Frank Viola

Pagan Christianity: Exploring the Roots of Our Church Practices (Chapter 1)

Pagan Christianity: Exploring the Roots of Our Church Practices (Chapter 1) by Frank Viola
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nonfiction History, Religion
For readers of:Francis Chan, David Platt, N.T. Wright, Watchman Nee, A.W. Tozer
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Print Length100 pages
Publication Date2008
About the Book

The entire book was free for 2 weeks in 2014. But you can download the Introduction and Chapter 1 on PDF. Here's a description of the book.


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, and choirs? This ground-breaking book, now in affordable softcover, makes an unsettling proposal: most of what Christians do in present-day churches is rooted, not 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 and extensive footnotes that document the origins of modern Christian church practices. In the process, the authors uncover the problems that emerge when the church functions more like a business organization than the living organism it was created to be. As you reconsider Christ's revolutionary plan for his church—to be the head of a fully functioning body in which all believers play an active role—you'll be challenged to decide whether you can ever do church the same way again.


Frank Viola

Frank Viola is a popular conference speaker and the bestselling author of numerous books on the deeper Christian life and church renewal, including Pagan Christianity? (coauthored with George Barna), God's Favorite Place on Earth, Reimagining Church, Epic Jesus, Revise Us Again, From Eternity to Here, Jesus Manifesto and Jesus: A Theography (both coauthored with Leonard Sweet). His blog, Beyond Evangelical, is rated as one of the most popular in Christian circles today:

George Barna

George Barna has filled executive roles in politics, marketing, advertising, media development, research, and ministry. He founded the Barna Research Group in 1984 (now the Barna Group) and helped it become a leading marketing research firm focused on the intersection of faith and culture before selling it in 2009. He has served several hundred parachurch ministries, several thousand Christian churches, and many other nonprofit and for-profit organizations as well as the US military.

Barna has written fifty books, mostly addressing leadership, social trends, spiritual development, and church dynamics. They include numerous bestsellers such as Revolution, Transforming Children into Spiritual Champions, The Frog in the Kettle, Pagan Christianity?, The Cause within You, and The Power of Vision. His most recent books include Maximum Faith, which discusses his groundbreaking research on how God transforms people's lives. Several of his books have received national awards, and his works have been translated into more than a dozen foreign languages. He has sold more books based on survey research related to matters of faith than any author in American history.

His work is frequently cited as an authoritative source by the media. Barna has been hailed as "the most quoted person in the Christian Church today" and has been named by various media as one of the nation's most influential Christian leaders. Reflecting his love of writing, he has recently been ghostwriting books for others. He is also a consultant to political organizations and candidates.

A frequent speaker at ministry conferences around the world, he has been on the faculty of several universities and seminaries, and has served as a pastor of a large, multiethnic church as well as a house church, and has helped to start several other churches. Barna currently serves as Research Fellow at the Center of American Culture and Faith.

After graduating summa cum laude from Boston College, Barna earned two master's degrees from Rutgers University and a doctorate from Dallas Baptist University.

George has been married to his high school sweetheart, Nancy, since 1978. They have three adopted daughters and live in southern California. He enjoys reading novels, playing guitar, listening to music, rooting for the Yankees and the Lakers, and relaxing on the beach. He and his family attend Mission Church in Ventura.

About the Author

FRANK VIOLA has helped thousands of people around the world to deepen their relationship with Jesus Christ and enter into a more vibrant and authentic experience of church. His mission is to help serious followers of Jesus know their Lord more deeply, gain fresh perspectives on old or ignored subjects, and make the Bible come alive. Viola has written many books on these themes, including Insurgence, God's Favorite Place on Earth and From Eternity to Here. His blog, Beyond Evangelical, is rated as one of the most popular in Christian circles today:

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