Monday, May 10, 2010

Pagan Christianity -- Book Review

Lisa and I try to stay current with issues and books and thoughts in the world and Christendom. I recently had someone mention Pagan Christianity to me as something of controversy. My loving wife bought it for me Saturday. I have read half of it as of this writing.

This book supposes that most if not all of modern Christianity is based solely on ancient Greek and Roman paganism. Buildings, worship, ministry and so on are all warpings of the prototype church of the apostles. The authors list and footnote many correlations with the "Ah-ha!" of a film noir sluth. The "revelations" should shake the faith and practice of every person who claims to be a Christian.

My first observation is simple. These are not "Ah-Ha!" revelations. ANYONE who has studied church history is conversant with all these connections. The change in the church in the 300's AD when the faith came out of the forced hiding of an illegal group to a legitimate one was radical and tremendous. The influence of thought and practice has always influenced the way persons act and react regardless of group affiliation. No shockers are to be found in this book. The facts are not in dispute. I do however dispute the authors conclusions based on these historic facts.

Second, it is a logical fallacy to suggest that borrowing or even being influenced by Greek/Roman pagan practice means the church today is pagan. This is analogous to saying that since the Irish eat potatoes (produce borrowed from Native North Americans) Irish culture has been retrofitted to Native American culture. Or that since the Italians use noodles (brought back from China by Marco Polo) Italian cuisine and Chinese cooking taste the same.

There are passages of the Bible that cite pagan poetry (Acts 17), pagan mythological imagery like God splitting the heads of Leviathan (Psalms, Job, Isaiah) and this simply shows the writers were aware of the world around them and not that they believed in polytheism.

Third, the underlying premise of this book is the superiority of the "house church" and its promotion. Both authors attend this type of church and are attempting to create a historic justification for it. They are just as guilty as "pagan" Christianity in reading their philosophy back into the Sacred Text. The descriptions of worship do not proscribe a "house church" practice/form/gathering flow any more than they proscribe the current/ancient liturgy.

1 comment:

Dale Argot said...


These were the thoughts that I had as I read this book. It's good to see you writing again.