George Barna and I Reflect on Four Years Since “Pagan Christianity”

It’s been four years since George Barna and I released Pagan Christianity. Joe Miller recently caught up with George and me, giving us our first exclusive interview in four years. Joe’s questions were excellent.

Here’s the interview. (Note: Reposting this interview is not permitted. But you are free to place a link to it on your blog or share it on Facebook or Twitter via the share buttons below. Click here to review our copyright policy.) 

Pagan Christianity

Joe Miller: Before we get to your current life, can you tell us, what has been the most enduring and positive legacy of your book, “Pagan Christianity?”  

George Barna: The book has helped many people to open their minds to the fact that the organized, localized, congregational form of ministry commonly known in the west as “the church” is a human construct that was neither dictated by God nor described or found in the Bible. In that sense I think the greatest legacy of the book, based primarily on Frank’s extensive research, is giving people an awareness of the truth about the history of the modern local church body and the tremendous possibilities for more meaningful ministry experiences and expressions.

Frank Viola: One of the most enduring qualities (and effects) of the book is that it has given millions of Christians permission – biblical and historical permission – to question cherished church practices and traditions in the light of God’s written Word. It has effectively driven many believers – including pastors – to reexamine the way they practice church in view of New Testament principles and church history.

Since I have a very high view of Scripture, I count that as a positive thing. It’s also given many Christians a new appreciation for those believers in the past (like the Anabaptists) who dared to challenge the religious establishment of their day on the basis of Scripture. In this regard, the Reformation has never ended, including the Radical Reformation of the Anabaptists.

As John Stott famously said, “The hallmark of an authentic evangelicalism is not the uncritical repetition of old traditions, but the willingness to submit every tradition, however ancient, to fresh biblical scrutiny and, if necessary, reform.” I believe the local church is highly important to God and His purpose. Our book merely demonstrates that the local church has (in many cases) been redefined and reinvented outside of scriptural lines. Thus restoration is needed.

Joe Miller: I wonder if there are things you wrote four years ago that do not reflect your thinking today. Is there one thing you can point to in your current writing or ministry that reflects the biggest change from the man you were four years ago? 

Frank Viola: With respect to the content and research, I am more convinced today than I was four years ago that what we wrote was accurate. Part of that conviction is based on the fact that thousands of reviews and critiques tried to refute the book, yet none of them were successful in discounting it. Instead, many critics had to resort to personal attacks and/or misrepresentations. We dedicated an entire page that answers questions, objections, and critiques to the book.

With respect to writing, I’m a perfectionist when it comes to my own work. Thus one of the worst punishments that can be inflicted upon me is to force me to look at one of my books after it’s been published. I immediately see all the flaws and weaknesses. That said, I would do three things differently:

(1) I would have announced in the beginning, all throughout the middle, and at the end that Pagan Christianity is not a stand-alone book. The book is only the first part of a fuller argument. As such, it doesn’t seek to solve the problems we address. It only deconstructs. In the original release of the book, this was stated in some of the footnotes and in a big advertisement at the end for the upcoming constructive sequel, Reimagining Church. But many people missed these announcements despite that it’s been repeated all over the Web. The recent printings have a new preface in it that makes this point loud and clear.

(2) I would have added more “Question and Answers” sections to some of the chapters. But we were limited by page count.

(3) I would have removed all the exclamation (!) points. Not too long ago an exclamation point denoted emphasis and passion. And that’s how I’ve always read and used them. Today, however, it denotes anger in the minds of some readers. There’s no anger in the book at all, but some people read anger into the book due to several exclamation points that we used for emphasis. So I’d probably remove those if I wrote the book today. Hindsight is 20/20, of course.

George Barna: It’s not repudiation or change of content from what we wrote, but my primary focus has shifted away from corporate religious structures and behaviors to the means of personal life transformation that God uses to enable us to become who He intended us to be. That’s a natural progression for my work if you assume that religious institutions are not supposed to have a stranglehold on people’s faith experience and expression.

Joe Miller: Can you summarize for my readers what you have been doing these past four years?  Where have you been and what have you been writing that we should know about?

George Barna: In 2009 I sold the Barna Group to David Kinnaman. That has freed me up to write a more diverse range of books and other pieces about the Christian life and experience, including some books I have written for others. The most significant book I have done recently – perhaps ever – is Maximum Faith, which took six years of research, identified the process by which God transforms people’s lives, and describes what we can do to get on board with His process.

I have also had some involvement in the 2012 presidential campaign, have invested a lot of time in family challenges (addressing some serious health issues facing our three daughters), have been much more heavily involved in playing music, and will soon start writing my first novel.

Frank Viola: Up until recently, I was busy establishing and working with organic missional churches in the trenches. Last year, however, I changed the focus of my ministry to the other aspect of my calling for a season: The deeper Christian life. As such, I’ve been speaking (free of charge as always) at various conferences and churches (of all types) on the deeper Christian life.

I’ve also been burdened to help the poor more and develop relationships with those who don’t know Jesus. In addition, I’ve forged relationships with pastors and others in different types of ministry. My convictions on the unity of the body of Christ are quite strong. To my mind, Christians should join arms in the greater cause of God’s Kingdom no matter what their convictions are about church structure or form. Cooperation without compromise is where I pitch my tent.

Another major focus of mine right now is my blog, Beyond Evangelical, which is geared to serious Christians in their 20s and 30s (though we have some older and some younger readers). My blog subscribers belong to all types of church structures and denominations. I blog five times a week and the conversations have been invaluable.

With respect to writing, following the release of Pagan Christianity, I wrote three other books as constructive follow-ups: Reimagining Church (the companion volume to Pagan), From Eternity to Here, and Finding Organic Church. Pagan Christianity really can’t be fully (or properly) understood without these other volumes, as it’s not a complete work on its own.

Following that was Jesus Manifesto, Revise Us Again, and Epic Jesus.

I regard the above three books, including From Eternity to Here, to be my best and most important contributions to date.

The next five books that are in the queue are also on the deeper Christian life. So they too will appeal to Christians in every kind of church form and denomination.

Joe Miller: From my experience on the West Coast, men and women in their late teens and early twenties have lost their bearings. Even those who are attracted to religion, gravitate toward groups that are disconnected from the foundations of our historic Faith. Overall, the Church has not been effective in bringing young people to the Gospel. What must we do differently to usher in a Jesus revolution among America’s youth?  

Frank Viola: Based on my talks with 20-somethings from all over the country who aren’t Christians, two things come to mind:

(1) That Christians would treat one another the way they want to be treated. I’ve written extensively on this, but the fact is, Christians (especially evangelicals) are viewed as being judgmental, condemning, narrow-minded, harsh, and legalistic in the eyes of many young people. Just look at the kinds of awful things Christians say to and about one another online and it becomes patently clear why they feel this way.

(2) Taking the time to get to know young people, hang out with them, and love them as people rather than as projects. At the same time, don’t compromise our distinctiveness as believers while we befriend them. It seems that many Christians have a struggle knowing how to love people without selling out to the world system on the one hand, and keeping people at a condemning distance on the other.

George Barna: I do not believe that problem is limited to young people or to individuals living on the west coast. I would attribute it to the gravitational pull of cultural forces, especially through the media. The effect of contemporary media content and media-driven calls to action has been facilitated by ineffective leadership by the Christian church in response to these challenges. At the same time the role of the family has eroded significantly during the past four decades, making the media and public policy much more powerful in directing people’s thoughts, perceptions, and responses. Children are now being raised with a completely different set of authority figures, core values, and expectations than has traditionally been the case, leaving them defenseless against the onslaught of new and unfortunate ways of perceiving and responding to the world.

So, you ask what we must do differently. The needed changes are deep and complex, and will take decades, not weeks, to implement. First, a significant body of Christians must be united in this battle to restore biblical principles to the center of our experience. Second, we must be committed to a long-term investment of resources: time, energy, power, relationships, money, and so forth. Third, the family must reclaim its rightful place at the center of child development, accepting assistance from others in the community of faith, but not abdicating its role as the anointed leader in child development. Fourth, we must embrace and support new models of faith experience and expression, to remove existing obstacles to people integrating their faith into every dimension of their lives. Fifth, we need to set maximum transformation as the objective of our life, and work toward that result. That would include the creation of different forms of community among believers than currently prevail, and a new set of and measurement process related to transformational metrics.

Joe Miller: From all of your travels over the past four years, who have you met that inspires you the most in both who they are and what they do in their service to Christ?

George Barna: Matthew Barnett, pastor of the Dream Center, is the real deal. His passion for helping people is contagious. Francis Chan seems to be authentic in his quest for genuine spiritual growth. Mike Huckabee is the best model I have encountered of someone who is able to take his or her faith into the political arena, and impact that arena through the uncompromised application of biblical principles. Andy Stanley is, for me, the best teacher of scriptural applications I have encountered. John Saucier, a little-known evangelist and discipler of young people and professional athletes, has been an inspiration to me through his consistent effort, willingness to be bold and creative, and devotion to the word of God.

Frank Viola: It’s been the “unknown” Christians who are gathering together in various cities, who are hungry for more of Jesus, and who are learning to live by His indwelling life together. Especially those who have a heart for the poor, the oppressed, and the hurting in their neighborhoods. These Christians don’t return evil for evil and know the secret of losing when under attack and being gracious toward those who misunderstand and misrepresent them.

They are the salt of the earth in my judgment. Many of them are humble, of meager means. When I meet such believers, I walk away having seen my Lord. And I thank God that the song I’ve been singing for many years is taking visible shape in some quarters. I’ve also been impressed and inspired by the Millennials who make comments on my blog posts.

Joe Miller: Lately, because I have been teaching college and seminary students here in California, I have been writing about the changing world of Christian Education. I hope this is not too far out of your area of expertise, but do either of you have some insight regarding what is good about Christian Education today and what needs to change?

Frank Viola: We have an entire chapter on Christian education in our book (Chapter 10). In it, we discuss where Christian education came from, including the origin of the seminary and the Bible college. On a personal level, I have a special passion for young men who are called to the Lord’s work. I think that many seminaries and Bible schools have wonderful teachers in them. And as far as traditional teaching methods go, they are quite good.

But as I’ve argued in Finding Organic Church, I believe the best way to educate and train others is to duplicate what Jesus did in Galilee and what Paul did in Ephesus. Jesus and Paul both trained younger workers in a hands-on way. It was on-the-ground, real-life, intentional mentoring that went on for years. And it was done in a real-life ministry context. I wish more older servants of God would begin to do this. (Many of them whom I respect have no concept of it.)

Right now, the typical young person who is called to the Lord’s work sees the seminary as the only option for ministry preparation. In short, while the typical seminary is good at what it does, I’ve met scores of seminary graduates who admitted that they didn’t get the kind of training that ministering to people with real problems demands. Nor did they learn how to minister and unveil Jesus Christ to others. Billy Graham once said something priceless about this very issue. 

George Barna: No comment.

Joe Miller: Finally, let me ask a broader question about the world as you see it.  Based on your experience and research, what would you say is the greatest social, political, or theological challenge facing the Church today in the West.  What is the Church doing well and what does the Church need to do better in confronting that challenge?

George Barna: The encouraging reality is that when God’s people set their mind on something, they often prove they can meet their goals. For instance, churches generally measure success based on attendance, raising money, constructing buildings, operating programs, and hiring staff. Over the past two decades, Christian churches in the US have been effective at meeting those goals. We are better at marketing, and event planning and execution, than ever; raise more than $60 billion annually for domestic ministry; have extensive, valuable, and expanding real estate holdings; and continually introduce new programs that we fill with hopeful students. By church criteria, our churches are successful; unfortunately, Jesus didn’t die to fill auditoriums, buy land, promote programs, or hire religious professionals. If we take His death and resurrection seriously, our criteria need to relate to life transformation that produces discernible and meaningful spiritual fruit.

So discussing the major challenges facing the western Church is not a simple matter. There is no single greatest challenge; there is a multi-faceted group of serious challenges that need to be addressed. Among those, as noted earlier, are the need for better leadership that is devoted to fulfilling a God-provided, biblically-consistent vision; the need for Christians to possess a biblical worldview to serve as the basis of their choices and behaviors; the need for Christian families to be more aggressive and better equipped in the moral and spiritual development of their children; the need to radically manage media and technology for the benefit of the nation rather than that of shareholders; the need for different models of ministry to facilitate more genuine spiritual experiences and expression; and the need to create and deploy better metrics regarding life transformation.

Frank Viola: I don’t think we can lump everyone or every fellowship into the same basket. Some are ahead of others in some areas, and vice versa.

Speaking in regard to the Christian population as a whole, four great challenges come to mind:

(1) the pervasive problem of Christians trafficking in slander against other Christians without blinking. Many Christians are bold in slandering others while few Christians are bold in defending others or rebuking slander when it’s happening. Jesus was clear that if we have an issue or concern about someone, we should go to them directly. Treating others the same way we wish to be treated appears to be rarely observed today among God’s people, even though it was Jesus’ summary of the Law and the Prophets.

(2) the inability of many Christians to disagree without being contentious and to carry on civil and gracious dialogue. Rick Warren spoke about this recently.

(3) the problem that many Christians are either libertine or legalistic, knowing no other alternative.

(4) the fact that Christianity has largely been about ideas, causes, and issues, rather than about the Person of Jesus Christ. (Jesus is often relegated as a footnote, a mascot, or a stamp.) What Len Sweet and I wrote in Jesus Manifesto about this is still very much needed today, I feel.

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Comments

  1. JC says

    I have read all of your books on the church and I have to say From Eternity to Here is my favorite. I was already fed up with institutional church and into a home church setting by the time I read them so by then you were preaching to the choir where I was concerned. It was good to know where all of the traditions of men had come from. I wish someone would write a book on the truth about where the “holiday” traditions of the church actually came from as well. I realize it would probably be even more inflammatory than PC but it would be nice to have accurate information instead of all the here say of different groups arguing about it. Not that I expect it to change the way people celebrate these days but at least knowing where the traditions came from might get people to think about it. God bless you in your new focus in reaching out to the poor and lost. That is something our group has a heart for but has yet to grow into.

    • says

      Ever since I began ministering, I’ve had two aspects to my ministry. I began writing on the one aspect, the church, and since all of my written work on that aspect is complete, I’m now shifting attention to the other aspect, spiritual formation and helping the poor. Again, I’ve been involved with both and still am, but I’m laser focused on the latter right now. To get an idea of what each of my books are about, go to http://frankviola.org/books

  2. says

    I thought “Pagan Christianity?” was excellent–it was a breath of fresh air. Your book reminds me of that Scripture: “Your traditions make void the Word of God.” Man-made traditions are always creeping into the church and we must be passionate in our resolve to fight against these traditions using Scriptures and the power of the Holy Ghost. God bless you and your ministry.

  3. Dustin says

    Frank, I recently read your book, Pagan Christianity, after I had been burdened for two years with issues in the institutional church. I began to read the NT scriptures and was really surprised to see how far away we’ve gotten from the early church practices. My next quest was to find out how we got from there to here. That’s when I ran across PC. The things you shared were confirmation on some things that were in my heart that I didn’t understand. Your follow-up Reimagining Church was just as illuminating. I thank God for your ministry. I would love to meet you one day and hear you speak. Until that time comes, I pray God continues to strength you while you help build His body. Much love, brother.

  4. Craig says

    Yet another chap who wants to pass on his thanks to George and Frank for helping open my eyes. After many years involvement in many ‘great churches’ over the past 34 years but always with that nagging feeling that something wasn’t quite right … it was an amazing experience to read ‘Pagan Christianity’ and the other books in the trilogy. Many kind brethren misunderstanding the motives for our ‘moving on’ but had to do it. Now on the path to link up with like-minded folk … thanks again guys

  5. says

    In Jesus discussion with Nicodemus he stated that the new birth would cause one to see the kingdom of God and enter the kingdom of God. What is strange is that most have no comprehension of the kingdom of God and we are not seeing the kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven. This is an indication that something major is wrong. The idea of “church” has come out of the dark ages dominated by a hierarchical system of Clergy dominating the laity and asking the laity to pay the bills. If we take the church point for point in its focus and purpose, it is anti-King, anti-kingdom and anti-anointing…. anti-Christ.
    We seem to have a latent carnal nature that is not effected by threats of judgment and hell…”It won’t happen to me” seems to be the prevailing attitude in an atmosphere that is hustle to the establishment of the kingdom of God. It seems only a true anointing can break this indifference and lack of the fear of God we see today.
    We need to confront our beliefs with the kingdom of God and ask the question, “Are we truly born again?”

  6. says

    I liked that you said, “My convictions on the unity of the body of Christ are quite strong. To my mind, Christians should join arms in the greater cause of God’s Kingdom no matter what their convictions are about church structure or form. Cooperation without compromise is where I pitch my tent.”

    Thanks for sharing this! You show your ability to be quite Frank and yet a Barnabus too!:)
    Recognising that unity already exists in the Ecclesia (the Church) through Christ’s indwelling presence, is important for living in it. It will also keep us from divisiveness with our words and actions, despite any strong convictions that we may have!

    We should hang out with whoever Jesus does, despite our views on issues. If this is done through genuine love, our views might be better heard and others may be better understood! Also, this way we will be known by our love for one another that can be even more magnified when it exists in the face of our differences.

  7. Paul says

    I appreciate both of you guys so much in your obedience to do the Lord’s work through your writings. I know it cannot be easy and nor was it meant to be. I am sure you have gotten enough religious hate mail from your books but it’s all for His Glory. I have most of your writings and it has opened my eyes and confirmed many things in my spirit as it relates to the institution. After being in the local church for about 12 years and serving in various roles and offices such as Deacon, Armor-bearer,and Pastor/Ministry leader. I was what you could call an inside man when it comes to the religious institution better known as the local church. I do not believe by any means nor want to imply that all local churches are bad. But thanks be to Jesus for setting me free by opening my eyes to the truth of His word. I am now about 5 years set free from the institution and I fully understand now why Jesus hates religion. So do I. St. Thomas Aquinas once said, “Lord, in my zeal for the love of truth, let me not forget about the truth of love”. So again I say thanks and share love with my brethren. Shalom

  8. Marsha says

    I am very grateful to these authors. I feel God is using and has used them to communicate his true message. I was blind but now I see after sitting under the wrong teaching for fifty years.

  9. Linda Linder says

    I enjoyed the interview but was very interested in what you meant specifically by the following statement, … “Nor did they learn how to minister and unveil Jesus Christ to others. Billy Graham once said something priceless about this very issue.”

  10. Dries says

    Hi Frank… I loved this interview. Thanks.

    I cannot believe that it is 3 years since you’ve visited us in South Africa. So much has happened since.
    Loved the way you and Len “aligned” with Jesus Manifesto. Visited George last year in Ventura, and was great to see him again.

    Like the way you are staying the course. “That’s what I’ve been talkin about…”

    • Ludwich says

      Dries
      We need to get Frank back here to experience the happenings in SA…
      Marvelous things regarding the Ekklesia is happening.
      We can just praise God.

  11. Brad Nelson says

    I liked the book as it gave definition to the tremendous disconnects of what was going on inside me and what was going on outside me (in the church). I’m glad we live in a country that allows the freedom to write such books. In many countries, today and throughout history these authors would already be martyrs.

  12. stephen says

    Frank,

    Thank you so much for sharing this interview. PC gave words/expression to the experience and thoughts that I had been having for many years. Watching George Barna’s tranformation through the last several years has been encouraging to me as well. I will be forever grateful to you and George for the impact that you have made (and are continuing to make) in my life.

    With MUCH love and respect,
    stephen

  13. says

    Frank,

    Thanks so much to you and George for writing this book. It helped me think through many issues and challenged me to search the scriptures to find answers.

    When I began reading the book I was a salaried pastor of a Southern Baptist Church. I put the book down for about six months after beginning to read the chapter on the sermon. A while later I picked it up and devoured the rest.

    I’ve since resigned from professional pastoring and work a regular job. Our family is now part of a simple fellowship. It is wonderful.

    Thank you again. This book will always mean a great deal to me.

    • Ant Writes says

      You and me were in the same boat. However, when I first read the book, I threw it across the room. I was ANGRY, yet I knew he was right! I was halfway through seminary, to get a senior pastor position quicker. I put the book down and read a book by Watchman Nee, that talked about similar things. I then finished PC and told my wife I was walking out..she did an Irish jig! :)

  14. Darrin says

    Frank, very timely post here! After ravenous consumption of your whole re-church work, beginning in late 2008 with PC, I’ve been feeling the inner urge to re-queue your books in my lineup. (a fresh pack of Bics will be purchased! ;)

    I have immeasurably prospered spiritually and relationally since being re-branded by truths you’ve written, to date… And feel a few years passed will bring refreshing to my current, inner outlook. Excited for your new goods, as well!

    Your heart, humility and Christ-candor is becoming a fine ‘manner of life, speech, faith & love’ to both know and emulate…. I hear Paul admonishing us through you…to ‘consider what I’ve written, and may the Lord give (us) understanding in all things.’

    - Blessings onya! :-)

    • William Timmers says

      Joe Miller, you did do great job interviewing Frank Viola and George Barna! I admire your blog as well. I am beginning to read your blog, too! You have GREAT HEART for Kingdom of God!

  15. Miguel says

    “I’ve also been burdened to help the poor more and develop relationships with those who don’t know Jesus.”

    Absolutely Awesome!

  16. says

    Thanks for sharing the interview Frank! Love Pagan Christianity. It opened my eyes and set me free from many man made traditions. Thank you for always pointing us to Jesus Christ!

    • Angela says

      Me too. This is why I respect Frank and his co-workers; it’s all about their attitude and Christ-centeredness.

  17. Tom Estes says

    Wow, Frank. I haven’t read any of your books, and I’ve only come to this blog in the past week or so, but reading this interview shows the dangers of not understanding the definition of church. A church is an ekklesia, a local, visible body, not a mystical, invisible group that permeates through all realms of the globe.

    This error on your part is what is leading you to “re-imagine church” and disregard the church practices in the Bible, rather than accept the fact that churches can have standards, be both inclusive and exclusive at the same time, and still be loving.

    I understand that for you to change on an opinion that is so much a part of who you are would be difficult and even impossible without God, I would urge to pray and ask God to show you if you have the wrong definition of a church in your mind. You may pray and never be burdened to shift your thinking, but God also may through opening your eyes to the plain interpretation of all the Scriptures show you the difference between the “Lord’s Church” and this “church” that so many, including yourself, have not re-imagined, but simply invented using your imagination.

    • says

      I beg your pardon, Tom, but you’re arguing against a straw man here. I believe no such thing about the church. In fact, I’ve written an entire critique against what you’re accusing me of believing: http://frankviola.org/postchurch.pdf

      Also, “Reimagining Church” is a title that means rethinking or reimagining the church *in light of Scripture* – and I give examples from actual experience over the last 20+ years which fleshes out NT principles. The book was born out of experience; it’s not arm-chair philosophy or an exercise in imagination. And I deal with the church being both open and closed in that work. You may want to read a book next time around before you make speculative assumptions based on the title.

      I welcome disagreements. But only when a person is disagreeing with what I’ve actually written and believe.

      Do your homework before you comment next time.

    • Tim says

      Tom, I don’t think I’ve ever read a comment on this blog that was filled with so many wrong assumptions and misleading conclusions. Very irresponsible, man.

      Frank, great interview. I was wondering what Barna has been up to since Pagan came out. Loved Reimagining Church. I agree with you that it’s a better book, and I loved Pagan. Keep writing.

    • says

      Tom, sounds to me like you suffer from “Hobby Horse theology.” – You love the back and forth, but never go anywhere. argumentum in ignorance is always so amusing.

    • Robyn G says

      I respectfully defend Frank here…as someone who was born and raised traditional “church” and stepped out of it with my heart and gut wrenching…please read Frank’s works before you make a judgement :)

  18. Rita Gatti says

    Wow…just got this and it is sooooo full of spiritual food. Will take a few readings to digest. I have a question: I recently bought a used paperback copy of Pagan Christianity for a fellow believer…when it arrived I found it different in that it shows the only author as Frank Viola…not including George Barna. I wonder if there is any more difference that I need to be aware of before giving it to her?

    Also, yes you definitely have older and younger readers. Having read The Generational Imperative (Chuck Underwood) it was interesting hearing you mention the Millennials. It seems so alienating to me…the negative influence that cell phones and other media are having on relationships. Even in our home meetings, while it is convenient to instantly look up the words to a song on an iPhone, it is disconcerting to see the example being set for children of having to constantly be checking for messages or responding to rings or vibrations…regardless of conversation, prayer etc. I am quite disheartened by this default response in the younger generations especially, although it is prevalent across all the generations more and more. Reading Generational Imperatives has helped me enormously to have compassion and understanding of the differences in core values in the 5 generations that have to get along together on the planet. It has really softened my responses to things that tend to disgust me. Our culture has become quite devoid of courtesy and I certainly have to work very hard to retain relationships with those non-believing friends of mine, young and old, who have political differences or strong differences in belief systems. Being older, God has tempered me much!!! Painfully wisdom is gained, but convincing others that disagreeing is not a deal breaker for ongoing relationship is hard work these days and success is fragile at best. Well this post certainly stimulates much thought. Thank you again for your consistency and hard work.

    • says

      Yes, big difference. That was the self published draft. Lots of errors in it. Mostly typos and other problems. Wrote that draft a decade ago without an editor. The revised version with Barna is 100% better with much added. Surprised you bought the old used version. It’s outdated.

  19. Cindy Chisolm says

    I cannot begin to express my appreciation for the writings of both Frank & George , that could not have come at a better time in our lives & ministry . I am always encouraged to continue living by the in-dwelling of Christ and am affirmed by what I read in countless ways . If I never had the access to anymore resources , what these two have contributed will remain permanently in my foundation . Thank you for this update .

  20. mike says

    im glad you had this interview

    i cant believe its been 4 years

    i first saw pagan christianity in barnes and noble one day and was already on my journey out of instutional christianity due mainly to a deep studying of biblical and early historical Church life and a book i was reading at the time called “life in His body” by greg finnel

    i came to see that there was something amiss not only in the congregation i was a part of but in the institution as a whole

    i am still pretty fundamentalist and evangelical on a larger scale but have come to realize many truths that have made me rethink how i go about expressing my faith in Christ and how i approach “Church life”

    i thank God for you guys and your ministry to the Body of Christ

    thank you

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