Sunday, April 20, 2008

Final Thoughts on Pagan Christianity by Viola & Barna

(this is a follow-up to my February 23, 2008 post.)

As the authors themselves say in their "Final Thoughts" section, "the question really boils down to this: Are the practices of the institutional church, such as
  • the clergy/laity system,
  • salaried pastors,
  • sacred buildings,
  • the order of worship,
  • etc.

God-approved developments to the church that the New Testament envisions? Or are they unhealthy departures from it?"

That is the question that we should prayerfully consider.

After reading, re-reading, and discussing this book with a few people, that really is the question it leaves. I do believe, based on my previous understanding as reinforced by their book, that these things listed above, and several others, are not found in the New Testament practices of the churches (despite a few isolated proof texts that people sometimes misapply to assert otherwise).

But it still leaves open the question of what that means to our modern day church practice.

I'm just a bit disappointed and shocked that more people are not at least willing to really wrestle with the question with an open mind and a willingness to really see where the question leads. The widespread unwillingness to do so concerns me deeply.