by Pastor Mark Downey
Scripture Reading: Isaiah 55:6-11
I received a copy of this book in the mail from our Australian friend, Hank Roelofs of Christian Identity Ministries. Evidently, it is causing some controversy over there and here as an idea that is either loved or hated; and he had an uncomfortable feeling about it and asked if I would review it. While the book purports to support 1st century Christianity (and guess what? So do I, but not the way they do), Hank said it seemed to have the odor of rebellion (citing Korah, Dathan and Abiram in Numbers 16, which we will look at later on). He suspects a rather effective disruption to Christian thought through the wedge of ‘divide and conquer,’ but couldn’t quite put his finger on it. I think I can point the fickle finger of fate to these authors who have written a book paved with good intentions and where that road leads to.
The most important thing I could ascertain from this book is that it was void of the same thing it was chastising i.e. the modern church and that is identifying the people for whom the Bible was written and what their responsibilities are. A brother recently asked a very poignant question, “Why did our God create and place us Adamites here on earth approximately 7,000 yrs ago amongst pre-Adamites and/or a serpent race?” The book under review is subtitled ‘Exploring the Roots of Our Church Practices.’ But their book is like a man in a rowboat with only one oar, paddling in circles, without any sense of direction or divine destiny. There is no exploration of racial roots of pagan practices. They are advocates of the present real time, but have a distortion of the past and future; a recipe for religious insanity. I got the feeling that their presentation was disingenuous and that they have an agenda to warp Christian worship as we know it. Yes, the Bible says, “Come out of her My people” meaning Mystery Babylon, but I think their recommendations would take us deeper into the pits of secular humanism wearing a Jesus mask. All that is in the world is theater and people are but mere actors. Becoming a Christian is when we step off the stage and perceive ourselves as a race.
The White race has a calling from God, but the authors missed the boat altogether as far as what that calling may be. As I was reading their research on the historical origins of the many pagan trappings found in Christendom today, I found myself agreeing with some of their criticisms. However, it’s where their critique went from exposing unbiblical practices to drawing unbiblical conclusions that we need to evaluate. Indeed, their use of the word “unbiblical” is profusely confused with the term extra-biblical. Unbiblical means something that is not in accord with or not sanctioned by the Word of God and is acting against biblical principles. Extra-biblical is something that is not found in the Bible. For example, there is no mention of surfboards or keyboards or thousands of other things. It doesn’t mean they’re evil, they’re just not mentioned in the Bible. It’s intellectually dishonest and emotionally charged when the authors liberally label something unbiblical, giving the impression that it’s in violation of God’s Word. As we’ll see, their book ‘Pagan Christianity’ is itself built on an unbiblical foundation by grossly omitting the unsanctioned elements of apostasy found in the modern church.
George Barna is a revered guest on TBN and TBN is a revered client for the Barna Research Group. For example, their research will optimize the demographics for Hispanic outreach or the Asian market, just like a corporation dealing with profit margins. They insist that they are not against pagan inventions if they are useful (like pile carpeting, chairs and calendars); they adamantly argue it’s just the countless practices that did not originate with Jesus and are therefore not sacrosanct. What is strangely silent, to the point of deafening, is that there is not one mention of the most permeating paganism throughout the entire church world; and we know that to be Christmas and Easter. Not one peep. No sir, their indignation is focused on the church building, the order of worship, the sermon, the pastor ad nauseam. We’ll see if these things are pagan or not.
From a Christian Identity perspective, I can’t go on any further without first pointing out the absence of any racial commentary, as if the authors were color blind egalitarians, except for two subliminals that would probably fly under the radar for the average universalist reader, but raises immediate red flags for biblical bigots like me, who dare to take a stand ‘by God,’ recognizing that much of paganism comes from non-White cultures or an effort to appease racial aliens in White nations. You have to read 149 pages before you crash into this admission of universalism: “In the church, all social and racial distinctions are erased [Hmm, same objective as the class warfare of international communism; same man made Edict of Toleration; same decree as the Buddhist King Asoka; same legislative intent as the 1964 Civil Rights Act]. The early Christians knew well that they were a new species on this planet.” With the stroke of their pens, the authors have tried to demolish God’s Creation of ‘kind after kind’ (meaning race or species) and the Lord’s intent for the inhabitants of the earth. Do we believe that the New Covenant was made for a “new species” or for the same race of people that all of the other covenants were made with? Compare the NT Heb. 8:8 with the OT Jer. 31:31 and you will find no change whatsoever.
If that arbitrary nullification to erase all “racial distinctions” wasn’t enough to quash God’s plan for the ages, these change agents then boldly proclaim on page 245 that, “Jesus Christ brought drastic change to the world. Change to man’s view of God. Change to God’s view of man… our Lord came to bring radical change to the old order of things, replacing it with a new order. He came to bring forth a new covenant – a new Kingdom – a new birth – a new race – a new species – a new culture – and a new civilization.” If this is their subtle calling from heaven, woven throughout their book, this is the hellish New World Order of George Bush, not God. Our God of the Bible proclaims, “I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob [a specific specie] are not consumed” Mal 3:6. If paganism is to be found in Christianity, there is to be a radical change or more likely an adulteration of man describing God’s view of mankind or more likely a new human race, which is to say one mongrel breed, homogenized and amalgamated. It’s the slithering gods of Hinduism that creeps into Christianity declaring a brand new god that loves everybody; it’s the idolatry of racial equality, where every biped thinks that which is right in their own eyes.
What the authors have done is to lead us down a wonderfully wide path of history with a very narrow passage of exegesis; the cliché for it is ‘throwing the baby out with the bath water.’ This book changes the context of Christian responsibility by playing fast and loose with the manifestations of worship and service as it relates to the racial identity of the worshippers and social venues.
Where do we go to worship and how? They’re as ignorant of the spirit and letter of the Law as were the Pharisees; it amounts to changing the deck chairs on the Titanic, but they have no indication that their premise is flawed and sinking from the Preface and Introduction, which asserts that, “This book will challenge you to consider making more significant changes in the way you practice your faith.” For their peers, that’s jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire. But what can you expect from the jaded and convoluted oxymoron of Judeo-Christianity? They represent the apostate church that has fallen away; so far away from Jesus Christ, that in their sophistry to reform, they unwittingly cause the sons of Jacob-Israel to be consumed. I don’t see how this book could be taken seriously by Christian Identity after we peel away some of the superficial layers of hype and hubris. So let’s take a look.
The book begins by posing the question: “why don’t Christians ever ask why we do what we do?” And they answer: “because if they did, it would lead them to some very disturbing conclusions, compelling them to abandon what they are doing.” And what do they do? On the next page, they’re talking about “Judaic Christianity” and “Gentile Christianity” and “Jewish Christianity.” There’s no mention of White Christianity, because if they did, they would have to abandon the propaganda of antichrist jews. The point is made: “Paganism dominated the Roman Empire until the 4th century, and many of its elements were absorbed by Christians.” In their passion for embracing the 1st century church and trying to reinvent those conditions, they selectively isolate those things that matured in Christ for the last 2000 years and make no distinction between the godly creativity of good Christians and the crass inventions of a corrupt religious institution that merely exploited the label of being Christian.
Most of the book could be an indictment against the RCC and jewry, much like Alexander Hislop’s book ‘The Two Babylons,’ but instead their arguments are directed against the vagaries of Christian administration i.e. offices and titles and the incredulous nit-picking of sequence (order) in typical worship services found in the church bulletin/program, which they condemn as pagan. They rightly charge that the contemporary institutions have neither a biblical or a historical right to function as it does, but for the wrong reasons. Never do you hear from the great pollster Barna, just what exactly the statistics are for the number of drug abusers, adulterers, race mixers, homosexuals/pedophiles, pro-abortionists, extortionists, con artists, Zionists, Masons, Democrats and charlatans that contaminate the pulpits of America. No, what you get out of this book is the dastardly dangers of the actual pulpit and church furniture, pile carpeting and stained glass windows, just to name a few of their little games of trivial pursuit.
They contend that Jesus can’t be the fully functioning head of the church with all of the trinkets and gizmos. I contend that we have a case of mistaken identity, because the apostate church does not constitute the Melchisedec priesthood of all believers over which Christ rules. The Baptists, the Methodists, the Lutherans, the Presbyterians etc are all dead integrated churches, mixed with strangers and their strange gods… there’s your more profound paganism than fine crafted woodwork and aesthetic decorations.
The authors use the same kind of absurd logic that the Pharisees used in claiming Abraham as their father, but Jesus said, “Ye are not of My sheep” (John 10:26). Once Esau mixed his seed, his biblical lineage ended. Likewise, once the RCC exalted their religious institution above the stars of Heaven, God’s abode, their church status ended. They have always resented the reforms of the Reformation and modern Protestants are likewise too proud to confess the sins of Baal. The book never mentions pagan Baal worship. It never mentions the majority of churches are 501C3 state-approved tax-exempt entities. Therefore, we have to look elsewhere for the identity of the people whom God has called; that’s what a church or ecclesia is: the called out of God, not a building or a place where Christians go to worship God. That does not mean that Christians can’t get together in a place with a roof over their heads without being accused of being pagan as the authors charge.
What they are seeking to replace the traditional church with is what they call the ‘organic church,’ which eliminates just about everything we are familiar with and associate with being a church. ‘Fellowship’ would probably be a better choice of words when Christian Israelites congregate. This extreme measure of purging, believe it or not, is what I have heard referred to as Christian Anarchy, a term which they do not use, but advocate in principle. If they had a dream (like MLK), it would probably be a spiritual Monsanto, with a spiritual ‘Roundup’ that kills churches… their book is a churchicide, regardless of denomination and could just as easily be sprayed on Christian Identity fellowships. Nevertheless, these advocates for radical change are exploiting a dysfunctional church world that is prophesied for destruction, not a makeover. It’s like growing organic GMO’s… sounds healthy, but it’s deadly. They are simply playing a shell game, moving the corruption of Babylon from one place to another. But, they do so with the finesse of a magician word-smithing “change that you can’t count on” (look at the mileage that one got). What Christians can count on is the Truth. Does this book address the pagan practices that contradict the teachings of what Christ taught? Yes, and it appears they are mute because it would have too much of an economic impact on Mystery Babylon, which they are a part of. After all, they are in the business of selling books under the guise of our Savior. They even say you can’t really appreciate this book unless you buy and read the sequel book ‘Reimagining Church.’ Luke 21:8 warns us, “Watch that you are not deceived. For many shall come by My Name saying ‘I am’ and ‘The time has come near.’ You should not go after them” Christogenea NT. How many people “go after” the premise of Viola and Barna, the Lord only knows. We are living in a time that is ripe for it being as in the days of Noah and Lot, where the euphoria of anarchy entices the gullible and wolves wait to devour the sheep. It is difficult to analyze a book like this, because the authors play this game of dialectics and doublethink, whereby they establish a thesis and then follow-up with its antithesis, creating a schizophrenic hypocrisy.
In the Preface, they state, “An organic church is simply a church that is born out of spiritual life instead of constructed by human institutions and held together by religious programs. Organic churches are characterized by Spirit-led, open participatory meetings and non-hierarchical leadership. This is in stark contrast to a clergy-led, institution-driven church.” And then out of the other side of their mouths, in an attempt to debunk the “myths” that have arisen from their book they state, “We believe that God has and is using all forms of church, even those that He doesn’t approve.” By “Spirit-led” do you think they mean an anything goes free-for-all? Actually, their book consistently builds its case based on setting up a straw man interchangeably described as the institutional and/or contemporary church, which more often than not is code for the RCC. But, their own catholic residue prevents them from biting the universalist hand too hard. To them, it’s as if the remnant of God, which never conformed to Rome, never existed. I’m sure they’re oblivious to Glastonbury. And then they have the audacity to say that their goal “Is not to develop a full description of the organic church but only touch on it when necessary.” We get a long list of silly objections about their unChrist-like straw man, but only warm and fuzzy New Age do-your-own-thing to combat those evils. If they are reimagining what the church is, they are making it up as they go along. “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” Gen. 6:5. Why won’t the authors agree with God; why do they imagine a vain thing? Reimagine means ‘to imagine again.’ And the concept they want you to wrap yourself in is the reliance upon your own thoughts; an encore performance of Genesis 6:5. No wonder God said, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways, My ways.”
Viola almost gets hysterical in his diatribe against his straw man and says it is “Guilty of the error of the Pharisees” because it has “added a raft of humanly devised traditions that have suppressed the living, breathing, functioning headship of Jesus Christ in His church.” It’s funny that he calls it a “raft” when there are so many luxury cruise ships called mega-churches out there. Those who oppose the inorganic structured church (his fan club in judeo land) are “Daring souls who have taken the terrifying step of leaving the safe camp of institutional Christianity.” Of course, nowadays everything is terrifying to everybody except the God fearing. This is the pattern set throughout the book to blame everything on the so called church instead of the people who should be studying the word of truth and rightly dividing it to show themselves approved of God. Viola and his apathetic cohorts are hardly heroic by slapping an organic label on their new digs. Real Christian heroes are being persecuted for their faith and put in federal penitentiaries like the 1st century ecclesia, who were motivated collectively. The purpose of Viola’s house church is individual loose cannons trying to satisfy themselves and thus an illusion of doing something for Christ. The authors claim that their straw man is a “lifeless organization, which has been an invention of man” and yet the organic crowd is somehow transformed to being more Christ-centered than what they previously were. I’m sure that becomes self-evident around Christmas time (said sarcastically).
As backslidden as churchianity is, there are still churches that adhere to God Laws, especially those that remain White, because the Law/New Covenant is written in their heart and mind. Viola’s version of an organic church is no doubt laced with hybrid elements and therefore a form of crypto-paganism; the kind of values that were antithetical to the early primitive church. The authors wish for a return to the first 100 years of Christianity and for today’s Christian to imagine themselves unencumbered by the traditions that followed the 1st century, so that we may emulate what they think was the untainted, uncorrupted primitive church. Which footsteps of the early church do they want to walk in? The church at Corinth was rife with paganism, immorality, divorces, divisions and worldliness. The church at Galatia was deserting the true Gospel for a false one. The church at Thessalonica was stubborn, confused and weak. We can learn much from Paul’s epistles to these churches, but they were hardly pristine models for us to follow 2000 years later. When he said, “Christians did not erect special buildings for worship until the Constantinian era in the fourth century… Neither did they have a special priestly caste that was set apart to serve God” he is a liar. “A special priestly caste’ is gratuitous psychobabble that mocks the Druids who had the finest universities and men of God who accomplished higher levels of learning and readily adapted to Christianity when it came to England, because they were Israelites and the object of Christ’s mission on earth for those who would hear His voice. England enjoyed an unfettered society of racially pure ecclesias; whereas the demographics of the Mediterranean reflected a history of multicultural diversity.
The church at Glastonbury was the first above ground Christian church founded by Joseph of Arimathea (the uncle of Jesus) circa 37AD. We don’t hear much about this church except from Christian Identity, because it rightly claims that England was the cradle of Christianity and that Christ Himself walked this ground as a lad, establishing what was known as the Wattle Church, upon which Glastonbury was built. It is a sacred site on hallowed ground to this day. It was a structure for orderly worship, which Viola and Barna would rather throw into the ash heap of history, because it is the opposite of what they are pushing in an already juadaized churchianity; they would have you believe that Jesus was an anarchist, when in fact, the New Testament narrative is replete with the construct for the government of Christ. That is the real issue.
There is no body politic in Viola’s “organic” church to address what exactly governs our lives. There is neither presbyter nor episcopal organization; there is only the nothingness of Buddhism and New Age mysticism, sprinkled with a little charismatic Pentecostalism. Nothing is sacred and therefore any bastard can enter into their new organic congregation. Just as bastardized churches paganize the interior and exterior of their buildings with sacred objects that are no different than golden calves, so too is their new idolatry of spiritual anarchy. I was astonished at the candor of a catholic speaking on MSNBC the other morning, about a statue of Pope Francis that he bought and proudly displays in his home (I googled it and sure enough, they’re going for $25). There is no mention of dashboard idols in ‘Pagan Christianity.’ I guess if they repeat that their “organic” church is something brand new enough times, that people will forget that there’s nothing new under the sun. We can figure it out.
Their Jesus is a pagan Jesus and like any other pagan god, the worshippers are the potter and they can mold their deity like clay. To prove this, we only need to show how they think they can summon or manifest Jesus Christ by their own will power. They have to redefine words in order to do this however. They add to Scripture the thought that the Holy Spirit is “The natural and spontaneous expression of the divine life that indwelt the early Christians.” My Bible tells me that God is a God of order, not chaos; He is not a natural expression of what is in man. Psalms 50:21 says, “You have done all these things and I have been silent to you; you had hoped that I would be evil like you, but I shall rebuke you and I shall set them in order before your eyes.” God is not spontaneous, acting on a whimsy; He has planned and has ordered all things to the fulfillment of His prophetic word. In just about every other sermon I give, I speak of God’s plan for the ages, because there is one. “The Lord does whatever pleases him throughout all heaven and earth” Ps. 135:6. This establishes the sovereignty of His divine will, not man’s. Here’s the racial kicker, “In whom we also have obtained an inheritance, being preordained according to the purpose of He who accomplishes all things in accordance with the design of His will” Eph. 1:11 CNT. There is only one heir to the promises of God and that is Israel. A spontaneous god is but a flicker of a candle in contradiction to a Creator of solar systems. It would seem that the only purpose an organic church could or can muster is a spontaneous osmosis of theological cannibalism. In other words, as the Bible puts it, “A dog returns to its own vomit” II Peter 2:22. Those who have fallen away return to what they were before. The apostate churches may try to reinvent themselves a thousand different ways, but if they do not have the Kinsman Redeemer, their self will is an illusion.
On page 268 we read, “When each member of His [Christ’s] body shares his or her portion of Christ, then Christ is reassembled.” I didn’t know Christ was disassembled did you? The deification man is now rearing its ugly head. They twist I Cor. 12 to mean the whole body as a metaphor for the church, because Paul speaks of the ear, the eye and the sense of smell (verses 16-17) and therefore Christ is not viewed as the head joined to the body, but rather the individual members are themselves the individual parts of the head. Viola says, “The church meeting is for the purpose of reassembling Jesus Christ on earth.” I’d say that smacks of a séance! It looks like the authors still believe in the Roman Catholic view of transubstantiation, the church as the continuing incarnation of Christ at the behest of man, rather than viewing Christ as reigning in Heaven as well as dwelling in us. Why would Christ dwell in somebody who treats Him like a genie in a bottle?
They redefine ecclesia to mean “assembly” rather than “the called out ones” and compare (what they consider to be a spiritual dynamic) something akin to a jigsaw puzzle. I ask you, where does the three dimensional ‘chief cornerstone’ fit on a two dimensional jigsaw puzzle? Yes, the ecclesia is “the building fitly framed together and grows into a holy temple of the Lord” (Eph. 2:21), “For of Him, and through Him, and unto Him, are all things” (Romans 11:36). This is the essential deity of Christ, not man. Not, however, in a mere individual sense, but as an organization, the parts being adapted and articulated to one another; this being a continuous 24/7 process, rather than a weekly “organic” meeting.
Viola describes one of these meetings in the most glowing of terms: “every member shared his or her experience with the Lord that week. Jesus Christ was revealed, exalted, shared, declared, made known, and testified to by each member of the body. The meeting was so full of life that there was no pauses and no silence. We heard from our Lord from every member of the body in that room. The flow of the Spirit was undeniable. A common theme emerged in the gathering, though no agenda had been established for it.” Well, the common theme is spiritual anarchy to obliterate any racial distinctions, but in a pure church the nation-race of Israel is the well ordered organ that makes God true and every man a liar. That’s how you distinguish between paganism and Christianity. In a healthy Church there is a continual work of building up: construction, not deconstruction; and it’s being about our Father’s business rather than man doing what he thinks is right in his own eyes. Viola needs to take pause and shut up. He’s making a huge presumption that all these people are going to be telling the truth or glorifying God or teaching sound doctrine. “For who has known the mind of the Lord? Who will instruct Him? But we have the mind [perception] of Christ” I Cor. 2:16. We have the mind of Christ because we know that we are not Christ and we don’t engage in the emotional catharsis of heathens. We can be Christ-like, but we are not Christ. It’s the Talmud that teaches jews that they are the Messiah and the same principle is being promulgated by the book ‘Pagan Christianity.’ If this book could convince tens of millions of Christians to abolish Christmas from their lives, it might have some merit. But, it doesn’t do that, because it has an agenda to destroy Christianity through paganism in its subtlest form... the worship of self.
The conclusion of this review will examine and expose the rest of the chapters for what they are: smoke and mirrors, sleight of hand and an invitation for self gratification, all of which in their liberal use of the word ‘unbiblical’ are just that. From a Christian Identity perspective, the church has been defined as an institution that has Truth for its nourishment, love for its atmosphere and Christ for its power.
Our church is not an experience, like an amusement park, where you will find spontaneous worship. What you will find are the mandates to proclaim the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ as Israel only brings glory to God (Isaiah 49:3) and is God’s glory (Isaiah 46:13) done “decently and in order” (I Cor. 14:40) in our worship services. Accept no substitutes like the ones offered by Viola and Barna. To be continued.