10 Straw-Man Myths About “Pagan Christianity” & “Reimagining Church”

Posted on 02/01/2010


Myth #1. Barna and Viola believe that if a practice was invented by a pagan, it’s bad and shouldn’t be observed.

Myth #2. Barna and Viola believe that the first-century churches were perfect and we should imitate everything they did just as they did them.

Myth #3. Barna and Viola promote “house church” as the only correct model for church.

Myth #4. Barna and Viola believe that God doesn’t use the institutional church and never has.

Myth #5. Barna and Viola are against pastors and believe that God doesn’t use pastors.

Myth #6. Barna and Viola believe that 2,000 years of church history has been wrong on every count.

Myth #7. Barna and Viola are against “church” and believe that folks shouldn’t be part of a believing community.

Myth #8. Barna and Viola don’t believe in preaching.

Myth #9. Barna and Viola believe that a church must meet in a house to be legitimate.

Myth #10. Barna and Viola don’t believe in any kind of church leadership.

Anyone who has carefully read Pagan Christianity and Reimagining Church from cover-to-cover knows that all of the above statements are false. We state so much in the books themselves and in other places such as the FAQ page. (Just one example: see page xxix in the free sample chapters of the book.)

Nevertheless, it’s been observed that if an argument cannot be refuted on its own ground, applying a blow-torch to straw man city is the only option for dismissing it, despite the fact that this technique is deceptive and intellectually dishonest.

We hope this list helps to separate fact from fiction. For more details, see the FAQ page above and the related articles below.

Also, if you or anyone you know has only read Pagan Christianity, they’ve only heard the first half of the argument. Reimagining Church gives the second half and discusses the issue of contextualization and culture in detail. Both books go together.

Finally, if you know anyone who has critiqued these books using any of the 10 arguments listed above, by all means, invite them onto this blog to a civil debate with me directly. I’d be more than happy to dialogue with them. The attitude of “don’t confuse me with the facts” isn’t a Christian one as it only perpetuates false information. As always, I could be wrong in what I’ve written, but won’t really know unless we dialogue.


House Church vs. Organic Church


Neil Cole & I Discuss Missional Organic Church


A Word to All Authors – Aspiring or Actual

Why Organic Church is Not Exactly a Movement

What is an Organic Church? A Plea for Clarity

Reflections on the Postchurch Perspective

What Does Authentic Organic Church Life Look Like?: I

What Does Authentic Organic Church Life Look Like?: II

Billy Graham’s Prophecy

Organizational vs. Organic

McManus Interview

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