Question: Frank, I gave Pagan Christianity to some friends and their response was, “Barna and Viola make a lot of good points, but they are throwing the baby out with the bathwater.” I’ve heard this so many times that if I hear it again, I’m going to scream. What’s your response to that line?
Answer: I think there’s only one baby worth saving – it’s the babe of Bethlehem, the Lord Jesus Christ. Everything else can be parted with, and most of it is clutter. To call the clergy system, the hierarchical/business-patterned leadership structure, the 500 year-old Sunday morning Protestant ritual, and the billions of dollars we spend on church buildings and overhead “the baby” is ludicrous in my opinion.
From the place where I’m standing, it seems to me that what we’ve done is substitute the bathwater for the baby, tossing the latter and keeping the former.
In the words of American scholar Jon Zens,
It seems to me that we have made normative that for which there is no Scriptural warrant (emphasis on one man’s ministry), and we have omitted that for which there is ample Scriptural support (emphasis on one another) . . . we have exalted that for which there is no evidence, and neglected that for which there is abundant evidence.
But let me think about your question some more, and I’ll tell you how I really feel about it.
For a deeper explanation of the above, click the following links: