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.