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Pagan Christianity: The Origins of Our Modern Church Practices [Paperback]

By Frank Viola (Author)
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Item Number 11877  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   304
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.5" Width: 5.5" Height: 0.7"
Weight:   0.91 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jul 1, 2004
Publisher   SeedSowers Publishing House
ISBN  0966665732  
EAN  9780966665734  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Bradford's History of the Plymouth Settlement 1608-1650

Original Manuscript Rendered into Modern English by Harold Paget 1909

Buy Pagan Christianity: The Origins of Our Modern Church Practices by Frank Viola from our Church Supplies store - isbn: 9780966665734 & 0966665732

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More About Frank Viola

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! 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. He has written many books on these themes, including God's Favorite Place on Earth and From Eternity to Here. His blog,, is ranked in the top ten of all Christian blogs on the Web today. He ministers to people all over the world from Florida.
Mary DeMuth is a former church planter in France and the author of more than sixteen nonfiction and fiction books. A sought-after speaker and longtime blogger, she has overcome (through Jesus's healing) a difficult childhood full of neglect, abuse, and familial dysfunction to become a living example of what it means to live uncaged. She lives in Texas with her family.

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1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Church History > General   [6817  similar products]

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Rethinking the Modern Church  Aug 5, 2005
If Frank Viola is correct, and if his historical facts are indeed that, facts, then the modern church has to--at some point--come to grips with these startling conclusions. In short, we will have to rethink how we "do" church.

For years we have heard all about the "Offices" of ministries and why these men are high above the "laity" and why we should fully support them. But if Mr Viola's assertions are correct, we are in for a major change if those who read the book heed its contents.

I, for one, am against the idea of the "clergy" being so high above the "laity" that they can't be criticized or called into question about their teaching. And if history is any indication, the whole concept of a "professional pastorate" is indeed out of sorts with what the Early Church and historic Christianity had in mind.

Insightful were Viola's chapters on the history of certain practices such as tithing, the one-man local pastorate, professional seminaries, and the like. If you read the book with a closed mind you would think that Viola is coming out against everything the modern church holds dear.

But if you read with an open mind, ready to stare history in the face, then you will be rewarded with an eye-opening experience that will not only empower you as a believer, but mature you as well. Because it is not until the Body of Christ recognizes that it is indeed the Body of Christ--not the clergy/laity system most professional ministers make it out to be--that we will take our place in this world. Until this happens, well hey, we pay the preacher to do it all...right?

Frank Viola's other book "Who is Your Covering?" makes a nice complementary tome to this one. In fact, after reading this book, one can readily see how one error begets others until the error itself--such as the concept of covering as one example--seems normal and a natural part of the modern church.

An excellent read for open, honest and sincere Christians.
changed my life  May 29, 2005
This book literally changed my life.. Frank seems to be writing like from a hurt x church go'er point of view, but aren't we all? At least most of the folks reading this book.. His conclusions are harsh and tempered with that hurt tone... BUT his facts are right on! This book is one that you can trust and get very practical use from whether you are a senior pastor, youth pastor, pew warmer, or home churcher.
Religious Guilds, exposed!  May 18, 2005
I think Frank Viola does a masterful job of exposing the 19 centuries of accretion -- the religious guilds and traditions that have built up as a cancer on the Church of Christ. The author takes no prisoners, and at this hour of the day, that's a necessary, refreshing tactical approach to reforming the body of Christ.

In this age, as Christianity is growing at the fastest rate in its history (see Jenkins' "The Next Christendom" and similar works) it is nice to see the original model of the church: not an institutional building with a full-time staff of wizards and clerics based on the old order pagan priests of the Roman empire. This is the way of things today: both with the wizards of the Vatican (who preach another gospel entirely, to a Queen of Heaven and sundry saints) and also with the plastic-banana, amusement-park corporate institutions that Americans call "church" today.

This is very, very big business; the seminaries and denominations are the religious guilds of our day, as Viola makes clear. Bully for him; as our brethren in China, India, Africa, Russia, and South America will readily agree -- the modern American church (and I am speaking of Christian churches, not Vatican outposts) is certainly NOT the New Testament model. This is an easy read, and a delightful general treatise on the need to return 'ad fontes' in our praxis (ecclesiology).
whats wrong with it?  May 5, 2005
OK - I have not read this book, but I've been reading the reviews. But here is the bottom line - if you consider that Christianity began during the 1st century, you'll realize that the Church began during Pagan times, and right smack dab in the middle of the biggest Pagan city in existence - Rome. It is therefore only natural that some Pagan customs would work their way into the rituals for the rememberance and honoring of Christ. And the biggest important point here - there is nothing wrong with that. The fact is that even if the Catholic Church has rituals that have pagan roots, they are NOT honoring Pagan Gods anymore. They are honoring Jesus Christ. And to add to this - attention "other" Christians (protestants) - you have pagan rituals too. See Christmas (what does a christmas tree have to do with Jesus? Christmas was a Roman holiday that was modified to be the day to honor Jesus's birth), Halloween, and Easter (Easter Bunny???). All sorts of pagan traditions and the like still exist to this day, only they have been modified to honor Jesus. In my opinion, this is perfectly fine, because it helps people to organize their worship. Yes, the catholic church uses rituals and builds grand churches. So what? Personally, I am not religious, although I am researching and doing my homework trying to decide on what I believe. I have been to Vatican City (and numerous other cathedrals and churches throughout Europe), and I can attest to the reverence one feels upon entering these places. I believe that these rituals and structures serve to move and stir the faithful, and in that, they are very valuable, even if they had pagan roots. They give people a place to go to feel awe (God), and to worship. The important thing is that whatever pagan traditions may have been translated into Christianity, the fact remains that they are NOW Christian rituals, and serve to promote Jesus.
Excellent, simple, but I agree in part with critics  Mar 22, 2005
First of all, let me say that Frank's book, Pagan Christianity, is a must read! It's scholarly without being complex or too wordy and it's a fair examination of historical reality. I do have a few critical remarks of my own, however, they are minor critiques. This book is excellent! Worth the five stars I gave it. If you are looking for an easy-to-read resource chronicling the origins of modern-day church practices, this is your book! This is one book that will be read again and again and the subject of and resource for many a conversation on the matter of this phenomenon we might well call "churchianity".

Having said that, I have to say that I also agree (in part) with some of the book's critics and those who loved this book shouldn't feel threatened or angred by the sub-5-star reviews. Viola's work here, I must agree, is perhaps not quite the caliber of a history text book (so I can't say it's the be-all/end-all resource of resources - though it comes close at times). While there are scores of references in footnotes on every page, it should be noted that a number of the books mentioned are simply references to other authors who happen to draw the same conclusions as Frank - and not necessarily well-known historians or scholars on the subject. That does not make them less-valuable and neither does this mean they are not accurate statements. I simply mean to convey that the critics have a legitimate point of critique here. The book bills itself as being "fully footnoted" as if footnotes alone equal irrefutable evidence. To boasts like this, I must say, "Frank please, we can do without the manipulation sales pitch buddy." ;)

Please understand, I have studied much of this subject myself and (though I am no historian expert myself) I do happen to agree with the vast majority of Frank's conclusions in this book and feel they are historically accurate (this is why I wholly recommend this book as a trustworthy resource - not to mention really one of the only books of its kind ever produced), but for technicality's sake, some of the critics comments are justified in the sense that this book is written at more of a high school level. But then, Viola himself would tell you this is the point.

A college textbook is not usually much fun to read for the common person and not many would take the time to bother... Not to mention that most people aren't interested in searching through 200 different manuscripts and technical jargon to try and piece together a comprehensible answer to their question. ;) Frank does his audience a HUGE favor by summarizing the details and he does an excellent job in my opinion.

Yes, I will agree, there are a few places where he probably could have elaborated more and examined a broader reference of Scripture (I agree with the reviewer who said he would have liked to see an examination of 1 Timothy chapter 5; as indeed this passage in often used by professional preachers to justify ministry salaries). Yes, there are a couple of places in the book where Frank inserts his personal presumptions, though I personally think these are minor details (and to be expected in any book by any author). For example, in one place he makes mention that Abraham's tithe in Genesis was voluntary - yet Scripture does not confirm this presumption (in fact history reveals that it is more likely Abraham was following Arab custom of the day). There are no footnotes to cross-reference on some of these minor points of presumption, but these don't detract from the main point of the book; nor do they discredit it. In fact some are rather insightful and, at the very least, thought-provoking. Yes, there are places that I think would have benefitted from Frank not seeming to presume that house church folks (or those who have read other sources on the same topic or his previous books) would be reading his book. I've watched the reaction of some clueless folks who see the title alone and become disinterested (you would think the title would provoke the opposite effect - but that's the way us out-of-church folks tend to think now that we're out of the "system" and I think Frank falls into this trap a bit as well).

I would have to disagree with the reviewer that thinks the book loses focus at the end. On the contrary I think the book ends appropriately. Frank doesn't use this particular book in his series to push his personal home church views, rather he simply gives the goods to the reader to leave them introspecting and laying their thoughts and concerns before the Lord. Rather than telling them what to do - i.e. giving his solution (as so many "Christian" topic books do)- Frank blesses his readers by encouraging them (somewhat indirectly) to press in to the Lord and wait on Him for direction. I love that! It's what sets this book in the solid 5 star category because it's only agenda is to present an accurate historical summary of how most of our modern-day church practices came into existence and briefly why many of these are harmful to the Christian's spiritual growth and maturity and relationships with other believers in the body of Christ. If you want to know more about his views on "church planting", you can always buy another one of his books, but he doesn't tackle that beast here (and I'm glad because I personally challenge the concept Frank titles "the church planter" anyway - but that's another matter for another time).

The book is just tops and I would easily say a must read! While it's easy for some to complain, one might consider the fact that probably none of these critics have taken the time to present a better work. Frank clearly did his homework and, in my humble opinion, has done a great service to the body of Christ! Christians ought to read this book if they are sincerely hungry for truth, not just tradition. Too many things Christians call "holy" and "sacred" are such only because man has dared called his concepts "ordained by God" when nothing could be further from the truth. The knowledge this kind of book equips the reader with (even if it's on a more basic level) will aid a believer by helping them to recognize potential religious manipulation and fallacy. Most of all, it will help to remind us that Christ alone should be at the center of our lives - not religious institutions, rituals, formulas, programs, clergy, or anything else. Christ alone must have the preeminence! God bless you all and keep you free in Christ Jesus!

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