I would appreciate any commentary from Catholics and Protestants on Frank Viola and his “anti-church” books.
I am currently reading Pagan Christianity and having a hard time of it. I can only handle a chapter every two days.
Basically, the man denounces almost all of our church practices. Buildings, paid clergy, sermons, choirs, dressing up for church, listening, silence, etc. According to Mr. Viola, none of this is “Christian.” All of it originated in paganism and therefore, we should have nothing to do with any of it.
He teaches that Jesus eliminated all of this. He believes that the Church should work the way it did in the New Testament, with home meetings, everyone is a “priest,” everyone is equally qualified to speak up and contribute to the meeting, everyone can contribute a song, etc.
I can’t even imagine how this would work, but he of course claims that once you’ve experienced this “true” Christian church, you will never want to return to the man-made “churches.”
I would love to just toss this book in the garbage, but unfortunately, people are falling for it. We first heard about the book on a Protestant forum, where it was being hailed as the truth. (The book is full of footnotes, but a lot of the footnotes are from the author’s other books.)
There is a fairly popular movement among Protestant Christians to eliminate “church” and “tradition” and “do church differently.”
I think that a lot of Catholics are also getting lured into this, although thankfully we are not able to just “do Mass” the way we would like. But there are split-off groups who call themselves Catholics, right?
So I don’t think the book is just a “fringe nutcase novelty.” I think it is seeping into American Christianity. I think it is very dangerous.
Anyway, I would be very interested in anyone else’s comments about the man or his books. If you would like to simply comment on what I’ve told you about him, that’s fine, too. But I’m especially interested in hearing from people who have read his books, or who have actually been part of Christian “fellowships” like those that he advocates.
Thank you so much.