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Pagan Christianity? by Frank Viola and George Barna


This is an amazing new book that ought to interest every member of the Network. In Chapter 5 the authors slay the traditional idea of a single pastor and set forth the biblical view of an eldership team. They also go after many other traditional concepts that are preventing the Lord from manifesting as fully as He desires.

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I just ordered the book...think I'll give it a read.

-Donnie
Yes, this was a great book. A confirmation of so many things I had dealt with for years. Unfortuantely, Viola's next book was not nearly as good. Another great book is called
"Biblical Church" by Beresford Job. I highly reccomend it...
I was recently given this book as a birthday gift, and I have been thoroughly enjoying it so far.
Bro. Dave, I just received my book today. As I began reading, some questions came to mind. Rather than dismiss them, I thought I’d take a little break and write. I began to retrace some of my steps in getting to where I am now (not that my journey is through). I have wondered, I have groped, I have prayed, I have sought and I have been long (much too long) in the process. I have tried to find others that had the yearning and seeking that I have. I’ve had no one (or few) to inquire about the present way of doing things…and especially the following of man-made organizational, corporational patterns…without dread of a reproachful tongue-lashing. It has only been most recently that I’ve been making any satisfactory and rewarding progress.

So, I know my adventure pretty well. But this book has caused me to be curious about the path you’ve traveled. May I ask how you came in contact with this book? Did someone recommend it? Did you notice it somewhere on your own? I think what I’m really asking is – how did it catch your interest? Since the first few introductory pages do not give any serious clue (to me) to what lies ahead (I only have your recommendation and comments – which I’ve come to respect), what motivated you to read it, if you were not already aware of its content? What prepared your heart to be interested in this book?

Gotta git back ta ma readin’,

Bro. Donnie
I'm over half-way through this book and I have found it, for the most part, to be very confirming to things as I have been seeing and having GREAT concern about. However, having very few (one or two) to even discuss these with, I have had to suppress the disire to inquire of others. I am amazed to find apostolics that would even acknowledge this book exists...let alone recommend reading it! -Another great reason for the Network!
By the way, has this book mentions Watchman Nee's The Noramal Christian Life. Has any read it? If not, I have an electronic version of it if interested.
Bro. Donnie,

I keep an eye out for books and articles that challenge the traditions that have been blindly accepted by many apostolic people. One hundred year ago we got much truth, but we would be naive and vain to think that we got it all. I believe we all have a responsibility to continue seeking for truth until the day the Lord comes. I don't remember exactly how I can across Pagan Christianity? Perhaps it was the title that caught my attention. When I noticed the chapter about pastors and elders, I knew it was a book I needed in my library. I'm glad you are enjoying it. Please continue to note your impressions and reactions on the Forum as you progress so we can all learn from your experience.
Bro. Dave,

What amazes me is that I have found a Network of apotolic brethren that would even consider, especially, this book. (As a result, I probably respond too often...to too many. lol!)

I look forward to meeting you (and other brethren of the Network) someday. I plan (Lord willing) to make the conference in Carlisle, or perhaps Murray, Ky. I have, however, found a few open-minded brethren in my locality that I can actually talk to about things that concern me about the modern church...without them thinking my "check engine" light is on. RLOL! As you suggested, I will try to post my thoughts on this book as occasion allows.
One of my train of thoughts in reading this book is the lack of real “feeling a part” of the modern local church assembly. I see it all the time. I have worried about it often. I have sought God for solution. I see people that have talent used to the point of burnout, while the less “talented” are merely spectators. They barely lift a hand if at all. They clap to the songs with a lifeless rhythm. They sit there, glazed over, unresponsive and bored lifeless. They leave as soon as the “service” is about over. No fellowship, no input, nothing personally received. It amazes me that they keep coming. And...this has gone on for YEARS. I could nearly weep as I write!

My closest connection to a “house meeting” was years ago. We had a lady unable to attend the “services”, so some of us would get together and take the service to her. I always felt that something was desperately lacking. There was more spontaneity before and after than during our “church service”. I suspect some were relieved that it was over and glad to leave. God knows…we need help!
I felt like I needed to jump in and add something that I've never publicly shared before but I see a connection with this and people being rather lifeless in the church, like you just wrote, Bro. Donnie. This is very personal for me because of how I came to the truth. I was living in France and ended up facing a lot of pressure from the church I was a part of for being interested in Oneness and I ended up leaving the country, a job, fiancé, and a close friend to return to the US to be baptized (I had previously received the Holy Ghost) and join the apostolic church. What I found was a large group of people, many of whom had grown up in church and who were set in their traditions who didn't even understand their traditions! I just knew that there was more to the church than what I was seeing and it wasn't that Oneness was wrong, I was sure of that. I then began to notice in various venues how sometimes people were approached and had either truth, doctrine, baptism, prayer, etc. virtually pushed onto them without the convicting of the Spirit and without a truly personal response and DESIRE for change and for God. I have always felt that this was not the Spirit moving at times like this, but was rather man's way of trying to make things happen. This actually seems to work CONTRARY to what God's plan is, namely that people who are convicted and know they need a Savior earnestly desire and seek salvation! Instead, too often people are enticed, manipulated, shamed into making a commitment that they really cannot make unless they want to do so wholeheartedly. How else can we account for people not receiving the Holy Ghost or experiencing change and obeying the Lord? This goes for the way people worship, serve God, give of their time, money and talents, and everything. Thank God that this does not occur everywhere, but I have seen it in more than one place and the result seems to be just what you've described above.
Bro Dave I have just finished the first chapter and what an eye opener. Thank you for the reccomendation.
I just recently discovered an apostolic home church group site that has some discussion about this book. One poster stated that he had emailed Frank Viola concerning the issue of the trinity (as to why he didn't address it and the council of Nicea etc.) He also posted Frank's reply which showed that he is very familiar with the oneness doctrine and has debated with UPCI ministers...and is still a staunch trinitarian.

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