The book that some have described as “a bombshell dropped on the institutional church playground” released in January 2008. Pagan Christianity, co-authored with George Barna, took the pop Christian world by storm, igniting fury on the one hand and freedom on the other.
The book was unveiled at a time when interest in intentional, Christ-centered community and body life was high among 20s, 30s, and 40s. (That season ended in 2012, but I believe it will begin again in my lifetime.)
As was expected, Pagan Christianity set off a firestorm of misrepresentations, personal attacks, and misguided critiques, all in an effort to discredit the book and persuade people to never crack it open.
It also launched a series of conferences called Threshold which spawned Christian communities seeking to meet under the headship of Christ in different parts of the world.
Looking back at the book 10 years later, here are five personal observations:
- I stand by every word of the book, even more so today than when Barna and I first penned it ten years ago. On that point, a few years ago someone spread a false rumor that Barna and I disowned the book. Completely untrue. Never happened. Don’t believe everything you read or hear, please. And always verify with the people being rumored about.
- Despite the criticisms and truck load of straw-man arguments leveled against the book, it continues to stand unrefuted ten years later. (You can see the critiques debunked on this page.)
- Unfortunately, the majority of people who read the book (or criticized it without reading it — ahem) still haven’t heard that Pagan Christianity is not a stand-alone book. It’s only deconstructive, and it intentionally doesn’t offer constructive solutions. Reading the book on its own, therefore, is like listening to a phone conversation and hanging up well before it ends. As a result, misunderstandings have arisen. The constructive sequels – yes, that’s plural, sequels – offer practical solutions. They can all be found here. If you read Pagan Christianity, please read the sequels so you get the entire argument.
- The spoof video which poked fun at the majority of critiques of the book is still being watched and shared on YouTube. In the video, the book gets excoriated and ripped to pieces by outraged religious people.
- George Barna and I talk more about the book in an interview we did, looking back on the volume (link at the bottom).
In closing, I predict that my upcoming book on the kingdom of God (due to release June 2018) will have a similar effect as Pagan Christianity did. It’s just as explosive, revolutionary, and hard-hitting. But unlike Pagan, the kingdom book offers practical, actionable solutions to the problems it addresses.
On that note, I trust that you’ve subscribed to my new 3-minute podcast on the gospel of the kingdom. It’s not only on iTunes, but it’s been added to several other podcast apps and sites.