Linking: Critique of Barna’s Pagan Christianity

George Barna, the ubiquitous chuch researcher, is at it again. He has a tendency to be very confrontational, anti-establishment, and hyperbolic. While he is a skilled researcher, the conclusions he draws from his research is questionable at best. As such, he needs to be read with discernment. Like many other authors or movements, there can be a tendency to be carried by “every wind of doctrine” without weighing everything. Barna is a distinguished researcher, gifted writer, great rhetorician, but his calls to action must be read through the lens of Scripture and analyzed for accuracy.

His latest work, Pagan Christianity (written with Frank Viola), is yet another rant against the institutional church based on research. While he raises good questions and calls the church to examine their beliefs more stringently, his conclusions very often are so radical that they throw the baby out with the bathwater. As with most polarizing issues, the solutions are found somewhere between the two extremes, with a solid view of Scripture in mind that does not elevate the individual mind above God.

There is a long critique of Barna’s new book that looks at it chapter by chapter (which makes for a VERY long review), but if you are interested in the issues Barna discusses, it might be worth your time. The review not only critiques, but teaches as well, which makes it even more helpful. We must be constantly discerning and searching the Scripture to test if everything is true, and not be carried by every wave of doctrine.

Part 1 of the review here.

Part 2 of the review here.


2 thoughts on “Linking: Critique of Barna’s Pagan Christianity

  1. I thought the review was pretty weak myself, others are writing responses already for example and on witherington’s blog even

  2. The sequel to “Pagan Christianity?” is out now. It’s called “Reimagining Church”. It picks up where “Pagan Christianity” left off and continues the conversation. (“Pagan Christianity” was never meant to be a stand alone book; it’s part one of the conversation.) “Reimagining Church” is endorsed by Leonard Sweet, Shane Claiborne, Alan Hirsch, and many others. You can read a sample chapter at http://www.ReimaginingChurch.orgIt’s also available on Frank is also blogging now at


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