Release on 2010-09-30 | by Frank Viola,George Barna
Exploring the Roots of Our Church Practices
Author: Frank Viola,George Barna
Pubpsher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
Have you ever wondered why we Christians do what we do for church every Sunday morning? Why do we “dress up” for church? Why does the pastor preach a sermon each week? Why do we have pews, steeples, and choirs? This ground-breaking book, now in affordable softcover, makes an unsettling proposal: most of what Christians do in present-day churches is rooted, not in the New Testament, but in pagan culture and rituals developed long after the death of the apostles. Coauthors Frank Viola and George Barna support their thesis with compelling historical evidence and extensive footnotes that document the origins of modern Christian church practices. In the process, the authors uncover the problems that emerge when the church functions more like a business organization than the living organism it was created to be. As you reconsider Christ's revolutionary plan for his church—to be the head of a fully functioning body in which all believers play an active role—you'll be challenged to decide whether you can ever do church the same way again.
A Christian Introduction to the Semiotics of Communication
Author: Crystal L. Downing
Pubpsher: InterVarsity Press
Crystal Downing brings the postmodern theory of semiotics within reach for today's evangelists. Following the idea of the sign through Scripture, church history and the academy, Downing shows you how signs work and how sensitivity to their dynamics can make or break an attempt to communicate truth.
Release on 2017-07-08 | by Paul Smith (collective pseudonym)
e-paper EDITION of pseudonym-group "Paul Smith"
Author: Paul Smith (collective pseudonym)
Pubpsher: Buike Science And Music
EDITION of undercover-collective "Paul Smith", probably Melbourne/Australia - general purpose: mental hygiene in "esoteric matters", special purpose: esoterism around "Rennes-le-Chateau and Berenger Sauniere" - covering ca. 21.000 titles in 2017
A heavy spirit of conceptualism has infiltrated the modern Christian establishments. Our traditions, philosophies, theologies, etc. Everything our beliefs are built upon has been influenced by an elite world-class system. Have you ever felt like there has to be more to our placement in this world than going through the motions of the Sunday morning ritual called “church?” More to this thing we call “Christianity?” If so, this book is what you have been waiting for. A truth movement has emerged. A remnant of modern “Ark Builders” endeavors to awaken those who are still asleep. Every day we see evidence of what the Bible describes as “spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12). Those who secretly govern our world have an agenda to unite and target professing Christians. The motive is world dominance, and the method is mind control, to brainwash the mass into conforming to what is socially acceptable and politically correct. But we are not ignorant of the enemy’s strategies. This book equips its readers with information exposing this deception, as it bridges the gap between conspiracy theory and demonic activity. You are about to open the door to a world you never knew existed, a reality of which you never knew you were a part. Prepare yourself. Once you see, you will never be able to unsee this realm again.
2010 Christianity Today Book Award winner! 2010 Golden Canon Leadership Book Award winner! Feeling caught between the traditional church and the emerging church? Discover a third way: deep church. C. S. Lewis used the phrase "deep church" to describe the body of believers committed to mere Christianity. Unfortunately church in our postmodern era has been marked by a certain shallowness. Emerging authors, fed up with contemporary pragmatism, have offered alternative visions for twenty-first-century Christianity. Traditionalist churches have reacted negatively, at times defensively. Jim Belcher knows what it's like to be part of both of these worlds. In the 1990s he was among the pioneers of what was then called Gen X ministry, hanging out with creative innovators like Rob Bell, Mark Oestreicher and Mark Driscoll. But he also has maintained ties to traditionalist circles, planting a church in the Presbyterian Church of America. In Deep Church, Belcher brings the best insights of all sides to forge a third way between emerging and traditional. In a fair and evenhanded way, Belcher explores the proposals of such emerging church leaders as Tony Jones, Brian McLaren and Doug Pagitt. He offers measured appreciation and affirmation as well as balanced critique. Moving beyond reaction, Belcher provides constructive models from his own church planting experience and paints a picture of what this alternate, deep church looks like--a missional church committed to both tradition and contemporary culture, valuing innovation in worship, arts and community but also adhering to creeds and confessions. If you've felt stuck between two extremes, you can find a home here. Plumb the depths of Christianity in a way that neither rejects our postmodern context nor capitulates to it. Instead of veering to the left or the right, go between the extremes--and go deep.
Evangelical Christianity in the United States is currently in a dramatic state of change. Yet amidst this sometimes tumultuous religious environment a rather unique blend of both ancient and contemporary Christian theology has found its way into the hearts and minds of emerging generations of Christians. The Theology of Dallas Willard both describes and conveys the essence of this increasingly popular and perhaps mediating view of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Blending both a prophetic critique with pastoral encouragement, Willard's unique understanding of the reality present within a life lived as a disciple of Jesus in the kingdom of God is attracting both new and traditional Christians to reconsider their faith.
Exploring the Magic and Mystery of the Middle Ages, J.R.R. Tolkien, and "The Lord of the Rings"
Author: Brian Bates
Pubpsher: St. Martin's Press
Category: Literary Criticism
J.R.R. Tolkien claimed that he based the land of Middle Earth on a real place. The Real Middle Earth brings alive, for the first time, the very real civilization in which those who lived had a vision of life animated by beings beyond the material world. Magic was real to these people and they believed their universe was held together by an interlaced web of golden threads visible only to wizards. At its center was Middle Earth, a place peopled by humans, but imbued with spiritual power. It was a real realm that stretched from Old England to Scandinavia and across to western Europe, encompassing Celts, Anglo Saxons and Vikings. Looking first at the rich and varied tribes who made up the populace of this mystical land, Bates looks at how the people lived their daily lives in a world of magic and mystery. Using archaeological, historical, and psychological research, Brian Bates breathes life into this civilization of two thousand years ago in a book that every Tolkien fan will want.
Where most books dance around the distasteful details of the church's past, this one puts a spotlight on the negative and positive alike. With one ear attuned to the early church and another to contemporary culture, this book addresses the growing concerns both Christians and non-Christians have about how transparent the church has been about its roots. This book offers a forthright depiction of early Christianity, beginning with the apostles and ending after the time of Augustine. Sinners and Saints is the first of a four-volume series that humanizes the history of Christianity by honestly examining the actions, doctrines, decisions, groups, movements, and practices of past Christians. This book's assessment helps the reader accurately understand Christianity's background and recognize how it continues to shape the present.
A radical, ground-breaking examination of the role of ancient myth in the origins of Christianity, challenging the idea of the Gospels as historical truth - it will change the way many think about religion, faith, history, myth and belief.
Decoding Religious History with Symbols on Ancient Coins
Author: David Wray
Traditional religious history preserves a rarely acknowledged secret that Christianity developed from at least three ancient roots: a Western structural root derived from Mediterranean Greek culture, an Eastern spiritual root from Anatolia and Persia, and a literary Jewish historical root, which masked the other roots and supported the idea that Christians had taken the place of Jews in relationship with God by entering a new covenant with Jesus. Each root contributed something special to the development of Christianity as follows: Supported by pagan iconography and rhetoric, the Western root imprinted Christianity with Greek spirit in a Hellenistic universe. The Eastern root filled the Greek construct with magic, focused humanity on a divine mission, and infused popular reverence for goddesses into Christian beliefs about the Virgin Mary. The literary Jewish root played two contradictory roles: Jewish scripture served as the reliable witness that proved Jesus to be both God and savior; and double-edged moral lessons in the Old Testament explained catastrophic events in the first century A.D. as divine judgment against Jews, supporting beliefs by early pagan converts to Christianity that Romans were good, Jews were bad, and God abandoned Jews for treacherously murdering Jesus. Two thousand years ago, Mediterranean cults included practices and beliefs that modern Christians associate exclusively with Christianity. People worshipped divine mothers who gave birth to dying and resurrecting gods on December 25. Saviors miraculously healed faithful followers and guided them to lead moral lives. Some cults baptized their followers, some passed their sins and inner demons to pigs, and some waited for a complete destruction of evil during the imminent End of Days. Then, as now, people argued whether the end would come by fire or water and whether many or few souls would be saved. Numerous symbols and beliefs associated in modern times with Christianity already existed in pre-Christian Hellenistic cults: Madonna and child images, angels, God the Father, the cross as a symbol of life after death, and the gift of eternal life through the shedding of immortal blood. On temple walls, wise men offered gifts of incense and gold to newborn gods; and merciful mothers granted salvation to the poor in spirit who confessed, repented, and begged forgiveness for their sins. However, Jews generally rejected all these practices, symbols, and beliefs. Some Jews believed in physical resurrection, and some did not. Some believed in eternal life, and some did not. For most Jews, however, a righteous life required the following of God's laws. If a Jew sinned against another man, no automatic forgiveness from God was possible. Forgiveness required acknowledgement of wrongdoing, restitution, and then forgiveness from the wronged party. Applying Jewish ethics to problems at the Jerusalem Temple meant recognizing the corruption within the priesthood, refusing to tolerate the evil rule of Rome, and giving one's life if necessary to precipitate the Kingdom of God. Just as God always had responded to the prayers of suffering Jews in the Bible, he would do so again. Soon he would send a messiah to deliver Jerusalem from the evil power of Rome and to cleanse Judea from the polluting practices of pagan cults. Drawing from both visible and secret roots, Christians freed themselves from paying for salvation from mystery cults while preserving the ability to worship a virgin-born hero with all the trappings of a pagan solar deity. This book explores the roots of Christianity in seven parts. The first three parts provide an overview of religious beliefs, practices, and iconography in the ancient Greek world that influenced Western culture and religion. The fourth, fifth, and sixth parts describe how the West developed under Roman influence. Then the seventh part focuses on the life of Jesus and the emergence of Christian cults in the first century A.D.