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Reimagining Church: Pursuing the Dream of Organic Christianity

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2008

    Timeless and Timely - A Captivating Vision for a New Kind of Church

    In ¿Reimagining Church,¿ Frank Viola has crafted a powerful and engaging book that combines theological precision, spiritual depth, and practical demonstrations which together offer a new vision of church for the twenty-first century. No one can read this book without discovering something fresh about the many texts in the New Testament that describe church and leadership as well as being provoked to look at both in an entirely new way. I found the book's consistent emphasis on the orthodox teaching of the trinitarian nature of God and how it relates to church practices to be refreshing and insightful. The experiential stories the author presents after each chapter make this a functionally practical book as well as a theological savvy one. Viola deals with such topics as the role of culture on church practice, the so called doctrine of 'covering' and its abuses, the different models of church leadership, apostolic tradition, God's eternal mission and purpose, recent movements that have sought to reform the church, and the organic nature of church ¿ all in a brilliantly provocative and winsome manner. The first section of the book deals with Community and Gatherings. Here the church is beautifully portrayed as a living organism. An explanation of how this bears upon each dimension of its community life and meetings follows. The second section deals with Leadership and Accountability. A fresh model of leadership and discipleship is worked out, one that I¿ve not seen before in other books. In the end, there is an appendix that answers every conceivable objection to the book's arguments. The appendix alone is worth the price of the book in my opinion. ¿Reimagining Church¿ is very comprehensive in what it deals with, yet it is easy to read. Those two elements are rare to find in a non-fiction book today. I've read many books on mission, church renewal, discipleship, and ecclesiology, and this one is among the very best. Like a skilled instructor, Viola gently walks the reader through his line of thinking point by point. The book is friendly, thought-provoking, persuasive and inspiring. It forces the reader think in new ways on almost every page. Each chapter builds on the other as an attractive picture of church life based in the nature of God, New Testament teachings, and life experience is sketched out. Whether or not you've read the deconstructive prequel, 'Pagan Christianity?', this is a must-read book. ¿Reimagining Church¿ constructively develops the many themes discussed in the first book, but it goes much further, making it a book that stands on its own. Since I have been a Christian I have always heard that the church is an organism, but this is the first book I have read that develops the implications of that statement and shows why it is relevant to every follower of Jesus. Some books are timeless in the issues they address. Others are timely. 'Reimagining Church' is one of those rare books that are both.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 3, 2008

    The Dream of Organic Christianity

    ¿Reimagining Church: Pursuing the Dream of Organic Christianity¿ by Frank Viola, is sure to send every ¿clergy-laity¿ member scratching around for a biblical defense to the claims made against the 1700 year old institutional form of church. And according to Viola, they will not find a ¿shred of biblical warrant¿ to support its existence. At last, the sequel to the highly controversial book, ¿Pagan Christianity?: Exploring the Roots of Our Church Practices,¿ has arrived! And it is for certain that not all will applaud its arrival to the bookstore. No doubt, many readers are still trying to grapple with the favorable recognition and popularity of the first book to this series of 4 books on organic Christianity. The first time, Viola had the help of George Barna and Tyndale in gaining a few listening ears. Now that he has the attention of no small number of readers¿ he has set off to propose serious answers to an audience that is filled with sincere questions. And ¿Reimgaining Church¿ will not leave readers dissatisfied in their quest for the normal Christian church life. In fact, it will leave them hungering for authenticity in the New Testament fashion. As the saying goes, ¿You can¿t judge a book by its cover.¿ Many readers have learned that from PC. So let the reader first understand the title. Viola states, ¿it¿s the present practices of the church that I¿m seeking to reimagine, not the church itself¿ (p.13). He clearly outlines his purpose so that there is no misunderstanding. He writes that the purpose of the book is: ¿to articulate a biblical, spiritual, theological, and practical answer to the question, Is there a viable way of doing church outside the institutional church experience, and if so, what does it look like¿ (p.12)? Let there be no mistake, any serious reader cannot accuse Viola of impure motives or building the house of God on sand. Indeed, the foundation of the ideas communicated in this book are constructed upon the triune God (i.e. Trinity as archetype for the church). Therefore, RC should be understood as a proposal that the church of Jesus Christ mirror the very image of God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Viola writes, ¿the church is the earthly image of the triune God¿ (p.35). In the spirit of Stanley Grenz, Leonardo Boff, and Miroslav Volf¿ Viola has wonderfully woven together the fabric of God¿s eternal purpose in a clear, concise, and intelligent way. Its inspiration can be questioned, as with any author, but its scholarship is insurmountable in its presentation. This is a work for the carpenter and the scholar. ¿The Reformation recovered the truth of the priesthood of all believers. But it failed to restore the organic practices that embody this teaching. It was restricted to soteriology (salvation) and didn¿t involve ecclesiology (the church)¿ (p.59). In the pursuit of an organic Christianity that is rooted in the triune God, the greatest hurdle will be with what lies at the heart of the institutional model of the church: hierarchal leadership. And Viola goes to great lengths in addressing the error we have made in our teaching and practice of authority and ¿spiritual covering.¿ He even extends his address in the appendix ¿Objections and Responses about Leadership.¿ In every chapter, Viola seems to anticipate the objections and rebukes¿ and very skillfully, with ease, answers those objections and the many misconceptions that are born out of a first-reading of the ideas presented in PC and RC. I have read all of Viola¿s similar writings in his original series¿ and RC in this new series is definitely his finest presentation thus far. He leaves little in his language to trip over¿ just a great deal of truth to bear. Readers will appreciate Viola¿s honesty and sensitivity to the issues. Each chapter builds one upon the other and guides you to the end. I found that when a question would arise, it would quickly be addressed to satisfy a deep-seeded longing to kno

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2014

    Dry and stuffy...

    ...complete with quotes from boring theologians. Connections with Third Wave, Toronto Airport Revival and Dominionism. Also, at least one "home church" has gone ecumenical to include inviting an eco-feminist witch named Starhawk to participate. Dave Wilkerson calls the home church movement' s message a "gospel of accommodation" with good reason. Cherry-picked verses to justify having no protective shepards over them. Skip this one.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 10, 2014

    Lots of good thoughts

    Great followup for Pagan Christianity

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 2008

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    Posted May 8, 2015

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    Posted April 6, 2014

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2011

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