pasha said...

Hi Sybil.

The site in Russia is very lowly populated. In fact, one of the listings was from something we were doing a few years ago (which is now obsolete, but perhaps we can resurrect). I am hoping that the admin people will reply to my emails.

Anonymous said...

Hi,
I just wanted you to know, I found your page doing research for a Rhetoric class to help my home-schooled highschool son. The topic he has to write about is where christians are at in history and what will students today possibly be able to do when they graduate from college to change things. I've found, when burdened with a strong desire like yours, the first step is prayer-and lots of it-He is faithful! Keep at it. CC