I just finished reading a book called Pagan Christianity by Frank Viola and George Barna. The main premise of the book is that we do many things in the contemporary church that are birthed out of paganism rather than the New Testament.
The authors laid out several traits of the early Christians and New Testament church which they say are lacking in our present day church:
- The early Christians were intensely Christ-centered
- The New Testament church had no fixed order of worship
- The New Testament church lived as a face-to-face community
- Christianity was the first and only religion the world has ever known that was void of ritual, clergy, and sacred buildings
- The New Testament church did not have clergy
- Decision making in the New Testament church fell upon the shoulders of the whole assembly
- The New Testament church was organic, not organizational
- Tithing was not a practice of the New Testament church
- Baptism was the outward expression of conversion
- The early Christians did not build Bible schools or seminaries to train young workers
- The early Christians did not divide themselves into various denominations
While I am not convinced on every issue the authors lay out, I thought the book was interesting and it made me think about a lot of things we do in our churches today. What say you?