I have long-admired Frank Viola’s thinking. Do I always agree with him? No. But Bill and I have traveled some of the same terrain he has in Christendom, and can affirm most of his thoughtful conclusions about the church. His sometimes-barbed critiques have been written from a “friend of the Bridegroom” perspective. He loves what the Bridegroom loves – the church – and loathes religion. Amen, Frank!
I imagined Viola’s newest book, From Eternity To Here: Rediscovering The Ageless Purpose of God (Cook) might be similar to his last controversial book, Pagan Christianity (co-written with George Barna). Viola isn’t afraid to push some buttons and kick at some temple merchants’ tables. But From Eternity To Here is a radically different type of book. It presents three powerful paradigms for understanding God’s purposes for His church – her identity as the Bride, the House of God, and Christ’s Body.
The three sections of the book delve deeply into each paradigm. Viola carefully traces each theme through Scripture. His beautiful writing invites readers into their real identity as Christ-followers, calling them beyond the pale imitations for which we Christians often settle. This book should be required reading for Christ-followers everywhere. Church leaders who’ve been walking with Jesus for a long time will benefit from remembering their first love. New or nominal believers will find their imaginations and longings inflamed for Jesus – and will catch a vision for a faith life that goes miles beyond showing up at church meetings or doing Christian activities.
Please…buy this book. If you’ve read it, I’d love to hear what you thought of it.