Ironically, we addressed this very point all throughout the book, stating that we were writing the book precisely *because* we love the church and no longer want to see her hindered (at best) or sabotaged (at worst) by a human-invented system that has often smothered her personality and robbed her freedom.
Here’s one such place in the book where we make this point loud and clear:
“Why are you so critical of the church? God loves the church. It angers me that you’re so judgmental about it.
This question is a good example of the problem we are trying to expose in this book. Namely, many Christians are confused about what the Bible means when it uses the word “church.” The word “church” refers to God’s people. More specifically, it refers to the gathered community of those who follow Jesus. It does not refer to a system, a denomination, a building, an institution, or a service.
We have written this book because we love the church very much. And we want to see her function in a way that brings glory to God . . . In short, it is because of our love for the church and our desire to see God’s people set free that we have written this book. And it is our hope that God will use it to help change the course of church history.”
(Pagan Christianity, Viola/Barna, Tyndale, 2008, p. 251)[Continue Reading…]