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DavidH
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« on: April 12, 2009, 03:55:05 PM »

I have a friend of a Charismatic background who is interested in Orthodoxy. Another friend of his, concerned about his interest, gave him a book by Barna called Pagan Christianity. It makes a lot of dubious claims about the Church but I don't have time to refute it in the depth my friend would like. Have any good Catholic or Orthodox refutations of this book been put together yet?
  Thanks in advance!
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Kav
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« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2009, 05:34:45 PM »

OOOOOH! lions and tygers and pagans oh my!

Do a websearch for pagan and you get a biker club for starters.

Ask a greek for a translation of pagan, and the root word roughly translates into

'from the country'- you know, people without central heating or dental plans, bumpkins.

But to the author, an ex Roman Catholic, pagan means a Hollywood starlet dancing for George

Saunders while  Victor Mature as Sampson ( with the prop man's help) gets ready to bring down

the palace walls. He doesn't like a rather common human practise anthropology calls 'culture

borrowing.' Does the church have 'pagan cultural artifacts?' You betcha! And who cares?

My grandmother, a hardnosed Missouri Synod member had a white porcelain  figure of a giesha

girl  over the fireplace. On each side, ancient curtains were drawn with thick, milk white plastic

pulls shaped like acorns.

Years later, armed with my degree in Anthropology, I told her the 'geisha' was none other

than kuen yin ( kanon in Japan) the hermaphrodite buddha of compassion. Oh, and those acorns

are from saxon mythology to guard against lightning, the Oak symbol for Wotan.

My grandmother's reply? What's that to do wtih the price of tea in China? they don't mean that to me!
« Last Edit: April 12, 2009, 05:36:19 PM by Kav » Logged
Kav
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« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2009, 05:44:38 PM »

And to give you an answer, ask your friend why he buttons his shirt or coat opposite to that of

women?

Why is HOT water turned on from the left, cold from the right?

Why do we let women enter a door first?

You could go on all day, until our civilization is brought to a complete, unworkable standstill.

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« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2009, 09:19:04 PM »

I have a friend of a Charismatic background who is interested in Orthodoxy. Another friend of his, concerned about his interest, gave him a book by Barna called Pagan Christianity. It makes a lot of dubious claims about the Church but I don't have time to refute it in the depth my friend would like. Have any good Catholic or Orthodox refutations of this book been put together yet?
  Thanks in advance!

David,

Rather than wasting time and energy defending false accusations, why not encourage your friend to learn about the Church from Church sources. If he is honestly interested, he will want to know what the Orthodox are saying about what we believe; not someone who is hostile towards us. I would think that if you get yourself involved in defending something he doesn't understand to begin with, it's probably not likely that he will learn about the Church in any beneficial way.
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« Reply #4 on: April 12, 2009, 11:43:20 PM »

Agreed.

A primary rule in warfare is to choose your place of battle with the advantage of terrain and the sun in the other guy's eyes.

This guy has scraped his foot a few times, kicking clumps of grass like a fighting bull on an arena called pagan christianity.

His next step is to convince somebody to don a matador suit and help book sales.

Ignore him, and he will join the other cowses going to McDonalds.
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Myrrh23
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« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2009, 02:51:55 AM »

Agreed.

A primary rule in warfare is to choose your place of battle with the advantage of terrain and the sun in the other guy's eyes.

This guy has scraped his foot a few times, kicking clumps of grass like a fighting bull on an arena called pagan christianity.

His next step is to convince somebody to don a matador suit and help book sales.

Ignore him, and he will join the other cowses going to McDonalds.

I think it's better to not assume such about a person you likely haven't met, Kav. The one who gave his friend a book on Pagan Christianity is probably doing so out of ignorance himself, not someone who wants to "Rage against the Machine", so to speak. Remember that those "cows going to McDonalds" are made in the image of God and are fellow stumblers on the Narrow Path towards Him, just as you are. Smiley Don't speak so lowly of them, or anyone. Instead of seeing the progression of Orthodox Truth as a battle, you might reach more people with gentleness by describing it as a wedding feast to which all are invited, as Jesus Himself described the Truth. Smiley

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« Reply #6 on: April 13, 2009, 02:56:45 AM »

Agreed.

A primary rule in warfare is to choose your place of battle with the advantage of terrain and the sun in the other guy's eyes.

This guy has scraped his foot a few times, kicking clumps of grass like a fighting bull on an arena called pagan christianity.

His next step is to convince somebody to don a matador suit and help book sales.

Ignore him, and he will join the other cowses going to McDonalds.

Oh no, I don't suggest ignoring him, at all. As long as he is willing to take information on Orthodoxy, provide him with it. I merely suggest that wasting time and energy defending against false accusations is not the way to lead him into the Church. It is a diversion and not likely to be productive for either David or his friend.
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Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.
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« Reply #7 on: April 13, 2009, 03:25:19 AM »

I am refering to the book's author, not his friend who shared it.

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« Reply #8 on: April 13, 2009, 09:32:02 AM »

This book appears to be extreme even by Protestant house church standards. Perhaps the best approach is along the lines of: "Going by the arguments in this book, no one has had church right since the Book of Acts. It's putting a lot of faith in these two men to believe that they have finally got it right- doesn't it make more sense to believe that the Holy Spirit actually accomplished the mission Christ sent Him for by keeping the Church protected from the gates of Hades and leading her into all truth (especially when there is an unbroken historical record to judge truth claims on)?" Without researching reams of minutiae, I think this goes to the crux of the matter.
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« Reply #9 on: April 13, 2009, 09:45:37 AM »

This book appears to be extreme even by Protestant house church standards. Perhaps the best approach is along the lines of: "Going by the arguments in this book, no one has had church right since the Book of Acts. It's putting a lot of faith in these two men to believe that they have finally got it right- doesn't it make more sense to believe that the Holy Spirit actually accomplished the mission Christ sent Him for by keeping the Church protected from the gates of Hades and leading her into all truth (especially when there is an unbroken historical record to judge truth claims on)?" Without researching reams of minutiae, I think this goes to the crux of the matter.
Agreed. I thumbed through the book in a Borders Bookstore one time, and was appalled. All of his arguments are based on his concept of "house churches". Which means in short, that anything not resembling the catacomb churches/house churches of the First Century of Christianity, are supplanters/pagan innovations. The thought is really ludicrous. There were house churches for a reason. The Jews threw them out of the temple, and when persecutions started they couldn't build churches/temples of their own--hence the house church model that he constantly affirms. Yes the early church worshipped in houses. Does that mean that this is the only model worthy of use today? Can we say, without a shadow of a doubt, that this is the ONLY model Christ blesses?
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« Reply #10 on: April 13, 2009, 05:13:12 PM »

This book might prove useful in showing the real historicity of Orthodox worship:

Orthodox Worship: A Living Continuity With the Temple, the Synagogue by Benjamin D. Williams, H. Anstall, and Benjamin Anstall.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2009, 05:13:56 PM by Seraphim98 » Logged
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« Reply #11 on: March 04, 2010, 03:03:18 PM »

Some hard-core Protestants critique "Pagan Christianity":

Quote
The first major problem of the book is that the authors’ central historical assumption is false. Prolific New Testament scholar Ben Witherington points out that the “idea that Christianity had become overwhelmingly Gentile and already was adopting numerous pagan practices in the last third of the first century A.D….is historically false.” The Dictionary of the Later New Testament and its Developments confirms this by stating, “Jewish Christianity had a large presence into the fifth century outside of Israel and Syria, and almost all of the New Testament was written by Jewish Christians and most of it was written for Jewish Christians.” Many of the early church documents that came out of Jewish Christianity are ignored by the book, as well as a lack of attention to more recent scholarship which all contribute to their over-emphasis on pagan influence at the exclusion of Jewish influence. Witherington shows that on the whole the book contains shoddy historical research, which is inexcusable when one is using historical tradition as a central argument for the widespread corruption of the church for the past 1,900 years.
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« Reply #12 on: June 30, 2010, 08:56:51 PM »

I have a friend of a Charismatic background who is interested in Orthodoxy. Another friend of his, concerned about his interest, gave him a book by Barna called Pagan Christianity. It makes a lot of dubious claims about the Church but I don't have time to refute it in the depth my friend would like. Have any good Catholic or Orthodox refutations of this book been put together yet?
  Thanks in advance!

http://www.lulu.com/product/item/the-new-restorationists-a-critique-of-frank-viola-and-george-barnas-pagan-christianity/10975028(The New Restorationists: A Critique of Frank Viola and George Barna's "Pagan Christianity?") By Albert McIlhenny (a traditional Anglican)



Quote:
"The New Restorationists is a critique of Frank Viola and George Barna's book "Paqan Christianity?". Arguing from the perspective of Church history, Holy Scripture, and even Viola and Barna's own sources, this book points out the fallacies in Viola and Barna's analysis of what ails the Church and discrepancies between their historical claims and historical reality."

His youtube videos:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_NbqhdkHXMQ&feature=player_embedded (Viola, Barna, and the Church 1: Introduction)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5NP-mvrJJm4&feature=player_embedded (Viola, Barna, and the Church 2: Basic Misconceptions)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P0bRFJijk1w&feature=player_embedded (Viola, Barna, and the Church 3: Domus Ecclesiae)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E2lwmp6RFOc&feature=related (Viola, Barna, and the Church 4: Constantine)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e8zHYI2xnYs&feature=related (Viola, Barna, and the Church 5: Basilicas)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kSTt7vkHCIE&feature=related (Viola, Barna, and the Church 6: Gothic Cathedrals)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cDGmy7-fi7o&feature=related (Viola, Barna, and the Church 7: Liturgy)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gbQHyQ66Xzw&feature=related (Viola, Barna, and the Church 8: Authority)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BWg-k3EpCQE&feature=related (Viola, Barna, and the Church 9: Eucharist)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=spIIq8ogzls&feature=related (Viola, Barna, and the Church 10: Conclusion)




I hope this helps!








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« Reply #13 on: June 30, 2010, 09:08:16 PM »

I have Albert's e-book from Lulu.com. It's an excellent read, and I believe he is working on a larger book about the issue. He goes through their own sources and shows how they mis-represented the facts from the very books they either quote or use as sources.

It took him about a year to comb through it all.









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"loving one's enemies does not mean loving wickedness, ungodliness, adultery, or theft. Rather, it means loving the theif, the ungodly, and the adulterer." Clement of Alexandria 195 A.D.

http://ancientchristiandefender.blogspot.com/
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« Reply #14 on: June 30, 2010, 09:45:30 PM »

One thing I found interesting when actually reading the sources, is the Protestant claim that the cult of saints and relics come from paganism, when if you look at pagan polemics (e.g. Julian) against the Christians they point out how "disguting" the Christians are, going into cemetaries with the dead, who are ipso facto (according to paganism) unclean
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« Reply #15 on: July 01, 2010, 11:05:03 AM »

I remember when I first started learning that some Christian practices had parallels in Paganism, I was a a bit disturbed. But, then I read G.K. Chesterton's book, The Everlasting Man, and a whole new perspective was opened up to me. Having an incarnational faith makes all the difference in the world. Christ became man and united creation to himself (in a non-pantheistic manner of course) and everthing changed. Christ, through his incarnation is baptizing everything and drawing all things to himself. This includes the cultures from around the world, and even the truths that can be found in other religions. And, while any truth found in other religions is mixed with a great deal of error, the power of Christ and his incarnation can cleanse away the errors bring those good and true things from paganism into the kingdom of God. I think the fact that that there are parallels to Christianity within paganism simply demonstrates that Christ is Lord over all.
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« Reply #16 on: July 01, 2010, 02:59:02 PM »

I remember when I first started learning that some Christian practices had parallels in Paganism, I was a a bit disturbed. But, then I read G.K. Chesterton's book, The Everlasting Man, and a whole new perspective was opened up to me. Having an incarnational faith makes all the difference in the world. Christ became man and united creation to himself (in a non-pantheistic manner of course) and everthing changed. Christ, through his incarnation is baptizing everything and drawing all things to himself. This includes the cultures from around the world, and even the truths that can be found in other religions. And, while any truth found in other religions is mixed with a great deal of error, the power of Christ and his incarnation can cleanse away the errors bring those good and true things from paganism into the kingdom of God. I think the fact that that there are parallels to Christianity within paganism simply demonstrates that Christ is Lord over all.

I 100%ly agree, however, we shouldn't just let people get away with error in their books.






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"loving one's enemies does not mean loving wickedness, ungodliness, adultery, or theft. Rather, it means loving the theif, the ungodly, and the adulterer." Clement of Alexandria 195 A.D.

http://ancientchristiandefender.blogspot.com/
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« Reply #17 on: July 01, 2010, 03:00:25 PM »

One thing I found interesting when actually reading the sources, is the Protestant claim that the cult of saints and relics come from paganism, when if you look at pagan polemics (e.g. Julian) against the Christians they point out how "disguting" the Christians are, going into cemetaries with the dead, who are ipso facto (according to paganism) unclean


Yupp! This is very true indeed! Alot of people don't know about the Apostate Emperor Julian and his thoughts about Christians and relics.





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"loving one's enemies does not mean loving wickedness, ungodliness, adultery, or theft. Rather, it means loving the theif, the ungodly, and the adulterer." Clement of Alexandria 195 A.D.

http://ancientchristiandefender.blogspot.com/
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« Reply #18 on: July 01, 2010, 03:02:08 PM »

I think the fact that that there are parallels to Christianity within paganism simply demonstrates that Christ is Lord over all.
Perhaps Christ also revealed himself (not in fullest form) in different cultures across the globe, before the Incarnation.
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« Reply #19 on: July 01, 2010, 04:14:46 PM »

Orthodoxy does hold the doctrine of "sparmatikos logos" in high regard; it is the basis of St. Basil's dictum on the study of Greek letters.
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« Reply #20 on: July 06, 2010, 07:31:16 PM »

another good review was done by a Protestant:

http://benwitherington.blogspot.com/2008/06/pagan-christianty-by-george-barna-and.html

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