For those of you who have read through the recent “Tradition…” series, I wanted to follow up with a recommendation of two excellent resources. These will greatly help to fill out and complete the picture of both “apostasy” and “restoration” in the Church.
In the last two parts of that series, I dealt with these two principles and showed how Tradition is a major player in both. The primary focus of those posts was very purposefully on the “root” of these two “trees”, rather than on their “fruit.” If you read Part 5, especially the section on “The Futile Way and the Fruitful Way”, you will know why I put the focus where I did. No apologies! 🙂
That being said, however, there is a place for taking a good hard look at the “fruit” of these “trees” and seeing the specific traditions and practices that support and feed that fruit. There are at least two good reasons for this… First, it helps us to fully know and discern the true nature and magnitude of the tree; Secondly, it helps us to rightly know and discern the true nature and identity of the source (roots) of the tree, where lasting change must originate.
In order to complete this picture, then, I want to commend to you two extraordinary resources that will go a long way in doing just that. The brothers who have written these works have done all the “heavy lifting” for us, and so we are indebted to them for their labor and gifts to the Body.
The first is Pagan Christianity? by Frank Viola and George Barna. This resource will greatly help to fill out the picture of the apostasy of the Church. The book traces the main practices of the modern-day Church back to their historical roots, most of which find their source in Jewish and pagan culture and religion rather than in Jesus, the apostles, and the Scriptures. I have personally read this book through twice over the past decade, beginning with its original printing, and am presently going through the audio book of it for the second time as well. Each time I get more out of it and am awed by the historical research and truths that are uncovered. This book is a must-read for every God-honoring disciple of Jesus Christ!
I have set up a page for Pagan Christianity? in the Resources section on this blog which has links to a free PDF sample of the book on NoiseTrade, as well as other links to the book’s website, Amazon page and other related sites. This sample certainly gives enough to whet your appetite for the rest. Please do what you can to get a copy of the full book, though, and read it through carefully and prayerfully! It is a classic, and it will change the way you view the Church… for ever! 🙂
The second resource is Principles for the Gathering of Believers Under the Headship of Jesus Christ. This volume will greatly help to fill out the picture of the restoration of the Church. I won’t take much time to discuss it here, as I have already introduced it in a post earlier this year. I also have it fully hosted on this site in free PDF and audio download, as well as in video playlist. Suffice it to say, then, that this volume touches on a host of Biblical principles that are fully in accord with the apostolic teachings and traditions that have been handed down to the Church from the first century. It also draws from the experience and testimony of believers around the world today who are meeting with Jesus Christ as their unmediated, unmitigated Center, Identity, Foundation and Head. This book gives living testimony from the first century, as well as from the present, of a “tree” that has been made “good” from the “roots” up, so that its “fruit” is good! Please take advantage of this incredible resource which is freely offered to the Body of Christ.
I strongly encourage you to read these two books and consider them together. The contrast between the two testimonies of the apostatizing historical church and the restored remnant church in certain parts of this world will bring the whole matter of apostasy and restoration into crystal-clear view.
I also want to challenge you, as you read these books, to view them through the “lens” of what has been shared in this series of “Tradition, Scripture and the Church”. Consider the various aspects of the “psychological and sociological power of tradition” and see examples of it outworked through the history of the Church. Consider the principles of the “supplementation” and “supplantation” of Christ in the “formative core” areas of “attractional center”, “distinctive identity”, “foundational base”, and “governance principle”. Consider the power of the “conformative matrix” and the way it “locks in” the “formative core” as it develops. All of these principles are powerfully at work in the history of the Church and they go a long way in explaining why the Church is the way that she is today. I believe you will gain rich insights and see things with much greater clarity if you do. (I am presently going through both of these resources again with that specific purpose in mind and it has been very powerful so far!)
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To access these resources then, please follow these links:
May you be greatly blessed as you partake of these resources!