3 thoughts on ““Pagan Christianity”

  1. I’m about two-thirds of the way through the book and I am probably a little more open to his ideas than this reviewer appears to be. I plan on writing a review of it on my blog as well.

    However, I will say that I definitely agree with some of the reviewer’s comments – perhaps the biggest complaint I have with Viola is his diminishing of the OT as well. He essentially declares that anything which is not found in the NT is therefore pagan. Thus, he does away with tithing, etc., because it is not necessarily explicitly mentioned in the NT. That is, at best, an argument from silence.

    This gets into a whole other discussion as to which OT practices were normative in the NT, and therefore applicable to us. But it would seem to me that the burden of proof would be upon someone to show that the NT has done away with an OT practice (ie., the Sabbath), rather than simply deducing it is done away with because of the NT’s silence.

    One of my seminary friends, who pastors in Florida as well, met with Viola recently, I guess, and talked with him. I was planning on talking with him on the phone today to see how that went.

  2. I believe the purpose of “Pagan Christianity” is not to pick apart the traditions and practices of the established church, but rather to show how they harm the Body of Christ and prevent it from functioning as our Lord intended. It’s not to say the authors expect us to wear togas and sandals and throw out anything that smacks of the twenty-first century. But in order to dismantle the deeply entrenched system that we’ve come to call “church”, it’s necessary to demonstrate where these things came from, and that they’re not directives from God’s Word.

    Many other authors have addressed the role the Old Testament laws should play in the lives of New Testament believers. That’s not really the thrust of what “Pagan” is trying to bring out. I for one believe that this is addressed quite clearly in Romans and Hebrews. It’s not a matter of arguing from silence, but from the perspective of Christ having given us a NEW covenant and having put away the old. Also, there’s an abundance of very thorough teaching out there on the tithe and why it’s unscriptural to place New Testament believers under the yoke of the tithe.

    Thought you might be interested to know that the sequel to “Pagan Christianity?” is out now. It’s called “Reimagining Church”. It picks up where “Pagan Christianity” left off and continues the conversation. (“Pagan Christianity” was never meant to be a stand alone book; it’s part one of the conversation.) “Reimagining Church” is endorsed by Leonard Sweet, Shane Claiborne, Alan Hirsch, and many others. You can read a sample chapter at http://www.ReimaginingChurch.org . It’s also available on Amazon.com. Frank is also blogging now at http://frankviola.wordpress.com/ .

    • I disagree. He claims preaching is pagan. No, it was done by Jesus, it was done by Paul, and both of them got it from the synagogue service. Paul makes clear it is the essential heart of how the Christian message is proclaimed: “faith comes by hearing.”

      Jesus said, “I come not to destroy the law but to fulfill it.” To reject the Old Testament s to embrace the ancient Christian heresy of Marcionism.

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