PAGAN Christianity was the name of the book. I had noticed it in the Christian bookshop that I frequent. 'I'll stay well away from that', I thought---'what a terrible name for a Christian book'.
But then I read a review of it somewhere, and decided to buy it. The general theme of the book, authored by Frank Viola and George Barna, is that we are not doing Church right. That we are not doing Church as it is revealed in the New Testament. They present the case quite convincingly, that from around the time of the Roman Emperor Constantine, the Christian Church began to adopt some of the secular practises of the society around them in order to keep up and fit in.
Meeting in buildings, preaching from a pulpit, separation of clergy and congregation, are some of the activities they take issue with in the book. They also touch on the fact that a lot of Churches today operate on a model borrowed from secular business.
Something that surprised me the most, because it is clearly shown in the New Testament and I had missed it, was that the New Testament books (letters) that were intended for the entire Church, are never addressed to the leaders. It is always,'to the saints'or 'to all the faithful brethren' or 'to the Church at' etc. Jesus messages to the various Churches in Revelation are conveyed through their respective Angels, but the message is spoken by Jesus directly to all of the people of each Church. Not to leaders. What woke me up there also, was that Jesus is holding all of the people that make up the Church, responsible for what is wrong in the Church.
If the Lord said that to us today, and I guess He still does--but we are not listening, our first thought would be, 'why tell me Lord..that's a problem for the Pastor, the Elders or the Board'.
There was an equality, a level playing field, that seems to be almost totally missing today.
I started to take an interest in the House Church movement after that. I subscribe to House2House magazine online and it has helped me to think through a lot of the issues that arose in my mind after reading the book.
Yes! Pagan Christianity!..A Great eye opener! Another eye opener for me was "So you don't wanna go to Church Anymore." by Wayne Jacobson. Altho the name might chase some happy content church goers away. It was sure an insight for me...who had been in the Church for MANY years... He also wrote "He Loves Me"...
Knowing the Fathers Love for us sure changes the way we see HIS word...Scripture comes alive in a WHOLE NEW WAY.. We learn to rest in His Love... not work for it!