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.
Great history, extreme conclusions
I loved learning the fascinating history behind many church traditions we just take for granted. Two things I didn't like was that I found it too extreme in its conclusions and completely disregarded the Old Testament. First, sometimes the Bible is prescriptive (how things should be done) and sometimes it's descriptive (how things were done, but not necessarily how they should be done now). Also, as wonderful as the new testament church model was in a number of ways, it was massively plagued by heresies and divisions from the get go (just read Paul's letters to see the issues they dealt with). Also, movements do change overtime (for better and worse), but any growing organization I feel must keep the things that helped it grow and be effective, but also set up a appropriate infrastructure to support future growth (but not to protect gains and become reactionary). Fascinating read but it failed to address the weaknesses of the NT model we see in scripture and history and just took a "startup" as a one-size-fits-all ideal. Google, Facebook and Apple are all very innovative, but they no longer operate out of someone's garage run by a couple unpaid college dropouts (or as implied here... out of thousands of garages with thousands of unpaid college drop outs). They had to grow up, but maintain an culture of innovation and excellence. This should be the church handles growth in my mind (instead of becoming reactionary, entrenched and traditional).
Eye opening to say the least
This book has arrested me. I WILL have to do something with what I have just read. This book brought me back to scripture in a pure clear way and made me realize how personal God is with His Children.
Recommend this to all Christians!
Frank Viola and George Barna have done an excellent job producing a priceless resource about the church for every Christian willing to read with an open mind. I recommend this book to any Christian of any denomination. Packed with truth!